If you create your digital patterns, use Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, or something similar. These programs have some “pattern makers,” and they all work more or less the same way. However, different programs will limit your options differently — for instance, Illustrator won’t allow gradients.
Therefore, as far as creating digital patterns is concerned, Photoshop is the most advanced program. It has a myriad of features, including some truly incredible tools. Once you find out what’s possible, it can help when you want to create more complex patterns.
This article offers a guide to help you learn how to use Photoshop for creating digital patterns. It’s suitable whether you’re just starting out or already have experience with design software.
What are Patterns in Photoshop
A pattern is an image that is tiled or repeated when used to fill a layer or selection. By eliminating the need to develop intricate objects that could otherwise be created using a repetitive image template or free vector icons, patterns can help you speed up your design process. For instance, if your image needs a background filled with green circles, a pattern reduces this task to a mouse click.
There are three ways to integrate patterns in Photoshop.
- By making your custom patterns from line art, free vector icons or photos
- By using the Photoshop preset patterns
- By downloading and installing pattern libraries
Pattern Maker in Photoshop
There is also a pattern maker in Photoshop that can be very helpful in creating patterns. The Tiled Pattern Maker is a Photoshop plug-in that allows you to make patterns from all free vector icons, flat images and photos. It has an extensive array of adjustable parameters to help control the Pattern you create, allowing for almost any design you could imagine.
This plug-in will allow you to load an image or photo and adjust the number of tiles and tile patterns on your design until you get what you want. You can save your creation as a pattern or name it to be easily recalled later.
How to make a pattern in Photoshop?
Creating a pattern from any image is one of the simplest things you can do in Photoshop. All it takes is selecting your desired area and going to Edit > Define Pattern. Your new Pattern will be saved as an editable brush for use in the next project.
After changing its name, you’ll find the Define Pattern option at the bottom of your Layers panel. You can use the shortcut key combination Ctrl + Shift + B (Mac: ⌘ + Shift + B).
To add a pattern, you’ll need to select the area of your image you want to use and then go to Edit > Define Pattern> Pattern Brush. You’ll see a pop-up menu with two options: Free Hand and From Selection.
When you choose the Free Hand option, you’ll have to select the area of your image that you wish to use as the source. You can use one of these options:
- Pick any area of your image using a standard eyedropper tool by clicking on it.
- Select an area with the Magic Wand Tool (W).
- Use the rectangle marquee to select the desired area.
- Then, choose one of your layers (A), use the Move Tool (V) to reposition it, and click on it again with a standard eyedropper tool to fill in the selection.
- You can move the layer with the Move Tool (V) and then use the Move Tool (V) again to place it on a copy layer.
After you’ve done that, your area is selected. Now, go to the Layers panel to click the Create New Fill Or Adjustment Layer icon from its layers section.
You’ll see a pop-up menu from where you can choose whether your new fill or adjustment layer will be filled with color or Pattern; then, choose Photoshop Pattern from the menu.
Tips for Creating Patterns in Photoshop
Below are some proven tips for creating unique patterns in Photoshop.
- Take your time creating your design, and don’t rush. Be sure to consider where you want each piece of your Pattern to go about each other.
- If you would like a different type of texture or color on the layer you are working on, select it and change the opacity of this layer using the Opacity box in your layers panel on the left side of your screen.
- If you would like a specific section of your design to pop out more than another, then bump up this portion’s opacity and lower the other areas’ opacity.
- If you’d like to add another background color behind your text, select each piece and ensure that layer is selected before hiding the background. You can do this by clicking the eye icon before each layer in your layers panel.
- To change the background color around your texts or other shapes, select the piece you would like to change and use the paint bucket tool to fill it in with the color of your choice.
Designing your patterns can save you much time, allowing you to focus on other tasks. They can also be beneficial in the long term since you can save them as brushes and reuse them each time you create a new design.
Creating patterns in Photoshop is a straightforward process. But, these patterns are versatile and offer more than just filling a layer with color or texture. For instance, if you want to add effects to only certain parts of an image or free vector icons, using a pattern helps. After learning how to use it, consider making a pattern library so other designers can use it.
Until next time, happy creating!