Tired of searching for that perfect pattern for your latest digital creation? This tutorial will take you through all of the steps to create a custom seamless repeating pattern in Photoshop using the Offset filter.
Don’t have it? You can download a 30 day trial of Photoshop from Adobe. All keyboard shortcuts provided are for CS5 on a PC, they may vary slightly for other CS versions or Mac platform. Shapes used in this tutorial were downloaded from Shapes4Free, unzipped and installed onto my computer. Find out how to do this here.
- Create a new document (CRTL + N) that is 600px by 600px (perfectly square) with a 300 ppi and a transparent background.
- Add a new layer (SHIFT + CTRL + N).
- Turn on your document grid (CTRL+ ‘) to help with precise placement of your shape and Snap to Grid (View > Snap), and then make sure Snap to Grid is checked (View > Snap To > Grid).
- Turn on the ruler (CTRL + R), drag from the horizontal ruler to create a horizontal guide, drag from the vertical ruler to create a vertical guide. Now you know the exact center of your document.
- Set the foreground and background colors to their defaults of Black and White (D).
- Select the custom shape tool (U) from the tools palette.
- In the upper left area right under the top menu there are 3 options – Shape Layers, Paths and Fill Pixels. Make sure you have Fill Pixels (the one on the right) selected.
- Pick a shape (in this case I chose a coffee cup) and drag it out on the layer while holding down your SHIFT + ALT keys as you drag to resize it. By doing this your proportions will be constrained and the shape will resize from its center. Release your mouse when satisfied. Rename your shape layer (Cup).
- Time to center your shape. Select the layer you want to center. Select your whole document (CTRL + A) now choose the Move Tool (V) from the toolbar. Go to the Alignment Options Bar and choose Align Vertical Centers (2nd from left). Then choose Align Horizontal Centers (2nd from right). Now deselect (CTRL + D).
- Duplicate (CTRL + J) your layer. Filter > Other > Offset. Click Ok to rasterize your shape. Enter 50% of your document size (300px by 300px). make sure Wraparound is selected.
- Add a new layer, select another shape (in this case a clock), draw it out and rename the shape layer (Clock). Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and draw out a square in one of the document quadrants. Select the Move Tool (V) from the toolbar. Go to the Alignment Options Bar and choose Align Vertical Centers (2nd from left). Then choose Align Horizontal Centers (2nd from right). Now deselect (CTRL + D).
- Duplicate the layer, draw out another quadrant with the Rectangular Marquee Tool, align both Vertical and Horizontal Centers.
- Repeat again.
- Repeat one last time.
- Now go back and change the colors of your shapes. Pick a layer and double click on it to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. Check and highlight Color Overlay. Select a color by clicking on the color box. Use the color picker or enter the color correct values for your choice. Hit Ok. Repeat until all of your shapes are the desired color.
- Go back to your first layer, and fill it (SHIFT + F5) with a color of your choice.
- Select all (CTRL + A). Notice the line of “marching ants” outlining your path. Go to Edit > Define Pattern. Name the file. Deselect (CTRL + D).
- (Optional) Change the colors and save it as a new style variations as above. Continue creating new styles as desired.
- Close your pattern.
- Create a new document (CTRL + N) 1200px by 1200px with a 300ppi.
- Add a new layer (SHIFT +CTRL + N) and add a pattern mask to that layer. Click the drop down for the pattern to browse and select the pattern you just saved. It should be the last one shown in the grid. Adjust the scale of the pattern to your liking. Save your document as a psd file. It is ready to be used at anytime.
There you have it, a simple seamless repeating pattern. Now that you know the basics, you can create more intricate patterns. The great thing about seamless repeating patterns is that once created, they can be used as a base for all kinds of awesome designs.
Get working on your own!