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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.

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About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for corey
    corey August 26th

    I wish you have a priview step(picture) for that step.

  2. Gravtar for Rahim
    Rahim November 24th

    Hey – i can’t understand.. pls explain…

  3. Gravtar for MichaelV
    MichaelV January 2nd

    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.

  4. Gravtar for Mindy
    Mindy April 7th

    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!

  5. Gravtar for sebastiz
    sebastiz July 2nd

    These instructions are pretty bad. A bit like saying that to build a car
    1. Get wheels
    2. Drive

  6. Gravtar for Helen Matts
    Helen Matts November 14th

    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.

  7. Gravtar for best buy to let mortgages
    best buy to let mortgages November 15th

    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.

  8. Gravtar for annonymous
    annonymous January 6th

    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.

  9. Gravtar for Vong khenghong
    Vong khenghong October 23rd

    Please share images tutorial Sir/Madam. Many thanks.

  10. Gravtar for Adam
    Adam January 11th

    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.

  11. Gravtar for Lorraine Clark
    Lorraine Clark May 14th

    Nope not working, leave a step out somewhere?

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