Posts Tagged "pattern design"

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. 😉

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. 😉
  • 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. 🙂

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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Custom Pet Portraits + I Love My Cat

I’d like to to share one of my latest projects, something I never thought I would do since I’ve never really drawn animals other than cats and birds before: custom portraits of my friend April’s Shiba Inus! When she first asked me I wasn’t sure if I could do it so I made this colored pencil sketch of her two Shibas sitting side by side. For practice.
custom pet portraits by cynthia bauzon arre
Obviously I got the proportions all wrong. 😳 Anyway, working on the sketch allowed me to familiarize myself with their features and markings so I eventually felt more at ease drawing them. I think it also helped that Shiba dogs look somewhat “feline”1 with their upright ears and almond-shaped upward-slanting eyes.

And then I made individual portraits, taking into account each of their distinct attributes — for instance a slightly crooked ear for one of them which was from an operation, etc — for a more personal touch. I was confident enough to use watercolor this time. I don’t typically use blacks for coloring but the black and tan Shiba variety called for it and I was quite happy with how they turned out and thankfully, so was their mom. 🙂
custom pet portraits cynthia bauzon arre
These were so fun to do and once I get more dog-drawing practice under my belt, I’ll likely add animal portraits to my custom artwork repertoire. (I will have to draw the line at pet reptiles though… 😯 )
***
Meanwhile.. it’s no secret that I love our cat. In fact he’s right there in my blog logo illustration which I haven’t changed for years. He’s also in my still-non-existent handmade store’s logo (see watermark) and in a lot of drawings I’ve done and even in some of Arnold‘s comics as an Easter egg to friends who know us well.

There was one day last week when my mind hit a blank and I couldn’t start working. He was lying on his play mat in front of me and, as if sensing my anxiety, started rolling around playfully. I could never resist when he does that so I went over and gave him a chin and back rub. He looked so content and carefree that I felt like preserving that moment. Without thinking I started sketching him. He kept moving around while I tried capturing all his poses and that was the birth of the series of illustrations below (right) which I ended up turning into a pattern (left).
pet portraits

It’s still being proofed over at Spoonflower but if you like cats too, my orange tabbies pattern is now available on phone covers, iPad sleeves, and more at Zazzle and RedBubble.

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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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