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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
An easy way to create the illusion of depth in a pattern design, is by applying opacity and blend mode settings to the vector elements in your design. Let me demonstrate how you can do this with a custom repeat pattern created from scratch. As with all of my patterns, they start off in an analog, that should not be any big surprise for anybody watching this course, or any of my other courses for that matter. This specific pattern I created for a full-blown illustration, this is just going to be used in the background of that illustration.
Now, this is a very organic pattern, meaning it is very naturalistic and it has a lot of organic curves and shapes in it, in this case it's just these vines with leaves and tendrils going off of them. And you really need to draw this out to do it well, and you can't really just start building from nowhere in Adobe Illustrator so, I created this, once again, from scratch by drawing it out first. But notice these blossom areas. And if I zoom in, just to show you exactly what I'm talking about.
I didn't worry about creating or drawing out these shapes precisely. Because they're not going to be photographic when I build them in vector form. They're going to be simple geometric shapes, and I can create those in Illustrator really easy using the ellipse tool and creating oval and circles and creating it in a very easy manner. So I don't need to draw them out precisely. So it started off as this nice refined sketch showing here. In this case, I'll adjust the opacity before I start building, and I always lock the layer.
Once again, guides are something I'll toggle on and off as needed, I used them to establish my bounding box, which you can see here. And this is the core assets of all my base vector art that I have highlighted here. And just to show you how it repeats, I've copied those and slid 'em over, using the bounding box. And you can see how it replicates off of each side. I'm not going to walk through that process again, but we'll cover that a few more times throughout the length of this course but for now I just wanted to show you how my base art was derived from the original sketch I scanned in.
Now, to add dimension to, to any kind of design is easily done by using transparency. So this specific design has the base color of this nice blue. And then I have the vector art which you just saw in my base vectors, and I've colored this. It's simply just a tint of that same blue color. Just a lighter shade of the blue. So, this shows my established base design, with the background color and the mid-tone color.
And now on top of it, I'm going to select this shape and just copy it. And I'm going to color it white. And you can see that on a layer, over here in the layers palette. Toggle it on and off. One way to add some nice depth, and you saw this in my pollinate design earlier in the course, and I'm going to use the same method again in this one. I'm going to select what's filled white here, rotate it just 180 degrees, and you see what it looks like there after I do that.
And then all I'm going to do is select that same art again, go to the transparency palette. And I am just going to make it 20% opacity, and when I do that it creates really nice depth to the pattern design itself. Now you don't have to even use the same artwork to do this, you could create a separate pattern the same size and then add opacity to that and bring it in, introduce it to this design. It's really up to you to explore all the possibilities of these methods.
But this shows you an easy way you can easily create depth with a pattern design like this. All of this was established once, of course, off of the bounding box. Once you have this, you can select it and, I should point out it doesn't matter if all three of these pieces of artwork are on separate layers. It's easier to build with multiple layers but to create a swatch, you can select all of them at once, and once again you can either go to Object > Pattern and Make, that'll immediately take you into the Pattern tool.
We don't need to do that. All we're going to do is drag it right over to the swatches palette again. And you can see it's created a swatch right there, a pattern swatch of our design. We're going to go ahead and turn off these layers. And just to show you immediately, if we select this rectangular area and we fill it, make sure we're on the fill. There we go, we're now going to fill it with this pattern swatch, and we'll click that, and we'll see how it fills that shape with the new pattern we created.
Now as I showed you in the previous movie where we adjusted the fill content of our pattern and that was based off of the pattern that was free floating. Well, this pattern is a tile pattern and you can do the same type of controls on a tile pattern that you can do a free floating pattern. And on this specific one, I've done that. If I show you the next fill pattern, you can see that I've adjusted the rotation and the scale of my pattern fill.
I wanted it more at an angle rather than the way I built it. So if I toggle between these two, you can see how it was directly from my tile that I created and filled my shape, and it's larger because that's the actual size of the pattern tile I created. And then after I controlled it by using the Rotation tool and the Scale tool, as I showed in the previous movie, I sized it the way that I thought worked best with the content of what I was doing, so that's how you can easily use transparency and opacity of your vector artwork to add some nice depth to your overall pattern.
Now, I'm just going to switch really quickly to another file and just show you three other patterns I've created, that really depend on using these kinds of opacities on vector shapes. And we're not talking very complex patterns here. This is, of course, the pattern fill and this is the tiles. So this is the entire pattern tile. And if I zoom in on this and just click on some of these shapes you can see. That this here is colored like a very light tan, and if I go to the transparency palette, it's set for multiply, means it interacts with all the colors that run through it or behind it, and the opacity is set for 40.
If I select the white, this white is set for 100. And if I select this one, this is multiplied and it's a lighter tan but it's 100% opacity. And this is where exploratory comes in. When you work with opacity, it's all about trying things until it visually looks the way you want it. Once you have it the way you want it, then it's going to work great for your pattern fill. So, we're going to go through just a couple other ones. Here's another one.
This one's called Flora Spin. And it's a good example of using another free-floating pattern to do a pattern fill. And, here's another one called Latte Java. And this is getting pretty funky with the shapes. But, once again, it depends on the opacity to really bring life into this illustration. It would be kind of a boring pattern if there was no transparency in this at all. Its transparency that gives it its unique attributes that makes it a really fun pattern.
So play with opacity. And when you use opacity, I should say, and blend-mode settings, you know, you want to let the visual clarity of the overall pattern guide you. And it's all about playing with the settings. There is no distinct step-by-step method so, it's all about trying things until visually get it the way you want. Your goal is to facilitate the illusion of depth, so keep adjusting the art until it looks just right.