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I've been working on this swrirly ocean current design: enter image description here

and trying to make it into a seamless pattern. The only method i've found to do this is to reflect the lines across the X and Y axis, like in this video. However, using this method disrupts the 'swirl current' of my design. Is there another way of doing this that's more appropriate for my purposes?

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You may benefit from using Illustrator's Pattern Editor. The video you linked to is using whole, independent, objects within the pattern. That makes this much easier than using smooth, possibly interlocking, objects.

(This answer shows CS6 screen shots, but it's basically the same procedure in newer versions of the app.)

Draw your paths....

This is merely a quick, rough, approximation of your paths.

enter image description here

Select all that and drag it to the Swatch Panel. A new Pattern Swatch will be created.

Double-click this new Pattern Swatch in the Swatch Panel and the pattern editor will appear:

enter image description here

By default the editor uses the bounding area of the object as the pattern tile. This is the green box you'll see. You can adjust that if desired. For this example I left the tile at the default size.

The pattern editor dims copies of the artwork and offsets them so you can see how the pattern will interact with itself. This allows you to adjust the artwork while seeing how it alters the pattern.

All the artwork inside this green box is seen as part of the tile and will be repeated and offset. If you start artwork inside the green box and then extend it past the green box boundaries, it will still be replicated in the pattern copies. This can be helpful for creating smooth curves on a tile corner or edge. For example that bottom left (red) swirl I added inside the tile seen below.

You can then add, remove, or change some of the line work to accommodate a pattern. Here, I've added new lines (in red) and adjusted several of the existing paths.

enter image description here

When it's all set to the same color, the pattern should be smooth (again, this is merely a quick, rough, example).

enter image description here

When you are done editing, Click the Done item near the top left of the window.

You can then apply the pattern to objects and it should be as you've envisioned it.

enter image description here

If at any time you wish to correct or alter the pattern further, merely double-click the pattern swatch in the Swatches Panel again to re-enter pattern editing mode (Make sure no artwork is selected before double-clicking the swatch).

More information on Illustrator's Pattern editor can be found in the Adobe help files, linked to below:

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  • Select the paths and group them
  • Select the group and go to menu EffectDistort & TransformTransform and translate it horizontally the same distance as the group width, using a left Reference Point and 1 copy:

enter image description here

  • Make another Transform effect translating the group the same distance as the group height, from a bottom reference point and 1 copy:

enter image description here

  • Use the Direct Selection Tool to modify, transform, duplicate or delete each path

enter image description here

Every change made in the original group will be reflected in the copies. Once ready, delete the transform effects from the Appearance Panel and create the pattern.

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