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Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

Advanced repeating pattern swatches in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to make this rather hypnotic repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator. We're going to look at some more advanced features in this video. Also do things like this where we get it to kind of map around. That's meant to be a pocket. It's a terrible pocket. This is where we're going to pull it, and really kind of whoop it. We'll show you how to do that now in Illustrator. 

First up, open up ''. They're in your exercise files. You don't have to, these are just some shapes we're going to use as an example. You can totally use your own. You can't use these particular ones for any other work because they are stock library images made by the handsome Robert Filip. Spelt F-I-L-I-P. So you can go to, and buy those if you want to use them. What we're going to do is select them all, and just move them off to the edge. We're going to build our very first kind of repeating thing, like you saw at the beginning there. We're just going to make some sort of thing. Plain old Layer order, and just getting started. 

Now, my advice always is to not spend too long kind of doing it here, to jump straight into the Pattern Tool, because you'll find that things just look different once they're actually getting repeated. So get started here, get some sort of thing going. Once you're ready, select them all. You need to go to this thing here, 'Window'-- This is the most insignificant name for that most awesome tool. It's called Pattern Options. You never click it, but this option, this thing opens, and doesn't look it's usable, click on this option that says 'Make Pattern'. It's a bit of a weird one to get going. It says it's put a Swatch in my Swatches Panel, over here. You can kind of see a tiny version of it here in my Swatches Panel. 

Now, it's the Pattern making time. We need to give ours a name, we're going to call ours 'Retro'. Couple of things before we start playing around with sizes, width, and things. It's that I don't like it when it dims these extra copies. Let's turn that off, I'd like to see it, natural fact. Other things we'll turn off and on is, we'll leave the Tile Edge 'on' and we'll turn the Size Tile to Art 'off'. Move Tile with Art 'on'. Just follow me, I'll explain it when we get out of here why we do all these things. Turn those on and off to match mine. Now we're going to play around with this, the important part, which of these ways-- there's no right or wrong way. I end up always using Hex though, Hex by Row or Column. Gives me the best kind of feel for what I want. Doesn't matter, just find something that works for you. 

I'm going to start by 'Hex by Column'. Now what I want to do is, decide, kind of-- there's two things I can do. Say I want it to come in tighter, it's easy to use this tool here. 'Pattern Tile Tool', click on that. And I'm going to grab one of the corners, hold 'Shift'. Just kind of shrink it down, so that it resizes, and gets in tighter again. Up to you, I'm going to undo; didn't like that but that's the way to do it. What I'm going to do is start rearranging this stuff to kind of start maybe looking better. Start filling this gap better, you can play around with size and scale. Just like you're working in Illustrator, okay? Now you can also bring other new parts in. You don't have to really decide at the beginning. Let's say I-- what we want to do-- It's kind of weird, right? Click on 'Done' to get out of here. 

Couple of weird things happen as I-- it's all gone. These things here under Pattern are just kind of-- These guys are useless now, we're going to use this but we don't need them anymore. Let's say draw something else, we draw an Ellipse. And we draw-- I steal colors from this. I'm going to draw a couple of them, and just scale the colors. Pretty exciting, Dan. Nice work. I'm going to copy them-- they're useless now again. What I'm going to do is jump back into that Swatch. You just double click it over here in the Swatches Panel and it comes back to life. You're inside kind of no man's land in here. Now I can paste him in. I could have actually just drawn him in here, couldn't I? I'm doing this. Why? Because I just want to fill it in with just some no man's land gaps here. Then I just want to put in-- We can play with the Layer order. Kind of happy with that one. 

So once you're happy with everything there's a couple of things we need to do. Let's click done. Let's apply it now, because that actually doesn't exist anywhere. I'm going to go to 'Rectangle Tool'. I'm going to grab a nice big rectangle to cover the background and connect there. Mine by default has filled it, yours might not. You might click on this as well, you might be like-- Yours might be filled with, say white. And you might click on the 'Swatch' to fill it, and you go 'Fill'. It does it all the time, can you see, it's actually filled the Stroke. There's a tiny pattern around the outside. So make sure the Fill here has no Stroke. Sorry, the Stroke has no Stroke, and the Fill is this guy. You probably do it over here, Dan; just easier. Click on 'Fill', 'Stroke, have no Stroke. 

