Archive for August, 2012

InDesign Secrets: Revealing the secret history of an InDesign document

Published by | Thursday, August 30th, 2012

In this week’s unlocked InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepción shows you a useful trick for revealing the hidden history of your InDesign document, using the Component Information screen. By holding down the Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) key and choosing About InDesign (under the InDesign menu on a Mac, or the Help menu in Windows), you will reveal more information about your document than is normally available. This can be useful if you’re troubleshooting a problematic document.

A breakdown of the Component Information screen in an Adobe Indesign document

At the top left, you’ll see the current technical information about the build that you’re working with. This can be helpful in the event you’re speaking to tech support or colleagues in an InDesign forum, where you might be experiencing known issues with your particular version. On the right is a list of information about the plug-ins that were used to create the document. Don’t worry over the ominously named Missing Plug-ins list. It just means whomever created the document had those plug-ins installed, not that they are critical to opening your document.

But the juiciest bit of history is presented in the lower left area. Here you can read all about which version of InDesign your document was originally created in, whether the document had ever been recovered from a crash, and all the times that the document was saved using Save As, and more.

So if, for example, your text wraps were behaving oddly, you could find out that you’re working from a document that had been created in InDesign CS2 and thus might get a clue as to why your CS5 document wasn’t honoring text wraps correctly despite showing all signs that they should. (This really happened to me in my book-editing days; we had been updating a book—about InDesign, ironically—from previous editions for so long that we’d outgrown the way the program constructed text wraps.)

Anne-Marie notes that if you want to keep pesky task-mastering editors and other technical folk from knowing your complete document history, you can export your document to an IDML file and erase all traces. For lynda.com members, check out InDesign Secrets episode 010, where David Blatner describes the INX/IDML conversion process.

Meanwhile, for this week’s exclusive InDesign Secret, David Blatner has a video episode in our library that shows you how to create custom running heads based on section markers. Since section markers aren’t an outwardly facing element of your final document, this is a handy tip for automating your running heads behind the scenes.

David and Anne-Marie will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign Secrets biweekly series
• Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción on lynda.com
• All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
• 
InDesign CS6 New Features
 InDesign CS6 Essential Training
• 
Creating Long Documents with InDesign

Deke’s Techniques: Creating an optimal Facebook cover image in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland shows you how to create a perfectly spaced, sized, and positioned Facebook cover photo. Sure, you could take your chances and upload a carefully selected photo for your cover image, then hope limited repositioning controls in Facebook let you adequately present your creative vision. Or you could watch this week’s movie and find out how to craft your cover in Photoshop ahead of time, to present a vision that’s exactly what you want for your Facebook page.


The key to getting things positioned precisely is creating a template that allows you to plan your composition exactly. Specifically, here are the dimensions that you want:

Template of a standard Facebook cover with dimensions marked

Although the 851 x 315 dimensions of the standard Facebook cover is fairly common knowledge, the key to ultimately having your cover and the smaller inset profile picture work together with technical accuracy is to anticipate in Photoshop how the two will visually interact. In this project, Deke’s goal is to have text that spans across the cover photo actually look as though it begins inside the smaller profile photo. (His kooky brush tiki man also spans across both images.) This requires some deft use of smart objects, layer masks, duplication, trimming, and of course, the Save for Web command. Here is the result of Deke’s project:

Final Facebook cover art with text spanning seamlessly from inset into banner

Of course, you can extrapolate from this technique to create your own professionally crafted cover photo for your own personal or business page. And members of lynda.com can watch this week’s exclusive video, in which Deke continues the project by showing you how he got his inset profile image to work as part of the larger cover photo, replete with letter D and the handle of the brush character positioned so that they flow from one image to the next.

Learn more:

• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com
• Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com
• All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

CSS pre-processors part two: Mixins and nesting

Published by | Monday, August 27th, 2012

In my last article, An Introduction to LESS and Sass pre-processed CSS languages, I wrote about using variables with CSS pre-processors. Having the ability to use variables will save you enough time to justify learning pre-processors, but there are two other features in Sass and LESS that will save you even more time: nesting and mixins.

