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exporting seamless pattern tile for output?

May 31, 2012 3:50 AM

Tags: #export #output #cs6 #pattern #maker #swatch

Hi,

The new Pattern Maker is great in Illustrator CS6 but can it be of any use for textile design? Once the pattern is created I just need the actual pattern tile which I can send for output as seamless pattern. There does not seem to be any export option for the actual tile? Hope this makes sense. Tried creating an artboard to match the size of the pattern tile and fill that with that pattern but that does not work and the pattern is not seamless afterwards

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2012 12:48 PM   in reply to kociara7

    kociara7 wrote:

     

    The new Pattern Maker is great in Illustrator CS6 but can it be of any use for textile design? Once the pattern is created I just need the actual pattern tile which I can send for output as seamless pattern. There does not seem to be any export option for the actual tile? Hope this makes sense. Tried creating an artboard to match the size of the pattern tile and fill that with that pattern but that does not work and the pattern is not seamless afterwards

     

    Preface: I do not presently own CS6. Given that, here are my 2 cents, if I am wrong in my statements below I would like to be corrected and advised otherwise. They are solely based on things I have read and seen regarding the new Pattern Maker Tool in Illustrator CS6. Thanks everyone.

     

    ------------

     

    IMHO:

     

    The "Adobe Illustrator CS6 Pattern Maker Tool" is a great concept of a feature, however its seems somewhat underdeveloped in certain areas, even though its being touted and used as a major selling point for Illustrator CS6. The lack of a direct method from with in the Pattern Maker Tool to export your pattern(s) is certainly a glaring drawback. I would certainly expect for the ability to save the pattern swatch as a vector .eps , .pdf ,  as well as a high-res bitmap .png , .tif , .psd , etc…

     

    Here is a recent thread about using "Save for Web" with the Pattern Maker Tool:

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4395971

     

    But even that seems to be rather non-conformed to any standard or ease of use. I truly hope Adobe refines and matures the "Illustrator CS6 Pattern Maker Tool" in a timely manner as it seems like it was rushed to market as an under developed tool and needs refined and improved upon quickly and an update released to improve upon its current status.

     

    Another major drawback is the inability to easily target all 17 wallpaper groups.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallpaper_group

     

    I feel and assume that all 17 groups should be be natively supported as well as the built in export options from the Pattern Tool itself, as mentioned above.

     
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    Jun 1, 2012 12:59 PM   in reply to kociara7

    Drag the swatch to the artboard from the swatch panel there's your tile.

     
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    Jun 1, 2012 1:57 PM   in reply to kociara7

    I don't know what  you are talking about there is no background in Illustrator turn on the transparency grid and see for yourself.

     

    The tile is a no fil no stroke object essentially.

     
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    Jun 1, 2012 2:04 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    Here see for yourself

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 5.02.51 PM.png

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 5.03.13 PM.png

     
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    Jun 1, 2012 3:00 PM   in reply to kociara7

    The tile I am showing you is the same as a seamless tile made in any previous version as far as I know there is not difference it has the no fill no stroke rectangle defining the tile.

     

    If you are saying you need the art actually trimmed that is easy enought to do.

     

    I do not really see the problem do as you yourself suggest drag the swatch to the canvas turn on smart guide select the tile rectangle copy paste inf front

     

    Object>Artboard Convert to Artboard as as an AI file but select to export artboards and select a range and select the artboard

     

    Or copy and paste in front Object>Path>Devide Objects below and delete the extra parts.

     

    I don't see the problem

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 5.56.15 PM.png

     
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    Jun 1, 2012 3:04 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    And it has a transparent background as before

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 6.02.06 PM.png

     
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    Jun 2, 2012 5:29 AM   in reply to kociara7

    kociara,

     

    You are misinterpreting the intent of the feature. It's not a utility for exporting some kind of special seamless tile format to external vertical-market, industry-specific production applications. It's just an enhancement of the age-old Pattern Swatch feature of Illustrator, intended for use in Illustrator artwork. After being used, the result is just ordinary Illustrator artwork like any other. It can be exported in the same ways that any other ordinary Illustrator artwork can be exported, with the same caveats and limitations of the chosen export format.

     

    If you  have an external application that can, for example, import .ai or .eps or .pdf as a vector graphic or can import a PNG with alpha transparency, then flop and replicate that graphic to make a seamlessly repeating pattern, then you can do that just like you could prior to this feature. But it's not meant to be a "format" that is exported to some other program and understood by that other other program as a tiling command. It's just a drawing feature inside Illustrator. It's just a tiling command inside Illustrator.

