Reflected Repeats that Flow: using symmetry in pattern layouts | Sue Gibbins | Skillshare

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Reflected Repeats that Flow: using symmetry in pattern layouts

teacher avatar Sue Gibbins, Designer at Rocket & Indigo

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (1h 14m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Concept, Research & Sketch

    • 3. Making Silhouette Motifs

    • 4. Structuring the Flow

    • 5. Live versus Manual Transformations

    • 6. Manual Reflected Repeat Setup

    • 7. Manual Reflected Repeat Layout

    • 8. Live Reflected Repeat Setup

    • 9. Live Reflected Repeat Layout

    • 10. Double Reflect with Clipping

    • 11. Double Reflect Complex Design

    • 12. Reflect & Rotate Mandala

    • 13. BONUS: Create a Nautilus!

    • 14. Your Project

    • 15. Thank you

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About This Class

Hello! This class will focus on creating patterns with reflected elements. It’s geared towards designers with some knowledge of pattern-making already who want to learn additional techniques. In the class we’ll talk about both artistic and technical aspects of reflected repeats. We’ll discuss structures and layout techniques that help reflected designs to flow. And I’ll demonstrate some software tools, including transformation and live transformation. I will be demonstrating using Adobe Illustrator, but many of the concepts could easily be applied in other design software too.

For class you will need a method of constructing your pattern, such as Illustrator software or an equivalent that you are comfortable using. At a minimum you need to be able to create or import motifs, duplicate them, reflect them, and move them to a specific position. Adobe Illustrator is recommended as your chosen software for this class so that you can get the most out of the latter lessons featuring live transformations.

I’m excited to show you how to create reflected repeats that flow, so let’s get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sue Gibbins

Designer at Rocket & Indigo


Hi, I’m Sue Gibbins (aka Rocket & Indigo), a British surface pattern designer inspired by my surroundings, travel and nature. My artwork style mixes graphic shape with hand-drawn line, often using bold colour palettes. I especially enjoy drawing animals and plants. To see more of my art and to chat, let's meet on Instagram @rocketandindigo. 

In addition to designing, I have also been a teacher and instructor in one form or another for many years. I'm passionate about sharing what I know and seeing how others take that forward with their own projects. I hope you enjoy my classes and share what you make with us in the project galleries. Have fun!


