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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week I am going to show you how to create a seamlessly repeating tile pattern inside Photoshop. Now it could be anything. It could a texture. It could be a bump map, what have you. In my case, I am creating some custom gift wrap. So imagine this. You get a very tiny gift-- that way you can print it out on your desktop printer, right?-- and then wrap the gift in this paper, and you will save on bows! That's some thinking I am doing on your behalf here, and I am going to show you how it works exactly inside this movie.
All right, so as I say this is our gift wrapping pattern right here, but trying to wrap your brain around how to approach such a pattern is anything but obvious inside of Photoshop. So, I will be providing you with some tips and tricks as we work through the process. I will say upfront, however, that the most essential tool in our arsenal for evaluating the seams in a pattern is the Offset filter. One of the older and more obscure features inside the software, it's absolutely indispensable for our purposes right now. So I am going to switch over to this composition that I have assembled here.
And I should say upfront, just FYI, it measures 600 pixels X 600 pixels tall. So it's going to be a square pattern tile. Your pattern tiles can be rectangular. It's not a problem. Any size image is going to work for you, but you do have to make sure that the left side of the pattern of the tile matches up with the right side, and the top matches up with the bottom. Well, things look pretty good. I have got this gold ribbon and then this red ribbon. I downloaded both of them from the Fotolia Stock Image library. And the red ribbon in particular looks like it's going to match exactly.
It looks like it was designed to work inside of a pattern tile, and then a gold ribbon looks like it present a little bit of work, because of the wonky angle of this ribbon over here on the right-hand side, but I should be able to work through things pretty easily. Well, let's see. You go up in order to judge how this image is going to fair, because as I say, it measures 600 pixels X 600 pixels tall. There is no more to it. The layer does not happen to be any larger than the canvas. So what you do is you go up to the Filter menu, you choose Other, and you choose Offset. And by the way, the fact that the layer is exactly the same size of the image, that's very, very important for your purposes.
You do want to make sure that your images are cropped to fit inside the canvas. All right, anyway, I am going to choose the Offset command, and what it allows you to do is, for one thing, you are just moving pixels around, just as if you had dragged them to a different location--with one big exception. The undefined areas, rather than just revealing the checkerboard transparency in the background, get filled with wrapped-around pixels. So Photoshop is essentially wrapping the image around itself. And as a result, we are seeing the seams.
There is the seam between the horizontal portions of the ribbon, and then there is the seam between the vertical portions of the ribbon. So that's interesting. Apparently, this thing is not lining up worth beans. And by the way, notice I have changed the Horizontal value and Vertical values both of them to 300 pixels, so half the size of the image. And you don't have to do that; any number of pixels works out just fine, but I just want you to understand what's going on there. So what I decided was that gosh, the gold ribbon is in worse shape than I thought it was. The red ribbon looks like it's going to be, as I say, it's going to be great.
So, why don't we just go ahead and cover up these seams? As opposed to trying to fix them, let's just cover them up with the red ribbon. So I am going to cancel out of here for a moment, cancel out of the Offset Filter, and I am going to turn on the red ribbon layer, and I am going to go ahead and set it to the Multiply Blend mode, so that I can see through it to the underlying gold layer there. And then I will go ahead and click on gold once again, go back to Offset by choosing Other and Offset, and the reason I am doing this is I now want to go ahead and line up the gold ribbon with the red ribbon. And the values that I figured out would work are -250 for horizontal and then for vertical positive 210. And notice what that does is it puts the scene from the gold ribbon right behind the red ribbon.
Now, don't worry about the fact that the gold ribbon is getting cut off all over the place. It's seamlessly repeating. We know that part seamlessly repeats because it fit together in the first place, so that's not going to be any problem whatsoever. Anyway, we are just worried about this area. So I will click OK, and now what I have got to do is drop out the whites in the red ribbon layer and leave the red portions of the ribbon absolutely opaque. So what I need to do is change the blend mode back to Normal here. And I am going to go ahead and double- click on the empty portion on this red ribbon layer and then I will go down here to this layer slider, and I will drop out the whites by dragging this guy down to 140--is what I figured out worked.
So anything with the luminous level on this layer of 140 or brighter is going to turn transparent. And we are going to see through the gold ribbon blow. Problem is, we have got some real choppy edges where the red ribbon is concerned. Now normally, you would try to Alt+Drag that white slider triangle in half so that you would get some better transitions, but that's not going to help us in this case. So what I am going to do is I am going to duplicate that red ribbon layer, and I am going to duplicate it by Alt+Dragging or Option+Dragging it. Notice if you Alt+Drag or Option+Drag a layer inside the Layers panel to a different location, you will copy it, as indicated by that little copy cursor there.
