Saturday, 11 July 2015

RepperPro: User Test and Program Review

So a short while ago while I was browsing instagram, a fellow pattern artist posted a beautiful pattern with a comment saying that she loves using pattern generators to come up with new patterns. For some reason, I never knew pattern generators were even a thing until that comment... and I instantly wanted to try one! So I hit google in search of a good one. I searched for a while with different keywords, looking in particular for a pattern program that can be used on Mac and Windows. What I eventually found was RepperPro!

A few things about RepperPro. It is free to try for 7 days. The 7 day trial is the whole program, and it is available for Mac and PC. You can get the Free Demo Here! If you like the program enough like I did,  you can buy it for $37 american.

When I first opened up RepperPro there was a test image to use. I was instantly drawn in. I played with the test image for about an hour. I WAS HAVING SO MUCH FUN! You know those Kaleidoscopes you used to play with as a kid? This is basically that, in program form with a save option. This program is fast. When you move your selection square around the image to see different patterns, it is seamless. I made like 50 different patterns that very first day. Here is what the interface looks like:

When you first load RepperPro you will have the test image. I was really over
excited so I loaded my own image. :) Click to enlarge!
The first tab on the left is where you load your source image. You can choose from any jpg, png and tif, but you unfortunately can't choose from vector based files like .ai files. Another limitation I found was that loading pictures over 15MB sometimes did not work. I am not sure if this is a mac specific problem, or if it happens on windows too.

The second tab is magical. It is where you take a selection of your image and make patterns out of it. You can resize and drag the selection box around your picture, giving you an almost infinite range of generated patterns from one image! There are two options in this box. The icon with a box and an arrow shooting out of it is the image preview size. You can change how large or how small you want your source image to be shown. The second option, the magnifying glass, lets you zoom in and out of your created pattern. This is especially useful if you would like to see how a pattern would look tiled over a large area for textiles, or to give you an idea of how the pattern looks like overall. It does resize the tile too however, so if you would like to export larger patterns generally, make sure to change it back to max.
Fun shortcut I learned: If you click on the pattern itself and drag your cursor left and right, you can change the size of the pattern that way. This doesn't change the tile size, just gives you a preview.

The third tab is the tiling tab. It has 16 pattern options to choose from. 8 are seamless patterns, and the other 8 have visible edges. The menu actually tells you which ones will have visible edges, and which ones are seamless. This tab also shows you what your tile looks like, and tells you how big your tile is in pixels. I spend a lot of time at this box too.

The fourth tab is colours. I don't use it much, but it can be useful if you made a pattern you really really love, and you want it in different colours without bringing it into illustrator or photoshop. This tab has preset colour/contrast settings you can choose from, or you can alter it manually yourself using the colour, brightness, contrast & tint bars in the settings dropdown at the bottom.

The fifth tab is where you export your creation. You can export it as a tile (save tile), or as a fully tiled pattern (save surface).  When you click save tile, it will show you what your tile looks like and gives you a dropdown of what you can save it as. You have the choice of .jpg, .png and .tif.
In the save surface option, you can choose how big you want the whole pattern to be, and how many times you would like your tile to repeat. The max size seems to be 2800 px, and the max times you can make your pattern tile is 100 times. You can also save these as .jpg, .png and .tif.

Okay so that was long and boring sorry! Now for the fun stuff. I made SO MANY PATTERNS out of this one drawing:
Marbles and Jacks, one of my daily drawings from a long while back.
It was a good picture to choose because of the clean vector
gradients and shapes.
This program is just so seamless. I literally have it open right now for this review and I am having troubles focusing because I am playing around. Here is a selection of some of the patterns I created out of this drawing (click to enlarge!):

The Verdict: This program is fun. You can spend hours going through your existing artworks to see what sort of patterns you can make out of them. I even went through some photographs I took and made some pretty awesome patterns. It also is really great if you are looking for new pattern ideas after feeling a little burnt out creatively. I sell my art and patterns on print on demand websites like Zazzle and Redbubble, and this is especially useful for that because I can make seamless patterns that fit all products. This program can also be useful for making beautiful repeating patterns for websites, blogs and computer desktops. Someone even engraved a banana using a pattern made from RepperPro!
Despite the minor bump I found of not being able to load images over 15MB in file size, and the fact that this is a relatively old program that I am not sure if the developers update anymore, I found this to be a pattern generator worth the $40 CAD that I paid, and I will definitely use it with any new patterns I make to see what else I can come up with.

Now, I don't have any pattern generators that I can compare this one to. Do you ever use pattern generators? What is your favourite one? Feel free to comment your experiences with pattern generators!

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