So those .options I kind of talked about earlier, let's discuss those, and what they mean. One of the option that says Resize to Tile Art. It just means that when I resize this it resizes, it comes along for the ride. If you have that ticked it will try and stay the right size. That's fine, there might be a reason why you want that but it doesn't really matter because you can do it afterwards. Let's have look at that. There's kind of two uses. Let's say this is a repeating pattern, and say you're a Fashion Designer and you want resize something down, say you're making a pocket, or an insert, something smaller, but you don’t want the pattern to resize, because it can't, it's the fabric pattern, and that's done. You can't resize it, right? So what you can do is, you can turn it on and off by going to 'Window', 'Transform'. And in here there's some sneaky options in the Burger menu. And it's this group here. By default it's on both. It means, when I transform the object, which is the rectangle, it transforms the pattern as well, but you can say, actually I just want to transform when I'm transforming, just the object. 

Now we scale it down. You can see, it just scales the object, not the pattern, so that might be useful for you. The only trouble with that is that it's on forever. So you've got to make sure to just turn it off. I go in and turn it off again because it causes-- later on you get a headache, and you're like, "What's going on?" So turn that back on. The other one is Transform Pattern Only. Say I want to resize the pattern, but not the box. This doesn't do what you expect. Does both again, and you're like, "Hmm." What that kind of means is that you have to transform the pattern only, you have to use this box here. So the height and width here, let's say I want to divide it by 2. I'm going to click in this other box. You can see, I've divided the height and width by 2. The object hasn't changed, it's just the pattern. 

Make sure as well when you're doing that, that it's linked. So does the height and width together. Same with the Rotation here, I might do 20. And because I've got that option clicked on just the Pattern it's only applying to that. So I'm going to click it back to 'both'. Another thing you might do is, at the beginning, we didn't put the background color, can you see, the white of the page filled the gap. You can see here, there's now a space behind it. The gray's coming through. Now I find, instead of coloring it before you get into it, all you need to do is grab this, and put a Fill color, let's say a pink and put it behind it. Have that when you create your Tile. That will add a background color to it. I find it's easier probably, not probably-- I like to have a separate box to kind of show the stock color, or the color behind it. Doesn't really matter, I guess. 

Another thing we want to do is, let's have a little look at-- I'm going to go 'Shift O' to get my Artboard Tool. Hold down the 'Alt' key, drag out, or 'Option' key on a Mac, to get a new Artboard. The Artboard Tool's there. What I'd like to do now is, first of all I want to get rid of the pink background; goodbye. I want to kind of start distorting this panel. Let's say you are doing it for a mock up of your pattern on something, or say you are a designer, a Fashion Designer, and you want to move it around the shape of the model. So let's look at a couple of ways of doing that. 

One of the easy ways. Let's say you just want to distort it, let's go to 'Object'. 'Envelope Distort'. And we're going to-- one of the easy ones is Make with Warp. So if you've got kind of a very simple shape it's going to stress your machine out a little bit. You can see, it's kind of warped it this way. If one of the shapes is going to work for you, flags, and waves, and things like that, then you can just use this option. You can see, it's kind of destroying the-- not destroying, it's kind of changing your pattern. If that doesn't work for you. 

Let's say you want to really control what it does. Let's do two ways, I can use my Curvature Tool. So I'm going to create, say a pocket, and I'm going to draw a-- make sure your Fill is not in our panel, else it's going to freak us out. So it doesn't really matter what color. Let's just double click for a corner, click once for a curve, double click for a corner. What we'll do, bit of a curve here. Click once for a curve, double click for a corner. Double click for a corner, double click. Click once for a curve. Here you go, awesome. So we've got our ugly looking pocket. Okay, that's really bad. Anyway, you get the idea. 