Sass versus LESS

Pre-processors allow you to code in a language that’s similar to CSS, but with additional features. Most people are on the fence about adding them to their repertoire because there are two competing high-profile standards: LESS and Sass.

I remember having a similar problem a few years ago trying to decide between jQuery mobile and other JavaScript libraries. Sass and LESS are so similar that it almost doesn’t really matter which one you learn. Switching in between them is pretty easy, so ultimately it’s learning about the concepts that matters. Yes, there are some features specific to each language like guarded mixins in LESS and conditionals in Sass, but I imagine that as the languages develop further, they will each keep up with the other.

Pick one

The important thing is what you plan to do with the languages. If you’re planning to use a framework like BootStrap, from Twitter, then it’s a good idea to go with LESS because Boostrap was written with LESS. If you want a nearly identical framework that uses Sass, check out Foundation. Although Sass requires you to install Ruby, you’ll want to use something like CodeKit to manage your pre-processors.

My advice: Pick one framework and get good with it.

Before we start coding, keep in mind that when I’m talking about Sass, I’m speaking of the newer version with an .scss extension. It’s easier to learn for CSS users because it lets you use CSS syntax and style you may already know.

Nesting

Besides variables, another awesome thing you can do with pre-processors is nesting. Let’s say you’ve developed a simple horizontal nav bar for your site.

<ul>
<li><a href="#">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="#">About us</a></li>
<li><a href="#">Info</a></li>
</ul>

Here’s a typical way to write CSS to make this into a nav bar:

ul {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
font: bold 1em/1.2em Helvetica, Arial;
}
ul li {
list-style: none;
}
ul li a {
float: left;
background: #BA0436;
text-decoration: none;
color: white;
display: block;
padding: 10px;
}
ul li a:hover {
background: #EEC25C;
color: black;
}

A simple nav bar written with CSS

As your CSS file gets bigger, the number of styles that are children of other styles increases. In either Sass or LESS, you can do the same thing, like this:

ul {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
font: bold 1em/1.2em Helvetica, Arial;
li {
list-style: none;
a {
float: left;
background: #BA0436;
text-decoration: none;
color: white;
display: block;
padding: 10px;
&:hover {
background: #EEC25C;
color: black;
}
}
}
}

This way, the li selector is written inside the ul selector and the a selector is inside the li selector as if they were another rule. Notice that because we are using a pseudo-class, I have to add the ampersand (&) before the :hover selector.

Nesting doesn’t necessarily save you a ton of time, but it makes your code cleaner. When coding CSS, designers can sometimes add new rules where they don’t belong: nesting helps you keep everything tidy.

Both Sass and LESS implement mixins the same way, so there’s no need to show you the difference between the two.

Mixins

If you liked variables, you’re going to love mixins. They are snippets of code you can reuse over and over in your CSS. You can use them with variables to make coding in CSS easier. Let’s take a look at how you would code a simple top-to-bottom gradient using regular CSS.

.mybox {
  background-color: #333745;
  background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#DAEDE2),
to(#77C4D3));
  background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #DAEDE2, #77C4D3);
  background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #DAEDE2, #77C4D3);
  background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #DAEDE2, #77C4D3);
  background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, #DAEDE2, #77C4D3);
}

To make sure the gradient displays in as many older browsers as possible, we have to include code for different versions of Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It almost makes you want to stop doing gradients in your CSS. We can use variables to simplify this. Let’s try that with a Sass example.

First, we’ll create two variables for the colors somewhere in our .scss file:

$from: #333745;
$to: #77C4D3;

Once we have that, we can modify our gradient to use the variables:

$from: #333745;
$to: #77C4D3;
.mybox {
  background-color: $from;
  background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from($from), to($to));
  background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
  background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
  background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
  background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, $from, $to);
}

Modifying the gradients to use variables works great and it will save you a lot of time. But what if you wanted to reuse this for other declarations? That’s where mixins come in. You can create snippets of code and reuse them. Let’s create a mixin for linear gradients using the code above as a base.

