2-8 : Patterns; Making Fills and Backgrounds
There are several uses for patterns, but one of the most popular is as a "Fill". We talk a bit about this in Level 5-1 when making seamless backgrounds. For this tutorial we will use what we learned about "Object Brushes" in 2-7. We'll use the same brush "74" to add some maple leaves to the workspace. Then we'll make a selection and turn that into a background fill. Check out the video at the end of this tutorial for further explanation.
Lets start by opening a new page in PS. It doesn't mater what size it is, though lets give it a white background. Though you could make this any color, it will be the background color of your fill. (So you know, fills can't have transparent backgrounds.) OK, it's time to activate the "Brush Tool" and select the "74 Object Brush". Go to the "Brush Palette" and change the "Spacing" of the brush in the "Brush Tip Shape" settings to 150%. Leaving the other settings at their defaults, choose a fall color for your leaves. Draw across the workspace in quick short strokes to create a pattern, you might need to do this a couple of times to get the design just right, but it should look something like this...
You'll want to be able to select an area without cutting off any of the leaves. If you do, you will have half leaves in your final pattern. This may or may not be the desired effect.
Active the "Marquee Tool" and select an area of the image, as I did in the example to the left. (For a quick refresher on this tool refer to Level 1-3)
Now navigate to Edit> Define Pattern...> a dialog box will open and ask you to name your new "Object Brush", I named mine "Falling Leaves". Remember the name, you'll want to refer to it when you are applying the "Pattern Fill"
Once you click "OK" the pattern will be saved to the "Pattern Palette". Lets open a "New Page" now, then active the "Paint Bucket Tool" from the "Tool Bar". Once activated, navigate to the "Options Bar" across the top (see Level 1-8)
Choose the "Pattern" option and from the drop down menu, find the pattern that you just made and select it. You have other options here as well, but for now, we'll leave them alone.
There are a couple of ways to "Fill" a space. One of those ways is to move the curser over the workspace and click, your new pattern will fill the page.
Another way would be to "Ctrl +A" (Select All, or you can make any other selection.) then with the "Selection Tool" active, "Right Click" in the workspace and select the "Fill..." option from the drop down menu. A familiar dialog box will open, select the pattern and click "OK" and the page will be filled. OR you can use "Shift +F5" to open the same dialog box.
This is what your fill will look like when you use it. Try making an odd shaped selection and then fill it. Or maybe try filling some text with your new pattern. Though you can only directly fill text with a color, you can add a "Pattern Overlay" in the "Blending Palette" using your new pattern or any other pattern in the list of presets (see 2-2). Below I changed the background color and tried two different patterns, you can also add a shadow or outline to these to make them stand out more.
Note: Patterns fill the entire page and are basically revealed when you use them. So the same image will always appear in the same place on the page when you draw. Though you can cut a section and move it and the pattern will move. This can be really annoying if you want to use the same pattern in shapes that overlap.
Patterns can be made from any image and can be used to fill any selected area. And seamless patterns can be both fun and challenging to make. Practice with this technique, it will help you be a more creative Photoshop user because anyone can use presets, not everyone can make them. Patterns have a .PAT extension and when you download them from the internet you would save them in the patterns folder of PS, which would usually look like this, C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS4\Presets\Patterns\
Find Hundreds of fancy patterns that you can download from the net.
Free creative ideas, patterns, and directions for many costume ideas.