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Patterns made easy
If you're using Illustrator to draw or for commercial illustration, you need to be able to create patterns — for wallpaper, for fabric or for effects like grass where you want to have the same element repeating over and over again. In previous versions you had to do this by laboriously grouping, duplicating and arranging multiple objects. In Illustrator CS6 you select the objects and choose Object / Pattern / Make and you have a new pattern on the Swatches panel to use as a fill. You can choose how to lay out the tiles of your pattern; in rows and columns, overlapping like bricks or in a hexagon arrangement. And the objects in the pattern are always live and editable if you need to make changes later on.
More gradient options
When you apply a gradient of one or more colours to a stroke, Illustrator CS6 gives you more options for how the colours are applied. A gradient that runs from one side of a complex shape to another doesn't look very natural — the spiral on the upper left has a gradient running within the stroke and if that was part of a drawing, it probably wouldn't be the effect you require. Applying the gradient along the stroke, like the spiral on the right, or across the stroke as in the spiral below provides a more realistic effect in a complex image.