Tag Archives: 17 Pattern Types

Artlandia SymmetryMill 2: Pattern Design for the Rest of Us

Today we are happy to announce the release of a major new version of Artlandia SymmetryMill, a desktop application that provides the easiest-to-use tools for creating seamless repeating patterns from any image. Rebuilt from the ground up and based on modern technology, SymmetryMill 2 brings you a range of improvements and makes your pattern design work even more productive and fun. Among the major improvements are: Continue reading Artlandia SymmetryMill 2: Pattern Design for the Rest of Us

Pattern Making on Autopilot: Pattern Explorer in SymmetryMill 2

Wouldn’t you want to sit back and relax while somebody makes all kinds of patterns for you? With SymmetryMill 2, you can! Just start the Pattern Explorer and let it run. Stop any time you see something interesting. But don’t worry about missing a beat. All the intermediate steps are recorded and you can replay them, like a movie, or browse frame by frame and select the best.

Starting Pattern Explorer.
Starting the Pattern Explorer.

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Promote Your Brand: Sharing Patterns on Pattern Central with SymmetryMill 2

When you share your patterns, SymmetryMill 2 will do a better job of promoting your brand. You don’t have to do anything differently on your end. Simply click the Share button in the SymmetryMill toolbar, fill in whatever details you wish to include in the dialog, and your patterns will be off to Pattern Central to be seen by everyone.

Sharing patterns
Sharing a set of patterns from SymmetryMill.

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Artlandia SymmetryMill 2 Is Coming. Are You Ready?

SymmetryMill 2 is almost here, and it comes with a new automatic pattern generator, advanced blend modes, a bevy of new filters, numerous improvements, and, importantly, a modern technology behind the familiar user interface.

SymmetryMill 2
SymmetryMill 2.

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Positive-Negative Patterns, Figure-Ground Reversal, and Counterchange

Call it whatever you like, but this is a fascinating subject. The terms “positive-negative patterns,” “patterns with figure-ground reversal,” and “counterchange patterns” are often synonymous, but they can also shed light on the same pattern at different angles and go to the heart of what makes patterns with color reversals so interesting and attractive.

Counterchange patterns

Before we start, let’s be clear on one thing. Traditionally, counterchange patterns are introduced with the help of black and white pictures, which is certainly proper because nothing conveys the gist of color inversion better; or the concept of yin and yang; or positive and negative. We’ll follow the tradition and give only a few examples in full color, mainly to drive home the fact that color reversals work splendidly with any number of colors so your counterchange color palette can be as elaborate as you wish.

Back to the subject, “counterchange” usually refers to color reversals in the most generic sense. For instance, we could say that the number of standard pattern types grows dramatically from 17 to 46 if one permits color reversals, alongside rotations, reflections, and other symmetry operations, when generating a pattern from a motif. In that context the neutral term “counterchange patterns” is ideal. And, yes, starting from version 6, SymmetryWorks creates both the standard 17 pattern types and the 46 counterchange pattern types at a click.

Counterchange patterns from H.J. Woods re-created with SymmetryWorks
Three of the 46 black and white counterchange patterns from H.J. Woods re-created and recolored with SymmetryWorks. Inset: How do you make that chevron pattern? Draw a colored rhomboid, choose Mirror as the main symmetry and Mirror and glide as the color symmetry, and click Make in the SymmetryWorks panel. Then rotate the control path 90 degrees and tweak it to be as shown. Want to see a tutorial? Vote in comments.

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The Simplest Diagram of the 17 Symmetry Types, Ever

As a pattern junkie, you may know how to capture the structure of a repeating pattern in a diagram; that is, determine to which of  the seventeen symmetry types a pattern belongs. Yes, we are talking about surface patterns, or wallpaper patterns, whose type is determined by what mathematicians call the plane (2D) symmetry groups. Turns out all pattern schematics are not made equal and, surprisingly, the most simple diagram, which is also the most useful for the non-mathematically inclined, is also the least known or, we might even be tempted to say, a well-kept secret.

Traditionally, because you are dealing with symmetries, your pattern schematics would show symmetry operations, probably combined with boundaries of repeating units (“unit cells” or “fundamental domains”), and often made more intelligible by superimposing  actual patterns produced by a simple asymmetric bit (a line, a comma, or a letter of an alphabet). Here are a few examples of the standard approach, which we show mostly to help you fully appreciate a simpler one that’s coming up next:

Symmetry diagrams (international notation)
The 17 pattern types shown in the standard international notations for symmetry operations (rotations, reflections, and glide reflections), from D. Schattschneider.

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