Illustrator Special Effects #1: Marine Square Tiles

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In this first vector background tutorial, I will be teaching you how to create this marine tiles effect. You will learn how to create it effortlessly with the transform tool. So let’s get started…

Drawing The Tiles

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For the marine tiles, you will need a harmonic color scheme to match your pattern. Above is a suitable color palette I found from ColourLovers. Copy and paste it to your document. Next, draw a rounded square by holding shift to constrain the proportion. Use the color picker to pick the turquoise color from the color palette.

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Go to Effect>Distort & Transform>Transform. Select 15 copies and increase horizontal to 55pt to leave gaps in between the tiles. Click OK when done. This will create a row of horizontal tile.

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Now go to Effect>Distort & Transform>Transform again. Select 15 copies and increase vertical to -55pt to tile it vertically.

Coloring It With Different Tones

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We will need to expand the transformation to recolor the tiles. Go Object>Expand Appearance to expand the pattern. Click Ctrl/command+G 2 times to ungroup the tiles. Select some random tiles and use the color picker to picker a lighter tone.

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Repeat the steps above to set different randoms tones to your pattern.

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We will now resize the tiles randomly. Go to Object>Transform>Transform Each and set both horizontal and vertical scale to 90%.

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Select some random tiles you want to transform and press Ctrl/Command+D to repeat the previous transformation again to the tiles. This will resize it 90% smaller. Press Ctrl/Command+D a few more times to make the tiles smaller. Here is the final tiles pattern I have created using this technique. This might make a pretty interesting background effect for the back of your namecard. Good luck!

View the list of all 101 Illustrator special effects tricks at 101 Illustrator Special Effects.
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  1. Well this worked out damn good. I remember learning this a while ago, but I think it was called something like “step & repeat”. Thanks for the lesson!

  2. Awesome and so versatile! I did my version with stars instead if rounded squares and in an orange hues palette – turned out as fanatstic ๐Ÿ™‚

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