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1. Welcome: Hi, I'm Sue Gibbins, a surface pattern designer from the UK working under my studio banner Rocket & Indigo. In my previous classes I covered many of the essentials of creating designs, including making motifs and laying out organic-style repeat patterns. This new class will focus on patterns with reflected elements. It's geared towards designers with some knowledge of pattern-making already, who would like to learn additional techniques. In class, we'll talk about both artistic and technical aspects of reflected repeats. I'll discuss structures and layout techniques that help reflected designs to flow. And I'll demonstrate some software tools including transformation and live transformation. I will be demonstrating using Adobe Illustrator, but many of the concepts could easily be applied in other design software too. For class, you will need a method of constructing your pattern, such as Illustrator software or an equivalent that you are comfortable using. At a minimum, you need to be able to create or import motifs, duplicate them, reflect them, and move them to a specific position. Adobe Illustrator is recommended as your chosen software for this class so that you can get the most out of the latter lessons featuring live transformations. I'm excited to show you how to create reflected repeats that flow. So let's get started. 2. Concept, Research & Sketch: Welcome back. I wrote this class after receiving a request to teach the making of my Nature's Fiesta pattern. It has been a well-liked design and was chosen by Porter & Brawn trend consultancy as one of their top picks in the Make It In Design Summer School 2018. I've taken some time to analyze what makes this particular print interesting, and now I'll be reconstructing the pattern for you. I'll then go on to show how several additional designs are produced in order to equip you with a wide variety of tools for your own design process. You'll then be able to try out the tools of your choice in the project. So let's first look at the Nature's Fiesta pattern together. If we zoom in, the first thing you'll likely notice is that this design employs a very simple palette and uncomplicated motifs made of silhouette shapes with no extra detail or shading. If we go back to looking at the wallpaper repeating multiple times, you may notice that tiling creates a mega pattern or overlying structure on top of the motifs. The effect is created primarily through the density of motifs and their direction, plus the reflection element. Therefore, for this class we are going to be focusing on the layout. The aim being to build beautiful flow into the pattern design. Although this class will focus much less on motif construction and coloring than my previous two classes, we do still need to consider the motifs because they will have an impact on how we can work with the layout. The trend brief I followed for this pattern was called Fiesta Folk Repeats. And one of the references included Otomi embroidery. The Otomi are indigenous people in the central region of Mexico, and their beautiful designs really caught my attention. From my research I noticed that embroidered pieces often have a loosely mirrored layout that is almost but not quite symmetrical. For example, duos of similar animals facing each other. The symbols used in Otomi embroidery tend to be animals and plants found in their region, usually rendered a silhouette shapes. After asking family who had visited the country about the flora and fauna they had seen there, I sketched down some motif ideas. I included animals such as geckos, chickens, wild birds and butterflies. For plants, I included various flowers, herbs plus culinary items such as chillis, limes, beans and rice that make great pattern fillers. There were a few things I drew that didn't make it into the patterns such as feathers, bananas, and also the ants! I like to start by sketching all ideas down, then choose later which ones to keep. What I want you to notice about my sketch page is that there's quite a wide variety, lots of different symbols and sizes, which creates interest even with uncomplicated silhouettes. And the different sizes mean I can play around with the density and create an overlying structure that will show up when tiled. I suggest that you try to include variety in your drawings in your own project too. You can sketch on paper then digitized like me, or you could sketch directly into the software if you prefer. 3. Making Silhouette Motifs: Hello again. We're now ready to head over to the software. I'll be using Adobe Illustrator CC. Feel free to construct your pattern in different software if you prefer. To help you see what I'm doing, I'll generally use the menus and select tools with the mouse, at least the first time I used them. But the fast way is to use shortcut keys for tools and actions you use a lot in software. If I mentioned shortcuts that use the Mac Command key, note that in Windows it will be the same shortcut except using the Control key. In the Resources section of the project tab I will provide links to website where you can find Illustrator shortcut lists for both Mac and Windows. Also in resources, you'll find a full written transcript of the class to refer back to as you're designing, or in case anyone has trouble following the audio because of my accent! Okay, to start create a new file. Since vector graphics are fully scalable, the exact size is not critical. I commonly work on 300 mm squares for patterns and I set up the document as CMYK. I'll save that to my project artwork folder an AI file. Before building up my vector motifs, I first like to have a working color palette. I have the swatches panel open and docked here. But if you can't see it, go to the Window menu and select Swatches to open it up. You can do that with any panel you need that isn't visible in your workspace. I'll go to the Swatches panel menu to select all unused swatches, then drag them to the trash icon. I like to keep things organized in color groups because it makes re-coloring and using custom libraries easier. So I'll create a color group now and give it a name. Otomi embroidery design sometimes feature rainbow colored threads on light cloth, but often they used white plus only one other color, commonly a red or blue. I opted for the limited color palette. I chose a grayish blue and off-white for this design. I'll click the new swatch icon and move the color sliders. I recommend making the swatches global by checking this box because it makes tweaking colors later so much easier for creating the silhouette vector motifs, there are a few ways to do this. You can image trace digitized sketches. You can draw shapes directly with the digital pencil and brush tools, or you can vector plot the shapes with a digital pen. Although I have covered these techniques in detail in my previous classes, I'll show you one of each here as a recap before we move on to the layout stage. If you're already comfortable with these techniques or have your own preferred method, you could move on to the next lesson if you wish. If image tracing, first draw shapes ideally in black and at a reasonable size. Scan them in or take evenly let photos with a phone to get them into the computer. Place the drawing on the artboard, open the Image Trace panel from here or use the Window menu. Use either sketched art or silhouette with Ignore White checked and the advanced settings. The silhouette preset makes the trace darker than the sketched art preset. If any lines don't join up, increase the threshold slider manually to add more black to the trace. Click Expand, then ungroup. An optional step is to reduce the anchor points in the trace to help keep file sizes manageable. I use Object, Path, Simplify and set it to around 97% to keep the look, but get a reduction in points as shown here when preview is checked. These traced objects might look like stroked paths, but actually they are fills. Use the white arrow direct select tool or shortcut key A to select just the interior path. If I zoom in using Command + you may see that only the inside is selected. I'll zoom out with Command - Press Delete once, then twice, to remove the entire