Learn how to make a half drop repeat pattern in Illustrator. In this video I show you how to use the Object Transform Move tool to create the pattern.
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Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. Today I’m going to show you how to create a half drop repeat pattern in Illustrator. Before we start creating half drop repeating pattern it’s worthwhile having a look at exactly what a half-drop repeat is. On the left here I have a very simple pattern. It’s just a series of stars side by side. And it’s created by just creating a pattern swatch from a single star in the middle of a document. It’s a plain sort of pattern that works well for some uses but it’s not as sophisticated as this one over here. You can see here that the stars take up each other’s space. So if we were to draw a line through the edge of each of the stars you’ll see that we run through the stars themselves. I’m just going to get the line tool. I’m going to concentrate on this star here. And if I draw a line along where that star is you can see that other stars come into its space. And across here horizontally as well other stars work into the space that’s consumed by this star. There’s not a whole box of white around it. These stars are offset from each other. This is a half drop repeat and it’s a sophisticated style of pattern. And we’re going to look at how to create this now. I like to start with a new file that is a known size. So I’m just going to make mine 100 x 100 points. Just a regular square file is fine but you will need to know exactly how big it is because you’re going to need to work out what half of that is soon. So I’ll just click Ok. I’m just going to zoom out a little bit here and move my image into position where I can see it and the tools around it. We’re going to draw a heart with the pen tool just a filled pink heart. It’s not going to have a border on it and it’s going to be a bright pink so that we can see it. So with the pen tool selected I’m going to click and drag, click and drag, create my point down the bottom, click and drag up here and then click to finish. And this is my heart shape. Now I can neaten it up if I like. I’m just going to make this a little bit smaller so that we can create the repeating pattern from it. So I’m pretty happy with that heart shape. I’m just going to move it roughly into the middle of this square. And now we’re going to break it up into the corners. And we do that using the Object Transform Move feature. What we’re going to do here is we’re going to start with minus a half of the dimensions of the original image. Now the original image was 100 points x 100 points. So we’re going to make this 50 x 50, and we’re going in a negative direction. What we’re going to do is effectively put this heart up here, but we want to make a copy of it, not move it. So I’m going to click Copy. I’m going back to select my heart. I’m going to do that again, Object Transform Move. This time I’m going to put it down here. So I’m going to go minus 50 in a horizontal direction but plus 50 in a vertical direction. I’m just going to remove that minus. Let’s click Preview. You can see it’s going to go in exactly the right position, and I’ll click Copy. Do that again, Object Transform Move. This time we’re headed over here which is plus in a horizontal direction and plus in a vertical direction. Everything is measured from this top corner. So when we’re thinking of our heart moving down here we’re headed in a horizontal plus direction, vertical plus direction. I’ll preview it just to make sure it’s going in exactly the right spot and click Copy. We’ve one last transformation, Object Transform Move and we’re going to send it up in this top corner which is positive in a horizontal direction but it’s going negative in a vertical directions. So I’m just going to type a negative sign in here, preview it, make sure it looks all right, which it does, and click Copy. So this is our repeating pattern. And it’s a really nice tight repeat. This is going to look really good. So the next step is to grab the rectangle tool and just click here on the Art Board. And I want a rectangle the exact same size as my art board. So I’m typing in 100 x 100 and then I’m going to tap V for move and move it so it’s over the top of the art board. If I want to check I can read off my transform settings here. And what I’m looking for is that the X and Y values are one-half of the art board size and one-half of the rectangle size. So everything is in position, now I’m just going to take the fill off this rectangle or square shape. So it now has no fill and no stroke. It’s still selected which is what it should be, so I’m going to click Object Arrange Send to Back. So this shape needs to be at the very back. If we go into our layers we’ll see that it is just there. You can see its path is at the very back of everything. And it needs to be there. Now I’m going to press Ctrl or Command A, and that selects everything. I could also choose Select All but the key stroke is a little bit easier. I’m going to click on this. Let’s just go and Ctrl or Command A again just to make sure that I didn’t do the wrong thing there. And I’m going to drag and drop it into the swatches panel. And what I have now is a sophisticated half drop repeating pattern. To use it I’m going to need to save this swatch because otherwise I’m going to lose it. So I’m going to click the fly out menu for the Swatches pallet, choose Save Swatch Library as AI so it’s saved as an AI file, and I’m going to call this heart. We better call it heart three because it looks like there’s some other hearts before, and click Save. Now we can get rid of this particular pattern if we want to. I’m going to create a new art board, a new file, File New, and I’m just going to create a regular letter size landscape document. Let’s just get this in position so we can see it. I’m going to put a rectangle over the top of this document. And the rectangle can be filled with things such as orange color. It can also be filled with our pattern. But you can see that the pattern is not in the swatch. So we have to go and get the pattern before we can use it. Luckily it’s saved to disk as a file. Click the fly out menu, open swatch library, user-defined and then we’ll go and get heart three which is up here. And here is our heart swatch. You can see it here. And now if I click on this my shape my rectangle is now filled with my repeating pattern. This is a tighter repeat than we had in the other image but it’s a half drop repeating pattern. Now if we look at this and say well whatever we wanted to use this for whether it be fabric design or the background of some sort of project if we thought that we didn’t have enough hearts, we want the heart smaller we can do so, Object Transform Scale. And what we’re going to do here is scale the pattern but not the rectangle. We want the rectangle the same size as the art board. So we’re not going to transform objects but we are going to Transform Patterns. And I’m going to take this down to 50 percent, and let’s preview that. So that would give us more hearts, and if we went down even smaller we’d get more hearts. If we thought that our hearts weren’t big enough then we could go up to say 150 percent and then they would be bigger. And we could go up from here. So if you want more or less hearts inside your rectangle you’ll come into Object Transform Scale, you’ll turn off Transform Objects because you don’t want to make the rectangle any difference in size but you do want to transform the pattern inside the rectangle. So there you have creating a half-drop repeating pattern in Illustrator. Now this is going to work in a lot of versions of Illustrator. These tools have been around for a long time. There is a new feature in Illustrator CS6 which is what I’m using here. It makes it even easier to create repeating patterns And I’ll have a look at that in another video.