Patterns are an easy and effective way to add texture and interest to your artwork, and Illustrator makes this task especially straightforward by offering tools for easily creating and applying them to shapes.
But sometimes patterns appear distorted in terms of color or size when applied to objects. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to recolor patterns to address such problems.
If you are using patterns as fills or strokes, editing their color could not be simpler. First, select your pattern swatch from the Swatches panel using either click-and-drag, keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+A (Windows) or Shift+Command+A (Mac), then clicking on New Swatch button in top right corner to open a window where you can name and specify its color type (RGB, CMYK etc), mode type as well as its opacity settings.
Once you’ve created a custom pattern swatch, you can apply it to your artwork in much the same way that solid colors would. Keep in mind that any patterns you create should be saved; otherwise they won’t appear in your Swatches panel or be usable across documents.
Adobe Illustrator includes some standard patterns you can use as examples or inspiration when designing your own patterns. These patterns can be found in the Swatches panel of User Defined section; and even with changes made to their background color you may make the patterns more noticeable.
Double-clicking the pattern swatch opens the Pattern Options dialog box, which provides more customization of how your pattern appears and repeats; you can change how often it repeats; you can alter gaps between each repetition; as well as specifying its scale percentage for application to objects and shapes.
Clicking on the checkbox next to “Name with Color Value” allows each swatch in your Swatches panel to show its respective hue values when hovering over it – perfect if working with clients who rely on specific systems like CMYK! In addition, use the bottom-right button of this panel to recolor artwork if necessary.
Swatches panel offers several ways for changing pattern colors. Harmony Colors helps link similar hues together so they match, which can help if you want to create a specific hue you can then apply across multiple objects in your design. Autocolor automatically recolors artwork based on colors you have used previously – this feature saves both time and effort when working with patterns!
If you would like to alter a pattern, simply double-click its swatch in the Swatches panel to open an editing window that enables you to make modifications such as changing its repeat and setting how much overlap occurs, as well as renaming or setting its width and height. Once finished editing your pattern, click Done to exit Isolation Mode.
Swatches Panel can also help you quickly create new pattern swatches. Simply select any color or gradient in your artwork, drag it onto the Swatches Menu, and a new swatch with same name and value will be created; any existing ones with same names/values will be deleted automatically as long as it’s not process color.
Keep in mind that any changes made to a pattern swatch will affect all objects in the file that use it, from fills and strokes to patterns applied directly onto shapes – as global rather than object-specific swatches are global in their effects.
A great way to create patterns is to drag something from your artwork and drop it onto the Swatches panel, where it will automatically become a swatch. From there, drag that swatch over into whatever shape or object you are working on so it applies it directly.
If you’ve ever applied a pattern to a shape, you know how tedious the process of altering its color or size can be. Illustrator makes this much simpler by enabling you to rotate it alongside its shape application – an amazing feature many users may never even be aware of being there!
Editing a swatch
Illustrator makes changing pattern colors easy; simply select a swatch with the color you desire, click the “Edit Pattern” button in the Swatches panel, and enter into a dialog box that allows you to change its hue, scale, or other properties. Once complete editing has taken place on one swatch, simply save and close this dialog box before selecting “Save Swatch” again!
After creating a custom swatch pattern, it can be applied to any shape or object within your document. Simply select the item you want to apply the pattern to, click its associated Swatches panel swatch and apply. At any point in time you can change this pattern or remove it altogether.
Swatches allow you to quickly create patterns from shapes. Simply select and drag any shape onto the Swatches panel; from there you can drag it directly into Shape Builder for further modification and repeating pattern creation. This method provides an easy and versatile solution for making repeatable patterns across a document.
Swatches offer another useful feature to create more organic looking designs: you can alter the opacity of the pattern fill layer itself – useful when trying out various organic effects – without having to recolor your artwork beneath. However, it should be noted that opacity will only change on this particular layer; not on its underlying artwork itself. This prevents having to redo any artwork when applying the pattern fill layer.
Make patterns using Illustrator’s overhead menu: Object > Pattern > Make. This will produce a simple dotted pattern that you can quickly use in your designs. If you aren’t satisfied with its appearance, change its opacity or blending mode; but keep in mind that not every blending mode works well with patterns; some can actually cause it to vanish! To access available blending modes use Pattern Options panel’s drop-down arrow next to “Opacity”, complete listing can be found in its PDF documentation that comes included with Illustrator.
Recoloring a swatch
Patterns can be an extremely versatile element of Illustrator, from repeatable tiles for backgrounds to filling shapes with texture or making text stand out against its background. But for newcomers to patterns, creating them might seem complicated at first. We will help you navigate Illustrator’s swatch library to design custom pattern swatches which you can then apply directly onto shapes or objects within your document.
First, open the Swatches Window by clicking the Library icon at the bottom left of the Swatches panel. Next, click Pattern and choose from one of the available patterns from your Pattern list to add it as a swatch in your Swatch Library for use filling objects or backgrounds. Alternatively, hold down Ctrl while clicking and dragging an individual swatch directly into another Swatch Library if you prefer copying over pasting it from one library to another.
Once a swatch has been added to your Swatch Library, changing its color is as easy as clicking Edit. You can also reduce its size using Transform Patterns from the Color menu – though please be wary not to overuse this feature or the pattern could become pixelated!
Recolor an existing pattern by selecting its swatch and choosing “Recolor Artwork” from the Current Colors menu. A dialog box will appear that allows you to recolor your artwork based on the colors selected; when clicked OK, a new swatch pattern containing those hues will be generated automatically.
Recoloring an existing pattern will alter the colors of objects that feature this design, so if you want to preserve any original work by saving before recoloring it. Otherwise, your changes will be lost once the Recolor Artwork dialog box closes.