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Creating patterns in Illustrator

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Ian Smith
Creating patterns in Illustrator
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:13:56 am

I am proficient in Photoshop, however I'm attempting to create the same effect in Illustrator as I have created in Photoshop.

In Photoshop I am able to create a pattern using this process:
I create a canvas of 10px X 10px. I use the pencil tool at 1px thickness and click one pixel at a time in a diaginal pattern creating thin lines from bottom left to top right. Then I am able to select create pattern. Once completed, I am able to select anything in my layers panel and "apply pattern" to see my pattern applied to the image.

How do I do the same effect in Illustrator? Any help is greatly appreciated.


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Vincent Rosati
Re: Creating patterns in Illustrator
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:45:32 am

You can drag vectors or rasters into the Swatches palette, than use them as fills. Vectors can be solids or gradients.
I recall that some vectors must be expanded (object/expand) before they can be added to Swatches, but I can't think of the specifics right now.

As far as applying a pattern on top of an image or some other object, you could create a new shape object on top of the image, apply the pattern to it, than set the appropriate transparency mode if necessary.

To create the 10x10, select the Rectangle Tool and click on the artboard. There you can enter the specific dimensions. Or you can use the Transform palette if the object has already been drawn.

Hope this helps

Vince

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Ian Smith
Re: Creating patterns in Illustrator
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:03:25 pm

Thank you for your response! I took what information you wrote and put it to work, and got my solution.
Without discrediting anything you wrote (you gave me the answers I needed), here is exactly what I did to achieve my diagonal pattern:

I went into Photoshop where I had my 10px X 10px image of my pattern. I zoomed way in so I could see each pixel. I then went into Illustrator and created a 1px X 1px box. Then, taking only about 1 minute, copied the box a number of times to lay out each box to complete my pattern. Then, selecting only the boxes I just copied and placed, I was able to click and drag them into my swatches pallet. DONE! All I have to do then is select a shape on the canvas and drag my new swatch pattern onto it, and it's applied across the entire shape!
Not too painful considering the usefulness.

Thanks again Vincent.



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Stuart Gill
Re: Creating patterns in Illustrator
on Oct 16, 2009 at 1:58:09 pm

With the pattern you created do you want it to look pixelated in Illustrator?

To correctly make a diagonal line pattern you can follow the instructions below. The instructions may look complicated but once you have tried it a couple of times, you should be able to create the pattern in about a minute.

Make a square, 50mm by 50mm. To the side of the square, use the line tool to draw a 50mm horizontal line. Duplicate the line four times directly below the first one, by Shift-Alt dragging the top line, should now have 5 lines total.
Select all the lines, then click on the top line (just click without doing anything else, all the lines should remain selected if done correctly), open the Align panel, go to Distribute Spacing and choose 0mm from the drop down menu and change it to 10mm then click Vertical Distribute Spacing.

You should now have five lines spaced 10mm apart. Group the lines together (Object menu > Group), then select the square and the lines, now horizontally and vertically centre align the two objects (top row of icons in the Align Panel).

Remove the stroke and fill from the square, select everything and drag to the swatches panel.

Create a new object and apply the pattern swatch, go to the Object menu > Transform > Rotate, untick Object at the bottom of the dialog box, choose an angle of rotation, click okay.

A couple of things, while creating the pattern, changing the line thickness will make the line spacing appear bigger or smaller. Use the scale tool in the same way as the rotation tool to adjust the 'spacing' of the lines.

The original square can have a fill to block out anything behind it or leave the fill empty to see through the pattern.

Hope this helps.

Stuart


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Ian Smith
Re: Creating patterns in Illustrator
on Oct 16, 2009 at 9:21:26 pm

As odd as it may seem, I was sticking with the pixelated look. Only because I knew it would come out exactly as I originally created.

However, it will be very useful to also learn what you have instructed. I will have to give it a try soon so I will have what seems a much better way to go.

What I have noticed with the pattern I created, no matter how large of an object I apply it to, the pattern stays the exact same size (which is what I intended). However, what if I want to be able to change the size of the pattern... to scale larger or smaller? Will that work with either of our pattern processes?



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Stuart Gill
Re: Creating patterns in Illustrator
on Oct 17, 2009 at 4:16:08 pm

There will be no change in size with the way I suggested and the pattern can be altered easily by only using the transform menu. You can change the width between the lines by scaling the pattern through the Object menu > Transform > Scale, and remember to untick 'Objects' at the bottom, while leaving 'Patterns' ticked.

I used the default line thickness for Illustrator which is 1pt, if you change the scale of the pattern, as above, the line thickness will scale too. If you want to adjust an existing pattern, you can drag the swatch on to the artboard from the panel, make any changes and drag it back. You can Alt drag on top of an existing swatch the replace it. I usually have two patterns, one as I created above and another with much thicker lines to give the appearance of thicker lines when I scale the pattern down to say 50% of the original.

Once you have a go and adjust the scale of the pattern, you will understand what I am getting at.

Stuart


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