graphic design, surface pattern design, illustrative art
Examples of repeat patterns are all around us. Whether it’s a pair of teddy bear pajamas, a floral print dress, floor tiles, or wallpaper, the repeated pattern in each design is created by repeating the pattern over and over again. There are four basic ways to repeat a design to create a pattern: repeats, half drop repeats, reflection and rotation.
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator can be used to create a repeating or half drop repeating pattern swatch that can be used to fill any shape from a simple circle, to text, to mock clothing.
Half drop repeats create patterns where every other line of the pattern is staggered.
Open photoshop and create a new document 6×6 inches or 900 pixels x 900 pixels (your dimensions must be even numbers for the half drop repeat to work properly), set the resolution at 150 pixels.
Choose a ready made source image, a drawing, a photograph or a graphic. You can create a graphic you’d like to use for your repeat pattern as well. Place the graphic in the center of the canvas.
Add additional graphics to the center if using photoshop’s custom swirl shape.
If using the custom swirl shape or any other custom shape from photoshop’s default shapes menu, you will need to select (Layer>Merge Visual) before moving forward.
A predesigned graphic or image does not need to be flattened or merged.
• If using a photo image or pre-made graphic, Open your image/graphic in photoshop, unlock the background layer by double clicking on the layer. Click ok. Select the move tool and drag the photo image/graphic onto the New document you created in step one. Resize the image to fit nicely in the center of the canvas.
Make a duplicate copy of this layer.
With the duplicate layer selected, select (Image>Image size) in the Menu bar. Notice the pixel size of your file and divide it in half.
For this tutorial we used 900 pixels for the height and width which gives us 450 pixels when divided in half. Use this number in the next step.
In the Menu bar select (Filter>Other>Offset) Type in the number you found in step 4 and place it in the width and height boxes. Be sure the Wrap Around box is selected. Click ok or hit the enter/return key.
You now have a new pattern to add to your library.
Select (Edit>Define pattern). The Pattern Name window will open. Name your new pattern. Click ok.
If you don’t save your pattern, it will not be available for use once you close and reopen photoshop. So here’s how to save your pattern for future use.
Select the paint bucket in the Toolbar.
Select Pattern in the Fill box, at the top of your screen, if not selected and then click the inverted arrow next to the Pattern box.
A drop down box will appear with your default patterns loaded.
Click the arrow to the right to show the Pattern menu. Select Preset Manager and another window will open.
If there are default patterns loaded, select all except your newly created pattern by clicking on one of the pattern blocks, hold the shift key and select the other pattern blocks and click the Delete button. This will delete the patterns from this set not your photoshop program.
With this window still open, click the Save Set button. This will open the hard drive window of your computer.
Name your Pattern Set. Decide where you want to save your newly created pattern to use in other projects. Create a folder to save your patterns in. Click save.
Let’s test the half drop repeat pattern created.
Create a new document 6×6 inches.
Select the Elliptical Marquee tool in the Toolbar and draw a circle on the canvas. To fill this selection with the pattern you created, click the create new fill or adjustment icon at the bottom of the layers palette.
Select Pattern from the menu that opens. The Pattern fill window box will open and your new pattern will fill your shape automatically. If not, select your pattern by clicking the inverted arrow on the Pattern box to the left of Scale.
• You can adjust the size of the pattern by sliding the percentage bar in the Pattern Fill window box to the right or the left. The pattern fill percentage will change inside the shape you drew. Click the ok button when satisfied with the percentage size of your pattern fill.
Final result. It works. Your half drop repeat pattern is ready for use.
Download this tutorial in pdf format. You will need an adobe pdf reader such as adobe’s free acrobat reader.