Tissellator is a program for creating tessellations. It helps you making classic tessellations in the style of M.C. Escher. It also allows you to create circle and spiral tessellations, and even gif animations.

Key features are:

The steps below guide you through the workflow of making your first tessellation with Tissellator. Have a look at the Documentation page for details about the user interface. The 'First Steps' are also addressed in this youtube video.

STEP 1 : Select a tessellation configuration

You can select a tessellation configuration by the menu option File / New, or press Control+N (Mac users press Command+N). A dialog presents several categories indicating the basic type: triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon, or spiral. Select one of the categories with the mouse and click OK; you can also double-click a category. Another dialog appears with the possible tessellations for the selected category. The greyed images can not be selected for unregistered users. For the polygon categories, below the image is a code being the so called Heesch type of the tessellation. (More details about tessellations given a Heesch type can be found on the websites of Alain Nicolas and Tom McLean.) The image indicates the symmetries with different kind of arrows. For the spiral category, there are no Heesch types; the caption describes the kind of spiral. After selecting a spiral type a dialog asks details about the spiral: just accept the defaults and click OK. Some parameters can still be changed afterwards. Furthermore, the documentation page explains details about the spiral parameters.

IH61 tessellation

STEP 2 : Edit the outline of a basic tile

In the beginning, the basic tile has an outline of straight line segments. You can add points to a segment so that each time a curved segment (red point) is added or a linear segment (blue point) is added. Just click near the grey outline, or farther away from it. Points are automatically added to corresponding edges according to the symmetry rules for the tessellation. You can also delete or move a point. For deleting a point, select the point by clicking on it, so that a small box appears. Then, delete it by clicking the Delete icon (scissors), or selecting the Edit / Delete Point menu option. You can move the point after selection by clicking at the new location. You can un-select the point by clicking the Unselect icon.
Note that editing points may lead to an invalid outline that crosses itself. You have to recognize yourself such a situation and solve it by editing one or more points.

The corners of a tile can be moved after clicking the Edit outline or frame icon: straight edges between the corners appear. Select a corner with the mouse, and then click at another location.The tile will change in a certain way, such that the characteristics of the tile are preserved. Selecting another corner may change the tile in a different way. Just try and see what happens. If you are not satisfied with a move action, then simply undo it (Control+Z). In this way you can also scale and/or rotate a tile. Clicking the Edit outline or frame icon again allows you to return to the mode of editing the segment points.

IH61 tessellation outline

STEP 3 : Save the outline of the basic tile

With the menu option Tessellation / Save Outline Image you can save the outline as an image of type PNG. Before doing that, it is recommended to save the project, so that you can re-open it (after returning from the painting activity). (In fact this is so important that Tissellator saves together with the outline image the current project in the user directory with date and time as prefix.)

Initially, the size of the outline image is 960 x 640 pixels. You can enlarge this size by changing the view settings, that is especially interesting for owners of a 4k monitor. Via menu option Extra / Settings a dialog appears where you can set the View width and View height. These settings must be in line with the maximum resolution of your monitor screen. Note that for big enlargements of the View width and View height you have to restart the Tissellator program.

IH61 outline

STEP 4 : Paint the interior of the tile

In this step you continue with the image saved in step 3. The goal is to use the outline in that image to paint the interior of the tile. Tissellator has no painting support at the moment, so you must use your own favorite paint program. The outline shows the boundaries for painting. But, it does not matter if you paint outside the outline: Tissellator will use the original outline as mask. Preferably, you use a paint program with layers, so that you can save the painted result without the pixels of the outline. Painting can be done in a cartoon like style; or you can use a photo to fill the interior.

Beware that the painted image keeps its original size; so, do not scale the image in the painting program. Also, do not move the outline in the painting program. If there is a need to scale or move the outline, then you should do that in Tissellator.

IH61 painted

STEP 5 : Load an image for filling the tile

The painted image of step 4 is loaded as background: select menu option Tessellation / Load Background and choose the painted image. You can see the background by changing the fill mode: press Control+F several times, or select the menu option Edit / Toggle fill. The outline and the painted image should be in line with each other, just as in the image at the right. If not, then you have to redo some work; refer to step 3 and step 4. You can open the project corresponding to the outline; that project was saved by yourself, or it was saved by Tissellator in the user directory.

IH61 outline and background

STEP 6 : Generate the tessellated picture

Select menu option Tessellation / Create Tessellation to let Tissellator generate the picture. It firstly asks in a dialog the size (width and height) of the picture. For unregistered users that dialog is skipped: the size is fixed to 1250x960 pixels. After some time depending on the size of the output image, a dialog asks the place where to store the output image file. For unregistered users the output image contains a watermark.
Now go in your file browser to the place where you saved the created tessellation and open it with an image viewer.

IH61 tessellation 1 background

STEP 7 : Load multiple images for filling the tile

You can also create a tessellation with tiles filled with multiple painted images. The number of painted images and their pattern depends on the type of tessellation. Select menu option Tessellation / Load Multi Background where a number of filenames must be entered. Fill in the names of (different) painted images (or browse to them), and click OK.

IH61 background green
IH61 background cyan
IH61 tessellation 1 purple
IH61 background yellow

STEP 8 : Generate the tessellated picture with multiple images

Select menu option Tessellation / Create Multi Tessellation to let Tissellator generate the picture. It firstly asks in a dialog the size (width and height) of the picture. For unregistered users the size is fixed to 1250x960 pixels. Secondly, it asks the place where to store the output image file. For unregistered users the output image contains a watermark.
Now go in your file browser to the place where you saved the created tessellation and open it with an image viewer.

Enjoy the created image!

IH61 tessellation 4 backgrounds

Express Route:

You can execute the steps above faster by downloading the project file: bird_ih61.tis . Also download the 4 bird images at step 7. The Gallery page has a zip archive with all these files. Now do the actions:

Extra Steps:

Also look at the additional extra steps for Transformations and Animations.