$from: #333745;
$to: #77C4D3;
@mixin lgradient {
  background-color: $from;
  background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from($from), to($to));
  background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
  background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
  background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
  background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, $from, $to);
}

This makes working with gradients more manageable, but it will only work with one set of from/to colors. We can easily improve on this by putting these variables within our mixin. If you know JavaScript, this is like writing a function. Here’s the syntax in Sass.

@mixin lgradient($from: #333745, $to: #77C4D3) {
background-color: $from;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from($from), to($to));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, $from, $to);
background-image:  linear-gradient(to bottom, $from, $to);
}

Now, when we want to use our gradient in our box, we can just type the following:

.mybox {
@include lgradient;
}

Adding this line of code will create the gradient with the default colors, but since they’re variables, you can create any top-to-bottom linear gradient and specify the colors in your .scss file.

.mybox {
@include lgradient(#FCC,#FEE);
}

Now you have an easier way to create gradients. Let’s check out the code in LESS:

.lgradient(@from, @to) {
background-color: @from;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(@from),
to(@to));
background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, @from, @to);
background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, @from, @to);
background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, @from, @to);
background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, @from, @to);
}
.mybox {
 .lgradient(#CCC,#DDD);
}

Pretty similar, except that the dollar signs ($) are replaced by @ symbols and there is no mixin keyword. You can see how pre-processors will help you write CSS more efficiently. If you haven’t already taken the plunge, what are you waiting for?


Interested in more?
• All web + interactive courses on lynda.com
• All courses from Ray Villalobos on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• CSS: Core Concepts
 CSS Fundamentals
 CSS3 First Look
 Managing CSS in Dreamweaver

Bruce Rich’s insatiable quest for knowledge

Published by | Friday, August 24th, 2012

Bruce Rich has watched 25,341 videos from the lynda.com video library. Thought of in a different way, he has consumed 52 full days worth of knowledge. It’s like watching eight hours of educational TV every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a complete year. It’s like watching the complete Star Wars saga ninety-five times.

lynda.com member Bruce Rich in a room that has 508 lynda.com certificates of completion lining the walls and the floor.

Bruce Rich has completed 508 courses, and has the certificates to prove it.

The amount of time Rich spends watching educational videos may seem outlandish. But if you’ve read Outliersyou are familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s rule that 10,000 hours of practice leads to mastery of a topic—a competency. Most of us have worked on something for 10,000 hours, so Rich is unique only in that he’s mastered two and one-half competencies. Think of it like a master’s degree.

“I very seldom watch TV,” says Rich. “I get up early and do training instead. My son says I’m off in my own little world.”

During the daylight hours, Rich is the president of Hot Off The Press, Inc., a commercial printer located in Des Plaines, Illinois. He’s worked in the printing industry for 40 years, starting with letterpress, moving to offset, and now supplying brochures, catalogs, and banners. His next goal is supplying web sites and mobile app development for his customers.

“I have a customer with 100,000 products on his web site,” says Rich. “I made some suggestions, and now he wants me to take it over. I need to learn more before I take that on, but lynda.com shows you everything you need.”

Rich uses a couple of tricks to speed up his learning. Because he’s paying close attention while watching, he speeds the playback to double-speed, then slows it down when he needs to practice an example. He uses the exercise files and transcripts to preview and review the material.

“Deke moves fast,” says Rich. “Pausing the playback is crucial. When you’re doing the exercises, your hand is getting trained.”

Bruce Rich enjoys learning, and his customers benefit from his newfound knowledge. Rich used information from Deke McClelland and Chris Orwig to improve a product shot for Stewarts Coffee in Chicago. The company was thrilled with the results: a coffee can without hotspots.

“Customers see the certificates on the wall, and when they realize I’ve taken a course in something, they ask me for help,” says Rich. “I use the videos on lynda.com to preview software before I buy it, and use it to research customer recommendations.”