You can do a couple of things. Let's have the two options, so 'Shift 0' to get my Artboard Tool. Make another duplicate. The first option is - you might get away with this. - it's selected the two objects, your pocket needs to be at the front. So select both of them, go to 'Object' go to 'Envelope Distort', and there's an option that says 'Make with Top Object'. Just kind of tries to jam it in there. Again a bit stressful. That might be enough for you. You just let the Shape do the work, that could be quite cool. Say you want a bit more control, what you might do is select on this Background Shape, and we're going to go to 'Object', 'Object Envelope Distort', and there's one that says 'Make with Mesh'. This is like full custom; 3x3. The more mesh you have, the more detailed you can control but it's a little fiddlier. So, like a Gradient Mesh. Looks exactly the same. So I'm going to apply it first. Again, quite a hard core pattern. If yours is even more hard core, and your machine is old it's going to take a while. 

Next thing I want to do is I want to bring-- weirdly I can send him to the back and that's really fast. If I try and bring the pattern to the front, I'll spend ages doing it. What I want to do is actually just lower the opacity of this. Don't lower the opacity of the pattern before you make it a Mesh. It's really hard to turn the opacity back up, it's easy this way. I just wanted to turn it down for a little bit while I play around with it. I'll use the White Arrow tool when I'm working with a Mesh. What I might do to get started is, I'm going to select these three points. It's really hard, because I picked the blue. I've got a blue kind of pocket, and I've got a blue Text Style. There's also blue on this layer, so it's a little bit hard. You'll have to work it out. 

So I selected just these three guys. And I drag it in a little bit. Give it a second. You can see, it's kind of getting scrunched a bit at the side there. I'll do the same for this side. So this is just giving you the kind of customized shape. You can kind of see what's happening, I can drag it out here. So I'm going to drag it in here and there's just a little fiddling around now to kind of push it the way you want the fabric to fold. It's going to be a lot of messing about. So, say I grab just this one point here, and drag it in, watch what affects here. I'm going to zoom in, so you can see it. You got these handles that control it as well. A little fiddly. I'm going to drag him around, there's this guy. It's taking a little bit of time now. My machine's pretty hard core, and it's still taking a lot of time. 

So we're kind of doing two things that are really kind of extreme. One is the Pattern, and the other is using an Envelope Mesh. I'm not going to spend too much more time but there's a lot of-- just grab these Anchor Points. It might be that the Mesh is too complex, I brought 3x3. Maybe if you're doing this now, try just 2x2. It might give you just enough control to be able to-- watch this, I'm going to really distort it. Breaking it, but say if you want a bit of a pinched fabric, or you're matching-- you've got kind of, like stock images, and you want to match the roll and folds of the fabric, you can start pushing this around. When you're done, grab it with the 'Black Arrow', have it selected, go up to 'Opacity', and crank it back up. 

The last thing we're going to do is 'Send to Back'. Again, I should have brought the shape to the front, some reason-- I'm going to make sure he gets cropped in. So now with them both selected we're going to hit 'Command 7' on a Mac, or 'Control 7' on a PC. That just kind of sticks it in the Shape, and that's my Fabric thing. 

One last thing you might do is, let's say that you're actually a designer and you want to change the colors that are used in here. A nice way to do it, 'Black Arrow', I've got it selected, go up to 'Edit', go down to 'Edit Colors'. We did this properly in an earlier tutorial, we're doing the short version here. So, 'Recolor Artwork', and jump to 'Edit'. Link all the colors, then you can kind of drag this around move it in and out, kind of expands them richer and cooler. And you can see, down the back, in the background there I'm changing the colors, make them look terrible. Good work, Dan. 

You might have some color options once you got it in here. Maybe just some few changes, or you get the fabric, and you're like "Man, it's not quite reflected well in my design, I might have to adjust it." If you want to go into more recoloring art work I got that in a full earlier tutorial. All right, that is Patterns. Hope you learned something new. Let's get on to the next video.