     

    ...but can it be of any use for textile design?

    By way of analogy, consider the fact that Illustrator artwork is quite commonly delivered to embroidery shops for use in imprinting garments. But that doesn't mean that the Illustrator file contains anything specific to the embroidery industry's workflow, software or equipment. The Illustrator file doesn't include any commands to fill a path with stitches. What's delivered is just ordinary Illustrator artwork. The embroidery shop may ro may not be able to import the Illustrator paths into an embroidery application which then fills them with stitch commands.

     

    By the same token, exporting the artwork paths contained in an Illustrator Pattern (whether old or new) just yields normal AI paths. It doesn't export tiling commands to be understood by some other program.

     

    JET

     
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    Jun 2, 2012 6:45 AM   in reply to kociara7

    After all the process of creating seamless tile has been much improved in creating the elements needed for overlap automatically so why not go just a step further and be able to actually output the ready made tile with all the overlapping items in the right position?

    Because the importing program would have to somehow suddenly understand that "overlapping." So you are left with what you had before this change to Illustrator's Patter Swatches: You have trim away the outboard portions of the actual repeating tile.

     

    JET

     
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    Jun 2, 2012 7:24 AM   in reply to kociara7

    I'll do a little video.

     

    I understand now that you do not actually want a format  as such but just a clean way of getting the srt as a baic tile without having to match upp everything  manually and this can much more easily be done withthe new pattern tool.

     

    And actually you  answered your own question you'll see what I msean when I do the video.

     
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    Jun 2, 2012 9:09 AM   in reply to kociara7

    Here is a video I see that you actually expect for this to be an automatic process it is not but on the other had it does not take very long to accomplish.

     

    http://www.wadezimmerman.com/videos/TextilePattern.mov

     
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    Jun 3, 2012 8:11 AM   in reply to kociara7

    Don't be surprise if you meet someone in your industry and in your conversation you tell them your tried Illustrator and it did not work and the respond back hey we use it all the time and it save us a lot of time.

     

    I have a feeling thyis will be the case.

     
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    Jun 3, 2012 3:11 PM   in reply to kociara7

    then just select the tile path and make certain it is on top and then select all and command or control 7 that should do it as well.

     

    If masked srt will work that is easy as pie.

     

    Here it is clipped

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-03 at 6.03.09 PM.png

     

    here it is with four tiles piece together manually as viewed in Acrobat if i can do this manually then the softwaare ashould be able to stitch it without a hitch. Otherwise your software is nothing.

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-03 at 6.07.40 PM.png

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 7:30 AM   in reply to kociara7

    I think it can be even simpler to save the pattern tile only. No need to delete paths (that can indeed be tricky).

    I created a new Web document. Dragged the pattern named Jive to the artboard.

    This is a complex pattern. To see the rectangle that defines the pattern it's easier to go to Outline View.

    Select all and Ungroup.

    Select the rectangle.

    Select the Artboard tool (zoom in enough to be able to only click the rectangle) and double click the selected rectangle.

    Or go to Object/Artboards/Fit to Selected Art.

    That's it! The artboard becomes the size of the rectangle.

    Save the file or export it as an image.

     

    regards,

     

    Ton

     

    PatternTileExample.jpg

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 7:21 AM   in reply to kociara7

    That means your printer is probably reading the pdf part of the ai file and not the postscript. Is the rip for your printer postscript if so then it would be odd that it does not read the eps.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 8:08 AM   in reply to kociara7

    Thanks, good to hear it worked for you.

    When you export, or do a save for web, you get only the pattern tile.

    When you save the artboard as .ai. it will have the other elements in the file (for use by Illustrator), but they are not shown when you place them in InDesign or when you open the .ai file in Photoshop.

     

    Ton

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 9:11 AM   in reply to kociara7

    Don't forget the Use Artboards checkbox on export...

     
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    Jun 12, 2012 12:18 PM   in reply to kociara7

    Kociara7,

    This is what I do for online fabric printing like at Spoonflower: make the artboard the exact size of the repeat unit and then export and a png or jpeg. (like Ton showed). For art to hand off to a client, you may not really have to trim it - but if they are requesting an .ai file exactly the size of the repeating unit, you could do what Wade suggested, but first Expand all the strokes in your art before trimming. Object > Expand

     

    They will then be closed shapes that you can trim without "re-rendering" like strokes do. It's not a perfect solution, because other things may "re-render" too like gradients, but it's pretty close. I've managed to work with clients using Ai for repeats, but I work more in paper goods (gift wrap, gift bags) than in fabric.

