Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial - Make and Use Custom Repeating Pattern

I have been having so much fun playing with Photoshop and trying to remember some of the cool things I used to know how to do when I was seriously involved in digital scrapbooking. One of the things I really liked was to make a repeating pattern to be used to make themed background paper. This paper could be used totally digitally so that everything on it was digital, or it could be printed out just as the background paper and used in traditional scrapbooking.

Shall we get started?

First we will make the pattern:

File > New

Let's make a 3 inch by 3 inch file with a resolution of 120 pixels per inch:
Turn on the grid:
Now open an image you want to use or use a letter from a dingbat font or draw a design. Either drag it onto your document or Select > All and Edit > Copy and then go to your new document and Edit > Paste. Use the Command-T shortcut to get the bounding box. If the handles are outside of your window, use Command-0 (that is a zero) so that you can see them. To resize your design and constrain proportions, hold down the shift key as you drag inward with one of the corner handles. If you hold down the shift and Option/Alt key it will resize from the center.
You want to position it within the inner middle squares. And then you drag that layer to the create a new layer icon in the bottom of the layers palette.

You now need to go to Image > Image Size and note the pixel dimensions of your document - in my case it is 360 x 360. 

With the top layer active (it is blue) go to Filter > Other > Offset and in the dialog box enter 1/2 of the dimensions from the previous step. For me that is 180 and 180.

Now still with the top layer active use the drop down menu to change the blend mode to Multiply.

So that your pattern won't have a white background, go to the background layer in the layers palette and click on the eye to hide the background.
Go to Edit > Define Pattern

And give it a name (I called mine Dressform2 because I had made a pattern earlier to practice, but had forgotten the Blend Mode - Multiply step). Once you have named it you can close the window. When you are prompted to Save - choose Don't Save - you no longer need this.

Now for the fun:
File > New Choose U.S. Paper from the drop down menu. You may want to go back to View > Show and turn off the grid.
Edit > Fill and select Color form the drop down menu and choose a color you like. Remember if you don't like it - no problem just change it. Don't you wish life had an Undo button?!
I am particularly fond of the teal/purple color combination so I chose to fill my background with a purple.
Create a new layer by clicking on the create a new layer button in the bottom of the layers palette so that when you fill with your newly made pattern it is separate so that you can add color, change the size, alter the orientation.....

With the new empty layer active to to Edit > Fill and select Pattern from the drop down menu. Then find your new pattern. It should be the last one in the window. If you hover your cursor over it the name will show.

Here is what I get:

It is a little blah so far, but I think I will change the color of the dress forms to teal. In order to load just the dress forms on the layer, hold down the Command key while clicking on the thumbnail on the layer in the layers palette. You will see the "marching ants" around your designs. If you don't see this, try Command clicking the thumbnail again.

Now Edit > Fill choose Color from the drop down menu and decide what color you want to fill the design with (you can leave it white if you want). I chose a teal.

I have no idea why the opacity is set at 86%.  I would have had it at 100% if I had noticed before uploading these pictures. Anyway, here is what I get:

To get rid of the "marching ants" Select > Deselect. Now all we have to do is save it. File > Save as....
Name it. I have a subfolder nested within my "Art Stuff" folder inside my Favorites folder. That is where I saved mine. Be sure to save it as a jpg.
Wow! That took a long time. Now I am going to get offline and go into Photoshop and play for awhile. I am going to try all kinds of seamless patterns and I will share the ones I like the best in my next post.
Don't forget to go to a previous post to register for the book giveaway.


  1. When I have a tad more time (and my new computer), I'm going to dip my toe in and give this a try! hugs, nancy

  2. You did a beautiful teaching job!!!!

  3. Vickie,
    That was just great!!! I had so much fun doing this. You are a goooood teacher!
    Love and Laughter,

  4. Thanks for sending me to your tutorial. I'll try it out.