path and make a silhouette. If there are internal details to be kept, such as an animal's eye, I change the main shape to a different color so the internal details are visible, remove the interior paths again, then select both main shape and inside shape, and use Pathfinder to Exclude the overlap from the silhouette. If drawing shapes with digital tools, there's the option to freestyle draw or follow a guide sketch. I find having a guide sketch very worthwhile. If you're using a guide sketch, place it on a top layer with multiply blending mode and 50% opacity, and lock the guide sketch layer. Drawing with a digital pencil or brush is possible with a mouse, but using a graphics tablet and stylus if you have one provides more control. Simply select the pencil (shortcut key N) or brush (shortcut key B) and again drawing the outline shape. I prefer to draw with only a stroke then apply a fill later. Be sure to connect the start and finished points: a little 'o' shape will appear on the tool pointer when in position to close the path. If results are smoother or rougher than unexpected, try double clicking the tool button to bring up the settings and adjust fidelity to achieve the desired results. If adding details that will be cut out from the silhouette, such as a dot for the eye, I draw the details then use Pathfinder Exclude as before. To create a shape using the vector plotting pen tool (shortcut key P), lay down a point, drag the handles to add a curve, then plot the next point. The best place for points is on a corner oo the extremes of a curve. To remove one side of the curve before continuing to the next point, click on the anchor once. Continue until the shape is complete and closed by connecting the start and end points. Again, if adding in details, plot them, then use Pathfinder Exclude. Motifs can be finessed in several ways. I commonly use the pencil tool to redraw edges. The smooth tool. And the direct selection tool to move anchor points and handles. Work with these tools until a set of motifs is created. I've now gone through a made all of my silhouette motifs that I chose to use for the design. Here they are. I'll save the file. 4. Structuring the Flow: Welcome back. In the last lesson, I created my Otomi-inspired silhouette motifs. Now we'll move on to looking at structuring the flow of the design. I have found that using a half-drop repeat in my patterns usually helps to give them better flow. Staggered lines adds movement like a kind of wave. So I am going to employ the half-drop repeat in my design. Of course, I'm also going to use reflection. So let's look at how those two things can work together. In this basic diagram, the letter represents the pattern motifs as a group. A more interesting way to lay out the motifs for this type of repeat could be in a triangle that then forms diamonds. In my opinion, this is more visually pleasing. Including some curves in the structure would likely improve the flow of the design too. I want to make sure the shapes still fit together perfectly, so if I change one side of the diamond, I need to alter the opposite edge too. And I have to reflect that change as well. By adding a C-shaped curve I've created a scallop layout, which I plan to use in my design. There are alternatives to this layout, such as reflecting motifs both vertically and horizontally, and employing a different curve, like an S shape. I'll show examples of several layouts during this class and you can choose any of those for your project. Note that I've included the diagram shown in this lesson as a PDF in the Resources section of the project tab for your reference. 5. Live versus Manual Transformations: Hello again. In this lesson, I will explain the two options for transformations that will be demonstrated in this class. Manual transformation means reflecting, moving, rotating, or scaling motifs manually or with pre-recorded manual actions. Live transformation in Adobe Illustrator mean showing transformations as appearances. An appearance remains connected to the original, so that changes also affect the copy. Therefore, the copy isn't solid. Live transformations can later be expanded to make the copy solid, at which point the connection is lost. Most design software offers various manual transformations as standard. If you are using software other than Illustrator, it may or may not have live transformation features. Each transformation method has advantages and disadvantages. Live transformation allows the designer to see reflection and repeat 'on the fly' for ease of layout, time is saved by not needing to do transformations manually, plus the layout is reusable for future patterns. However, automated symmetry means more rigidity in the design, extra knowledge is required to set up live transformations, and the working area can get messy and crowded with motifs. With manual transformations, the working area is kept uncluttered, there's more room for making artistic decisions, and less setup is needed. But the reflection and repeat cannot be seen in real time, so layout is not as intuitive, and the manual transformations can be time consuming. In the next lesson, we'll start by looking at the manual method. I'll use the manual lessons to talk about aesthetic aspects such as motif spacing and direction, which won't be covered in any detail in the live transformation lessons later. Therefore, it is recommended to watch the manual lessons first, even if you are mostly interested in the live features. 6. Manual Reflected Repeat Setup: Welcome back. Before I start doing any layout with motifs, I'd like to get a file setup so I can use the flowing scallop layout we talked about earlier. This file has the same dimensions as I used earlier, and I have just red and white in the Swatches panel for now. I'll begin by making and naming some layers. I need a 'swatchbox' layer at the very bottom of the stack, which is just for making the actual pattern swatch later. Then a 'background' layer just above, then a 'reflector' layer for positioning the reflections correctly. Then the 'design' layer for my motifs layout. And finally a 'guide' layer that should go right at the top and will help add that flow into the design. I'll click on the swatchbox layer then use the rectangle tool to place a square the same size as my artboard so 300 mm. I'll align that to the artbiard so it fits exactly. I'll make sure the stroke and fill are both set to none as indicated by the red diagonal line here at the bottom of the Tools panel. I'll copy that square with command C, and I'll lock the swatchbox layer. Now I'll click on the background layer and paste the copy of the square in front using Command F. I can give that a fill color (just white for now) but make sure it has no stroke. I'll lock the background layer. On the reflector layer I need a huge square, so I use the rectangle tool again. The exact size of this square is not actually important, but it should be much larger than the artboard so that any motifs falling off the edge will still reflect correctly. I'm going to go for 1200 mm. I'll set the fill and stroke to none. It's very important to align the huge square to the artboard centrally so that we can see its center point indicated here in the middle. This layer needs to be left unlocked. Now we'll work on the top guide layer. First, I will place a 150 mm square. It's important that it's half the width and half the height of the artboard. So if you use different dimensions for your file, be sure to scale the square accordingly. I'm going to give that no fill but a red stroke so I can see it easily. I'll use the Align panel to get that into the top left corner of the artboard. Now I want to draw the curve that will form my scallop mega-structure guideline. It's just a layout guidelines so the exact curve isn't too critical, but the easiest way for me is to start with a circle. I'll get the ellipse tool and click to get the options up. I'll make the circle 300 mm in size, then use the scissors to cut the portion off that I don't want. I'll move that curve into position in the top left of the artboard using the Align panel again. I'll select both square and curve then group them together with Command G. The layer can be shown or