     
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    Jun 12, 2012 12:40 PM   in reply to coyleart

    And just to add to this discussion... I like the new CS6 pattern feature in some ways, but one serious limitation is the ability to work on the pattern with a background color other than white. Maybe I'm missing something, so I'd love to hear back. While in pattern editing mode, you are launched into something like isolation mode, so the layers panel is internal to the feature - menaing that even if you placed a big red square on your background layer in your file, you won't see the background in pattern editing mode.

     

    If you try to create a repeating background by placing a solid color tile behind your pattern elements (in pattern mode), you get to work with a background color - but the overlap causes lots of problems for the repeating elements above the background. For a complex pattern like a floral, this is pretty difficult - even as a temporary work-around.

     
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    Jun 13, 2012 7:25 AM   in reply to kociara7

    I was just testing with a half-drop repeat - and I agree with you that anything more complex than a grid repeat is going to have serious overlap issues when using a solid background. The workaround of creating the pattern and adding the background later works fine, but it's not ideal, it would be better to be able to guage the contrast and color as you work. Maybe they will add this feature in a future version. I'm enjoying this new feature a lot, but I'm still getting used to it! I think there are a few improvements that could make this even better for surface designers.

     
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    Jun 17, 2012 4:28 AM   in reply to kociara7

    @kociara7

    I do not see problems with other repeat modes, it is just a matter of selecting the right (most inner) rectangle to create the artboard (Object / Artboards / Fit to Selected Art)

    Adding the background colour when exporting the pattern is easy.

    With the rectangle still selected, fill it with a color.

    @coyleart

    Adding a background colour during the creation of something like a Hex repeat does probably not give you what you would expect.

    This is a good feature request and you can do that here:

    https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

     

    regards,

     

    Ton

     
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    Jun 24, 2012 7:54 AM   in reply to coyleart

    @coyleart

    In regard to background colour for patterns, here's what I do:

    After clicking 'done' in the pattern tile tool options, and once the pattern swatch has been saved in the palette, I drag the swatch from the palette to the artboard and then select just the bounding box and make a copy behind it, then fill the front bounding box with a selected colour. Then drag the whole swatch back to the swatch palette.

     

    @kociara7

    To create a seamless tile or 'technical box repeat', I drag the pattern swatch from palette to artboard as above, then copy and paste the bounding box elsewhere on the artboard (so you have a rectangle or square of same exact dimensions as the tile repeat), then fill with the pattern from the swatch palette.

     
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    Aug 28, 2012 2:41 AM   in reply to kociara7

    Triggered by this discussion I've uploaded a tutorial, dealing with a situation where you like to create your pattern swatch & artboard in a specific size.

    I hope this is helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEt7Q0iqONE

     

    Regards, Wim

     
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    Oct 17, 2012 8:38 AM   in reply to kociara7

    I ended up on this thread because I have been using Illustrator since Illustrator88, but this new "feature" has me stumped.  Is there a way to simply make patterns the way we could before???    I have TONS of patterns in AI that I sometimes need to create simple pattern fills from to use when designing other products. 

     

    Before, I would simply create a bounding box the size of the page (now artboard), choose "create pattern" and be done with it.  Is there a way to do that now? 

     

    I see that in the pattern editor you can choose to make the pattern tile the same size as the artboard which in essence *should* tile only what is on the artboard, but it shifts it ever so slightly so this is not the case and I cannot find a way around that.  Anybody?  Any help is apreciated. 

     

    I love it (not) when Adobe so over-engineers an "upgrade" that, instead of just working, you have to spend time finding out how to do something you used to do effortlessly.....

     
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    Oct 17, 2012 8:52 AM   in reply to JustWantToWorkNotSearchFo

    You can still create patterns the old way. Just create everything and drag into swatches panel.

     
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    Oct 17, 2012 9:02 AM   in reply to Monika Gause

    Thanks, Monica.  That does work, however it does leave a hairline where the edges of the pattern are.  Also, I have a few that simply will not drag into the swatch pallete..I make sure everything is unlocked, that there is a bounding box, that everything is selected and when I grab to drag to the swatch pallete, they just continue to drag across the workspace, not into the pallete....  Still, however curious about how to not get the pattern maker tile box to offset when using that particular tool.  Just seems odd that it does that.  

     
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