Posts Tagged "digital art"

How I make seamless patterns in Photoshop (Tutorial)

making seamless patterns in photoshop

I was in the middle of turning those vintage camera doodles on the left into a seamless digital pattern for my online¬†stores when I¬†thought, hey this is a good time to make another tutorial. I do know how much you (yup, all 3 of you) like reading about my design process. ūüėČ

Step 1: Doodle, scan, clean up in Photoshop (I’m still using a Jurassic CS3 so if you’re using a newer version, you can disregard this entire blog post huhuhu). Some¬†points¬†to remember:

  • save your doodles in grayscale, TIFF format
  • clean it up, erase all pencil marks, close all broken lines
  • once clean, make another layer for your doodles and change the mode from grayscale to bitmap then change it back to grayscale¬†(this will allow you to easily select and remove the white background)

Step 2: Create a new file for your pattern. I usually start with a 1500px x 1500px file. Paste your cleaned-up doodles into that file and arrange them however you like on the page.

Step 3: Add color to your drawings.

making seamless patterns in photoshop

  • make separate layers for the background, outline, and fill color(s) so you can easily¬†make variant colorways in the future
  • once you’re happy with the colors, duplicate all the layers and place one “untouched” set in a folder and turn off the “eye” symbol to make it invisible for now
  • important:¬†leave the background as¬†a separate layer

Step 4: Merge the outline and fill layers of your drawing.

how to make a seamless pattern in photoshop

  • an additional precautionary step I take is¬†to select the entire file and then go to Image > Crop in the dropdown. This way, tiny¬†pixels that could mess¬†up the next step will be eliminated.

Step 5: Select the merged layer and choose Filter > Other > Offset1. Type in a number that’s half of¬†your document size in the pop-up.¬†Since my file is 1500px x 1500px, I typed in 750 for both horizontal and vertical instances.¬†Your drawings will scatter to the edges.

how to make a seamless pattern in photoshop

  • remember to tick “wraparound” in the popup box
  • check to see if the images in the corners¬†will connect with¬†one another without gaps. This is why the “Crop”¬†command¬†I added¬†in Step 4 is important. Sometimes tiny, hardly visible pixels¬†will throw the alignment¬†off.

Step 6: Remember I told you to make a duplicate layer for the drawings? Turn on the “eye” symbol and make it visible. Take the duplicate versions of the drawings and arrange them randomly to fill up the blank spaces.¬†This is now your “Master” file. Save it as a .PSD so you can do edits later.

how to make a seamless pattern

  • I like to flip and scale the duplicate drawings to give the pattern a (in breathy voice) casually-thrown-together look.¬†ūüėČ
  • see how I’ve left the background color as a separate layer? This way I can¬†easily change it to make a variant of the pattern.

Step 7: Time to test your pattern. Select the entire page and go to Edit > Define Pattern. Type a name for your pattern in the pop-up.

Step 8: Make a new document in US Letter or A4 size (it really doesn’t¬†matter). Create¬†a layer, select it and go to Layer > Layer Style > Pattern Overlay.¬†Select the pattern you just made in the Pattern palette that pops up.

making seamless patterns in photoshop

Step 9: Inspect your pattern and watch out for elements that don’t align or are too close to one another. Edit your master file accordingly and repeat steps 6-8.

making a seamless pattern in photoshop

Step 10: Once you’re happy with the pattern, save your square master file as a JPEG. You can now use that to make fabric patterns in Spoonflower or Zazzle and make some extra pocket money.

how to make a seamless pattern in photoshop

I’ve yet to upload it to my stores (since I was *ahem* busy making this tutorial) but I do hope you’ll find¬†this post useful. ūüôā

UPDATE: Now available on fabric, wrapping paper, ribbons, and other fun items on Zazzle.

  1. if you’re using a different version of Photoshop, it might be located under a different dropdown[ back]
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How I make digital graphics and choose color schemes

I first published this tutorial of sorts in my blog for Poptastic Tees1 but I accidentally deleted that entire site a couple of years ago. Too depressed to attempt reconstructing 5 years worth of blog posts, I dismissed it as fate and let it be.  Last night I found a set of graphics illustrating my work process step-by-step and thought of rewriting just that one post since it might be helpful and worth sharing.

So this is one of my¬†patterns — “Retro Robots” — as seen on a Macbook sleeve c/o Zazzle.


I will now describe how I make almost all of my digital graphics. Sorry about the ugly watermarks.

1. This step you already know: make doodles! Here are my robots.
retro robots by cynthia bauzon arre

2. Next step: scanning and making vector versions using Adobe Illustrator.

The bottom row shows my robots in their “cleaned up” vector state but¬†still raw¬†and¬†outlined. You’ll see that they’re¬†simply¬†made up of basic shapes¬†like circles and squares with rounded corners that I just tweaked, duplicated, and assembled together to make¬†robot-like¬†forms based on my doodles.¬†On hindsight, I should have just vectorized the drawings instead of constructing¬†clean versions¬†since the actual doodles look sillier and funnier!

3.¬†Here’s where the fun starts — adding color to the¬†finished graphics. I like to use a palette of 4 or 5 colors only to¬†give the design a cohesive and somewhat¬†retro¬†look. For color scheme formulating¬†help, you can turn to a tool¬†like Adobe Color CC‘s color wheel¬†where you can¬†make¬†combos to your hearts’ content. (This blog post has a list of free tools for choosing a color scheme.)

choosing a color scheme

This nautical inspired colorway was my initial try. #meh

robots by cynthia bauzon arre

My second attempt was more successful, imho. I liked how the subdued colors made the robots look vintagey.

4. Time to play!

retro robots cynthia bauzon arre

Now my vector robots can be imported into Photoshop and arranged in several¬†ways to make images for kiddie t-shirts or patterns for surface designing. ūüôā

* See these robots in action in my shop Funky Patterns and on fabric / wallpaper in Spoonflower.

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  1.  the old t-shirt store a.k.a. our first foray into online selling [ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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