Illustrator Trick #3: Repeated Patterns

Repeated dot patterns in illustrator

Do you have any idea how this repeated pattern is done in illustrator? If your answer is using Ctrl/Command+D to duplicate circles into rows, throw that idea away! Corey from Layers TV Episode will be showing his trick on created repeated pattern tiles easily using Effect>Distort & Transform>Transform. This is much powerful as you can make further adjustments under Appearance Palette. Here is a summary how it is done:

  • Create a single instance of the shape you want to use
  • Go to the Effects menu and choose Transform
  • Use the Transform options to create your pattern
  • You can see the effects of your option adjustments as you make them because this is a live effect
  • After you’ve made your pattern, apply another Transform effect to the entire thing
  • Go to Expand Appearance to turn the pattern into a regular group of objects
  • Use Free Transform with the Command/Ctrl key to distort the pattern
  • Draw a shape over the pattern, select both objects, and create a clipping mask

Remember to watch the full video tutorial from Layers TV Episode 35.

Back to 101 Illustrator Tips & Tricks »

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  1. For us ‘dummies’ out here, could you perhaps give a few screen shots ‘as you go’ to provide a little more explanation of the steps taken? Thanks – and would be muchly appreciated.

  2. This is so easy! I figured it out myself with your instructions and played around with the Transform. This is such an useful, cool tip that saves time making patterns! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make reader to read the while thing to the end. I would like to read more of your blogs and to share my thoughts with you.

  4. Hello.. . I would be grateful for advice on creative writing copywright issues.. . When submitting poetry, short stories, novels, or features to publishers and literary agents to consider for publication, is it an idea to protect the copywright?. . If so, what’s the best way to do this?. . Thank you in advance.. . bgscotty.

  5. Anyone complaining about these instructions needs to RTFM or google terms they don’t understand e.g. how to use transform.
    I’ve been using illustrator for 3 days and i understood it just fine.
    Concise and to the point instructions are a refreshing change to all the 2 page articles and 20min videos about.

  6. This may help some of you..

    1. make a small circle
    2. go to effects -> distort & transform -> transform
    3. set the move horizontal and move vertical to say 20px
    4. make sure preview is checked at the bottom
    5. set the number of copies to say 20
    6. set transform objects to ticked
    7. set reflect y to ticked
    8. look at a nice line of repeated circles

    Still not sure how to make it do more than one row without copying and pasting the circle.

  • Lorraine Clark

    Nope not working, leave a step out somewhere?
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Adam www.adamkdean.co.uk

    This may help some of you.. 1. make a small circle 2. go to effects -> distort & transform -> transform 3. set the move horizontal and move vertical to say 20px 4. make sure preview is checked at the bottom 5. set the number of copies to say 20 6. set transform objects to ticked 7. set reflect y to ticked 8. look at a nice line of repeated circles Still not sure how to make it do more than one row without copying and pasting the circle.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Vong khenghong

    Please share images tutorial Sir/Madam. Many thanks.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • annonymous

    Anyone complaining about these instructions needs to RTFM or google terms they don't understand e.g. how to use transform. I've been using illustrator for 3 days and i understood it just fine. Concise and to the point instructions are a refreshing change to all the 2 page articles and 20min videos about.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • best buy to let mortgages www.buy-to-let-remortgage.com/

    Hello.. . I would be grateful for advice on creative writing copywright issues.. . When submitting poetry, short stories, novels, or features to publishers and literary agents to consider for publication, is it an idea to protect the copywright?. . If so, what's the best way to do this?. . Thank you in advance.. . bgscotty.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Helen Matts dominicanallinclusivepackages.blogspot.com/2011/04/chicago-blues-clubs-night-out-on-town.html

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make reader to read the while thing to the end. I would like to read more of your blogs and to share my thoughts with you.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • sebastiz www.nhd.com

    These instructions are pretty bad. A bit like saying that to build a car 1. Get wheels 2. Drive
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Mindy

    This is so easy! I figured it out myself with your instructions and played around with the Transform. This is such an useful, cool tip that saves time making patterns! Thanks for sharing!
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • MichaelV ab-workouts-to-look-hot.com

    For us 'dummies' out here, could you perhaps give a few screen shots 'as you go' to provide a little more explanation of the steps taken? Thanks - and would be muchly appreciated.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Rahim

    Hey - i can't understand.. pls explain...
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • corey

    I wish you have a priview step(picture) for that step.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
7 More Comments