What’s next? Rich swears he’ll be taking a break after he finishes the series on Adobe Creative Suite 6. But then…

“A friend wants to write iPhone apps,” he says. “I’ll need to learn some Cocoa and Objective-C.”

Perhaps Rich should start clearing another room for the next 500 certificates.

InDesign FX: Creating an embossed leather effect

Published by | Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show how to create the look of an embossed leather book cover. It’s a great example of how you can customize generic pieces of art with InDesign effects, and it illustrates the usefulness of the Hard Light blending mode.

An embossed leather book cover effect using the Hard Light blending mode in Adobe InDesign

The Hard Light blending mode is ideally suited for this effect because it allows you to easily hide the fill of an object (or text), while keeping the shadows and highlights of the Bevel and Emboss effect visible. The key point to remember is that a 50% black fill becomes transparent when Hard Light is applied to it. Anything darker or lighter than 50% black will remain visible. This is what allows us to apply embossing over photographic backgrounds and textures.

Making text look like embossed leather using the Hard Light blending mode in Adobe InDesign

Using the Hard Light blending mode in Adobe InDesign to apply embossing over photographic backgrounds and textures

By setting the direction of the bevel to Up or Down, you can create a raised design, or one that appears to be pressed into a surface.

Setting the direction of the bevel to Up or Down on the Effects panel in Adobe InDesign

You can make effects like this look even more natural by imitating details in the underlying photograph. In this case, I was careful to copy the angle of the lighting, and I used an Inverse Rounded corner option with a double stroke to match the real embossing in the photograph of the book cover.

Example of using the Inverse Rounded corner option with a double stroke in Adobe InDesign

The combination of Bevel and Emboss with Hard Light is really versatile. It’s useful for a lot more than just leather embossing. For example, try it over a photograph of wood grain for a quick carving effect.

Example of a carved wood effect achieved using the Bevel and Emboss with Hard Light effect in Adobe InDesign

One more important thing to remember is that Hard Light is one of the InDesign blending modes that yields different results with RGB and CMYK colors. To get the results shown in the video, it is essential to use RGB Transparency blend space. Choose Edit > Transparency Blend Space to check or change the blend space used by a document. For more information on outputting documents with RGB blend space to print, see my blog post “Getting effects into print.”

I also have another member-exclusive video in the lynda.com library this week called Creating a magnifying glass effect. In this new video, I show how to combine two photos in InDesign (along with some more blending mode magic) to make it look as if you’re viewing something through a magnifying glass.

Creating a magnifying glass effect in Adobe InDesign

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!

 

Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on lynda.com
• All courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign Secrets
• InDesign CS6 Essential Training 
• InDesign CS6 New Features 
 Deke’s Techniques

Inc. magazine names lynda.com among fastest-growing companies

Published by | Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

 

Inc. 5000 logoFor the third year in a row, lynda.com joins the ranks of the Inc. 5000, a list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies as compiled by Inc. Magazine. With 188 percent growth in the last three years, lynda.com ranks number 1,572 in the list of companies from industries as diverse as health, construction, finance, travel and real estate. Among education companies, lynda.com ranks number 32.

Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7: What’s new?

Published by | Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

A new version of one of my favorite projects from Adobe has just been released, and it has a new name: Adobe Edge is now Adobe Edge Animate. There’s a lot more under the hood than a name change. In this article, I’ll take a look at some of the changes from the previous version so you’ll be oriented when you install the new release.

What’s in a name?

Edge is now Edge Animate. The name clarifies one of the main features of the program. You could argue that it does a lot more than animation, but names like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign clearly convey the focus of the software; Edge by itself didn’t. People who like to shorten things will still call it by its old moniker, but at least the new name makes things clearer in a branding sense.

UI beautification

Edge Animate is a little more colorful than before. There are subtle changes here you might not notice unless you pull up the Preview 6 and 7 side by side.

A little color can go a long way to liven things up. The application looks a lot better. The palette used in the panels looks brighter and some of the labels and icons have changed.

