Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Create Custom Brick and Tile Patterns

In this tutorial we'll examine how to create custom brick and tile patterns in Genetica.  Genetica can be downloaded here.

Making a brick wall or a tile floor in Genetica is fairly straightforward.  To get started, combine a Synthesis node and a Cut & Tile Lab as shown below.

After you insert the nodes into a new document, double-click each node to customize it.  When customizing the Cut & Tile Lab you'll find dozens of built-in brick or tile patterns to choose from.

To create a custom pattern, begin by selecting "Use Input" as the pattern type.

Then insert a Canvas node into the Cut & Tile Lab's second input.  As shown below, the Cut & Tile Lab is no longer making a tile pattern.  That's because we told it to check its input for the pattern to use, but haven't yet drawn the pattern we want.

Double-click the Canvas node to edit it.  From there you can start laying down bricks using standard drawing tools, such as the Shape tool which will allow you to create rectangles.

More exotic brick shapes can be created with the Edit tool.  With an existing shape selected, choose the Edit tool and then click the Convert button.  This will reveal handles that can be dragged to manipulate the brick's shape.

Cut down on drawing time by activating the symmetry option.  Make sure that all brick shapes are placed within the same layer in the Canvas node so that the symmetry gets applied to your entire design.

Following is the pattern I created, but just about any pattern will do as long as some space has been left between the pieces.  You can get a lot fancier than I did by using curved brick pieces.  I chose to use the symmetry option so that I'd only need to draw the top half of the pattern.

At first our pattern won't be interpreted correctly by the Cut & Tile Lab.  This can be fixed by setting the layer's style as shown below.

When you click the final Edit button, following the steps in the above illustration, the Gradient dialog will open.  Here you need to appropriately position the two gradient handles by dragging them.  There's no specific place where these need to be placed.  Just move them until the brick pattern appears in the small preview, as shown below.

You should now have a brick or tile seamless texture that uses your custom pattern.

That concludes the primary focus of this tutorial.  But as a final treat, here's an even more sophisticated brick texture that I put together using the principles discussed in this article.

The Genetica file for the above texture can be downloaded here.  Open it in Genetica to explore how it was put together and to customize it.  You'll see that this texture was made from two separate brick patterns, each of which can be easily modified by double-clicking the respective Canvas node.

And of course don't forget to double-click the Synthesis node to change the material that the bricks are made out of.  With just a few changes, countless variations are possible!

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