hidden as needed during the design process using the eye icon. Now I'll set up some reflect and move actions. This just means recording the process. So next time it can be semi-automated, making it faster. This part is optional because you can just do the reflection and movement from scratch each time if you prefer. But actions save a huge amount of time in the long run. I'll use the guide layer as the basis to record the transformations. When I finished will also be able to see the scallop that will guide the pattern flow. Open the Actions panel and turn button mode off in the panel for now for now while I make new actions. Create a new set with the folder icon at the bottom of the panel and name it, in this case 'Reflect half-drop'. Let's begin with the reflection. For the manual reflection method, I'll need to reflect the object along with the huge reflector box to get the correct position. So I'll hold down the Shift key and select both. Click the new action icon and name it, for example, 'vertical reflect'. Then begin recording. Goto, Object, Transform, Reflect and choose Vertical. Press Copy rather than OK. Now press the stop icon in the Actions panel to cease recording immediately after the action is complete. It is important to do this before doing anything else. Now whenever I want to make a mirror copy, I can use this action, remembering to select the reflector as well as the object each time. I'll now make actions for the half-drop. So for me that's a 150 mm movements across and down. Click the new action and name it, for example, '150 mm right down'. Then begin recording. Go to, Object, Transform, Move and select 150 millimeter horizontal and a 150 millimeter vertical, then press Copy. Remember to press the stop icon. I'll now select the other top quadrant of the guide shape and record an action going left and down, so I'll need to use a minus number to go left this time. To keep the actions list compact and make them even faster to use, go to the Actions palmar menu and select the Button Mode option. I already recorded a bunch of move actions that I use all the time for 300 mm artboard, which you can see on these buttons here. Recorded actions are carried over to new files automatically. I'll lock the guide layer, which now has the complete scallop shape. With the manual reflection method, note that there is a little bit of clean up to do on the reflector layer after transformations are complete. Each time the reflector is used, an additional copy of the box is made. I like to delete the duplicates after use to keep the file size down and maintain a tidy file. I'm going to save this as a template file so that I can call it up for future patterns. Illustrator makes a copy of template files when they're called upon and keeps the original. So this is the best option for files you will reuse. Go to File, Save As Template, choose a location and give the .AIT template file a name. This file can now be closed. In the next lesson, I'll be placing motifs. 7. Manual Reflected Repeat Layout: Hello again. I still have open the file with my motifs created earlier. And in the last lesson I saved a template of the scallop layout. To use the template, I'll go to File, New From Template, and select it. A copy of the template has been opened, so my original file remains intact for next time. What we'll do first is copy the motifs to bring them into the new file. As I paste in the motifs, you may noticed that the global swatches are added to my Swatches panel automatically. Move the motifs to the side for now. I can put the colors into a swatches group for my project. I'll unlock the background layer and color it, then lock that again. Motifs are sized already so that they will fit roughly into one-quarter of the artboard. Later when those motifs are duplicated through reflection and half-drop, they will fill the artboard. I usually begin by placing my large and more prominent main motifs. I want them to be distributed without making obvious vertical or horizontal lines. I'll consider their directions such that not everything is facing the same way and how they may be guided by the curve of the scallop for flow. Some may follow directly, while others may radiate perpendicular, but they should have purposeful direction. If I have motifs with natural curves, such as this floral and this bird, I often begin with those. Placing multiple motifs along a curve in the same direction like this will accentuate the curve and can add to the flow of the design. I'd also like to accentuate at the center of the scallop area; the gecko will work well here is a central feature I think. Then I need the chicken probably facing opposite to the other bird. And I'll put this one right near the edge to make a pair when reflected and repeated. Now we'll move on to the next layer of motif hierarchy. In this case, more botanicals like flowers, herbs and chilies, plus the butterfly. Again, consider that they may follow the guides curve or radiate out. The moon, I think should go in the sky with the flying bird to help tell the story. And the butterfly here roughly above where the large flower will repeat, but it might need adjusting later. The chilies would fit nicely here radiating and echoing the shape of the chicken. These flowers could be placed in a curve that echoes the scallop curve. I can place some more to follow the center with the gecko. Now use the fillers in the gaps. Motifs can be resized if needed. The size and closeness of the motifs to each other will determine the density. Modifying the density in certain areas can help to add flow. Where there is a line of lower density and space, flow lines may form in the pattern. The flow lines should roughly follow the scallop guide. The larger motifs tend to naturally have extra space around their shape so keep those at the scallop edge and reserve fillers mostly for inside the scallop shape. Spend some time getting the spacing right at this stage. I'm able to do this quite quickly because it's a remake of the pattern. It does usually take a little bit longer than this to get the positions of motifs right. You may notice that I've positioned some of my motifs such as the gecko actually on the reflection line here. I'm going to keep all these motifs on the reflection line asymmetrical, which adds a bit of extra personality to reflected designs. So I'll select them and group them together for now. And I won't be including them in the reflection step. I just noticed that these have a stroke color which isn't needed, so I'll just remove that from the motifs. I'll select all the motifs to be reflected and group them for now. I'll hold Shift key and also select the huge box on the reflector layer. Replay the reflection recorded earlier using the button in the Actions panel. Now I'll deselect the huge reflector box. With all the motifs selected, I'll use my recorded move actions to create the half-drop copies. Usually there will be some fine tuning to do with positioning. At this point, I often hide the guide layer so I can see the distance between motifs properly. I'll select and ungroup the motif so I can move them individually. We're moving a particular motif, select the other two copies at the same time and move them in unison. I usually nudge the motifs in small increments using the arrow keys on the keyboard. I need to fill the gaps at the edges of the artboard. I already have a number of move actions recorded for 300 mm artboards, so I'll use those. Now that this area is filled, I can see that this small filler needs to be nudged down. To fill the top, I'll select the motifs in the scallop shape, group them, and move them as one using pre-recorded actions again. The motifs now go right the edges. I'll just clean up the reflector layer by removing duplicates, then I can lock it. Now that I'm happy with the layout I'll make a pattern swatch. To do this, first unlock the background and swatchbox layers, select all and drag into the Swatches panel. On a new layer, make a large shape and fill it with the patterns swatch. Zoom in to check the edges. Zoom out to evaluate overall pattern flow. Go back and make alterations if needed. I'm happy with this, so I'll save the file. 8. Live Reflected Repeat Setup: Welcome