# Quick Tip: How to Dynamically Create a Seamless Pattern Using the Graphic Style Palette

##### Tutorial Details
• Difficulty: Beginner
• Estimated Completion Time: 15 mins

### Final Product What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial we will look at an original way of creating a seamless pattern, developed by my friend and namesake Iaroslav aka Yemz. I think this versatile way will help you to achieve the desired result within minutes. I don’t know about you, but my brain always start boiling when it comes to creating seamless patterns. I know many techniques of its creation but this was the only one that made me breathe a sigh of relief. Take a note!

## Step 1

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle 200 by 200 px, with no fill and a stroke of any color. Rectangle can be of any size, but it is desirable that its sides are equal to a prime whole number.

## Step 2

Keep the rectangle selected, go to Effect > Transform & Distort > Transform, set the offset value divisible by the sides of the rectangle.

Now, repeat the effect again, but with different parameters this time.

And the last time Effect > Transform & Distort > Transform, with new offset values and the amount of copies.

## Step 3

Open the Graphic Styles palette and save the created grid as a new style. Now the grid should be removed.

## Step 4

Usually the techniques to create a seamless pattern is shown on simple geometric shapes, but in practice you deal with complex objects, and that is when the problems emerge. That is why we will create a complex seamless pattern which has practical value. This is going to be a stonemasonry. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create a shape of the first stone.

## Step 5

Keep the created shape selected, apply the created style to it.

We will get a model of a seamless pattern, which can be adjusted dynamically. Replace the fill color, remove the stroke and reduce the shape of the stone. As you can see, all the copies of the shapes were changed synchronously.

## Step 6

Now create another shape of the stone and apply the created style.

Copies of the new stone filled the model of the pattern. The new shapes acquired properties of our style (with no fill and with stroke). If your pattern has many elements, as it is in my case, it is not effective to change the object’s fill each time. Let’s optimize our workflow working on the next stone.

## Step 7

Open the Appearance palette and turn off the New Art Has Basic Appearance in the Palette menu. Now the newly created objects will be copied to our model without changing of the properties of the last selected object.

Note: If in the process of creating new shapes, they stop copying, that means that the last selected object does not possess the necessary properties. Select any previously created shape, and continue working.

Model of the pattern is filled when it’s being created. Is it very convenient?

## Step 8

Using this technique, fill the gaps between the shapes, making sure that the shapes do not intersect. My girlfriend says that I’m not working, but I’m playing, perhaps she is right :).

Now, create the background. Take the Rectangle Tool (R) and create a black rectangle and move it below all the objects in the Layers palette.

As it was expected, the rectangle filled the entire model of the pattern. Before proceeding to the next steps, give the masonry a critical look and edit the shapes of the stones or add new objects.

## Step 9

Now let’s create light and shadow on the rocks. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create a shape of the light and shadow. Pick a fill that is darker than the basic color of the stone.

Note: Always create new shapes over real objects, rather than over their copies!

Now remove the part of the penumbra that goes beyond the stone. Copy the shape of the stone, and paste it in front (Command + C, then Command + F). Select the copy of the stone and the shape of the penumbra, then hit the Intersect button from the Pathfinder palette.

## Step 10

Using this technique, create lights and shadows on the stone.

Create penumbras on the rest of the stones. In addition to the shades of gray, use gray-green shades to create the appearance of moss on the rocks. For light on the rocks, apply a warm, yellow-grayish color at some spots.

## Step 11

Now turn our model into a seamless pattern. Select all the created objects (Command + A), and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle 200 by 200 px, the same as we have created in the first step and put it somewhere over our model.

## Step 12

Turn off the fill and stroke of the rectangle and move it below all the objects (Shift + Command + Left Square Bracket).

Select all the objects (Command + A) and go to Edit > Define Pattern and save the pattern.

Now you can create any shape and apply the created seamless pattern to its fill.

## Conclusion

I hope this tutorial will come in handy to create your own interesting backgrounds. As far as I know, seamless pattern is always in demand in micro-stock such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto. So get down to work!

• HopeZ

Fantastic! I’ve banged my head against the wall trying to achieve this when I needed a seamless pattern – This rocks and I really appreciate it!

• http://www.lukeswenson.com Luke Swenson

Nice tutorial and perfect timing! I’m designing a pattern for one of my clients to use throughout various collateral. I can’t wait to try it out!

• Eric Greenfield

i notice that if you resize one of the objects in the grid. you have to reapply the grid graphic style otherwise it wont be seamless.

this was a great tutorial and very informative on how powerful illustrator can be.

also why is there a need for that bottom rectangle? in the last step?

otherwise thanks!

• Ray

@ Eric Greenfield

You always need that bottom square when making a tiling texture. It tells Illustrator where the boundary of the tile is; if you try to make the tile without the bottom square Illustrator will simply draw a bounding box around all of the shapes you have selected and set that as the dimensions of the tile.

• http://www.seventhfury.com Matthew Johnson

Excellent tutorial! I’ve always wondered how to do this with complex shapes, I’ll definitely have to give this a go. Thanks for the tips!

• http://www.9livesillustrations.com Amanda Bodack

Thank you so much for sharing this, really wonderful tip!!! Two little things I got stuck on in case anyone else runs into it, make sure the initial shape you create is somewhat smaller than the original square you use to create the pattern or things will be too close together. Also for some reason illustrator wouldn’t let me apply the pattern properly unless I grouped my shape. (I was pasting in from a previously designed pattern so that might be it.) Thanks again! :)

Amanda

• Steve

Yep, complex seamless patterns does my head in. This is a great tip! Thanks

• Steve

After playing around with this, I’m just wondering if you can advise/ confirm a issue with this method.

After creating a pattern, I create a simple shape and fill it with the pattern. Then I save it as a symbol to use it say with the perspective grid. The symbol with this pattern is not shown in perspective so I expand it a few times to allow it to be shown in perspective. However this process seems to be very intensive and dramatically slows my machine to a crawl.

• steve

Regards top comment.

In step 12 I found If I moved the rectangle to the top layer and perform a pathfinder crop (instead of selecting all) and then defined it as a pattern I found it less computer intensive when trying to use it with perspective grid

1) defined pattern using Patherfinder crop
2) define a shape using pattern
3) Object/expand (twice) the shape
4) defined symbol from this shape

I found I could now easily this symbol in perspective

• http://www.dinpattern.com Evan

Great tutorial! I’ll have to try this out.

• http://alove4horses.com Joni Solis

Can I then save a small image of the created pattern for use on a web page? What area on the pattern do I have to select?

• http://bucketothought.com/loungekat/blog/ LoungeKat

just the shape you work on. So the graphic shape that’s cropped to make the repeat in Illustrator.

• http://www.theaperezdesign.com thea

great tutorial! Thanks!!!

Thanks for this awesome tutorial! The same process can be used to make seamless half-drop repeats, brick repeats, etc. In Step 2, just alter your values in x or y to be half of your original square.

• http://www.linetoweb.com Raj Mehta

Nice pattern

:)

• Joachim

HOLY!!
Amazing man!

• nanker phelge

Great tut dude

• Daniel Luqman Malcolm

any chance of an update for cs6? I found Pattern>make in the options, but for some reason, doing this my tile has big black bits in it like the corner of the background square. It makes no sense as that is behind the stones….