Surface Pattern Design in Adobe Illustrator: A Complete Introduction | Esther Nariyoshi | Skillshare

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Surface Pattern Design in Adobe Illustrator: A Complete Introduction

teacher avatar Esther Nariyoshi, Published Illustrator based in the US

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Class Introduction


    • 2.

      Custom Workspace


    • 3.

      Vectorize and Digitize From iPad


    • 4.

      Vectorize and Digitize From Draws on Paper


    • 5.

      Basic Shape Editing


    • 6.

      Selection, Smoothing, and More


    • 7.

      Understanding Patterns


    • 8.

      Simple Geometrical Patterns


    • 9.

      Simple Tossed Print


    • 10.

      Alternative Approach to Layout


    • 11.

      On Colors


    • 12.



    • 13.



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About This Class

About This Class

Learn Surface Pattern Design and turn your handdrawn doodles into repeating patterns with Esther in Adobe Illustrator CC.


We will cover the skills and techniques of how to:

  • Digitize your drawing from paper
  • Vectorize your digital drawings
  • Essential tools needed for editing basic shapes
  • Advanced Selection, smoothing and more
  • The anatomy of repeating patterns
  • Make simple geometrical patterns
  • Different arrangement of tossed prints
  • Recolor
  • Export a client-ready file


Connect with Esther:  Shop Esther's Handcrafted Procreate Brushes | Portfolio | Instagram 

Follow Esther on Skillshare for her new upcoming classes on Illustration.


Hungry for more Illustrator goodness? Check out more of Esther's classes on these subjects:

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Esther Nariyoshi

Published Illustrator based in the US

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1. Class Introduction: Hi, my name is Esther Nariyoshi. I am surface designer and illustrator. My work is seen on a variety of different surfaces. In this class, I'm going to share with you my pattern-making process from the start to finish. This class is great for someone who works on the screen, like a iPad or someone who work on a traditional medium like paper. I'll work with you every step of the way. We'll start by digitizing our motifs and our doodles and vectorize them into the latest version of Adobe Illustrator. We will look at a pattern from a bird's-eye view and to really understand the pattern structure. We'll also go into the little tiny details of Adobe Illustrator to make our pattern perfect. We will work through different examples of different types of patterns. You can have a pretty comprehensive understanding of a balanced pattern. If you have a bunch of doodles that you're really in love with, and you're ready to take them to the next step. This is the class for you. 2. Custom Workspace: The main tool that we're going to use for our class is going to be Adobe Illustrator. It is subscription-based program, which I use 99 percent of the time for my patterns. Although this is not the only way a lot of people prefer to use Photoshop or even iPad to work on their patterns. As far as this class goes, we're going to go with Adobe Illustrator. If you're opening your illustrator for the first time, this is probably the screen that you're looking at. I'd like to spend first a few minutes to set up my workplace right. It will really saved me time down the road. The first thing I would do is to create new, and then you can create your own Canvas size or Art board size. So what I'm going to do is to change the units to pixels, and just for the skill share class sake, I'm going to change it to 1920 by 1080. So you can see it better and you can also select the number of Art boards. I'm going to change my color mode by clicking Advanced options and then switch it to RGB color. Later, if you find out you need to print your artwork in CMYK, you can always just switch within the program, no problem. But I think it shows better on screen. Especially my exports tend to be digital at this point. Say if you want to do an Instagram post, the RGB color will show much better than CMYK. I'm just going to do create, and that will give me the Art boards. Immediately you will see something like this. You will have a bunch of swatches and some strokes. You probably would never use strokes and symbols. I'd like to clear this up. You can select them individually and delete them, but there's a quicker way. I'm going to go to Window actions, and in the middle you will see delete unused panel items, and you can just simply click the play button, and it will help you to clear your palette. This is really neat because you're not so distracted when you're designing. But I would caution you to do this at the very beginning of your process because you might accidentally delete something important. I'm just going to close that, this setup may look very different. So I'm going to reset my workplace to painting. That's where I like to get started and then I would go ahead and reset painting. So now our screen will probably look exactly the same. There are a couple of things I think it's helpful to do. One is to come over to Window and click on your Art boards, and then just drag the word Art boards and stack it until you see this blue highlights, and just like Go. This will give you ability to bring out the Art boards panel easily so you can rearrange your Art boards on the fly. This is pretty neat, and also I would like to come over to Windows and in the middle click on the image trace, and then stack at below. Image trace is something that I use very often especially when I digitize things from iPad or from watercolor, or from a hand-drawn motif. Unless you're drawing everything from scratch, from illustrator, you will probably need image trace very often. These are the things that I use very often. As you develop your own workflow, you will find yourself using some tools away more than others. Then it'll be really beneficial to stack those tools on the side so you can just grab them easily. Another thing you can do as to collapse panels that you don't use very often. I rarely just select a color out of blue from this panel. I'm just going to collapse my color panel, and then you can hover over the border between two panels and then resize them. I'll probably bring up the layer. Double-click on the layer. If you want you can also come over to the Edit toolbar at the left-hand side, right now I have a simplified toolbar. But if you want to see all the tools that are available, you can come over to this little hamburger menu and click on advanced and you should be able to see everything. Now it seems like things are running over the screen. I'm just going to click on this double arrow to make it two row, so everything is visible within the screen boundary. At the moment, my illustrator is above the same size as my screen. But if your illustrator say like sitting on top of like 50 different things in the back and it's distracting for you. You can just press "F" that will automatically fit your illustrator full screen. You can customize everything to your heart's content. Once you are happy with your workspace setup, you can come over to the workspace drop-down menu, and then click on the new workspace, and you can name it as you see fit. I'm just going to name mine as, Esther Nariyoshi, and click on "okay". Your illustrators can remember how you set up your workspace exactly. So even if you're in a new document on your machine, you can always go back to your own customized workspace, and just to clarify, workspace refers to where your panels are and their location. It does not refer to the cleanup we did at the very beginning. Which means that if you are in the middle of something and all of sudden along to go to a different workspace, it will not clean all the color swatches that you have made or the strokes that you have customized, they are safe. It's just the order and the placement of your panels will change. But if you want your illustrator to remember everything exactly, what you need to do is to create a template which we will not cover in this section, but it's something that's worth investigating down the road. This is the default placement of your panels. You are machine's going to remember specifically for this workspace. Anytime you want to go back to this point, you can always just reset it. With that squared away. Let's get into digitizing. 3. Vectorize and Digitize From iPad: In the next two lessons, I'm going to teach you three different scenarios or strategies of bringing in your artwork from iPad or paper or watercolor. In this particular class, we won't cover the mechanics of drawing. This is the time to gather your previous sketches, your drawings, paintings, whatever you want to work on and to put them in a pattern. Some of you have probably taken my botanical illustration classes and if you have followed my instructions very closely, your drawings may look exactly like mine. I'm okay with it as long as you're keeping it as a personal project and you don't sell it or or license them for any commercial purpose. I think it's totally fine. As far as exercise goes, you can use them just to learn how to get a pattern together and eventually as you practice and your own personal style or signature style will come through, that's when you want to start thinking about how to further develop your own portfolio and start licensing. Back to digitizing. Illustrator is a vector-based program, which means that once you have a graphic done in Illustrator, if you zoom in like a 1,000 times, theoretically you will not lose the quality of your graphics. This is one of the biggest reason why I really love Illustrator and do most of my patterns in Illustrator. You might ask yourself like, why do you need to digitize when drawing on iPad is already a digital form of a drawing? That's a great question. This is the image that I have done on my iPad and exported as a JPEG and brought it in Illustrator. You can do that just by drag and drop to your art board. Right now this entire thing is one big piece. If you could just take a moment with me to imagine, this is a drawing that you have done on a clear piece of paper. This entire sheet lives on one page, which makes it really hard to rearrange each individual leaf as a motif into a pattern. To make it easier, we can cut it up and then just play with the individual one until we're happy with it. That's what we're going to do in Illustrator. Basically, we're going to isolate each individual one by itself so that we can play with them instead of having to move everything together, but before we start digitizing, we have some more work to do on our iPad. Apparently this one is already colored version of my drawing. I have the darker blue line and the lighter blue fill and a pink overprint in the background. I have three colors over here. The result is pretty close to my drawing, but the problem is that if I place it on a very dark background, the little details will show up. For example, over here, you will see this little packets of things that doesn't belong here and also things like this will happen, which you can technically just go ahead and select it and clean it up that way, but if you have hundreds of those, that would not be fun. I have some good news for you, which basically means that we'll do some work ahead of time on iPad, which will make our life much easier later. If you could go back to your iPad and change the fill color of every layer to black, the goal of this is to enhance the contrast between your artwork against the background color, which will give Illustrator a better chance of picking up your artwork more accurately. I assume you have all your layers separated by color or really any degrees of separation will be helpful even if just two to three layers for the entire artwork. Over here I have my original, let me just bring it a little bit closer. Original, dark outline right here and I have my lighter blue fill over here and the pink background in the back. What we will do over here is to digitize three layers and then put them back together and that will give us much cleaner look. The logic behind it is that Illustrator read your image based on the degree of contrast. For example, the higher the contrast between motif and the background, the better the result is going to be. The highest contrast is black and white. That's why I recommend you to change all the layers into black color against white and that will make digitizing a lot easier in Illustrator. Of course if your drawing is way more complicated than this, cleaning up in Illustrator might actually be easier. It's your judgment call. I just want you to know you do have the option. Let's get to work. First, I'm going to show you how to digitize this piece just in case that you choose not to convert everything into black and then I will show you how to change these guys into vector form, which is super, ultra easy. Let me just zoom in over here. Remember the panel that we just stacked over here, that's called Image Trace. We need that right now. Once you have the artwork selected and you will see all the options available, the first thing you need to do is to change the mode to color. I'll just drag it up a little bit. Then you can count your colors. Over here we have three colors. Including the background white, we're going to put four colors over here. That's the goal, the end result. You want to ignore white, but still this system is going to count the white, it just won't show at the end. It's a tricky thing, but if you could just remember to count your colors plus one and put it over here, but if you are using tons of gradients in your work, I would just go for 30 and then just downgrade from there and then click on the preview. Based on the size of your artwork, you might take a while. You get to see the end result of your work and you can play with the sliders over here to increase and decrease the number of paths and the corners and the noise until you're happy with the texture. As you can see, my outline is not super smooth and I like to preserve the texture at some degree. Once you're happy with that, come over to the top and click on Expand. So this is your end result. I'm going to create a rectangle in the back. What I did was to press M and just click and drag. I