back. In this lesson, I will show you how to set up an Adobe Illustrator file to make use of Live Transformations. Many of the layers are the same as for the manual setup. So I'll open up a new file based on the template I created in that lesson. Remember that it has the swatchbox layer at the very bottom for making the pattern swatch later. Then a background layer for color. Then the reflector layer. Then the design layer, which this time will be where we set up the live transformation to take place. Finally, a guide layer at the top to help get that flow into the design. For the live transformation method, I'm going to need my huge reflected box actually on the design layer. I'll show the details of the reflector layer to see the huge square object named '<Rectangle>'. I'm going to rename that shaped to 'Reflect Boundary' so I can easily identify it and drag that up to the design layer. I'll delete the empty reflector layer. And now at this point we are ready to apply live transformations to the design layer. Doing that without any visible artwork on the layer will work. But having something to see on the layer is useful to check that the transformations are working as expected. So let's get the blob brush and draw a random object. In order to apply the live transformations to the whole design layer, we need to target the layer. Please note that this is not the same as selecting it. Just to the right of the layer name, you will see a small circle icon to target the design layer. Click on the circle icon and it will become a double circle indicating it's targeted, which is important for the live transformation to work properly. Now open the Appearance panel, which is the sunshine button, or if you don't have it open in your workspace it's accessible through the menus via Window, Appearance. Go to the bottom of the Appearance panel and click on the fx icon, choose Distort & Transform, then choose Transform to open the transform effects panel. Check the preview box to be able to see what the choices do to the layer. Leave scale, move and rotate set to normal. But in options select Reflect X. Make sure transform objects is checked and the scale stroke and effects is checked. The transformation point should be set to the middle. The number of copies needs to be set to one so that we can keep the original and get a transformed duplicate. If that looks good in the preview, then it's time to click OK. That transformation will now be shown in the Appearance list for the layer. It can be turned off and on with the eye icon. And clicking allows it to be edited. So if you forget that you need a copy, you can go back and change that easily. For the half-drop part of the repeat, I'll do another transformation, but this time using the Move options. So go to fx and get up the Transform effects again. I do want to apply new effects, so I'll click that button. This time I'll use the Move options and go right by 150 mm and down by 150 mm, which is half the width and half the height of my artboard size. I want one copy of that and click OK. Now I'll tile my motifs by moving them the full width of the artboard. So apply new effects, but I'll go left rather than right. Left means I'll use a minus sign. So minus 300 mm horizontally and make one copy click OK. Then I'll do one more to copy those up by the full artboard height. So minus 300 mm vertically, one copy, OK. Now I'll lock my reflect boundary object and I can delete my example shape. If I go and draw a new shape on this layer in my guide area, you'll see that the reflection and half drop occurs automatically. And we can instantly see the pattern shape, which is very cool. Once again, I'm going to make this a template file so that I can call it up for future patterns as well. Go to File Save As Template, choose the location and name it. This file can be closed. Now, in the next lesson, I'll add my motifs to see them undergo live transformation. 9. Live Reflected Repeat Layout: Hello again. It's time to make a live transformed pattern. I'm going to choose File, New From Template and select the live version of the template created in the last lesson. I'm going to paste in the motifs I arranged in the manual layout lesson. I'll make sure I'm on the design layer as I paste them. The motifs are already being live transformed. To stop things getting messy on the artboard, move the motifs down to the side below the artboard until they are needed. I also find it best at the start of layout to turn off some moves in the Appearance panel to avoid clutter. Target the design layer, then use the eye icons to hide the last two live transformations. Before I begin with the motifs, I'll just sort out my colors in the Swatches panel. And I'm going to unlock the Background layer, change it to this color, then lock it again. If I were starting from scratch, I would again begin by placing the larger motifs first and using the guide area to help me get the flow in the design. The principles are the same, but this time the effect of reflection and the half-drop can be seen immediately. If you've ever used Illustrator's built-in pattern maker tool than you'll recognize that live transformation is the same concept as that, but more tailored. Positioning motifs is so much easier with live transformation. So I hope you can see the big benefits already. I won't bore you by laying out this pattern again, I'm going to take these away so I can bring in the whole set and arrange all the motifs at once. Adjusting spacing is really easy with live transformation because the changes occur to all copies on the fly in real time. I can adjust only one motif or select them all and tweak the mirror line. You'll probably notice that I have a little problem around the mirroring line, especially because of my gecko motif. In the manual method, I was able to choose not to reflect him and keep my asymmetrical motif. But here it's happening automatically. What I'll do is leave a copy of this funny double-tailed gecko in place for now and replace it later with the asymmetrical version after I finished with the live transformations. And now I want to make sure my artboard is covered by the repeating motifs with no gaps. Actually, this area down here is empty because I don't have a copy. I think this can be fixed by changing all the move transformations to go in the opposite directions. So I'll target the layer and go to the Appearances panel. I'll make the last transformation down instead of up. The next one will go right instead of left. Then the half-drop should go the other way too. Okay, that now covers every area. This side is blank but no motifs cross the edge here, so that will be fine I think. Now that I'm happy with the overall layout, I'll save the file. I'm going to copy the design layer and turn off the original. This copy will be the one that I expand. By working on a copy, I can come back to the live transformation again if I need to. Select all the objects on the layer - I'll use the layer selection button here just to the right of the target icon. Use the menu and go to Object, Expand Appearance. All the transformations are now fully applied and the appearances are made real. Each transformation created a group, so I'll ungroup this four times because I had a total of four transformations in my Appearances: one for the reflect and three moves. I now have the motifs in the half scallop groups. I'll go in and change the motifs on my mirror line to be the asymmetrical versions I personally prefer. Note that if you aren't going to have asymmetrical elements on the mirror line. You won't need to do this next step. I want to remove the extra mirror line motifs from the right side, so I'll double-click that group to enter isolation mode, and select just the central motifs that I want to be asymmetrical, and delete those from the reflected side, then double-click away to exit isolation mode. I could go and repeat that for all the other geckos that are around the edge of the artboard. But since I recorded actions in the manual transformation setup lesson, I can make use of those here. So keep the central scallop that is now correct, delete the others, then duplicate the center one using these action buttons. Remember this is only necessary if you want asymmetrical elements in your design. I'm ready to make the swatch, so I'll unlock the background and swatchbox, select all, and drag that over to the Swatches panel. I can test that swatch inside a big shape and zoom in to check the edges. So that's how to make the reflected repeat that flows using live transformations to make positioning the motifs easier. I'll save the file. 10. Double Reflect with Clipping: Welcome back. In this lesson, I'm going to show you the setup for a double reflect design that uses an S-shaped curve to guide the flow. This lesson is also where I'll show you layer-level clipping masks that prevent doubling up of motifs across the mirror lines. The setup is really similar as for the live transformation design we completed in the last lesson. I have a file with swatch box and background layers that have their 300 mm squares on already. And I set up some colors in the Swatches panel. That's exactly the same as earlier. I'll now add a design layer. On the design layer, I'll make a huge box with no fill and no stroke again. 