30 Jul How to Create a Seamless, Repeating Pattern from your Art
Lately, I’ve been beginning to dabble in using my art for textiles; for products like gloriously long soft scarves and homewares like throw cushions and bedding. Although my picture files are quite big and already high resolution – sometimes I find the need to repeat the pattern. This might be when the print size is ultra big (a la bedspreads) or – sometimes the pattern actually looks better on a particular product repeated.
I’m quite new to Photoshop. (As in, I’ve only started using it and Adobe Creative Cloud in the past few months). But honestly – I don’t know why I didn’t install and start using it sooner. As a creative, it’s a must have for editing my artwork photographs and mocking up my work!
NB: Because I’m not actually a graphic designer – I apologise if some of the terminology I use in this article today is made up 🙂
I stumbled across a way to repeat my pattern using Photoshop after struggling to find a straightforward tutorial online. So, that’s why I thought it might be a good idea to share this technique with my fellow creatives. Once you get the hang of it, it only takes a minute or two – and then… the possibilities are endless! The creative juices will begin to flow with what you can do with your new, endless piece of art.
Ok, so let’s get stuck in. I’m using Photoshop CC 2015.5 release but understand the steps should be pretty similar/same across previous versions of PS.
Step 1: Crop your art
First things first, we want to make sure that our repeating pattern is a perfect square, and includes only the good bits you want in your final product. For the example today, I’m going to use my Aeurus artwork and am going to crop away the darkest section. Use the 1:1 crop ratio if your image is not already square.
What’s cool about cropping is that you can actually create an infinity of different patterns from each piece of art you create, just by editing the crop.
Step 2: Unlock the Layer
Do this simply by clicking on the little padlock image in your right sidebar.
Step 3: Double your canvas size
Do this by clicking Image -> Canvas Size. If your image is a weird size, you can change the measurement to ‘percentage’ before making the ‘Height’ field double the value of the width field.
Here, you’ll also click the down arrow in the ‘anchor’ section (highlighted below) so that you nudge your artwork down when you make the canvas bigger.
Click OK when you’re ready.
You should end up with something that looks like this:
Step 4: Copy your Layer
Start by clicking and holding on your layer (in the right sidebar) and dragging it into the tiny little ‘create a new layer’ icon (which is the second to the right at the very bottom of the sidebar – highlighted below).
Once you’ve dragged and dropped the layer into the icon, a new duplicate layer is created.
Step 5: Flip and move the new layer
Here comes the fun! Ensuring that your new copy layer is selected, navigate to the menu and click Edit -> Transform -> Flip Vertical.
Then, click on the ‘move’ action and drag and drop your new mirrored section into the blank space.
You should end up with something like this:
Step 6: Merge all the layers and repeat
Start by navigating to the menu and click Layer -> Flatten Image. You’ll then need to click on the little padlock in the right sidebar (like we did at the start) to unlock the layer.
Then, as above, drag this layer into the ‘create new layer’ icon to make a duplicate.
Create some space for the rest of the pattern by enlarging the canvas again. Click Image -> Canvas Size, and change the ‘width’ this time to 200 percent. Make sure you don’t forget to click the right arrow in the ‘anchor’ section – to push your existing layers to the right.
You should now have something that looks like this:
Now, you can flip the duplicate layer we created earlier into this empty space.
Make sure your copy is highlighted, navigate to the menu and click Edit -> Transform -> Flip Horizontal.
You can then save in the format you wish – and your artwork is ready to be used as a repeating pattern.
Here’s how mine turned out:
Probably cool enough to be a new artwork on it’s own accord, you can also use patterns like these to create an array of items for family and friends (or customers) using something like Zazzle. The possibilities really are endless, just like your new piece of art.
I hope you enjoyed my very first tutorial! Thanks so much for reading.