The redesigned interface of Adobe Edge Animate 7 is brighter with new options

Properties panel

One of the biggest changes is the redesign of the Properties panel. Everything is a little cleaner and less boxy than before with more subtle pop-ups. For example, the ability to choose whether an imported image is coded as a DIV or an IMG is now embedded within the name of the element and disappears when an item that doesn’t need it (like a rectangle) is selected.

Adobe Edge 7 features a new properties panel that allows you to choose whether an image is coded as a DIV or an IMG

An additional pop-up is next to the name of the element where you can type in a custom class for the item.

Additional pop-up class that lets you specify a custom class for your element in the Adobe Edge 7 Properties panel

There are now many more options for creating keyframes directly from the Properties panel, which can be quite useful and are a welcomed addition. Overall items have been moved and rearranged.

Visibility options

Visibility options are now grouped at the top of the Properties panel in Adobe Edge 7

Visibility/overflow, opacity, and transparency form a new grouping at the very top of the panel followed by position and size below.

Responsiveness

The web has moved toward a responsive design approach, more and more widths are now specified as percentages instead of pixels. Edge Animate is one of the first animation programs that provide for a way to align things to a responsive Grid. You can specify proportionate measurements to just about everything starting with the stage.

The Adobe Edge Animate responsive design Grid allows you to specify percentage sizes rather than pixels

If you create a new document, check out the Properties panel on the left of the workspace. Next to each of the two dimensions (width and height), you’ll see a switch to turn responsive dimensions on. Once you do that, you’ll notice the option to resize the stage on your rulers. In other words, the stage itself is now resizable and responsive. There is now also an option for setting up a minimum width and height.

Adobe Edge Animate design Grid lets you specify a relative dimension or position

 

If you have an element onscreen, you can specify either the position (x/y) or the size (width/height) in percentages. When you specify a position in percentages and resize the screen, your element will move as the size of the screen changes. If you specify a dimension, it will resize as the screen changes. A preset pop-up is also available, which makes this even easier for you (see above).

Options that control responsiveness are on top of the Position and Size section of the Properties panel

On top of the position and size measurements, you’ll see options for how these measurements are applied. On the left you’ll find a small rectangle that controls how an object is aligned to the stage. By default, when the stage is resized, objects will align to the top left of the stage. By clicking on these squares you can change the alignment to the top, right, bottom, or left.

Next are some tabs that let you see global versus local measurements. Normally these will stay the same, but if you apply transformations, the values will be different for global/local coordinates and sizes. For the most part, you don’t have to mess with these and they work as you’d expect.

Set defaults for how an object is placed on the stage with the Layout Presents pop-up menu.

 

You can also set the defaults for how an element is positioned onscreen by going to the Layout Presets pop-up on the right side of this section.

Minimum width and height controls

 

At the bottom of the Position and Size section of the panel, there’s a pop-up control that expands to let you add minimum and maximum values for the width.

If you’re confused about these options, you can watch the video on resizing that has been added to the list of tutorials when you first open Edge Animate.

Drop shadows

The new drop shadows option in Adobe Edge Preview 7

Preview 7 adds drop shadows to the list of object properties and there is a Shadow section in the Properties panel where you can set the parameters.

You’ll see traditional controls for the position and the shadow blur that you’d expect in a program with CSS underpinnings. At the top of the section there’s an option to use either regular or inset shadows.

Like the shadow controls, clipping is now activated by a toggle but works pretty much the same as before.

Accessibility

Accessibility options on the Properties panel of Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

A new Accessibility section at the bottom of the Properties panel lets you set some accessibility options that allow you to add a title attribute to elements as well as set the tab-index. Nice to see that Adobe is thinking about accessibility in its applications.

View menu

The new view menu for rulers and guides in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

Some of the menus have changed, most notably the View menu with the addition of options for turning on rulers and guides, plus snapping or locking guides.

Modify menu

Grouping items using the Modify menu in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

Under the Modify menu, and by right-clicking on Stage objects, you can now group elements into a DIV, which places them inside a container in the Elements panel. Grouping items and DIVs will make it easier for you to move them around on the stage, but will not let you resize them as a unit. To do that, it’s easier to just convert them into symbols.

