Have you ever wondered just how repeating graphic designs are made, such as scrapbook pages or wallpaper designs? In this tutorial we will learn how to make our very own repeated pattern in Photoshop using available shapes.
Step 1: Open a new document by navigating the File menu –> New. Shortcut by pressing ctrl+n in Windows, cmd+n for Mac. In the pop-up window, set both the width and height size to 100 pixels. [You can experiment later with different pixel sizes that might fit your project better, but for demonstration use 100]. Set the resolution to 72 and background contents in transparent. Transparent settings are used because we are going to create a recurring custom shape pattern without a background.
Selecting OK creates our working layer but it appears that it is too small to work with. Zoom in by pressing ctrl++ for Windows (cmd++ Mac) and zoom out by pressing ctrl+- (or cmd +-). To “zoom to fit” the contents to the window, try ctrl+0 or cmd+0.
Step 2: Now, we’ll create a guide to mark the center of our canvas. In the top View menu, choose New Guide.
A new window appears; set the horizontal orientation to 50 px, then click OK.
A thin, blue line is created across the page, marking the position we just entered (here, our horizontal center). Repeat and create a new guide for the vertical orientation at 50 px. Setting these guides helps us easily determine where the center of our canvas lies.
Step 3: We will now create a custom shape to become the repetitive pattern. Click on the custom shape tool in the left-side tools panel. Here, we’ll use the ellipse marquee tool. Click and drag to create a circle in the center of our layer. Recall you can hold shift while dragging to maintain a perfect circle.
Step 4: Duplicate the layer by pressing ctrl+j or cmd+j, or by right clicking the layer to select duplicate layer. Now, with the duplicate layer active, navigate the top menu: Filter > other > offset.
Step 5: Now an offset window appears. Set both the horizontal and vertical to 50 and the undefined areas to Wrap Around. Click OK.
Step 6: We are just about finished making the pattern. We’ll name the newly created pattern by going to the Edit menu, then Define Pattern. Rename the pattern and click ok.
Step 7: Now let’s create a new document, one in which we’ll apply our created pattern. This time, set the pixel size width and height to 1,000 pixels each, while setting the background contents to white.
Step 8: In this new document, create a new layer (use the post-it note icon in the layer panel’s lower right corner).
Step 9: Fill the new layer with pattern by navigating the Edit menu at top, then select Fill.
A new window will appear. Set the contents to use pattern, then select the option we just created. Click ok.
Clicking OK then applies (fills) the pattern to the page. Voila!
Now you are ready to experiment with other shapes and colors, creating your signature repeating pattern design.