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In this installment of Drawing Vector Graphics, Von Glitschka demystifies the pattern design process, explaining tessellations (mathematical tiles that lie at the heart of patterns) and visiting the various methods of creating new patterns. He shows how to build repeating patterns with Illustrator's pattern tools and pattern brushes, and incorporate patterns into your design. The course also features patterns from some of the industry's most inspiring designers.
- Establishing the bounding box for your tile
- Drawing your design
- Creating a pattern swatch
- Refining art with the Pattern tool
- Saving your design
- Creating a pattern brush
- Using your pattern in designs
Skill Level Intermediate
Once you fill a shape with a pattern, you might want to tweak it to fit the context you're using it in. So let's take a look at how you can finesse your final repeat pattern so it looks exactly how you intend. When you create a pattern fill, sometimes you want to have more control over how it aesthetically looks, meaning how it interacts with your artwork. In this case, this is a pattern fill I created for a project called revolution, and I wanted something that's kind of ornate but established, and this specific pattern deign, I want to point out one aspect of it that's important to just kind of give you a sneak peek, that is.
We're going to go to the pattern tile in the swatches palette and double click it. And that'll open us up into the pattern tool itself. Technically it's called Pattern Definition mode, but that doesn't really matter. And in this case, this specific design is just made up of three simple, free-floating ornaments. And I call them free-floating because this is the type of design that is not using a tile to create it. It's actually a free floating pattern made up of these three pieces of art and I've used the pattern tools tile type called hex to column in order to populate and fill out the repeat pattern.
Now we're going to go over this in more detail later in the course, and I'll cover all the various pattern tile types and how to do a free floating pattern like this, but I thought it was important to show you that this is what this specific pattern is. So we're going to go back to the art board. Just double click the background to return, and we've used this pattern in this design. Now, this specific design, we're going to use to fill a background of a banner that we're going to create with it.
Now, when I'm working on a design like this, when I create the pattern, whether it's a stand alone tile or whether I did it as a free floating pattern in the pattern tool, as I just showed. These principles are going to apply to both so. Let's say you created a tile pattern and you have this. Well, you're going to do the same control methods to rotate and size it. On this one we want to go ahead and rotate this pattern inside this fill shape to get to the visual aesthetic we're after, so we're going to go over to the toolbox here, and double click on the rotate tool, and that will open up the Rotate palette.
And in this respect you want to make sure that under Options here that Transform Objects is not clicked on, because if it is it does that. It'll rotate your actual fill shape, and you don't want that. So make sure that's clicked off and Preview can actually be clicked off. And this just shows you based off of whatever degree you put in here what your rotate will be. In this case we'll try a few things here. This is where some exploratory will come in before we determine, what we want to do.
I think it's pretty close to what we want, but just in case we're going to go ahead and try something else here. So we'll try 65 and that looks okay, but I think we're actually closer with 45. So, we might just stick there. And I think we will because it's giving me more of a column view which is what I want. I didn't want an angle on this specific pattern fill. So, this is how you can control those angles. You can actually put it anywhere you want, obviously to control the angle but in this case, we're going to keep it at minus 45.
And we'll go ahead and click OK. Once you've adjusted the rotate, you might also want to also adjust the scale of the pattern itself. Now if you built this with stand-alone pattern tile, whatever size that tile is will be what the size is when it repeats. But in this case, it's free-floating and the way you can control that is with the scale tool. So we'll go ahead and double click that and open it up and you can see that it's taken our original size, which was this and we've blown it up a 175%.
I don't think we want to go to 200, but we'll try it and we'll preview it and yeah, I think that's just a little too big. So we're going to go back to 175. And we'll go ahead and preview that, and that's more or less the aesthetic I was after. I wanted the repeat visible but not overly busy, and I think that's what we achieved here, so we'll click OK. And once you have a pattern like this, you might have graphics that run over it. In this case for the banners I was creating, this is my graphic and how it inter reacted with the art.
But at times you want to still control how that pattern fill interacts with the art that's relating to it to avoid things like visual tension or having the viewer's eye look to a certain spot just because you have an area where a lot of things are going on. So to have a greater degree of control, in this case I want to kind of shift my design around. So, I don't have this floral element floating right on the edge here right by the R.
And the way you do that, and you want to make sure on a pattern like this, if I go to the Appearance panel, you want to make sure that whatever layer I have the fill on is selected, otherwise you're not going to be able to control it very well. And we're going to go over the, how to use the Appearance panel later to really add some depth to patterns and to control them a little more. But for now, we're going to stick on the layers here. We're going to go back to the Toolbox. We want to select the selection tool and there's a tilled key, it's called on your keyboard, it's right under the Esc key on the top left corner of your keyboard, you're going to want to hold that down.
Now this method will allow you to basically eye ball it and that's actually the only way you're able to interact with the pattern and manually move it around. There is no precise way of doing it, unfortunately, in Illustrator, so you hold the Tilde key down, and you drag the pattern, you can see the box it's creating, and you'll like, oops, you know what, I think I selected the wrong one, let's try that again. And hold the tilde key down and you drag the inside of where the pattern fill is and you can see how it moves the pattern.
So if I drag this more, it moves it more and it's just literally, you eyeball it you, you kind of get it where you want it and in this case, I want it to kind of be centered right on my lettering. And that looks good, and that's all you do. You hold the tilde key down and you just use the selection tool and you move it and that's how you eyeball it. Now in this case, I did this specific graphic.
But I also did another graphic, this one for this project. Now, with all of my patterns, I'd like to organize them into what I call pattern proof sheets. And this is just a personal preference, this isn't any kind of requirement, it's just a good creative habit I guess, to get into. And that is as you create patterns, I've taken the time to set up just a simple way to archive my pattern, so five years from now I can go through my library, open up my specific file.
For this one it would be called lattice, and this shows the actual fill. And this shows the actual tile design I've created from that fill. Now some of these patterns I will have in a non tile format, a non trim format, a free floating format, but for this type of pattern it does require a tiling to pull it off, now once again you can see those preview lines showing up. Just ignore them, that's just a preview bug, so here I'm just going to toggle through a bunch of different ones I created.
This is neutrino, I created this for a company out of Florida that makes tumblers that people drink from. And this was used for that product. Here is another crazy one, and it's actually called crazy. And this was a gift wrap pattern I created. And you'll see this show up in another movie where I kind of get into how I created the repeat on this, because it was somewhat complex one to work with. Here's another one for this was one of the first patterns I ever did. This one's somewhat old, but I still really, really like it.
And the last one is pentacular, and you'll see this show up in another movie later in the course. The actual product it was used on. So, that's how I go about adjusting patterns. That's how I go about archiving my patterns, and the way I've organized my pattern designs into these proof sheet, once again it's just my personal preference, and it's a format based on what I think works best for my workflow. So, discover your own, consider developing your own system, you might come up with a better way of organizing your patterns, and that's great.
This will help you utilize them to their fullest later, and that's going to just help you, find unique ways to utilize your patterns moving forward.