Art Licensing PS Tutorial: Creating Patterns

This week I have been working on allover fabric designs for licensing.  An allover design must have a  seamless repeat. When creating a pattern I generally start with a square but patterns can begin with a rectangle as well.  Here is a simplified version of the process using shape presets in Photoshop.  Naturally, I use my original artwork to create patterns for my licensing portfolio.

Lets get started...

First you'll need to create a new document: File>New.  Set the size and resolution.   As you can see, I've elected to have a transparent background.  This allows me to change the background at will without defining a new pattern for each colorway.  Drag guides to define the center of the image. 

Establish the initial design elements in the center of the image so that you can see what they will look like at the seam.  Then duplicate the design 4x and position one duplicate in each corner using the crosshairs for exact placement.

Next, fill in the negative space with as many or as few elements as you like.  Fewer elements result in a more open, airy pattern, while multiple elements will result in a busy pattern. 

Finally, define the pattern to create a preset:  Edit>Define Pattern.

To view the pattern, set up a new image and then choose layer>New Fill Layer>Pattern.  This will fill the image with your new preset.  If you double-click the pattern icon in the layers palette you can change the scale, opacity and select a different pattern from the presets.

Version I: open & airy
Version II: semi-detailed
Version III: intricate
 So, of what use is this to you if you aren't pursuing art licensing?  You can create your own  backgrounds for photos or web or print the patterns as decorative papers.  Because they are a seamless repeat, you can cover as large of an area as your printer allows. Depending on your printer ink or toner, you may even be able to use the printed images for decoupage.  Our RB Stenciling Gel can be used as a photo transfer medium for this purpose.  You will have to test the nature of your prints to see whether your inks or toners are suitable for this.

For further study: DIY Creating Website Graphics

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