Saturday, January 25, 2014

Making A Repeating Pattern in Illustrator. - How To

You can make repeating patterns in Photoshop but I prefer Illustrator since they are vectors. I made some notes about how to do this from a book but Redbubble has a terrific tutorial. Defining the Pattern works for anything you want to make into a swatch. I was only playing around with this so I used symbols that are found in Illustrator.
Screen shot for making a pattern swatch in Illustrator

Objects Selected Screen shot for making a pattern swatch in Illustrator

Completed Repeating Pattern

My Notes:
Make a square Document in Illustrator.
View > Show Grid
Create a square smaller than Document. My Artboard is 6 inches and the interior square is 3 inches.
Place the square in the middle.
View > Snap To Grid
Lock the layer.

Make a new Layer.
Place your images.
A corner image has to be on all 4 corners and side images are on the opposite side in the same spot.

To precisely place side and corner images:
Place an image
Press Command C to copy.
Press Command F to paste in front.
Window > Transform to bring up the Transform box.
For my 3 inch square I need to move objects + or - 3 on the X or Y axis. After the X location in the Transform Box add + or - 3. Click Enter. This will place the copied image precisely.

Don't worry about duplicating Objects inside the square unless they extend beyond the square's sedge. It's easier to shift interior objects if you turn off Snap To Grid.

Unlock the square and make it transparent, this allows your Swatch to be used on any background color.

Select everything.
Edit > Define Pattern. Name it and click OK
The Swatch will now be in the Swatches Pallete.

To apply the swatch click it on a shape and it will fill it just the same as any color. If you need to change the size of the pattern, go to Transform > Scale. You only want to have the Pattern option selection checked, not the Object.

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