I love using Photoshop to create different patterns and textures, like glitter or gold foil textures. Sometimes, I need those patterns in Illustrator and I like to use pattern swatches instead of clipping masks. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how easy it is to convert Photoshop patterns into Illustrator pattern swatches.
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Convert Photoshop patterns into Illustrator patterns
Open your pattern in Photoshop.
I have a simple gold foil texture that I want to convert into an Illustrator swatch.
If you can, you should use seamless patterns for this. Also, make sure you have a single layer without layer styles or masks applied to it.
Use the Rectangle Marquee tool (M) to select the pattern.
With the pattern selected, go to Edit > Copy (Ctrl + C) to make a copy of the pattern.
Open Illustrator and create a new document.
You might need to change the color mode when you create the new Illustrator document.
In Illustrator, go to Edit > Paste (Ctrl + V).
If Paste is greyed out, you might need to go back to Photoshop and reselect and copy the pattern. Another fix for this is to create a new layer in Illustrator.
All you have left to do is to select the pattern, open the Swatches panel from Window > Swatches, and drag and drop your pattern into the Swatches panel.
You new pattern swatch will appear in the Swatches panel and you can apply it to brushes, text, or shapes. It works just like a color swatch.
If you scale the shape after your pattern is applied, your object might look pixelated. That’s because the pattern is a raster image, not a vector. Just select the object and click on the pattern in the Swatches panel to reapply it.
How to convert a raster image into an Illustrator pattern swatch
I have a watercolor background that was saved as a JPEG.
I’m going to import it into Illustrator using File > Place (Ctrl + Shift +P). Select your image and click Place. Then click on the artboard to place it.
When you place raster images into Illustrator, they will have a large X on them. You can see it in the image above. Before you can save it as a pattern, you will have to go to Object > Rasterize. Change the options if needed and press OK to rasterize the pattern.
Once the pattern is rasterized, you will be able to drag and drop it into the Swatches panel.
You can now use the watercolor texture as an Illustrator pattern swatch.
Hope this tutorial was useful! Please let me know if there are any Photoshop or Illustrator tutorials that you want to see.