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Video Tutorials: How to Create a Seamless Pattern in Illustrator

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tutorials / Effects/ Comments: 2
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credit: Oksana Pasishnychenko via

There are several productive ways of creating a seamless pattern in Illustrator. Today I put together the best videos of the Illustrator tutorials that demonstrate this process. Creating seamless can be quite a challenge for many designers. Anyway, this product has a very high demand in the market. Patterns are used in the textile industry, to create textures in vector artworks, they are used to create the backgrounds for the web sites. In addition, seamless patterns are well sold on micro-stock web sites. Since a lot of my readers are contributors of micro-stock web sites, so I will be giving particular attention to preparing patterns for sale on these sites. I will comment on each video pattern tutorial, in order to clarify some of the details of the process. Have fun in this Adobe Illustrator tutorial.

Duplicating elements of the pattern and their alignment using the Bounding box

In order the seamless pattern appeared uniform, some elements of the pattern should cover the areas of its tiles connections. That is why, the elements that are located on the edges of the tiles must be the same. The right side of the tiles must be exactly the same as the left part and the lower part should be the same as the upper one. Duplicating of the elements is done by their dragging while holding Opt/ Alt + Shift keys. Alignment of these elements of the pattern is done with the help of the rectangle, the size of which should be the same as the size of tile pattern. Now let's take a look at this process in this illustrator tutorial.

Duplicating elements of the pattern and their alignment with the Move command

While creating a seamless pattern you must first create its tile (rectangle). Of course, this tile has a certain sizes. You can see these sizes in the Transform panel or in the Control panel. Duplicating of the elements is done using the Move command (Object > Transform > Move ...). Enter the sizes of the tiles in the dialog box, click Copy for duplicating. This technique is demonstrated in the following video tutorial.

Parts of the elements of the pattern that overlap the connections of tiles and go beyond the original tiles should be hidden. Otherwise, we will get gaps in between the tiles, after applying the pattern. Some designers removed these parts using different techniques. However, this is not necessarily. You just need to create a rectangle with no fill and stroke, which is of the size of the tiles and has the same coordinates. This rectangle must be below all the elements seamless pattern. It limits the visibility of the tile elements.

Creating a Seamless Pattern with the help of the Transform effect

This is probably my favorite way of creating a seamless pattern in Illustrator, because it allows you to design the pattern in the process of its creation. You can learn about the details of this technique in my Illustrator tutorial "How to Create a Seamless Pattern in Khokhloma Painting Style". Take a look at this process in the next two video tutorials.

After creating a pattern using the demonstrated techniques you should go to Object > Expand Appearance and limit visibility of the tiles, with the help of the bounding box with no fill and stroke, as I wrote above.

Creating a Seamless Pattern in Adobe Illustrator CS6

Thanks to the Adobe Illustrator developers, we now have the ability to make the process of creating seamless pattern automatic with the help of the new feature Pattern Creation (Object > Pattern > Make). You can watch the process of creating the pattern in Adobe Illustrator CS6 in the next illustrator video tutorial.

I'll tell you a secret, this function has some defects. For some reason I am not able to select all the objects of the pattern in the Layers panel while in the transition to Pattern Creation mode. Moreover, this function is not suitable for creating pixel patterns, as the pattern elements shift relatively to the pixel grid, after its creation. The process of creating a pixel pattern is described in my tutorial, "How to Create a Vector Media Player User Interface in Illustrator".

Creating a Seamless Pattern for your web sites with the help of Adobe Illustrator CS6 and Adobe Muse

The following video illustrator tutorial you will see the integration of Adobe products for the creation of backgrounds for web sites. Of course, these backgrounds represent seamless patterns.

Creating a Seamless Pattern with the help of the MadPattern Tool

Not one of the described above techniques covers all the possible variety of patterns. In fact, there are 17 kinds of patterns. Most of these kinds can be created with the help of the Free MadPattern Tool. I really enjoy this process, which you can see in the following pattern illustrator tutorial.

If you watched this tutorial to the end, you probably noticed that the end product is a raster pattern, achieved by using the Save for Web command. I do not think that this ending will suit the contributors of micro-stock web sites that sell vector patterns. In fact, you just go to Object > Expand Appearance, then limit the visibility of the tiles using a rectangle with no fill and stroke.

Preparing Seamless Pattern for selling on micro-stock web sites

Microstock usually accepts patterns after the Expand Appearance command is applied. Create a rectangle, and then apply the established pattern to it. Keeping rectangle selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance. These patterns may have objects with no fill and stroke (let's call them unnecessary objects). To remove unnecessary objects, go to Object > Path > Clean Up ..., select all the options in the dialog box and click OK. Our pattern is clean, now you can do the preview and save a vector file in EPS8 or EPS10 format, depending on whether your pattern contains objects with opacity or not. I would advise you not to remove seamless pattern from the Swatches panel. This vector file is more convenient to use, isn't it? Happy customer does mean a lot.

I hope you got comprehensive information about creating of the seamless pattern in this illustrator tutorial. Any questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments to this tutorial.
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Total comments: 2
1 Hannah   (2013 Jul 23 03:37)

I'm learning how to use the MadPattern tool, but I don't know how to save it for selling on MicroStock! How should I go about this? cry Please it would really help if you could help!

2 jaroslav   (2013 Jul 25 00:57)
Hi, I described this here

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