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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
It's time to take a look at Illustrator's pattern tool. The best way to learn and understand how to use this new tool, which will aid in your creation of a repeat pattern, is by demonstrating its use. Before we jump into making a unique repeat pattern using this tool, we need to understand some basics regarding the settings that control it, knowing these basics will help you create and adjust your designs with greater ease. So let's take a look at a few of these controls now.
>> As with all of my patterns in this course, they all started off in analogue. In a previous movie you saw me working on the rough sketch of this and refining it into the final form you see now. I scanned it in. And I'll just simply select it, change the opacity to 20, and lock that layer. From this, I'm going to build all of my base vector shapes. I'm going to zoom in just a little so you can see this better. And turn those on.
And this is everything I need to create not only a stand alone pattern tile, but also, I'll be able to create a free floating pattern, using the same artwork. And that's the benefit, of creating a pattern from scratch. Because there are certain usages where you absolutely need a stand-alone pattern tile in order to use your design, and other usages where the pattern tool in Illustrator is going to help you use it.
And I'm going to show you both in this movie. So this is the base art, and the areas that replicate, meaning the areas that get copied and repeated are showing here, in blue. But all we need to create everything in this, has been created in this form and we're going to go ahead and walk through some of that right now. So, our non trimmed artwork looks like this. It's the exact same artwork as showing in our base art, here.
All we've done is filled it with the final color we're going to use in this pattern theme. This is like an ocean theme with a bunch of underwater creatures and nautical theme content so we're going with blue. In this case we're using a dark blue and a light blue. To start creating immediately, we're going to create a pattern using the pattern tool in Illustrator and using non-trimmed artwork. So our non-trimmed artwork is made up of everything shown here and that's all we need in order to create the specific tile we're going to do now.
We also have created what are called throwaway shapes. And that's what these yellow items are. That's going to assist us in registering our artwork. Once we have these selected, you can drag this into the swatches pallet but in this case, we are going to go from the menu at the top, Object, go down to Pattern and go to Make and click on that. And this immediately brings us into, what's called pattern definition mode. And once we're in pattern definition mode you can see the pattern options over here and this is what we'll use to control our pattern design with.
Now I'm going to zoom out of this design so you can see it a little easier in terms of how it's replicating. Right now you see this gap of white around the whole design. That's because we haven't adjusted our specific tiling for this design. Now, when I work on a pattern like this, I'd say about 98% of the time, I only deal with what's called a grid tile type. Now in another movie, we're going to go over each of these specifically.
But, for almost every design I create, I can get away with creating a, using a grid tile type because, once again, I've spent the time creating my design based off of a pre-existing drawing, and I've drawn out the bounding box so I know how it's going to repeat. But, for this specific design, we're going to use a tool within the pattern tool. Now this is where it can get a little confusing because it's called the pattern tool. When you're inside the pattern tool the pallet to control it is called pattern options and the tool within that palette is called the pattern tile tool.
So you know you're going to trip over your tongue trying to say all those things but it can get confusing. So don't let that hold you back or intimidate you just watch this movie a few times and I think you'll understand the very basics of how it works. So, once we've brought our pattern, these base floating elements into the pattern tool, we're going to click right here on the Pattern Options palette, the tile tool, and that brings up this. If we click on the background deselect, we can't click on this.
It's not clickable with a cursor. So the only way to get access to it to manipulate and control how are pattern is going to tile, you have to go to the pattern options palette and click this tile tool button. So we'll click that. Gives us this. Now we're going to use this and we're going to snap it to these throw away shapes. So from this side on the right we're going to drag this in and snap it until it's snaps to the corner of this throw away shape on the yellow.
And you can see how that brings our pattern in. And we're going to take the bottom part of the tile and we'll snap that in to, I believe it's that corner. Nope, I think it goes up just a little bit, so we'll snap it to the other corner and that works good. So you can see how adjusting your pattern is relatively easy in the pattern tool using the tile tool, it's just that you do need to kind of pre-plan it in order to facilitate the registration with throwaway shapes like this.
And it always helps to have smart guides turned on so when you snap it, it's an obvious registration. You know it's going to be in the exact location it needs to be. If this wasn't here, then all you're doing is kind of eyeballing it. Where you just go like this and move it in until you have it just right. And so, it just makes it faster and more precise if you figure out that kind of spacing and registration before you go into the pattern tool, and that's easy to do when you build it from scratch and you already know how the bounding box is associating with your core artwork.
So that's how that works. Now, in terms of these other tile types, I'll just show you one because we will cover this in our movie. If I go to brick by row you can see how it shifts it. So grid, break by row, and there are usages for this but for like I said, 98% of the time I get away with using the grid method. So, once we have that established we're going to go ahead and click out back to our art board and we're going to go to a vector rectangle shape like this and we're going to go ahead and we're going to fill this with our pattern fill and you can see what that looks like.
And I've also added another pattern. Much like the texture pattern I created in the previous movie, this is nothing more than a wavy form to give the illusion of water. And that's how that came out. I adjusted it, because I thought the overall sizing, once again, was too big. So I wanted it a little smaller in order for it to look better as an overall pattern. Now, that's how you can use a standalone artwork, with the pattern tool to replicate it.
And once again, all it takes is to have your artwork figured out in association once again with your bounding box so that once you have that figured out you know by beta testing it before you even get to the pattern tool, that it's going to repeat. So that's important. So that's how a non-trim piece of artwork works in association with the bounding box and using the pattern tool. Now, if you create your pattern from scratch, you're going to be able to create what's called a stand alone pattern tile.
And that's what we have here. Everything needed to create a pattern fill is here, and this is even easier once you have this, you just drag it to your Swatches palette and then you can go to any shape and fill it with that pattern and it goes very quickly. So if you build from scratch you're able to do either type of pattern design, whether it's a free floating one, that is non trimmed artwork, or it's a pattern tile, stand alone pattern tile, and it's trimmed artwork, you're able to create a pattern and replicate it using the pattern tool in Adobe Illustrator.
We're going to go over other settings for how to use the pattern tool and what it does in other movies in this course. But hopefully that demystifies a little bit about it. One thing I should point out is even though we drug this tile artwork over to the Swatches palette here. If we go the swatch it created, you can see that it automatically creates the repeat tiling because you figured it all out. And a couple other settings in regards to the pattern tool here is this at the bottom where it says Copies.
This is just the preview of the repeat it shows in the backgrounds, so if we go to one on one, it's not going to show you anything. It just showing you the tile. Three on three, it repeats it out a little bit. And, you can go all the way up to nine by nine and that pretty much fills the whole screen. So you get a good idea of how your pattern fills going to work. When you have a pattern that is a free floating pattern, that's where the overlap comes in. And we're going to cover that when we get into the specific tile types later in this course.
But for now, that's how the general settings for the pattern tool in Adobe Illustrator works to create, whether it's a trimmed piece of artwork, or a non trimmed piece of artwork to create a pattern cell. So, I hope that helps. The pattern tool has a lot of variables in terms of its settings and controls and the best way to learn those, is to experiment with them. Once you see how it responds to your artwork, that's going to give you really clear idea of, of the methodology that's going to work with the pattern you're creating.
Because it's a safe bet you're going to discover far more, than what I'm able to demonstrate for you in a simple movie like this.