Best way to make swirly lines into a repeating pattern?

I’ve been working on this swrirly ocean current design:
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and trying to make it into a seamless pattern. The only method i’ve found to do this is to reflect the lines across the X and Y axis, like in this video. However, using this method disrupts the ‘swirl current’ of my design. Is there another way of doing this that’s more appropriate for my purposes?


You may benefit from using Illustrator’s Pattern Editor. The video you linked to is using whole, independent, objects within the pattern. That makes this much easier than using smooth, possibly interlocking, objects.

(This answer shows CS6 screen shots, but it’s basically the same procedure in newer versions of the app.)

Draw your paths….

This is merely a quick, rough, approximation of your paths.

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Select all that and drag it to the Swatch Panel. A new Pattern Swatch will be created.

Double-click this new Pattern Swatch in the Swatch Panel and the pattern editor will appear:

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By default the editor uses the bounding area of the object as the pattern tile. This is the green box you’ll see. You can adjust that if desired. For this example I left the tile at the default size.

The pattern editor dims copies of the artwork and offsets them so you can see how the pattern will interact with itself. This allows you to adjust the artwork while seeing how it alters the pattern.

All the artwork inside this green box is seen as part of the tile and will be repeated and offset. If you start artwork inside the green box and then extend it past the green box boundaries, it will still be replicated in the pattern copies. This can be helpful for creating smooth curves on a tile corner or edge. For example that bottom left (red) swirl I added inside the tile seen below.

You can then add, remove, or change some of the line work to accommodate a pattern. Here, I’ve added new lines (in red) and adjusted several of the existing paths.

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When it’s all set to the same color, the pattern should be smooth (again, this is merely a quick, rough, example).

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When you are done editing, Click the Done item near the top left of the window.

You can then apply the pattern to objects and it should be as you’ve envisioned it.

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If at any time you wish to correct or alter the pattern further, merely double-click the pattern swatch in the Swatches Panel again to re-enter pattern editing mode (Make sure no artwork is selected before double-clicking the swatch).

More information on Illustrator’s Pattern editor can be found in the Adobe help files, linked to below:

Source : Link , Question Author : Emily , Answer Author : Scott

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