Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Repeating Patterns for Painters #3

Last month I demonstrated how to make a really simple repeating pattern called a Block Repeat in Photoshop, using the magical ‘Edit > Define Pattern' and 'Edit > Fill’ process. 

I used a cute bunny rabbit motif as one example and a painting of some coloured primroses as an example of a pattern that needed some follow-up repairs to its 'seams'.

Now I’m going use the rabbit again to show you some more Photoshop magic that can make your repeating patterns more interesting! 

Instead of placing our motifs on a simple grid, we can use the Offset Filter to position them for either a ‘Half-drop’ or a ‘Brick’ repeat.

These two types of repeat are so alike that we’ll only need one set of instructions for the two of them.

To make a Half-Drop or Brick repeat:

1. Begin as usual by scanning, cleaning up/tidying your motif.

2. Use the Magic Wand to make the background transparent and Save.

3. Jot down the dimensions of the Image in pixels.

For the Half-drop repeat:

4. Canvas Size  > anchor Middle Left > change the Width to 200%. Leave the Height at 100%.

5. Layers > Duplicate layer

6. Filter > Other > Offset – make sure that ‘wrap around’ is ticked.

7. Enter: Width – no change, Height – ½ the number of pixels that you wrote down > OK

You should end up with a tile like this for a half-drop repeat

For the Brick repeat:

4. Canvas Size  > anchor Middle Top > change the Height to 200%. Leave the width at 100%.

5. Layers > Duplicate Layer

6. Filter > Other > Offset – make sure that ‘wrap around’ is ticked.

7. Enter: Height – no change, Width – ½ the number of pixels that you wrote down > OK

This is what your  'Tile' will look like for a Brick Repeat

For both the Half-drop and the Brick repeat:

8. Layer > Flatten (make your background transparent again if necessary.)

9. Adjust the size of the ‘tile’ you have made if necessary and save it, making sure you use the word 'tile' in your file name for future reference.

10. Edit > Define Pattern

11. Open a new, larger document/file.

12. Edit > Fill > Choose the pattern you just defined > OK

This is the Brick Repeat - the rows are staggered horizontally, like bricks

This is the Half-drop Repeat - the columns are staggered vertically

By now you have the knowledge to make patterns with three different types of layout and the more you practice using the offset filter, the easier it will become.

Hot Tip! One of the problems I had when I first started using Photoshop was that I’d be following instructions, but at some point along the way, whatever I did, nothing would happen, nothing at all; it was if I’d somehow locked myself out!

The most frequent reason for this is that I hadn’t noticed that the layer that I was trying to work with was locked! This still trips me up occasionally but it’s quickly rectified and it’s probably wise to keep checking this as you go along to avoid frustration. 

But sometimes the layer isn’t locked and yet, when I’ve wanted to use the paintbrush to tidy something up – nothing happens. I can’t explain why this happens, but occasionally the ‘opacity’ button in the top bar seems to slide back to 0%! So, although I was in fact actually painting, it wasn’t showing up because the colour was transparent!

The third thing to check, if neither of these reasons are what's holding you up, is that you haven’t somehow inadvertently left a marquee tool selecting part of your image. If that’s the case, you’ll only be able to work on the part that is selected. That one has caught me out a few times!

There seem to be a lot of things to keep your eye on in Photoshop that weren’t there in my old photo-editing program.

And, if you’re anything like me – more interested in the resulting design than in the mechanics of creating it – it can seem as if there are too many things to think about. But it’s a bit like driving a car – at first you need to think about everything you’re doing with your eyes, your hands, your feet . . . but after a while it all becomes automatic. I think Photoshop is a bit like that!

Next time, we'll be looking at my favourite type of repeat - the Ogee or Diamond repeat.

In a way, it's a combination of Half-drop and Brick. I discovered the easy way to create this repeat almost accidentally, by adapting some other instructions I came across on the internet!

So, till next month -

Practise as much as you can and enjoy making some wonderfully exciting patterns! I'd love to see them if you'd like to email them to me to post here!

to download a .pdf of this post, 
condensed into 4 pages
 in case you want to print it out.

8 comments: said...

You are so good with photoshop Judy! I've pinned this. Have a great day! :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Crystal, I really appreciate it :)

Linda said...

I really enjoy having this information. Thank you

Judy Adamson said...

Glad you find it useful, Linda :)

Annie - said...

Just waving hello! Thanks for sharing

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you for stopping by, Annie :)

Chiara said...

Judy, thank you, am finding your tutorials so very helpful. xx

Judy Adamson said...

I'm really glad you're finding them useful, Chiara :)