will turn it into black and bring it all the way back. If you were to go with this route, you have some cleaning up to do. Basically what you need to do is to zoom in and look closely and press A on your keyboard, or the white arrow over here to direct, select your little pockets and that needs to be cleaned and press "Delete", and just go around to do that. There is another way of doing that, which is using the outline mode. You can press "Command Y" so that you can only see the outline of things. For example, It's easy to see that there's a little thing over here that doesn't belong. Just press A and then drag and delete. This is really helpful if you want to haunt down any stray pixels or clean up the edges. For example, things like this. You can just select and delete. If you want to get back, just press "Command Y". By default, everything is grouped up together. You probably want to separate them by motif. So we have four separate groups here, ideally. What you need to do is to select them all and right-click and click on "Ungroup". This will only Ungroup once. You may want to do that a few times just in case. I'm going to press "Command Shift G" to Ungroup a few times. You can see everything is on its own, which is great. Now I'm going to redefine my group by using the Lasso tool, which is Q on your keyboard, or this little Lasso icon right here. Like Photoshop. Basically, you just draw a shape around it. It doesn't have to be perfect. As long as you have the right boundary. It's hard to do it because my screen is huge. Then once you have this lassoed in, you can press "Command G" to group this one. Then move away and work on the next one. Just press "Q" on your keyboard and just lasso or rounded and press "Command G". It doesn't matter if you draw over the blank area, it will not affect your result. Press "Command G". The last one is easy, just click and drag, and then command G. Now you have four individual motifs to work with. In the meantime, if you want to choose the black and white method to save some cleaning up time, you can click one of your layers and come over to Window and image trace. Sometimes things are grayed out. You can just click outside and click your layer again and your options will show. This time because we have black and white, so you can just choose the mode as black and white. Similarly, you want to ignore white. Only the black pixels get. Then you can just click on the preview. It should be much faster. You can play with the noise level corners, the pass, stuff like that. Once you're happy, just expand and do the same thing for the other two. We have done a lot so far. Don't forget to save. Press "Command S" to save it in a safe location. Since we have done the vectorizing over here, I'm going to just click those and save my color palettes over here by pressing new color group and make sure convert process to global is tracked. This will allow you to change color on the much macro level later on. I'm just going to click on OK. The latest panel is going to be the one and I just saved. I'm just going to click on those groups and recolor them before I reposition them. This is a darker blue, and this is the lighter blue. I'm going to move the pink over the outline first. Zooming by pressing "Command Plus" and then just position it, since it's overprint and misaligned. The position doesn't matter as much. This isn't good enough for me. The tricky part is to move these faint blue over the outline here. It's pretty tricky to align. Actually, I accidentally did a pretty good job. I'm going to delete that because that doesn't happen very often. I'm going to teach you a separate trick, which is to use the bucket tool and make sure you have these guys selected first. I'm going to press "V" for selection and then "K" for bucket and zoom in to color the blank area basically. Your visual cue is red highlight. Whenever you hover over a blank area, if they're highlighted, it just shows you there will be colored. That makes it really easy. I'm not following my original sketch at this point. I don't want to color every leaf. Let's take a look by clicking outside. This looks pretty good. Just to check my theory, I'm going to create a black rectangle blanket over my artwork and send it all the way to the back by pressing "Command Shift", left bracket. Or you can do right-click, arrange, send to back. You can see, because I've done the black and white thing, I don't have the little pockets over here. It would save me probably a good 10 minutes of cleaning up. It's definitely worth it. That's the iPad portion of our digitizing. In the next video, we'll move on to digitizing from actual paper drawing. 4. Vectorize and Digitize From Draws on Paper: In this video, we're going to cover how to digitize drawings like this, which you basically you use black pen or markers or liners on a piece of white paper without any textures or grids. This is a little tiny innocent leaf that I drew just on a tiny piece of paper. The first thing I want to do is to crop it. You can do that easily just on your phone. Basically, you're getting rid of all the access of information. You don't want Illustrator to actually digitizing the piece of paper. You only want the drawing of the little leaf. Over here I have cropped out the address of the paper or even just the table. Illustrator we can focus on my drawing and work hard on that. Once you have cropped image, you can just click and drag to your Illustrator. Just like go, who looks pretty big. I'm going to resize it. When you do that, you want to make sure you hold onto "Shift" key so that your resizing will not mess up with the proportion. Now looking at this little leaf against white, it seems like the background is a little bit too dark. Two things that you want to pay attention to when you take pictures of your drawing. First is to make sure your phone or your camera is perpendicular to your table where the piece of paper is laid flat so that you're not rendering the picture with a weird angle. Another thing to pay attention to is to make sure your lighting is good. Basically, that will give you the maximum amount of contrast between your black lines and your paper. Even though this looks a bit of gray, but I think Illustrator will still do a decent job passing the drawing from the paper and get rid of all the unnecessary background information. Let's take a look. Again, we're going to take out our image trace panel. I'm going to bring them to the left. This time we also want black and white. We want to ignore white as well. Just without changing any default slider position, let's see what the preview looks like. Not too bad. Illustrator does a pretty good job doing this. It seems like we might need to do some clean up. Let's decrease the threshold and see if it will change. To be honest, I think this little knob right here, it's something that I messed up when I was drawing. I cannot blame Illustrator on that. You can also play with the position of the slider and to see how much texture you want to pick up, corners. The noise level doesn't seem to have too much of it in fact. I'm just going to go ahead and expand. Later on in this class, I will teach you how to smooth out the path if you really, really want to fix this little knob over here, like I do at the moment, I'm going to just use the eraser, which is "Shift E." You can use your left or right bracket to change the dimension. Then I'm just going to erase it lightly. I'm feeling a lot better already. This is a good motif to work on. Basically that's how you treat black and white drawings. It's very similar to what we have done on iPad drawings. Basically, you just need to pay attention to texture and little details and you can also zoom in to maximize your control. Next step, we're going to focus on color. This is a very simple painting of watercolor. I'm confident that this is not the most complicated drawing of watercolor you have ever seen. But for the demonstration purpose, I've decided to use a very simple example to just show you the principle and the steps instead of wasting your time waiting for the rendering. The principle is the same. It's a logic. Just bear with me and see how we can work this guy into a vector form. Right now this is a J peg. I'm going to take my image trace window out. Then I would like to change my mode to color. You can also change your palate to be limited or full tone. That's two things that I use the most limited. Obviously it will only count the colors to a certain number. In this case it's 30. Looking at my little watercolor doodle, I have five main colors. By the actual amount of colors are way more than just five. Because if you're looking at the bleeding between two or three areas, there's many, many shades in between and there's transition. I think the colors are going to be way more than 30, but I will just show you what it looks like to be 30. I'm just going to ignore white, which will basically be the background and then preview. Not too bad. But obviously this is not the full beauty of the original drawing. There's some compromises that you can see. The edges are pretty jagged. The reason why a lot of people use limited colors is because when you work with a manufacturer, some of them need to work with limited colors to limit the screen printing plates to a certain number so that the cost is not way too crazy. However, if your printer is digital, the number of color is usually not a problem. For example, if you print your watercolor spoon flower, you don't have to worry about how many colors that you have used, because they use digital printing for their fabrics. It also depends on what kind of industry you are aiming for. As far as I know, a lot of fabric manufacturers do care about how many colors have been used in the artwork. Just because screen printing, it's still fairly common. At the same time, maybe stationary manufacturers are more relaxed about it because digital printing on paper is much more common. All in all, things might change down the road. It's always good to know what is that limitation that you have to work with and to keep that in mind when you create so that your work is more marketable. We've covered a lot of grounds and we haven't even got into the pattern-making yet. Consider this as one of the long-term learning classes where you need to invest time and also you will reap a lot of harvest from it. I would really encourage you to celebrate small milestones. For example, if you have number or worked on digitizing your paper drawings before or iPad drawings before, this is a big deal. You have moved it to vector forms in Illustrator and you're about to make it into a pattern. Celebrate and treat yourself something, and eventually we'll get there together. In the next video, we're work on editing your motifs together by adding little or big cosmetic fixes to make your artwork more polished. 