1. Design & Illustration
  2. Global Influences

How to Create Animated Latvian Patterns in Adobe Illustrator and After Effects

What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to create Latvian signs in Adobe Illustrator and animate them in Adobe After Effects. To make it more fun, I will show you the basics of how to create a small motion for your shapes and lines. I will not show you the whole process, just enough to get you started. I hope you will have fun and learn something new. So, let’s start!

1. Create the Signs in Adobe Illustrator

Step 1

Let’s start by creating a 1920 x 1080 px document. Go to View > Show Grid. Also select Snap to Grid and Snap to Point.

show grid

Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and make sure you have the same settings.

guides and grid

Step 2

With the Pen Tool (P) selected, draw a line as shown in the picture below. Use stroke color #71718E (2 pt). With a line selected, press R on the keyboard while holding down the Alt key (you will see three dots) and click in the middle of the line. This will bring up the Rotate window. Set Angle to 45 and click Copy.

Draw a vertical line
Rotate 45 degrees

Now, if you hit Control-D, the line will rotate 45 degrees. Continue until you have a full circle. Group everything (Control-G) and lock the layer. Create a new layer and then create a shape as shown in the picture below by using the Pen Tool (P). You will notice how easy it is to draw these shapes when Snap to Grid and Snap to Point are selected.

shape one

With this shape selected, left click on the screen and Transform > Reflect.

transform - reflect

Select Vertical and Copy. Holding down the Shift key, hit the Right Arrow on the keyboard to move the shape. Group both shapes and rotate them the same way as the lines. Lock the layer and create a new one. 

rotate shapes

Step 3

Create a 2 x 2 square rhombus shape. Connect the rhombus with the previous shape with a separate line. It is very important to have every line/shape separated! Do not join the lines into one shape! This is why we lock the layers—to prevent that.


Group the rhombus with the line and rotate it as before. Fill with color #F9A0AE. Create a rhombus the same size in the middle of the sign. Fill it with color #96ECE1.

middle rhombus

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a shape like this:

shape in the middle

Reflect it vertically and move it on the other side like this.

transform reflect

Group both shapes and rotate them, but this time 90°. The first sign is done!

Step 4

The second sign is basically the middle section of our first sign. Select it, including the middle rhombus, and duplicate the shape by holding down the Alt key and dragging it with the mouse. Place it anywhere on the artboard.

small sign

Step 5

Create two small circles (1 x 1 square grid) with stroke colors #FFD17E and #F9A0AE. Also create a rhombus with the same color and stroke as before.

Unlock the layers and ungroup the shapes. Place everything in one layer, but keep the shapes and lines ungrouped. An easy way to do this is by selecting everything and hitting Control-X to cut and Control-B to place everything back in one layer. Select the layer and click on Release to Layers.

Now you have all the shapes in separate layers. The last thing to do is to select all the separate layers except for the first one and drag them to the top. Name the file Latvian signs and Save

Now open After Effects.

2. Animation in After Effects

Step 1

To make it more fun, I will show you the basics of how to create a small motion for your shapes and lines. I will not show you the whole process, just enough to get you started. Go to Composition > New Composition and create a 1920 x 1080 px file.

Using the Rectangle Tool (Q) draw a background shape. Click Fill and fill with color #F9F9F2.

background color

Go to File > Import File and locate the Illustrator file we created. At the bottom of the screen you will see Import As. Select Composition Retain Layer Sizes and click OK.

retain layers

Drag the Latvian signs composition on top of the background layer. Double click on the composition to open it—now you can see all the layers we created in Illustrator. 

composition layers

To make your workflow easier, I would suggest renaming all layers (line 1, rhombus 1, etc.). To do this, right click on the layer and select Rename. You can also create different colors for layers by clicking on the small square next to the layer.

layer colors

Step 2

Slide Time Ruler to 2 seconds (or more if you want your movement to be longer), select the shape and hit P to bring up Position settings.

time ruler
time slider

Move the Time Indicator to 0 and click on Time watch beside the Position.

position settings

Move the Time Indicator to 1 second and move the selected shape to the left/right.

time indicator
move right
all keyframes

Move the Time Indicator to 2 seconds and Control-C / Control-V the first key frame in second 2. Select all key frames and hit F9 to easy-ease key frames. Hit 0 on the keyboard to see the movement. Repeat these steps for other similar shapes. 

Now select all the layers for the biggest sign, right click and select Pre-compose. Now you have a group that you can copy and rotate.


To rotate a shape, hit R, go to second 0, click on the time watch, go to second 2 or the end of your scene, and change it from 0x to 1x or more, depending on how fast you want your composition to spin!

Copy the compositions to create a pattern effect. Using this method, create a simple animation of shapes moving back and forth.

We Are Done!

Hope you had fun and learned something new—let me know in comments. See you in the next tutorial!

End result
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