So I went ahead and created a copy below gold ribbon. Now what I need to do is reset it. I will go ahead and double click on it, and drag this white slider triangle back up to 255, so the entire layer is absolutely opaque. And that hasn't done us any good. That's because we can't see through the gold ribbon. All right, let me back out here for a moment, and I will go ahead and turn off the top red ribbon, go ahead and select gold ribbon, and I am going to change its blend mode to Multiply, so that we can see that red ribbon in the background. The only portions that are getting messed up are the portions that are going to get covered in just a moment when I turn red ribbon back on. See that? So now we are absolutely covering those seams in the gold ribbon. Awesome! All right, but here is the big problem.
I think the red ribbon is going to repeat seamlessly. I don't know it for a fact until I check it out with the Offset filter. Well, now we have three layers that we need to offset together that we have to contend with here. So, click on one, Shift+Click on the other, and of course we have only done this a million times in this technique so far. What we are going to do is go to the Layers Panel menu, and we are going to convert this guy into a Smart Object. That way we can filter all three layers at the same time. So go ahead and choose Convert to Smart Object and then go up to the Filter menu, choose Other, and choose Offset.
And I have to say, one of the brilliant things about Smart Objects inside a Photoshop is that they take these version 1.0 filters and make them non-destructive, which is totally awesome. Anyway, I will choose Offset, and I am going to go ahead and enter 300 and 300, just half the dimensions of this image. And I can see right away that I was totally wrong about this red ribbon. It doesn't repeat worth beans. So, interesting, in a bad way. Anyway, click OK in order to accept that modification. So now it dawns on me, well in that case, I might as well, if I have got to fix these darn ribbons anyway, I might as well make the gold ribbon go in front over here on the left-hand side, and the red ribbon be in front down here at the bottom, so that they are interlaced.
And I went ahead and set these layers up in advance. I am going to tell you how I created these layers, how I actually fixed the seams, in a separate video that's available to members of the lynda.com Online Training Library. So those of you who are members, check out the next video in this series and you will see how I put these layers together, but for now I am just going to turn them on for you here. There is the red ribbon layer, which is a bit of red ribbon that I found in the original image. And then I masked it. And I am going to Shift+Click on this layer mask to turn it on, so that you will see that I masked this layer.
And we get this nice sort of seamless ribbon action going on except for right there, this little single pixel of anti-aliasing that was not accounted for. So I created this layer of white. It's just a cover-up layer, and so as soon as I turned on, you can see that little edge goes away. All right, and then let's go check this guy out. I created this gold layer right there, so it's a piece of the gold ribbon that I actually skewed at a different angle and it looks terrible. And I also, by the way, I went ahead and scaled it a little bit, too.
So I upsampled it, so it's got all of these wretched edges going on. Well, then I turned around and created a layer mask. It's a hack layer mask, but it works. And then I decided, you know what, these ribbons should be casting shadows on to each other, so I created this grads layer right there. I will go ahead and zoom out so that we can see it in both the locations. And I will turn on the grads layer and you can see that there are just these tiny little gradients that are casting shadows. As I say, if you want to see how I actually made this work, what commands I used and so forth, then check out the next video where I discuss how to fix scenes in a repeating tile pattern in the lynda.com Online Training Library.
But anyway, now I want to make this into a pattern. So what you do is you go up to the Edit menu and you choose Define pattern. You don't have to select anything. It will work from the composite image. Just choose Define pattern, and it's grabbing the name from the name of the image. I am just going to change it to two ribbons. Click OK and that's it. Now, I am going to create this big, huge image, so just press Ctrl+N, Command+N on the Mac to create a new image. It matches 3600 pixels wide by 3600 pixels tall-- in other words six times the width, six times the height--so we will be able to fit in a total of six times six, so 36 different pattern tiles.
Click OK in order to create this new image, and then we are way too far zoomed out at this point. But that's okay. Drop down here to the black white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Choose the Pattern command, and it should automatically go ahead and grab the last pattern you created. If you want to drag a pattern around, you can, like so. But otherwise, just click OK and you will see that it repeats brilliantly and seamlessly and so forth. And if that's not big enough, because 3600 pixels by 3600 pixels at 300 pixels per inch is only a foot, and you are not going to be able to wrap anything with that--unless it's a very small box--but if you want it to be bigger, why then you could just go up to the Image menu, choose the Canvas Size command, and dial in anything you want.
I will switch to Inches and I will say, you know what, I want this to be 36 inches wide-- that's three feet, of course--by 24 inches tall. That's two feet. Click OK and look at that. Photoshop automatically fills in the difference with more pattern tiles. So there you have it. That's how you create a seamlessly repeating pattern tile for gift wrap or any other purpose here inside Photoshop.
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