5. Basic Shape Editing: Now we have everything vectorized. In this video, we're going to go through a few common scenarios and we'll troubleshoot what to do about these situations. If you have any questions, feel free to post a project in the gallery, and you can post your questions within the project itself with description or you can leave a comment for your project. I'm happy to take a look and work with you from there. That being said, let's take a look at what we have over here. These are the two abstract leaf shapes that I made on iPad and then later on vectorized in Illustrator. Let me just select half of it and move it to the middle. If I were to ungroup, everybody, by pressing Command Shift G a few times, and then I can use selection to pick them apart. Each color has its own shape and they're not connected even though they looked fluid previously. Let me just undo a few times to bring it back to the original, even though we can see the contour of the line but in reality, they are not connected at all. One of the first things I want to teach you is how to make compound shapes. There are quite a few ways of doing it. Depending on what you're most comfortable with, I'm going to show you two different ways. One is to use Pathfinder. If you followed my steps from the workspace setup, you will have some tool that looks like this. It's called Pathfinder. If you don't have it, you can always find it by coming to window and it's alphabetical here, and just click on Pathfinder here. I'm just going to drag it out so it's always visible. First, let me just make a duplicate. I'm going to select it and then hold onto Option key. As you can see, my arrow turns into double arrow. This shows me that Illustrator is ready to make a copy. I'm just going to drag it. If you want to make it perfectly horizontal, you can hold shift without releasing Option and just go. We will have the reference on the right so you know what it looked like before, so let's see. The first option is called unite. Basically, it morphs whatever shapes you have selected into one. Let's see. If I'm selecting all of it and then click on the Unite. It's exactly what it sounds like. It will combine all the parts together and make it into one big shape. You can also do the same thing by using shaped builder. I just did Command Z. I'll try to narrate what I'm doing here on my keyboard. I am aware that sometimes I speak very fast. Anytime if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me via Skillshare or on Instagram. One quick trick to help you follow along with the class is to look at the toolbar on the left. Whatever tool that has been highlighted like this, that means that is the current tool that I'm using. Sometimes if I just use a keyboard shortcut, and forget to say what I'm using, and you can always just look at those and just click on the tool. You will have the same functionality. That is the Pathfinder unite function. I mentioned that there's another way of doing the same thing. Let's first select all by pressing V selection, just click and drag, and then press Shift M. It is this little Shape Builder tool. If some tools are not immediately visible and you might want to find the proximity of the button and long click. There will be a pop-up menu to give you a list of things to cycle through. This tool is called Shape Builder. Basically, as you weave through different shapes and combine as you highlight and draw across. For example, over here, what I did is to combine four different shapes into one. You can simply just click and drag. It's pretty simple. I prefer this way because it's more visual and gives you more fine motor control as you're working through much finer details inside of you have to individually select everything, especially when they are grouped together and you're unwilling to ungroup them for whatever reason. You can just select everybody and Shift M and to work your way through using a mouse. This is what I consider a special case because none of these shapes are overlapping each other but if you're trying to make a compound shape that have overlapped area, I'll show you a few different ways of achieving the same result. Over here we have two very simple shapes, the little blue squares, and we have a circle, the orange circles sitting on top of it. I will use these two little simple shapes to show you some of the basic functions that Pathfinder does. You will notice that there are a lot of buttons, but I will only walk through the top six, which is the top four plus the first and the second one of the second line. To be honest, I've used Illustrator for more than ten years and I rarely get to the last four functions. I figured I could save you some brain energy to not remember what those ones do and whatever they do from what I read can be easily replaced by using other functions like Shape Builder, which I will show you one by one right after this lineup. Let's go to the first one. We already covered a minute ago, this one is unite. When you click on both and click on "Unite", you will make one compound shape. The second one is minus front. It's pretty obvious, basically will take out whatever that is on top. It really depends on how you arrange your layer and what is the order of your shapes. The third one is called intersect. This will show you the overlapped area. Simple enough. The fourth one is the opposite of intersect. It will show you everything except whatever that was overlapping. The icons of these guys are really helpful as well. You can guess what result you can get. The next one in line, which is the first one on the second line, that is called divide. Basically, this will cut the shape into the smallest unit. Whenever you see a line, it will cut through. When we click on it, you don't see the immediate result. Right now everything is grouped. I want to use the direct selection tool, which is A on my keyboard, to pick it apart. As you can see, it cuts this compound shape into the smallest unit. The last one is called trim. When you click on it and basically acts like a cookie cutter. The top shape will kind of bite through the second shape and acts like a cookie cutter. The result is pretty visual. Like I said, I don't really use the rest of it. I don't really get the point except maybe crop, which I will cover later in this video. Next step, I'm going to show you how to achieve the same result using Shape Builder tool we walked over a minute ago. Let me just make a little simple line up over here on the right, and then may be changed this to Shape Builder. Let me give it a different color. Let's go back. I'm going to gray out everything that is here so they're not distracting for us. There you go. For the same result, we're going to just use Shape Builder tool. You can press Shift M to bring out the function. Right now it's already active. I'm going to close the Pathfinder so they're not distracting. Actually, before you use Shape Builder, you need to select your target area. In this case our target is right here. Let me just zoom in a tiny bit, so Shift M after my selection. I'm just going to drag across to make a compound shape. As you can see, the color has turned into whatever active color I have on my color swatches panel. To make the same minus front, I'm going to select them first and press Shift M to activate the Shape Builder tool. Instead of dragging cross, I'm going to hold my Option key. This will take away whatever I'm clicking on. If I click here in the middle, this will go away, same thing here. It's much visual and simple. Let's see how can we achieve the same effect right here. Shift M and then hold onto option to take away these parts. This is much more fun. Shift M and then hold onto Option to take away the middle part. Here is, as you can remember, is divide. This will cut things into smallest pieces. After I press Shift M to bring out my Shape Builder tool, I simply just want to click the individual shapes to cut them, and then press A for a direct selection tool. As you can see, things are ready to be taken apart. The last trim effect may take a couple of steps, but it's still pretty visual and simple. Press Shift M on your keyboard, and just like divide, we want three pieces. Press A for direct selection tool and hold onto your shift to add another part into the selection and then just move it apart. Even though visually it looks like it has achieved effect, but really over here we still have two part. We have two half circles just sitting right next to each other instead of having them being the one shape. I'm just going to use the Shape Builder tool to drag across and now we have two separate shapes. Like I said, in my opinion, the Shape Builder tool is way more easier to use because it's a visual. When you want to combine different shapes, you simply just drag across. When you want to divide, you just click on the individual shapes. When you want to take away certain shape, just hold your Option key, and it will do it for you. But I recognize that different people process information differently. For this class, I chose to walk you through both Pathfinder and Shape Builder. You can always come back to this video to revisit as you're working through your motifs for your pattern. I do want to mention that this class is designed with beginner Illustrator users in mind. If you would like to know more information and more in-depth knowledge, specifically on Illustrator for surface designers, you're welcome to check out my other class called Illustrator Nuggets for Surface Designers. That class covers more specific scenarios for advanced users for Illustrator. There's a bit of overlap, but that class goes much deeper. So far we have talked about how to combine divide, basically how to make compound shapes. In the next video, I'm going to show you a few different unique scenarios that frequently surface pattern designers have to deal with. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, get yourself a little bit of treat and I will see you in the next video. 6. Selection, Smoothing, and More: In this video, we're going to continue to cover some essential techniques for editing your motifs. As you recall, this is one of the motifs that we worked on when we vectorize our iPad drawings into Illustrator. Right now, everything has been vectorized and you can see the anchor points. We have three colors here, the dark blue, light blue, and the light pink. We can cover quite a few techniques just by working with this motif along. One of the first thing I want to talk about is to select the same. For example, if for some reason I want to change the pink to something else, the most intuitive way would be using Direct Selection Tool, which is the white arrow here on your toolbar or "A" on your keyboard. When you press it and then you can select the pink one by one and hold "Shift" while you select. But as you can see, we have quite a few pink chunks to go over that would take us a long time and this is only one single motif. Imagine if you have to work with 20 different ones then that will take a really long time to finish. One of the easier way to do that would be just select one of them, one of the pink one, and then come over to Select and Same and Select same Fill color because that's a common denominator we want to define at this point. We want to select everybody on this art board and other art boards and we want to select everybody that has the same fill color. As a result, all the pinks are automatically picked up. That takes only one second. Let's change it to yellow. It's a little bit dark. That's pretty quick. There is another way of doing that, which is using our Magic Wand Tool, which is "Y" on your keyboard and it also has this magic wand icon on your toolbar. Imagine we want to change it back to a different color. We want to change the dark blue to a different color. All we need to do is to double-click. We can check all the check marks. In this case, we want to select everything that has the same fill color. In terms of tolerance, we want define it to zero. Basically, this will limit the color selection to the exact color. Let's just click on the dark blue and it will select all the dark blue parts, which is pretty neat. We can change it to darker green. As you may notice, our lighter blue didn't get selected. That's because our tolerance is set pretty low. The lowest they can be, which is zero. Let's just go back by pressing "Command Z." However, if we were to set the tolerance pretty high, let's just click outside, when I select the darker blue, it may also pick up the lighter blue because the tolerance level is pretty high. You will pick up all the colors that's vaguely even close to our blue. As you can see, even the yellow is selected because the tolerance is so high. It doesn't narrow down as much. It really depends on what is your definition of the selection. There's definitely flexibility in that if you were to select a bunch of colors that are relatively close to one another and you can start with the zero and then gradually increase it. In the same logic, you can also select the same Stroke Color or Stroke Weight or Opacity or Blending Mode. Fill color is just one of the examples and you can also select multiple checkmarks. This is pretty convenient when you have to work with motifs that have a lot of details. The next technique that we use very often is to erase. We talked about it earlier when we digitize. I'm just going to go over real quick. In this case, say, I want to erase this yellow part that comes out of the leaf. First, I want to select the yellow part by pressing the "Magic Wand Tool", make sure I have the Fill Color checked and then the Tolerance set to zero and then I'm going to click on the yellow. All I'm selecting is my yellow. Then I'm going to press "Shift E" on my keyboard to bring up the Eraser Tool. This eraser is only going to work on the selected shape, which means that even if I'm going over the blue, it will not do anything even though it looks like it's doing something, but it has no effect. It only works on the selected area. I'm going to go over and just erase it. It's fairly simple. If you want to change the diameter of your eraser, say, if you have to erase a large area, you can press right bracket on your keyboard to make it really big or really small by pressing left bracket. That will save you some time. That's Eraser Tool. I'm pressing "Command Z" to bring back my shape. In the meantime, if you haven't defined your