1200 mm should be enough. Align the huge square to the artboard centrally. I'll draw some random object with the blob brush. Now I'll make my double reflection and moves. Remember that the layer must be targeted, so it shows the double circles here in the Layers panel, then access fx the the Appearance panel, choosing Distort & Transform, Transform. The first is Reflect X with one copy. Then add an extra effect with Reflect Y for one copy. To be able to see how this repeats we can also do some moves. For this design, we will need a full repeat rather than half-drop. So we'll move 300 mm across. Then another effect for 300 mm vertically. That looks fine. So I'll delete my random shape. I'll now add a guide layer also. On the guide layer, I'm going to make a square in one quadrant again. And I'm going to do a smaller square half that size and align both to the top left. The smallest square is only so I can see the center point of this quadrant easily. A lock those rectangle objects in the layers panel here so that my curve plot doesn't alter them. The easiest way to draw an S curve is with the pen tool. Drop one point in the corner here, then click and drag on the center point holding down the Shift key to get the curve handles to stay horizontal and pull out the full width of the quadrant box. Now drop the last point of the curve in the corner. To stop plotting hold Command on Mac or Control on Windows while clicking away. Now I can unlock my rectangles and delete the smaller one that was just there to find the center point. I'm going to copy that S curve to use in a moment, then I can group this guide and lock the layer. I'll hide the guide layer for now. I'll go back to the design layer and paste that S curve in front with Command F. With the transformations, we can see an ogee shape form. I want to show you what happens to the ogee if the s-curve shape is altered. Changing the curvature by swinging the handles around will change the overall fullness of the ogee, but all shapes will be the same. Changing the position of the middle anchor point, however, will alter the ogee such that there will be two different shapes formed in the design. The curve can also be stretched so I can make it taller and narrower, for example, by changing the guide curve. Many different arrangements can be made. I'll delete this example now and I'll show my guide layer again. Earlier, I did some mark-making with a brush pen. I drew my inky marks to roughly fit the S-shaped guide and I vectorize them with Image Trace. I just simplified the paths as I described in the motifs lesson earlier, and I group the objects together on each side of the curve. I haven't done any further tidying to retain a hand-drawn look. I'm going to select this and paste into the design layer and position roughly in the top left quadrant of my artboard. Notice the duplication at the mirror line, which could be undesirable. It's like my double-tailed gecko earlier, except in this design I don't want any asymmetry at the mirror lines, so using a layer-level clipping mask will help here. While on the design layer, I'll draw a square that is a 150 mm and align it to the top so that it covers exactly the original quadrant I'm working with. That square should have no fill and no stroke. I'll go to the Layers panel and with the design layer info showing I can find my new square. I want to ensure that it's at the very top of the design layer. Now target the layer so the double circle is activated here. Then go to the Layers panel menu and choose Make Clipping Mask. This creates the mask at the layer level using the topmost object as the mask. So everything on the layer, and later added to the layer, will be masked. I can turn the mask on and off to see the difference it makes. I like the effect with it on in this case. I'll name the mask so I can identify it easily. When drawing my inking marks, I made the two sides of the S curve different, and I now have two different motifs in my design. Having the option to do this is useful as it provides for more varied designs from a single template. However, this layout feels too stripy to me with the strong horizontal and vertical repeating elements. So I think I'd like to try it with a single motif. I'm going to use the same marks on both sides of the curve. Select the unwanted side and delete that. Then with the other side, make a copy and rotate that 180 degrees holding Shift to get that turn exact. Now position that so the S-curve gap between them is visible. I can nudge those around to get the right positioning for my motifs to be the same. I like this version better. I'll copy that layer and hide the original. Then I can select everything on the layer and expand Appearance. Then unlock background and swatchbox layers. I'll select all and drag to the Swatches panel. I'll make a test layer and fill a shape to check the repeat. I'll save that file. I'll also save a blank version to a template file. I just need the original layers for that and I can remove the art so it is ready to use again. These are a few more patterns I created using the ogee template and my inky marks. They remind me of Christmas. 11. Double Reflect Complex Design: Hello again. In the previous lesson, I created an ogee design with a repeating motif. In this lesson, I'll take four of my inky designs to turn into Christmas baubles. And I'll use this repeat layout. I'll begin by creating a new file. To keep the numbers easy with four motifs, I'm going to use a 400 mm square artboard this time. I'll setup the swatchbox and background layers, each with 400 mm squares, aligned to the artboard, making sure that the swatchbox is at the bottom of the stack and has no fill and no stroke. I'll also create layers for design one and guide. I'll tidy up my Swatches panel. On the guide layer, draw a 50 mm square with a red outline. Then draw a 25 mm square and align both squares top-left. Zoom in and use the scissors to cut the largest square at the bottom left and top right corners, then delete the top-left portion to leave a backwards L shape. Select the pen tool and click on the bottom left point of the L shape. Now click on the bottom right of the small square and drag the handles while holding Shift key to make them the full width of the L shape. And finally complete the shape by clicking top right of the L-shape. Delete the smallest square. I'm going to manually make another three copies of this shape across the artboard for later using Object, Transform, move 100 mm horizontal, 0 mm vertical. Copy, and press Command D a couple of times to repeat the manual move. Now copy the leftmost shape and then lock the guide layer. On the design one layer, I'll use command F to place the shape in front. To give each bauble smooth edges, I'll be using this shape as a mask to crop my art. It will also act as the reflection zone. I'll first give it no fill and no stroke. Target the layer and use the Layers panel menu to Make Clipping Mask with the shape. In a separate file I already worked on some color combinations for my four sets of inky marks that will become Christmas baubles. I have gone for an ice forest theme, including off-white, a