Which symmetry group to use?

Deciding which symmetry group to use for a specific design can be hit and miss. And try again. You can narrow it down by establishing if your design needs bilateral symmetry. This would eliminate 7 mirrorless  groups out of a possible 17. Or whether you want rotations. Glides add a flowing movement to the design. Your choice. Have a look at the table below, it may help guide your efforts.

2016-10-31 : I have since created a new “Cheat Sheet” of my own. Please read “Symmetry group thumbnails and listing systems“.

A challenge would be to complete a Hummingbird tessellation in all 17 symmetry groups. I’m more than halfway there. A hummingbird series has been created in the following symmetry groups: P4g, P6 (2 of those), Cm, P2, Pmm, P3m1, P4m, Pg, and Cm.  Some are sketches that will probably never be completed. Some of them are superb colourful, flowing designs. Send me your hummer and I’ll post it here!

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P4g, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P4g, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P6, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P6, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group Cm, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group Cm, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P2, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P2, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group Pmm, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group Pmm, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P3m1, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P3m1, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P4m, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P4m, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group Pg, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group Pg, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P6, a second design, Champagne Design ©2014

Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P6, a second design, Champagne Design ©2014

Woodburning of the above tessellation Hummingbird tessellation in symmetry group P6, a second design, Champagne Design ©2014

Woodburning of the above Hummingbird tessellation, Champagne Design ©2014

Lots of software out there to help you accomplish this type of design.

An iPad app is available, which is what I have used here to create these images: KaleidoPaint by Jeff Weeks.

There is also a java-based program “Escher Web Sketch”  at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne. Make sure Java is enabled and not blocked by your security software.

Also, another screen-based software by Anselm Levskaya Escher Sketch v2.

Or a pair of scissors and a piece of cardboard works quite well. That’s how I learned.

Comments are always welcome!


If you’re a “Learn by Seeing” “Learn by Doing” kind of person, I’ve started creating videos on “how-to” create tessellations. I’ll be covering each of the 17 symmetry groups, one class at a time. And like all artists, we need to make a living. So. I’ve uploaded these to the Skillshare platform. I’ll get paid by minutes watched.

You can take the classes for free. Skillshare offers anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for free if you sign up, even temporarily.

You can register for just a month and cancel anytime. It’s less than the cost of a Netflix subscription!
There are over 40,000 classes on topics for creative persons just like you. Join my mailing list, either here on my blog (in the sidebar), or a at this link for a specific list I use to announce new classes.

I’d love for you to join me on this wonderful learning adventure.

If you prefer, you can follow my progress on social media, I always announce my new class:
Facebook: Franc Champagne, and Vancouver Island Tessellation Artist
Instagram: champagne.francine
Twitter: FChampagne1
Linkedin: Graphic Design, PowerPoint and tessellations
Youtube: Video animations and class intros


4 thoughts on “Which symmetry group to use?

  1. Pingback: Symmetry group thumbnails and listing systems | My tessellations, images in regular division of the plane

  2. Pingback: Symmetry group thumbnails and listing systems | My tessellations, images in regular division of the plane

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