Timeline menu

New options in the timeline menu in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

There are a few new options under the Timeline menu. You can jump between keyframes quickly by choosing Go to Previous Keyframe or Go to Next Keyframe (or by using the menus). There are also a couple of options for removing transitions without removing the keyframes or adding transitions between existing empty keyframes.

Tools panel

The new options in the Tools panel in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

A welcomed addition is a brand-new drawing tool: the oval. You could create an oval before by using the rectangle and modifying the corners, but it’s nice to see another drawing tool since the list of what’s available is sparse.

Another new addition is a Layout Defaults pop-up for choosing some of the properties of new objects. You can find these in the Properties panel, too.

Timeline panel

Timeline panel improvements in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7 let you turn on vertical gridlines

You can now turn on vertical gridlines in the timeline by clicking on an icon at the bottom of the timeline. The grid will help you align animation to different points in the timeline.

Also, the Instant Transition Mode icon is now different and has been renamed “Auto Transition Mode.” It lets you create immediate changes in transitions. Love the new icon.

Icons in Elements panel

Layers now have descriptive icons in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

Like in the new version of Freehand and other Adobe software, layers now have an icon next to them that shows you the type of element on this layer. Another small, but nice change.

Workspace bar

Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7 offers a couple new options for controlling the stage size and position on the left

There are some minor changes at the bottom of the workspace: an icon on the far left that centers the workspace, and next to it a scaling pop-up that lets you type in or click and drag a value to zoom in and out on the stage.

Notifications

Notifications now appear at the bottom right of the workspace in Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7

Edge has a brand-new notification system. When you make a coding error or experience a possible problem with one of your documents, a notification icon will appear at the bottom right of the stage. If you click on it, more information about the error or warning will appear.

Coding changes

There are some new events available: mouseenter, mouseleave, and focus events. You can add them to your elements and trigger whatever actions are appropriate for your project. Edge also allows you to better trap errors; you can catch them in your code with the Stage.onError event.

Notifications related to code errors will also appear in the code window.

Final thoughts

Edge Animate is looking more and more like a finished product. I’m really impressed with the responsive layout features. I wondered how layout programs would adjust to a responsive world and Edge has gotten it right. Way to go, Adobe.

 

Interested in more?
• All web + interactive courses on lynda.com
• All courses from Ray Villalobos on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
Edge First Look Preview 6
Up and Running with Adobe Creative Cloud
 CSS3 First Look
 Managing CSS in Dreamweaver

Deke’s Techniques: Creating tile patterns in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Although tile patterns have been around since the early days, Adobe Illustrator CS6 has a new Pattern Options panel that helps you wrangle your repeating pattern into place. In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to use this feature to create a seamless pattern of arithmetically defined spirals (those same spirals he showed you how to create in last week’s free movie.)

Deke begins by arranging the spirals in a cluster that will become the core pattern element, and showing you a few tips for getting that cluster arranged. Once you’ve got your base the way you want it, select it and choose Object > Pattern > Make to enter pattern-editing mode in the new panel.

Deke demonstrates how the panel gives you options for the type of tile you want (a standard grid, an offset brick pattern, or a hexagonally repeating tile) as well as how you want the pattern to offset and overlap. The result is this sea of swirls:

Spiral pattern made using the Pattern Options panel in Adobe Illustrator CS6 to create a tile effect

Thanks to the pattern maker’s ability to make copies, this can easily be duplicated with different colors, overlaps, sizing, and more, like this:

Tile pattern made in Adobe Illustrator CS6 modified and colored using the Pattern Options panel

There are a couple of qualities to this panel that may not be intuitive (like when to click Done versus when to hit the Esc key). Deke explains all within this week’s episode.

If you’re not working in Illustrator CS6 yet, but would like to explore tile patterns, Deke also has an exclusive movie for lynda.com members this week called Making a hex pattern in CS5 and earlier that shows you how to explore working with tiles in earlier versions of Illustrator.

 

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com
• All Illustrator courses on lynda.com
• All courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials