Updated: August 22nd, 2014
Illustrator swatches for CC CS4 CS2 CS1 10 CS3 CS5 CS6 12 11 13 2014 etc, AI format vector seamless tiles royalty free downloads including cats, chevrons, connections, flowers, swirls and more
Swatches for Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc
All the above volumes are by graphicxtras.com, all for commercial (CU4CU) use - use to them to create items for sale and more. The AI tiles are for use in 1000s of ways. To use them, it is very simple - simply open the file via the presets palette and they are then loaded into the application and can then be used over and over and over. The sets on this page are a mix of different tiles - some are colorful, some are B&W but they are all amazing and all are seamless tiles for any size of work. You can use them with virtually all features of the application such as with text and paths. The paths can also be combined either just combining them as paths but you can also combine multiple tiles in Illustrator (all versions from 10) via the appearance palette. If you combine the tiles, you can also then just save the combinations via the graphic styles palette and you can then combine live effects and other fills to create truly awesome designs for all your projects. The tile sets on this site are by us, they are all for commercial (CU4CU) and personal use. We have been creating tiles for AI for the last 10 years or so (and probably before). The presets can also be exported to other applications so if you are using AI AND Photoshop or other parts of the amazing creative suite then you can export the designs for use as patterns and textures as well as layers and design elements in other applications - so these designs are not just for AI. They are for use in a vast range of applications. You can also export the designs as a PNG file or TIFF etc via the export command in the file commands. Once saved as a non vector format, the tile design can be used to create layers etc in other tools. The designs can be re-sized, they can be transformed and much more. You can also use the amazing and unique patterns on this page to create other resources.
How to modify the Illustrator swatches ?
If you wish to modify a pattern then select the design in the palette and drag to the artboard. Once the pattern is accessible via the artboard you can then double click the pattern swatches to enter the isolation mode for the pattern and then modify the artwork. You can change the pattern design, re-color the various parts of the pattern as well as shift and rotate. On exit from isolation mode (right click 'exit isolation mode') or click the isolation mode bread crumbs to return to the normal artboard. Select the artwork and the bounding box for the pattern and drag back to the palette and save as a new pattern for future use.
Most of the swatches in the sets are pattern tiles, there are also many gradient designs (as above) - a green gradient design
The gradient designs for Illustrator can be manipulated using the powerful gradient tool
How to apply an Illustrator tile to a path ?
Simply select the path and then select one of the pattern in the swatches palette. The path can be either a normal path or text. You can then modify the underlying pattern and its relationship with the path via the transform menu (de-select the object setting)
Changing the tiles - recolor the designs etc
The color of the presets are not cast in stone. You can change the designs. In some cases, in seconds if you want to make a subtle change to the color of the source. The example below is from the spiral scrolls set pack 46
The designs in the set can be edited directly now (with CS6) via the palette - double click on the design and re-color the design and save a copy of the tile (so you end up with both designs) or just click done to overwrite the existing preset design. In the example below, the color guide palette has been used to re-color the above design (you can use the color guide or just color individual paths but personally I find the color guide a very useful tool for some lovely color combinations)
Many of the swatches include transparency so the frame design above has the design and the background - if the frame was displayed above say a picture, you would see through the hollow in the center as well as the actual frame design. A way around this is to use the appearance palette and add a solid fill design behind the current pattern design. Or you can just edit the source pattern and add a solid path behind the current scroll design. The presets are a powerful toolkit for all kinds of designs and the sets are only the start point for any work.
Opening preset AI files
Opening and loading a library in AI, adding tiles to Illustrator, adding new color designs. A couple of ways for CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc below
1) Go to the swatches palette and then go to the right side menu of the palette and select the open library and then at the bottom, other library and browse for the AI format file. Select file and then select the tiles from that library - these will then appear in the palette
2) Place the AI file in the presets folder 'swatches' of Illustrator and then go back into AI and window menu and right side menu and open library and select the file from the list (you will see celebration, color books, earthtone etc as well as the new AI file added)
3) Go to the window menu and go to the bottom of the menu and libraries and either browse or select as before
4) In the case of the graphicxtras presets, open the AI file via the file open command and then create a rectangle and apply a tile from the palette. Copy that path into another document and the tile will be added to that document's palette
5) Place all the libraries in the presets folder and then use the library panel and the bottom arrows to go through all the libraries, previous and next by name.
Once you have the library open, you can then add the tiles to the actual document palette by selecting the tiles required. You can also edit etc the designs (something you cannot do with the libraries themselves which are all read only).
If you have lots and lots of AI files it can be quite slow going from library to library via the load library, there is a quicker way to go through the sets and this video shows how
If you wish the library to always appear in the application, you can set the library to a persistent library (right side menu of the swayches library palette)
How to use tiles with the appearance palette ?
The appearance palette is a useful feature of AI and you can modify any existing fill of a path and you can also add a new fill and stroke or multiple fills and strokes as well as effects to the pattern. You can use the appearance palette to create truly complex as well as subtle designs using a single pattern or multiple patterns added to a path. You can blend the various swatches by using the blending modes (difference, darken, multiply) or using transparency / opacity.
How to re-size a pattern / Illustrator pattern ?
Select the path, fill with a pattern and then go to the object menu and apply the transform commands such as scale / rotate / shear and the key thing to remember is to uncheck the object option and leave the pattern checked. The pattern can then be re-sized to 1% or 1000% of the original size. Another option is as before, modify the tile by dragging the design from the palette and then re-size the design using the scale or selection / scale tools and then saving the new design as a much bigger or much smaller tile.
How to use a pattern as an Illustrator shape ?
Select a path and then fill the path with a design (be it pattern) and then go to the window menu and select shapes and drag the design from the artboard to the shapes palette. You can also go to the palette (window menu) and then drag one (or more) of the patterns to the artboard - you can only do this with a pattern. The pattern can then be exported via the pasteboard to other applications such as Photoshop
Creating 100s of variants for Adobe ® Illustrator
One of the great new features (along with the trace) of CC / CS6 is the pattern editor. Now you can open a palette library and then double click any of the Illustrator swatches and you will then enter the pattern editor where you can tweak the tile in 1000s of ways and even better, you can save a copy by clicking the save a copy option
Trying to edit the tile, a dialog appears - this is one of my favorite bugbears of AI as endless dialogs appear and many seem to offer no way of removing them. The dialog appears when you try and edit a pattern that was created in CS6 and saved in an earlier format. I wish the dialog would appear only once, as it is probably likely you will remember that you have to release the clipping mask (oddly, this doesn't always seem to be the case as sometimes there is no clipping mask to remove). I would prefer an option to remove this dialog or perhaps even better, a default option to 'release the clipping mask' as I always prefer the best results. Also, editing the pattern might require the ungrouping of the shapes and that command can be found in the object menu.
Image trace and fills
You can apply the swatches to traced items. Open an image and then apply the image trace feature (greatly enhanced with CS6)
Tiles to text
This tutorial will work with any swatch.
1) Select text. Open the palette, place the required tile into the palette
2) Go to the appearance palette. Go to the right menu and select the add new fill command.
3) Apply a preset to the selected appearance fill, the preset will now fill the text. The text can still be changed at any point. The design can be scaled, rotated and sheared as required.
4) Add another fill (in the appearance palette) and fill with another or the same tile. Go to the transparency palette and set the blend mode to difference. Change the scale of the tile as well as the angle again via the transformations. You can create complex color designs within the text.
Free AI designs, commercial use, all royalty free, AI format for PC and MAC. Load via the palette in CC CC (2014) CS6 CS5 CS4 etc. Commercial use.