selection area before using Eraser Tool, you'll just punch a hole to whatever area that's under. For example, if there are two layers, like over here, when you press on the "Eraser Tool", you'll just punch a hole through the two layers. It's the same logic if you have multiple layers underneath. The shape of your eraser can also be customized. Make sure you have pressed "Shift E" first to activate the Eraser Tool and then you can double-click the icon on your toolbar and this will bring out the Eraser Tool options. Basically, you can change the roundness and the angle, and of course, you can just change the size on the fly by pressing the left or right bracket. Just to show you how the dynamic works, I've increased all the variation and also set each one to random so that I can demonstrate how erasers can behave. Instead of messing with my previous leaf, I'm going to create a larger rectangle to show you how the eraser behaves. If I were to click on the "Shift E", each stroke is going to give me a different fact. That's because I have set all the variables to random, so all the shapes are randomized, so as the size or the angle. So, if you were looking for that kind of effect, you might want to customize your eraser. But I don't think that's what I'm looking for, for this motif per say. So, I'm just going to delete it. You may be wondering, what about drawing. So, we have talked about vectorizing, we talked about erasing, but what if, you have to add something real quick without having to go back to your original method. Say that if you need to add like a quick squiggly line over here, there are a few ways of achieving that. One of the most common way is to use pen tool, which is P on your keyboard. Make sure you have a stroke color and you can just click and drag. It may take some time to learn how the pen tool behaves. It just takes some practice. You can press "Escape" key when you're done drawing this line, and there is another way of doing that, which is using paintbrush tool, that is B on your keyboard. The icon looks like this. Basically this will let your free hand something. You can also change the smoothness level, which is basically how much correction Illustrator gives you. If you want the final result to be really close to how your hand actually moves, you can just double-click and change the fidelity level to accurate. This will really reflect the jagged edges that you make when you draw. However, if you want your lines to look more polished, you can double-click and change the fidelity level to smooth, and just play with that. So, this looks pretty blobby, but this is actually a line which means that you can press "A" on your direct selection tool to change each anchor point and that will change the direction of the whole line. Until you click on an Object and Expand and this will turn into a shape. There is a third option that is called blob brush tool, which I think it behaves more or less like a real pen or brush. That is, "Shift B", that is actually hidden under the paintbrush tool. Similarly, as of how we have worked on the customizing, eraser tool, this one can also be customized. For example, the size, the angle, and the roundness, and your can also play with the fidelity level. For example, if I were to draw a line over here, instead of being single line, this one is actually a shape already. This is really neat because it's already a shape that you don't have to expand. However, as you can see, the result is pretty flat. The edges are pretty smooth. Obviously, it doesn't go with our jagged look, if you're working on any other type of illustration that has smooth edges, this would be my go-to tool to work something real fast on the fly. So, we won't be covering a whole lot of mechanics of drawing in this particular class. But if you are interested in learning how to draw native shapes in Illustrator, I have two other classes you can take a look. One of them is more on the geometric side, if that's your cup of tea, and the other one is more like free handing and making native shapes in Illustrator. All right, moving on to the next step, we're going to talk about how to simplify our path. For example, over here we have some pretty jagged edges on the dark blue portion. So, say that these are two textured for your taste and you want to make it more smoother. So, let's lock our lighter blue and our yellow first by pressing Magic Wand Tool, and just select our yellows and hold your "Shift" key to add another selection, which is the light blue. I am going to work those selections so I cannot do any changes while I'm working on the dark blue. So, I'm going to press "Command" tool, to lock it. So, no matter where I'm clicking, only the dark blue gets selected. So, that's pretty neat. Let's zoom in a tiny bit to work on smoothing. So, there are a couple of ways of approaching this. One of the first one is to use simplify, which is nested under Object path and simplify. So, you will see that you have a slider and on the left it's minimum anchor points. But also kind of defeats the purpose of simplifying. Why would you need more anchor points? Anyways, grab the slider and slide it to the left and see what a fact you can get. Obviously, this is probably too much. So, use your slider with caution. You can also click on the "More Options", and basically you can have the same access to the slider and you can also change a corner, point angles threshold. You don't have to know exactly what this one means. All you need to do is to turn on that preview and just to see if you're happy with the result. If you're feeling super lucky, you can click on the Alto Simplify to see if you like the result, and once you're happy with it, and just click on "Okay". So, this is a one of the simplifying option. Depending how someone approaches the creative workflow, I can see someone using this function at the beginning or in the middle or at the end of the creative process. Personally, I tend to use the simplified function right after I do the image trace when everything's kind of like jaggered and I use this function kind of to smooth things out and then just move on from there. I would also caution you that if you have any contrasting color that is underneath, after simplifying the layer that is on top, you might see gaps like this. So, just be aware of that when you use this function. So, I'm going to undo a few times, to go back to my original. There's another way of achieving similar result. This one works more locally. This one is called Smooth Tool. If you can just press "N" to bring out your Pencil Tool and long press, and you come over to the next option, which is called Smooth Tool. And you can also double-click to change your preference for fidelity, whether it's super accurate or super smooth. I'm just going to let it sit in the middle right now, as you can see, my cursor has turned into a little circle. If I were just click on an area, this will smooth out the whole shape. Which is not exactly what I'm looking for. So, usually when I use this tool, I just draw over the line. So, Illustrator will kind of reshape this line into what I mean visioning. You might need to do it a few times, to make it a little more elegant. But still, this is more respectful to my original style. You can do quite a bit of cosmetic fixes just by drawing over your existing line. If you want the result to be more obvious, you can turn up the fidelity level to smooth and then draw over. It's more obvious. It's still pretty subtle in comparison to simplify tool, I just want to introduce you to both so that you know, you have the macro control as well as some micro-control. If this is a topic that you're interested in and you would like to learn more. I would highly recommend my other class called Illustrator Nuggets For Surface Designers, especially on lesson four and five, where I cover how to make smooth paths, as well as how to make thoughtful curves. 7. Understanding Patterns: So far in our class we have talked about how to set up our workspace. We have covered different techniques of digitizing and vectorizing our graphics from other places, and we have also talked about how to clean up and add at your motifs. Hopefully by now you have at least a handful of things that you can put them into a pattern. But before we dive in, I would love to cover some basics of the pattern definition and patterns structure. I think having that overall perspective will really help us to assemble patterns with a clear mind. Let's look at this simple pattern in front of us. Seems like we have a bunch of branches and leaves weaving through each other. If you don't look super close, it's hard to tell where do things start or where do they end. If we look closely, we can tell this little branch over here looks exactly the same as the little guy over here. Similarly, the branch over here on the left looks exactly like the branch over here on the right. How does it work exactly? Just to simplify things a bit more, this is what we call a pattern block. This is the basic building block for a pattern, so what makes it a building block? If we look at the structure of the building block, whatever touches the left edge of the building block gets repeated exactly on the right. Similarly, whatever touches the top edge gets repeated at the bottom as well, which will cover the specific techniques later on in this class. If you were to look at each pattern block vertically, this is the basic structure. The very top layer we have all of our motifs. What I mean by motifs is that, say flowers or animals or whatever that you want to include in the pattern, and underneath that we have a layer of the background color. At the very bottom, we have a pattern definition. This is usually a rectangle shape without fill color or stroke color. The pattern definition at the bottom tells illustrator to look at whatever above as a pattern block. If we were to make an analogy, the pattern definition layer is like a sandbox. It gives our pattern a boundary, and within that you can put sand, which you can think of as the background layer, and on top of that, you can have a little shovel or whatever toys that you want to build a sand castle. These little tools or toys are scattered around inside the sandbox, they are the motifs. With that in mind, our next of few lessons, we will concentrate on building our pattern block. This include the motifs layer as well as the background layer. 8. Simple Geometrical Patterns: In this video, we're going to build a very simple pattern together. The main goal is to help you get familiar with the pattern tool, which I use almost for every single one of my pattern. Go ahead and grab one of the motifs that you have been working on and let's get started. Disclaimer ahead, different designers have very different workflow even within the same program. In this class, I will only cover how I normally work. You're welcome to check out other classes to compare and decide what's best for you because everybody think differently. It's great if you can find what fits you the best. With that said, let's get started. This is a simple motif that we worked on a bit earlier. I have grouped them together. How the video is structured is that I'm going to start with something really simple and increasingly I will add more motifs so that you have some brain space to work through different things so that you're not super overwhelmed by a very complex pattern from the get-go. For the first pattern building video, I'm going to walk you through the built-in pattern tool within illustrator. I don't normally use it to actually build the pattern, but I do use it to visualize how my pattern may look like. I think that's one of the biggest strength that illustrator has, is to visualize pattern before you actually commit. This is so essential to my own workflow because it gives me a bird's-eye view on how my pattern overall may look like if there's any point of tension that I need to work on before I commit to make it complete sandbox, if you will. Without further ado, let's get to it. I have my motif selected, and I'm going to go over to object and pattern and make. This will take me to the pattern options. Let me just zoom out a tiny bit. It will give me a preview of how it looks like if I were to use my motif as a building block and put stuff side-by-side. I rarely go with the default option so I tend to customize. Let's go over some of the customization. One of the first thing I would do is to change the number of copies. It's located at the bottom of the pattern option panel and you can click on the drop-down menu. I would like to go with the biggest number I can have. This will give me the biggest preview of my pattern. I'm going to zoom out a little bit and then one of the first thing I would change is to change the title type. We're working with one motif only. I think having some staggering will really help. The first default is grid. This will just not change any positioning. Since this is vertical, I'm going to do brick by column and this gives me a classic half drop pattern. If you look at each line, there are about half a position off of the next line. You can also change the offset to a different number, for example, three quarters. This will give you gradual transition. Since the motif is so simple, I know the final result is going to look more or less geometrical anyways. This looks fine to me but you can also play around to see what result you can get by column and you can also choose to do that by row. I'm going to go back to half dropped by column and you can also change this spacing between the motifs. I'm going to uncheck this icon so that I can change the number of width and the height individually. You can press your up and down arrow on your keyboard to change the pixel one at a time or you can do some simple math. For example, if you put plus 50 and then press tab, it will give you plus 50 result without you having to do math. Similarly, you can change the height as well depending on how spaced out you want your motifs to be. This blue rectangle right here shows us what is the actual size of our pattern block. Even though it seems like our motif has been copied all over, actually, the rest of it, it just preview only whatever is in the blue boundary is editable. For example, if you were to move this guy a bit, the preview will be updated automatically. Let me just command Z to undo it. If this is a little overwhelming for you, you can also dim the copy around it but still having a bird's-eye view. To do that, you can come over to the drop down menu and check the dim copies too and you can change it to maybe 60 percent. In that case, you would know immediately whatever that is more transparent is just the preview. You can still do some editing on the motifs that is within the blue box. Over here in this little small box they will tell you what is the swatch preview. If you'll remember the pattern block, where things repeat from left to right, from top to down. This is the pattern block that we will eventually get but you don't have to worry about it right now. Whenever you're happy about your result, you can just click done. These are the basic things that I would play with within pattern options. Like I said, this is a pretty simple pattern. As we increase the number of motifs and the complexity of our motifs, I'll show you some other knobs and sliders that we can play with a bit later, but as for now, let's click on done. You don't see a pattern immediately but if you go over to your color swatches panel, the latest swatch is the pattern that you just made. If you were to make a rectangle or any other shape for that matter, let's do a circle for a change. Make sure the fill color is in front of the stroke color and click on the pattern and you will fill our shape, whatever shape you have with the new pattern that we just made. Let me just delete this and move our motif over. At the moment, the latest new pattern is still editable. What I mean by that is that when you double-click it, it will still take us back to the pattern options. For example, if you were to make some polka dots around it, then you can still do that. If you want to save this version as a version B, you want to save it as a copy. Otherwise, if you just click done, this will just overwrite the first pattern that you had. I'm going to click save a copy and you can rename it. I'm just going to go with the default and click on okay and I will do cancel. My first pattern will stay intact. As you can see, our latest pattern has the polka dot. You can always double-click to make any changes, to save it as a new copy or update this version. These two patterns are functional patterns in illustrator. What I mean by that is that you can use them as a fill color just like you would for any other colors. Unless you have your mindset on the particular pattern, make sure you save all your iterations. Sometimes you may come back to the version one. You never know. Now, we have some basic understanding and it will keep on rolling to a different type of pattern in the next video. 9. Simple Tossed Print: In this video, we're going to continue to get familiar with our pattern tool together. Instead of making geometrical and very directional print. In this video, we're going to make a tossed print together. What I mean by tossed to print is that the direction of our print should not matter. If you can picture someone cuts into the fabric, whether the person cuts from left to right, top down or even diagonally, the overall look should not be effected. The challenge for us is to arrange our motifs in a way that doesn't gives out a strong directional hint. That being said, let's work on it. Over here we have a group of leaves that we're going to work on. You can work on last or more motifs if you want and the principle is the same. First let's select all of them, and then come over to "Object", "Pattern" and "Make". Let me just change the number of copies first. I'm going go with 9 by 9. I can zoom out, by pressing "Command Minus" and have a bird's eye view on my pattern. Currently, if you look at this dark green leaf, it's showing me a very strong grid. You can easily just shuffle things a bit by changing to any of the different arrangement. Previously, we have worked with the brick by column. Let's click on "Brick by Row" and see if things will change. This already looks, much better because things shuffled a bit horizontally and you can just move things around to make it even better. Basically, I'm looking at the balance between my motifs and the white space. What I mean by white space is that the space between motifs. This pattern itself is pretty tight. But if you're working on something really complicated like a giant bouquet of flowers, you may want a bit more breathing room between your different motifs. Over here, like I said, it's pretty tight. I want my space to be, roughly the same, so that I'm not calling attention to like a whole on my pattern. Only the motifs that's within the blue box are editable. If things looks a bit confusing, you can dim your copy to lesser than a 100 percent. Whatever that has the full opacity can be changed. The rest of them, is just a preview. Rearranging motifs, is just one of the most fun part for me, because you got to play with, things that you have worked on so long and the possibility is endless. At this point, sometimes you are really tempted to just grab one of the motifs and copy it somewhere. I'm pressing "Command C", "Command V". For example, this face is a bid too small for this leaf. You may be tempted, just to rescale it and make it smaller to fit the space. I can see the merit of that, but I want to caution you here, because you wanted to keep your rescaling less than 10-15 percent. What I did is probably about 15 percent, that's the maximum. If you were to make your motifs a lot smaller. It's really distracting, for a couple of reasons. If you come really close. You can tell, obviously, this line over here, this squiggly line around your leaf is significantly thinner than all others around it. It's the vein on your leaf, this is super obvious, especially if you have the original copy right next to it and you can compare. Then the designer brain died because, that someone just copied and rescaled it. If you happen to have a space that needs to be filled, I will just go back to the original method and just redraw one of the motifs, to make it fit properly, instead of just rescaling. The time you have saved by rescaling is not really worth it, because of the distraction from the quality of your work. I'm just going to delete this little guy. I'm just going to speed up here and talk through my thinking process. Basically, I am rearranging the direction of my leaves to fit the space better. You can zoom out periodically, to see if there's any obvious distractions. Then, if there is just come back and work on that. Because the pattern tool is so flexible. Even after you have made your pattern, you can still double-click on the swatch and come back to edit your pattern. That's one of the biggest reason why I've really loved to use pattern tool for my creative process. This is a pretty good spot, and I'm just going to stop here and click "Done". Right here is our latest swatch. If these guys are in your way and you want to get rid of them without deleting them. Just go ahead and select them all and just drag them to your symbols panel. As you see the plus sign, just let go, and change the export type to graphic and click on "Okay". Now they are one symbol, instead of a bunch of paths or shapes. Even if you have deleted them, you still have them available in its original shape under your symbols panel. Anytime you want to use them or revisit, or make a new pattern out of them, just go ahead and click and drag, and you will have them back. Anytime you want to edit them, I would just go ahead and break link and work on this group of motifs. When you have a new version, go ahead and click and drag, and click on "Okay". Now you have, even different version of the same original motifs. That's pretty awesome. Basically, that's the gist of simple tossed print. In the next video, we're going to step up and try something a bit more complicated. 10. Alternative Approach to Layout: Still continuing on with our floral and fully edge theme. In this video, we're going to try our hands on a floral print. Still using the same method, but just slightly a different layout. Over here we have four small groups. Two of them have flowers on it, and the other two is just pure leaves. They have been grouped to themselves already. So that's pretty neat. What I'm going to do over here is to just lightly rearrange my motif a little bit. Before it enters into the pattern tool, the composition is a little bit tighter. So that's all I'm going to do. I will also change the direction of this flower so that my print doesn't end up being highly directional. Which means that if someone wants to sew my pattern into a dress, they don't have to spend too much time considering where my flowers are going. They can just cut the fabric and it will look great in any direction. That's what I'm going to do over here. This seems to be pretty tight to me, so I'm going to select all of them and click on "Object", "Pattern", and "Make". Zoom out. Increase the copies to nine by nine. By default, I have those square shape. I'm going to try Hex by Column or by row. I like to use these two options when the pattern is not geometrical and it's a bit complicated. This helps me to shuffle my motifs visually so that the repeating unit doesn't look super obvious. It doesn't look awesome right now, which means that we just need some work. I'm just going to move things around and see if the pattern will loosen up a bit. It seems like there is quite a bit of a tension in this area. So I'm just going to increase the height, maybe by 100 pixels. Please notice that I have the Maintain Width and Height Proportions unchecked, so that when I change my height, my width will not expand with it. This is important because otherwise there's no point of changing if everything is proportional at this point. This loosened up things quite a bit, which is a very nice direction. We have a quite a bit of space between left and right. So I'm going to maybe bring the width in by 100 pixels and let's see how that looks like. At this point you are basically just moving things around and rearrange to your liking. This may be one of the most time consuming part of my pattern making process. But I also have a lot of fun. Sometimes it does get frustrating and I have to walk away from this and come back the next day and inspiration does come back. So if you are not, just spend some reasonable amount of time on it and see if you can have a breakthrough. Otherwise, you can always come back the next day. No big deal. I feel like this is getting somewhere. Especially when I put the two leaves together like this. Let me just turn it a bit. I like this arrangement quite a bit. But I feel like around the edge of the hexagon, we can have maybe a bit less space so it looks a bit even. I'm just going to minus 50 pixels on either direction. Just bring things a bit tighter at this point. Do even more minus 20. I like this a lot better. So let me just change my copies transparency to 100 percent so that I can view my pattern. I like this direction. I'm going to come over here and click "Done", and just be done with it. Here are the three patterns that we have made so far. If you look at them, you probably can't help noticing that all of them have the bleak white background. That will not be our final product. Fear not. We're going to work on that. One of the things that we need to pay attention to when we use pattern tool is that we do not use a background when we work on our composition. Otherwise, the background will count as one of the motifs as rectangle square. Now we really jacked things up when you are working on it. I will use the second pattern as an example to show you how to add a background color. Let me just delete them all. I'm going to draw a rectangle by pressing "M "on your keyboard. Just click and drag and you will automatically fill your rectangle with whatever color that you have selected or pattern. In this case, we have this flying leaf as our pattern. With this selected, I'm going to press command "C" to copy and command B to paste in the back. We don't really see any difference because we have the exact copy in exact color pasted in exact position in the back. Just select a different solid color. This will show. As you can see, the color is not all that great yet. So let's just pick something we can live with for now. In the next video, I will show you how to fine tune your colors. 11. On Colors: Picking up from where we left off, let's work on our colors. I'm going to expand my Swatches panel a bit over here so that you can see what I have under my Swatches panel list. Basically, I have different groups of colors that I think they work well together. If you want to choose your color palette, there are variety of different ways of finding your inspiration. I would go to Pinterest and search for color trends, and I will snap my own pictures and not import them into Illustrator and sample them using the eye dropper tool over here. Once you have your group of colors that you are really in love with, for example, let me just show you real quick. Say that I have five colors over here. Say that you want to save them as one of the groups. All you need to do is to select them all and click on this folder icon so that you can make a new color group. Always check the convert to process to global. As you have noticed, if you have checked the converse to process to global, each one of your color chips have a little bit of triangle at the corner. This means that your color is global. The global color will make color changing a hundred times easier. Any colors with this white triangle in the corner lets you target this color. When you double-click it, it will have your Swatch options and you can tweak it. If this was select and target all the incidents that you have on all your art boards that has been applied to with this color. If you want to tweak it to this particular green, you can turn on the preview and all the dark blue will change to this shade of green. It doesn't seem to be too magical at this point because we only have one incidence. But imagine if you have like hundreds of motifs going on and each one of them have this dark blue and you don't have to change it like a hundred times, all you need to do is to in-target your color A. Then put in the RGB value or CMYK or whatnot. Then click on OK. It will move your color A to color B. It's very similar to the Magic Wand Tool that let's you to target a precise color, which I think you should know. Let me just undo it. Now say that you want to rework your colors. All you need to do is to select the background and the pattern. Come over to this color wheel tool called Recolor Artwork. It will show you currently that you have seven colors. There are different ways of working through the colors. If you're just tweaking one particular color, for example, the background color, and you want to change it to a different hue or saturation or brightness. You can do that individually or if you want to completely change the color palette to a different color group. For example, right here, you can just click on the Color group. You also have that effect. As you may notice, that originally we have seven colors, but within this color group we only have six. Illustrator automatically combined these two colors into one, which doesn't really give a huge visual impact in this case. Which is okay. If you like the color combination, but not so sure about the color position, you can click on this little guy to randomly change color order. This will shuffle within the same collection, which is awesome. You can also switch different groups. This Color group has only five colors, which means that illustrate does more combining for you. Similarly, if, for example, this pattern only has, including the background, only have five colors. If you are clicking on the Color group that has more than five, for example, this group over here that has seven colors. Illustrator will just automatically cycle through these colors in order. You can see which one you like, and anytime you want to change the order, you can just drag one color and click on a different position, and it will exchange the color position, which is pretty neat. Another way to do that is to directly come over to your target Color group and just drag and rearrange these colors so that when you cycle through the different options, you have a slightly different combination. Let's click on the color and the same Color group, but in different order. It will give you a completely different vibe. That's another way of approaching color. Now jumping back to our previous pattern. We can say that I hate this color because I like the look and feel of this vibe because it reminds me of fall, Pumpkin Spice Latte, that deal. I think I'm going to go with it. Even after doing that, you can still continue to tweak your color. For example, this blue seems to be the bit too out there, so I'm going to make it a little quieter, still maintaining the same contrast. Maybe a bit darker so it stands out a bit more. I like this coffee-themed color palette. I'm just going to click on OK. As a result, the latest Swatch is the new color combination that you have worked down. In terms of our layer structure, on the very top, we have our pattern layer, and underneath that we have our solid background layer. The reason why we captured this way is because, our pattern is still editable inside the pattern tool. What I mean by that is that, if you were to double-click on our Pattern Swatch, you can still have all the access you had within the Pattern option. In the next video, we're going to talk about how to convert our Pattern Tool pattern into a Print and Client-ready pattern. 12. Export: In this video, we're going to work together to get our pattern ready for export. But before we start working, let's revisit some of the definitions that we have worked on before. So over here we have our pattern block. It is hypothetically 1600 pixels by 900 pixels. So that's the size of our sandbox. Whatever that touches, the left edge is going to be duplicated to the right edge and the distance between the two is going to be 1600 pixels. For the same reason, whatever touches the top edge is going to be duplicated at the bottom as well and the distance is 900 pixels. But since we have already worked on our composition through our pattern tool, we don't have to worry about that. But as a surface designer, I think it's important to know what makes a pattern pattern. So jumping to the next graph, if you remember over here we have a pattern structure. So basically if you look at your pattern from top-down, we have the sandbox analogy. So at the very top we have our motifs then background color, and then definition of the sandbox, which is a no fill, no stroke rectangle over here. So every pattern that has been worked through a pattern tool automatically already has the motifs, which is the top layer as well as the pattern definition. So all we need to do is to insert a background layer in between. That's what we're going to do next. Say that we go to any of the patterns that we have worked on before. You can just click and drag and you will see this type of deal. So basically we have our motifs and we have our sandbox definition. The left to right and top to down repetition has already been taken care of. So whatever touches the left edge will be repeated to the right. In this case, it happens to be nothing, but you can tell that whatever that touches the top edge has been repeated to the bottom as well and they are all grouped together. So one of the first thing you need to do is to ungroup it by pressing command shift G because our sandbox definition, have no stroke, no fill. It's hard to know where it is. So in this case, we're going to press command Y to use the outline view so that we always know where the definition is. So right now, like we said before, we need to insert a solid background color. So I'm just going to press M to create a rectangle that is slightly bigger than our definition and this is to avoid any sort of unintentional gap between our definition and our background color. Even if we have one pixel gap between the two layers, it's going to show on our final pattern, it's annoying. So just make your background color slightly bigger than the definition, it will cover everything and then just give it a random color for now. Now we can bring back our colors by pressing command Y. Next step, we just need a bit of rearranging. So at the very bottom, we have our no stroke, no fill and the layer in the middle should be the background layer and the motifs should be at the very top. Let me just give it a lighter color so you can see the contrast a lot better and then we can select our motifs which has been grouped in one group. Just press command shift, right bracket. So now technically this is a pattern. I'm going to unlock everybody. Press command option two. If you were to select all of these guys and just drag it to our swatch panel and logo, we will have our new pattern defined as a shell right here. To use that, you can just create a random rectangle and click on the new pattern. You may ask, what's the difference between this one that we just created versus any other ones that we have created before. The main difference is that any of the previous ones are still editable. So if you double-click on the previous pattern, you can still go back to the pattern tool and to use all the functionalities. But if you were to click on the latest pattern we just converted, it will take you to a pattern tool, but you will run into all kinds of problems. The background seems a little bit off and there's weird lines and stuff. It's pretty obvious that it's not workable within the tool. So I'm just going to click on cancel. Let me just delete this little sample, this little pattern, even though it's not editable inside the pattern tool, this is what we need for producing all kinds of products. Up until this point, we haven't really talked about measurement and units. That's because we have been working on our motifs and the structures and all that. Now, if we were to think of this as a pattern on the fabric, when you should think about what is appropriate size. If it is going to be applied on a wall, how big you want your little leaf to be. So that's a good question to ask at this point. For the sake of simplicity, I'm just going to say this is going to be one of my blender pattern and I want the width of one leaf to be maybe between one to two inches. So I'm going to bring out my ruler first by pressing command "R". You will see some giant numbers if you followed my steps earlier on because I've been working in pixels. So now I'm going to right-click on my ruler to convert my units to inches and to re-scale my pattern to the appropriate size. Remember to hold shift as your resizing so you're not messing up with the proportion. So this look about right. I'm just going to move it to the middle. Next step, we're going to create a art boards that is the exact size of the sandbox. Whenever we mention sandbox, we need to bring out our outline mode by pressing command Y so we can actually see the boundary. Let me just zoom in a bit. To create an art board that is the exact same size, we need to right-click after it's been selected and select isolate, selected path and then press shift O to grab our art board tool and then just click on the definition once to create a art board that is the exact same size. Do remember the number that is on the art board, the first number. This will tell you the order of the number. So when you just export this one single art board, that's the number that you're going to tell Illustrator. Press escape to get out of the isolation mode. Click on file, export, export as. You can choose your desired file format, I'm just going to go with JPEG. Check use art boards and select the right art board number. In this case, mine is 16 and click on export. Once you do that, it will ask you a few questions. Take spoon flower, for example, they asked the color space to be RGB and I will go with the highest quality. They also asked the resolution to be a 150, at least. You can always go higher, but that may mess up your scale. Unless you have any type or any font under your artwork. Always go for art optimized and then just click on okay. So let's go and check right here. This is our lovely pattern. It doesn't look super significant, but it has the capability of repeating endlessly from left to right, from top to down. That being said, that's our export process. Wow, that's a long class. I'm glad you guys are still watching. If you are watching, hopefully you're still in one piece. You have learned a bunch of tips and tricks to help you make a beautiful pattern. Like I said, this is a class that you may want to watch at once and then come back later for some specific information. This is not an easy process. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the project gallery or Instagram platform to ask me, I would love to help you out along the way. Thank you so much for taking the time to watch my class and make a pattern and show me. 13. FAQ: Ever since I've created this class, I've gotten quite a few questions from you guys asking about different pattern building methods. I figured it would be helpful to create a separate video to give you my perspective, the pros and cons of different building methods. The goal of this video is to give you a non-biased view of pros and cons of different methods and you can really evaluate and see what works best for you. Maybe one method, it doesn't really click for one person and it works great for another. Hopefully you can find some clarity after watching this video. If not, feel free to reach out to me through the Discussion tab and I'll be more than happy to answer your questions. In our class, we have talked about how to use the pattern tool to create a pattern and then convert it to a pattern block and we're going to compare that to another method. But before that, I would like to walk you through the alternative method, which is to build a pattern from scratch. Over here, we have some very simplified motifs. They are circles, but they can also be a very intricate hand-drawn motifs. I'm just simplifying everything so you can follow me really quickly. What we're going to do is to convert this into a repeatable pattern. Basically, we're going to move whatever that's touching the left edge to the right, whatever that's touching the right edge to the left. Same thing for the top and the bottom. Let's grab these two guys on the left real quick and we're going to right-click, "Transform" and "Move". In this case, we're going to keep our vertical value to zero because we only want to move them horizontally. Since our background size is 600 pixels, I'm just going to create 600 pixels for the horizontal value. If you turn on the Preview, you will see that our two circles are moved to the right. But instead of clicking "Okay", we want to create a copy so that it's not moving the original copies, we're just creating duplicate. Same here for this little guy that's touching the right, we want to Transform and move it to the left. Just simply add a negative sign to the horizontal value and we'll have this little guy moved 600 pixels to the left and click on "Copy". Similarly, we want to move this guy down, "Transform", "Move", and this time we want the horizontal value to be zero and the vertical value to be 400 pixel. That's the height of our pattern. Then click on "Copy". Then we want to hold on to Shift and grab whatever that is touching the bottom, except the green guy because it's already repeated. I'm just going to click "Transform", "Move" and negative 400, and click on "Copy" instead of Okay. Now if we look at our Canvas, whatever that touches the left also touches the right and the same thing for the top and bottom. You do want to pay attention to anything that overlaps the corner because it affects at least two sides so you want to repeat it on four times all around. Now we have everything duplicated, you can click on the background rectangle and "Command C", "Command B" to create one exact copy to the very bottom, and then just turn the Fill off so it's the sandbox for us, no stroke, no fill. Now, you select everybody and just drag it to your swatch panel. Now, we have our pattern here. If you were to create a rectangle and click on what you have just created, that's our pattern. We can make the scale a bit smaller and turn on the Preview, turn off the Transform Objects. We can turn the uniform value a bit smaller so that you can preview the pattern on the smaller scale. Long story short, that's how we build a pattern from scratch. Now we're going to go through this little dandy chart to compare the pros and cons of two different methods. On the left, it's the pattern tool and we're going to talk about the pros and cons. For the same thing, we're going to talk about the method that we just introduced, which is built from scratch. On the left-hand corner, I will use the color to indicate my talking points. Let's just get to it. First, let's revisit real quick what are the pros of using the pattern tool. I'm just going to create a rectangle here using this pattern that we built earlier. If you remember, when we were using the pattern tool to build this pattern, one of the big advantages that I found is that you can preview your changes on the fly, whether it's to change position, direction, or color. I think this is a really important feature because if you have a tons of motifs and it's really hard to visualize when you are just shooting in the dark. You see instantly, you can preview what it looks like. When you move your pattern motifs to change direction, you can see how it's affecting its neighbors. If you like this but not really ready to commit, you can always save a copy and you will have a separate copy in your swatch. Another really cool thing when you use the pattern building tool is that the pattern is highly editable. Whenever you're double-clicking, you can just make some real quick changes and it will apply to your pattern. Like we mentioned in our class, even if you have moved this pattern to a different document, the editability is still there. If you double-click, you can switch out the tile type and you can change the offset setting. This is really flexible, especially if you want to play with different arrangement, you can always switch out different types of tile types. I find the Hex by Column and Hex by Row are really helpful for big floral complicated motifs. This group of motifs is not the best to demonstrate this function, so let me just hop over to a different pattern. This guide that we have worked with earlier on is very flowy type. If we were to use traditional grid method, things will look a bit stagnant. Even if we were to use Brick by Row or Brick by Column, you can tell things have been staggered halfway. However, if you were to use Hex by Column, this will help different motifs to blend well together. When you were making a flowy type of pattern, it's helpful to do extra work on the edges so that people can't tell easily where does the pattern begin and where does it end. I find the Hex by Column or Hex by Row option is really helpful. This usually gives me ideas of where to place my motif and how they can play well with one another so that my pattern truly looks seamless. Another advantage of using pattern tool is when you build strictly geometric pattern. For example, if I'm just to create this rectangle here using a solid color and come over to object, pattern and make. If I were to make a half drop pattern, I'm going to make my pattern tile a bit bigger so it's not all jammed up. If I were to make a half drop pattern like this, you know that it's exactly the half. You don't have to do the math in the layout, and if you want to change the offset to a different number, you can do that and you know is accurate. This is really helpful for someone who's working on a strictly geometric shape. It gives you the peace of mind knowing that your offset is accurately calculated. I really appreciate that. I'm just going to click "Cancel" and let it go for this method is not perfect. Let's talk about the drawbacks. As we talked about earlier when you work within the pattern tool, at least at the beginning, you have to keep the background clear, white, as you are figuring out the composition. You add the background color at the end, and that can be a stumbling block for someone if you are really into color and you want to visualize it from the very beginning. This method may not be the best for you. Another drawback I can see is that when you are converting your pattern to a pattern block, there are a few extra steps you have to do in comparison to the other method. For example, you have to ungroup it first so that the sandbox is stand alone. Then you have to add another layer on top to make a background color and then make it a little bit bigger. Then drag this whole thing to make it a pattern block. There's a bit of clean up to do for you at the end of the pattern-making process. That was a quick walk-through of the pattern tool. Let's look at the method, which is built from scratch. Let's talk about the pros of this method. One is that you can introduce your background color from the very beginning. It's part of the process and it's easy to visualize and you can see how the color chemistry is affecting surrounding neighbors. That's a really nice component. Once you have done the repeating, left to right, right to left, top-down, then you just need to add the sandbox at the end. It's few steps less than the other method. In terms of drawbacks, the biggest one for me is how much time that is involved if I were to make small changes. For example, this is our pattern, we drag it to our swatch and it's ready to go, but once you have previewed your pattern, you realize that, oh, I need to move these two dark circle a little bit apart to make it look more relaxed than being so dense over there. I have to move all the elements altogether. For example, if I were to move the dark blue one, I have to move all four at the same time. I also cannot really visualize what that looks like on the fly. I just have to make an educated guess and see how it looks like until the preview. If I were to move these elements, I have to move it altogether to keep the distance the same as to rectangle size. Let's see how this one looks like. Then I have to create another shape in order to preview. Then sometimes I have to change the scale. On the other hand, if I were to use the pattern tool, I can just press Command minus to make this scale a bit smaller. Over here, I have to change the scale and track the transform subject. If you're really good at visualizing, even you're not seeing the whole picture, this might be a really good method for you. Like I said, there's no right or wrong method to do things. It really depends on how your creative brain is wired. Another drawback that I can think of for this method is that when you make a geometrically oriented pattern, you do have to do a bit of math depending on the complexity of fewer composition. For example, if I were to turn this thing into a half drop, I'm holding option currently so that I can make polka dot. If this polka dot is even just a few pixels off, your final result is going to show. You will see that the dots are not evenly spaced. Sometimes you can eyeball or use a smart object of Illustrator. Again, this is a very regular shape. If you were to draw a very complicated flower, it's really hard to figure out what would be the ideal spacing. On the other hand, if you were to use a pattern tool, you can use a half drop option which will give you that exact number. This is the basic understanding of the two methods. Hopefully, I've provided you a bit of clarity in terms of which one is better fit for you. There's no right or wrong answer and you can try one for awhile and alternate between the two. My goal for this entire class is to get your interested in pattern-making. As long as you're making pattern and you're expressing yourself creatively, I will be one happy teacher. Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I hope this class has been enjoyable for you. Until next time. Happy designing.