Click on thumbnailed images to enlarge

I know there's already a tutorial on patterns here, but the images don't seem to work, and people seem to get confused..... so here's my take on it.

Make a new document. What the dimensions are depends on what kind of pattern you want to make. A lot of patterns start on a square canvas, so that's what I'll cover first.

The size of the canvas depends on how big or small you want the pattern to be. For example, if you want small grids, you might start off with a 5x5 pixel canvas. Or, if you want to make large grids, you might start off with a 20x20 pixel canvas. Get my drift? For this tutorial, I'll be using a 10x10 pixel canvas.

NOTE: Make sure that the background is transparent (see what I've circled in red).

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Click "OK." Press "D" to reset the colors. Now take your pencil tool and make sure that you have the 1 pixel square brush. Zoom waaaayyyyy in on your screen, like this:

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That weird square with the cross in it is actually the size of the pencil tip at 1600% zoom.

Anyway.... moving on. Depending (again) on the pattern you want to make, do one of the following steps:


To make grids, draw one straight line across the top of the canvas (hold shift to make it straight) and one straight line down the left side of the canvas, like so:

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To make a checkerboard pattern, color in the top left and bottom left quarters black, like so:

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NOTE: To do this, the canvas has to be a square with a side length of an even number (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc.)

Diagonal Lines

To make diagonal lines, draw a diagonal line across the canvas, like so:

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Or, you can flip that around and do it the other way, like this:

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When you've done one of the above steps, go to Edit >> Define Pattern.

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A window should pop up. Name your pattern whatever you like and click "OK."

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Now, for other patterns......


There are two kinds of scanlines: horizontal and vertical. I'll start with horizontal first. To make horizontal scanlines, start with a canvas with a width of 1 pixel. The height depends on how far apart you want the scanlines to be. I normally use a 1x2 pixel canvas. Click "OK," take your pencil tool, and zoom waaayyy in again. Color in either the top or the bottom half of the canvas -- it doesn't really matter.

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Save your pattern as described above.

To make vertical scanlines, do the same thing as you would do for vertical scanlines, except this time, the height is one pixel and the length doesn't matter. Zoom in again and color one side of the canvas black.

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Save your pattern.


Dots are a little weird. They're different than most of the other patterns. To make dots, start with a square canvas with the width and height being odd numbers. For this tutorial, I'll be using a 3x3 pixel canvas. Zoom in and color the very center of the canvas black. Only ONE pixel should be black, like this:

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Save your pattern.


Now that you have your pattern, you need to put it on your image. Open up the image you want to put the pattern on. For this tutorial, I will be using this image, the image in my current avatar.

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Create a new layer. Take your paint bucket tool. On the toolbar up top, there should be a dropdown menu that says "Foreground" or "Foreground Color." Click on the little arrow and choose "Pattern."

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If you don't see the toolbar on top, go Window >> Options, and it should appear.

Next to the dropdown menu with "Pattern" in it, there should be another dropdown menu. Click the little arrow and find the pattern you saved. Choose that one.

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Fill in the new layer with the pattern. For best effects, lower the opacity of the pattern layer.

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You can also use the eraser tool to erase parts of the pattern layer where you don't want the pattern to be. Or, you can take the lasso tool and make a blob around the part where you don't want the pattern to show. Go Select >> Feather >> and then type in any number of pixels. I normally use somewhere between 15 and 50. Hit "delete" on your keyboard.

Here's my finished product:

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Okay, so it's not much. I spent about five minutes making that 'cause I was running out of time.

You can add text, mess around with filters, do whatever you want. You can even make up your own pattern. Go crazy. You might like what you end up with.

Oh, yeah. One more thing. Diamond patterns are tricky. To make diamonds, I just fill in the layer with diagonal lines, then make a new layer and fill that one with diagonal lines going the other way. Just a tip. Works for me.

Tutorial Comments

Showing latest 4 of 4 comments

wow, easy and FUN

By MiissYER on Apr 15, 2009 2:06 pm

Whup, very late.

It's Scriptina :]

By venti-anemoi on Apr 21, 2008 11:53 pm

Very good tutorial, helped me a lot :).
Oh and if you don't mind, what font did you use for your last picture? The text was Recentment.

By itsallgood on Mar 24, 2008 9:30 pm

very nice! I love this!

By kimt08 on Oct 24, 2007 8:57 pm

Tutorial Details

Author venti-anemoi View profile
Submitted on Feb 10, 2006
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