selection of cool blues plus a festive pine green. I set the colors up as global. I'll select one set and paste onto the design one layer, positioning it using the leftmost guide shape. The clipping mask clips the art to the shape area. In the Layers panel I'll name the mask to reflection zone. In the last lesson I used a clipping mask as an optional tool to tidy up mirror lines. You saw that the mask could be turned on and off to get the desired look. In this lesson I'll be cropping the art to the layer-level clipping mask and reflecting along an edge of the mask so the clipping mask is required. However, a huge reflection boundary box won't be needed. I'll drag the reflection zone shape up above the art and to the top of the layer. It is important that the masking shape is topmost in the layer before the next step. With the layer targeted, go to the Appearance panel and select fx, choose Pathfinder and Crop. This Crop effect prepares the area so that it correctly reflects along the mask edge, so it's an important step. Now it's time for transformation. Apply a new fx, Distortion & Transform, Transform. With preview on, I'll select Reflect X. In this case, I need to mirror the shape on its right side, so I have to change this grid and activate the right side here. That looks good. I'll make one copy. OK. I'll add another fx and this time Reflect Y with the grid set to the bottom position so that the reflection occurs along the bottom edge of the mask. One copy. OK. Now that the full motif is formed, I can adjust the art within the clipping mask to get a pleasing composition. Next, I'm going to make copies of this double reflective motif around the artboard using move transformations so that my bauble pattern starts to form. Here are the numbers for the moves. Firstly, move horizontal 250 mm and vertical 50 mm with one copy to create the staggered row. Then move horizontal 100 mm and vertical 100 mm with four copies to do multiple rows. Finally, move horizontal minus 400 mm and vertical 0 mm with one copy to cover the empty area of the artboard. To include four different baubles, I'll have multiple design layers. I'll use the Layers panel menu to duplicate design one and rename the copy designed two. I'll select everything on the layer and do a regular manual move transformation (rather than a live transformation) to set up the file. The manual move is 100 mm horizontal. In the layer panel info I'll select just the artwork, which I want to replace with a different set of marks. I'll use the guides to position the new art. I'll repeat those steps to create design three layer and design four layer with baubles at the correct positions. I'll put new art onto these new layers. And there's a pattern already. It looks a bit too busy. I think I need to create a bit of space between the baubles. I can do that by adjusting the size of the clipping masks. I'll hold down Shift key while selecting all of the clipping masks. Then do a manual scale transformation using Object, Transform, Transform Each, and scale everything to 90%. And I need to make sure to keep the bottom right corner in position when scaling, So I'll use the grid to select the bottom right corner as the fixed point. The preview looks good, so I'll say OK. I prefer that version with some space around. I'll make some minor adjustments to the art positioning. I'm going to lock these design layers for now. I want to add some extra details to make them look more like Christmas baubles. I'll create a separate layer at the top called Extras, because I don't want the reflection effects to be applied to the extra details. I'll first create a hanger for the baubles using simple shapes and the Pen tool. I'll add some shading by duplicating the shape, changing the transparency blending mode to multiply at 50%, then using the Eraser (shortcut key E) to remove part of the shape to leave just a shadow area. I'll add a little highlight shape with the pen tool and change the blending mode to screen at 50%. I can now duplicate the extra details to each bubble by targeting the Extras layer and using live transformation fx moves. The first fx will move across and down 50 mm. The second effects will move across 100 mm and we'll have four copies of that. Then the third effects will do the same but downwards. Now the Extras are repeated. I can see that I need to adjust a few things for spacing. Ok, I'm happy with that design. I just need to unlock a move the swatchbox and background layer squares more centrally behind these motifs, and I can align the artboard to that selection. I still have a couple of baubles missing, so I'll add extra moves for two of the design layers. The file is beginning to get quite large and I can feel it slowing as more transformations are added. This is quite a complex file. I'll make duplicates of each of the five layers that include live transformations, lock and hide the originals, then select the duplicate art and Expand Appearance. I'll add the background and swatchbox layers to the selection and drag all to the Swatches panel. I'll test the pattern swatch on a new layer by filling a shape. Then zoom in to inspect the repeat design and zoom out to view the flow of the repeat. I'll save the file. I can additionally make a template from this file to reuse again another time. I just need to remove the expanded layers and the inky marks on the design layers, being sure to retain the layer level clipping masks, and save as a template file. One other thing I usually do in my files is to make a version that has much smaller file size, so completely without the live layers and with any access motifs removed. 12. Reflect & Rotate Mandala: Welcome back. In this lesson, I'm going to add rotation into the mix. I'll be showing you a circular mandala-inspired design. I've created a new 300 mm square file already. I'm not going to need a swatchbox or a background for now because I plan to use Illustrator's pattern-making tool for the repeat. But I'll make layers for design and guide. On the guide layer I'll begin by making a 300 mm circle and give that a red stroke but no fill. I'll alignment that to the center of the artboard. The first artistic decision to make is how many rotational segments (think pieces of pie) the circle will contain. I'll do 12, but you could choose less or more if you wish. Every circle has 360 degrees of rotation. So if we split that into 12 segments then each would have a 30 degree angle at its center. Since half of the segment will be created by reflection, just 15 degrees angle is needed. Luckily Illustrator does pies! One way to make a pie is to use this tiny widget to the side of the circle and drag it around to form a wedge. But to control all the angles precisely, it's best to use the Properties panel. Commonly Properties panel is found here with Layers or you may have a setup where it's docked under this button, but if not then access it from the Window menu. With the circle selected, I'll go into the Transform and open Extra Options with the three dots here, and set the angles. There are two angles, the start and finish. If I put in 15 degrees I get the pie, but it's lying on its side. I could work with that, but it's more intuitive for me to have the pie upright so I'll put in 90 and 105 here instead, which is still a 15 degree angle. Notice that the bounding box of this is still showing for a full circle. And that's because this is a type of live transformation. To make the pie solid we need to click on the Expand Shape button here. It's also possible to do this in the Object menu under Shape, Expand Shape. I'm going to copy this pie and lock the guide layer. On the design layer, I'm going to paste my pie in front with command F to get it exactly in place. I'll be using the shape to crop my art and it will also act as the reflection zone. I'll first give it no fill and no stroke. Target the layer and use the Layers panel menu to Make Clipping Mask with the shape. Rather than draw art for this piece, I'm going to show you how to give fresh life to existing art by turning a section of it into a mandala. I'll open this hand-drawn wave sketch from my archive. This was already scanned in, vectorized with image trace, then colored blue. Ignore White was checked when I traced, as demonstrated in the motifs lesson, so that I have no background behind the art. Layering the art works best when there's no background. I'll copy my art and paste it onto the design layer in the mandala file, positioning it using the pie guide shape. The clipping mask clips the art to the pie area. In the Layers panel, I'll rename the mask to 'reflection zone' and drag it to the top of the layer above the art. The layer is still targeted and with the mask at the very top of the layer go to the Appearance panel and select fx, select Pathfinder and choose Crop to prepare the mask for reflection. Now it's time for transformation. So apply a new fx, Distort & Transform, Transform. With preview on I'll select Reflect X. I need to mirror the shape on its right side, so I have to change this grid and activate the right side here. That looks good. I'll make one copy. OK. I just want to take a moment to show the importance of the Pathfinder Crop step. If I turn that off in the Appearance panel, you'll see the reflection does not work correctly. And that's because it's reflecting along the right side of the whole artwork, not the cropped portion within the pie. Because the artwork is quite large, the problem is obvious here, but if the artwork is almost the same size as the mask as it was in the last lesson, reflection problems might be there but not immediately obvious. Always remember to crop when reflecting along the edge of a mask shape. Now is time to look at rotation. Apply a new fx for Distort & Transform. Remember that for 12 segments we need 30 degrees rotation. So I'll type 30 here. In this case, I want to rotate around the pointy part of the pie. So I need to change the grid to the bottom. If I do one copy, I won't get a full circle. I need 11 copies plus the original to make a total of 12 segments. That looks like a mandala. So click OK. In the Layers panel, I'll select just the art and you'll see I can move it around inside the pie, even rotate or scale it to find the perfect mandala. This is the big advantage of live transformations. Once I have a mandala I like, I'll copy the design layer, select everything on the duplicate layer, and Expand Appearance. Now I can use the pattern-maker tool to make a repeat. I am going to move the mandala across where there's plenty of space and give it a light color that will show up on this grey. I'll be doing my repeat in a honeycomb layout, which has a central motif with six copies surrounding it based on the hexagon. This type of layout gives even spacing with a pleasing flow when using circular or hexagonal shapes, which is why I am choosing it for this class. With the motif selected, go to Object, Pattern, Make to access the pattern-making tool. In the tile type option I'll choose Hex By Column for a honeycomb layout. The shape of a regular hexagon dictates that the height and width are not the same. This one is a bit squashed up at the moment. To achieve ideal spacing, set the hexagon area slightly wider than it is high. A good size to start with is 300 mm wide by 260 mm high. I have a kind of kaleidoscope effect at the moment because the mandalas overlap. I can select the mandala and shrink it to get space around while still keeping the hex layout, or I can choose to have them overlap. I like a little bit of overlap I think. Once happy, go to the top and click Done. The new pattern swatch has been added to the Swatches panel. I'll zoom out and make a new layer for testing. I can fill a big shape with the new pattern. I want to add a background, so I'm going to drag that pattern swatch out to the artboard for editing. Notice that the tile itself is much wider than it is high because of the repeating motifs to the sides. I'm going to double-click and go into isolation mode. I'll select the invisible swatchbox added by pattern-maker that defines the tile area. Notice in the info at the top that it's 450 mm by 260 mm. For the mathematicians in class, that's another 50% wider (or half again) than the hexagon area we were working with a moment ago. But the numbers aren't important. We just need to copy this box, paste the copy in front of itself with Command F and color it. Then select the whole lot and drag it back to the Swatches panel. Now I have a swatch with a background. I'll exit isolation mode and then I can fill the shape with the new swatch. I'm not quite happy with the colors yet. I'd like the original blue waves on an off-white background. I'll make a new color group and add my blue, then create a cream color using the sliders. Now I can select the filled shape plus my color group, at which point the recolor artwork tool wheel appears at the bottom of the Swatches panel, and I can change the colors easily with that, dragging colours to swap them in the list if needed. That's OK. No need to save the changes to the color group. A new pattern swatch with the altered colors is added to the Swatches panel. Let's have a closer look. I like that now, so I'll save the file. 13. BONUS: Create a Nautilus!: Hello again. Already we have covered intermediate and even some advanced techniques using live transformations in various ways. In this lesson, I'll give you a brief glimpse into the world of combining multiple transformations in one effect, which can create incredible designs. To quickly demonstrate the idea of combining multiple transformations in one effect, I'll be turning my mandala from the last lesson into a nautilus. Here I have open a copy of the file with the original mandala layer before it was expanded, so the live transformations are still accessible in the Appearance panel when I target the layer. I'm going to go in to edit the second transformation, which is the rotation. I'll select preview so we can see how changing these details changes the design. So I want to combine rotation with another transformation. And I'm going to combine it with scaling because we haven't experimented with that yet. I'll change both the horizontal and vertical scale to 90% and voila immediately a nautilus shell is created. Let's analyze what's happening here. Each time this rotates 30 degrees. It is also reducing the scale to 90% of the original, then in the next rotation it does that again, and so on for the 11 copies. Thus, each copy gets smaller as it rotates. With so many transform combinations in here, you can imagine that the possibilities are endless. And motifs like this nautilus can be used in various pattern layout or placement prints as well. I'm super excited to see how you take these techniques forward from here. 14. Your Project: Hi folks! So, it's time for your project. I want you to create a reflected design of your own in any kind of layout you like. For example, scallop, ogee, mandala. It can be a two-color design with silhouette motifs, Oor you can try more colors and details if you prefer. Whichever direction you choose, think about how you will get the design to flow when it is repeated several times across a larger area. For example, think about how it might look as wallpaper. I'd love to see your creations, so please do share in the Project tab. I recommend that you show your designs at a couple of different scales to be able to view the flow of the repeat and the details too. Also feel free to post your work in progress, such as your inspiration and sketches. It's wonderful to see the process. Remember, I've added some useful resources in the project area for you as well, including links to Adobe Illustrator shortcuts, reflected repeats reference sheet and the transcript of class. So happy designing. 15. Thank you: Thank you very much for taking this class. I do hope you've enjoyed it and picked up some new ideas. If you have questions, you are welcome to email me directly via [email protected] If posting your class project on social media, remember to tag me @rocketandindigo so I can see your fabulous reflected designs. And feel free to use the hashtag #rocketskillshare. I already have some exciting new classes in the pipeline as well. To be notified of my feature classes as they launch, be sure to follow me here on Skillshare. And if you've enjoyed this class, it would be lovely to receive your review. Many thanks and see you next time.