Create Plaid (Tartan) Repeat Patterns in Adobe Photoshop - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class | Helen Bradley | Skillshare

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Create Plaid (Tartan) Repeat Patterns in Adobe Photoshop - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

teacher avatar Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Create Plaid Patterns in Photoshop - Introduction

      1:10
    • 2. Pt 1 - Find Your Plaid Inspiration

      5:29
    • 3. Pt 2 - Create the Stripes

      6:37
    • 4. Pt 3 - Create the Plaid

      8:23
    • 5. Pt 4 - Fine Tune the Pattern and Wrap Up

      7:05
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About This Class

Graphic Design for Lunch™ is a series of short video courses you can study in bite size pieces such as at lunchtime. In this course you'll learn to make a tartan or plaid repeating pattern. I'll show you how you can make any plaid or tartan using a reference image to get the colors and lines correct and how to add some extra texture to make it look realistic. This is a sample of the plaid we'll create (it is much simpler to make than you might think): 

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Thank you to the Skillshare users who asked for this class! 

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Helen Bradley

Graphic Design for Lunch™

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Helen teaches the popular Graphic Design for Lunch™ courses which focus on teaching Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator®, Procreate®, and other graphic design and photo editing applications. Each course is short enough to take over a lunch break and is packed with useful and fun techniques. Class projects reinforce what is taught so they too can be easily completed over a lunch hour or two.

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Transcripts

1. Create Plaid Patterns in Photoshop - Introduction: Hello, I'm Helen Bradley. Welcome to this Graphic Design for Lunch class, Create a Plaid or Tartan Pattern in Adobe Photoshop. Graphic Design for Lunch is a series of classes that teach a range of tips and techniques for creating designs and for working in applications such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Procreate. Today, we're going to look at creating quite complex looking plaid patterns in Photoshop. But you'll find that they're actually a lot easier to make than they look like they should be. Now as you're watching these videos, you will see a prompt which lets you recommend this class to others. Please, if you're enjoying the class, do two things for me. Firstly, give it a thumbs-up, and secondly, write in just a few words about why you're enjoying the class. These recommendations help other students to see that this is a class that they too might enjoy. If you'd like to leave a comment or a question, please do so. I read and I respond to all of your comments and questions, and I look at and respond to all of your class projects. If you're ready now, let's get started creating plaid patterns in Photoshop. 2. Pt 1 - Find Your Plaid Inspiration: To create our plaid, it's going to help us if we can find a piece of plaid that we can base our plaid on. It's always a good idea to find a tartan or a plaid that you like to use, and I'm going to give you the link to download this one. It's actually a piece of a shirt. What we're going to do is to use this as some inspiration for our plaid design. The best piece of this shirt is actually over here, so I'm going to start by rotating the image so that this is in a sort of vertical orientation. I'm going to double-click on the background layer to turn it into a regular layer. I have the move tool selected. I'm going to just drag down a horizontal guide here just so I can see roughly what horizontal looks like. You can get those guides by choosing View and then Ruler, and then just drag a guide off the ruler. I'm just going to rotate this around, so it's pretty much lining up with that guide. This is just going to help me get out the piece of the pattern that I want to use, so I click the check mark. I'm going to crop tool and I'm going to make a really loose crop here. I can't make a tight crop at this stage because I don't really know which part of the image I'm going to use. I know that I don't need that guide any longer so I can just grab it and just remove it by tossing it off the edge of the document. Now, I have my pencil tool here, and I'm just going to use it to show you the area of the image that I'm going to use and how I make this decision. Well, I'm going to look at this point here, I'm just going to mark it. You can see that it is in the intersection of this sort of darker stripe and the whiter stripe, and the darker stripe is going down here. So we're going to look and see where in the pattern, as we go across horizontally, do we next see this point. Well, the next time we see this point is here, so let's just mark that line here. Then we look at the plaid again and say, "Okay, when we're working vertically, when do we next see this point?" Well, the next time it appears is down here, so let's mark that. This now gives us the area of the document that we need to extract to get our plaid pattern. That is going to be a pattern swatch. Of course, we're going to create it in Photoshop so it looks nice and square and beautiful, but we're going to use inspiration from this piece of plaid. Now I'm going to get my crop tool. I'm going to more aggressively crop this. What I want to do is to get really close in to the area that I want to keep. I'm going to click the check mark and I'm going to turn off my lines. Now this is a pretty good start for my pattern piece. I'm just going to zoom in here. If you need to manipulate this at all, you can go back to this layer and choose Edit, Transform, Warp. With the warp tool, you can just gently warp the shape a little bit so that you can get the pattern piece to look a little bit straighter. In fact, I don't want the bottom part of this at all, so I'm going to have to lop that off in a minute. I don't think I've been aggressive enough in my crop. So let's go back to the crop and let's just take that in there. This is my starting pattern piece, but I think that the shirt was scrunched up a little bit because I probably would've expected the basic shape of this pattern to be a whole lot more square, and I actually do want to work with a square document. With this last selective, we're going to go and stretch this to make it square. Image, Image size. Now if I go and try and make the width and the height the same by adjusting the height, look what Photoshop does. It adjusts the width, it keeps making the width bigger because this image started of as being a rectangle that is wider than it is tall, and right now Photoshop is trying to keep the proportions the same. Well, we're going to unlock this. In earlier versions of Photoshop, you would be unlocking a checkbox which says Constraint Aspect Ratio. Now we can make the image as big or as small as we like and we can stretch it. I can set the height to 217, and that's made it now a square document. So you can see it's been stretched. I like this as a starting point much better. But 217 pixels by 217 pixels is really small for a patent piece, so I want to make this a whole lot larger while I'm here. I'm just going to go and type 1500 as the width, and 1500 as the height. What that's done is to stretch the image so it's square and also enlarge it to a really good starting size for my pattern. So 1500 by 1500, I'm just going to click Okay. I'll press Control or Command zero to zoom back out so that we can see the image. This is going to be the starting point for our pattern and we're going to build the pattern in this document using the image of this plaid pattern as a basis for developing our pattern. Anytime you want to create a known plaid, the best place to start is with a piece of that plaid that you can base your design on. 3. Pt 2 - Create the Stripes: Now, when we're making our pattern, we don't need this layer that had those lines on it, so I'm just going to drag and drop it on the trashcan to get rid of it. We're going to build our pattern up here. So I'm going to start with a new layer. We want to build everything on new layers. I'm going to start with this white line across here. I'm going to get the rectangular marquee tool, and I'm just going to drag out a white line that is approximately the height of the white line across the plaid pattern. White is my background color here, so I'll press Ctrl Backspace Command Delete to fill that stripe with white, and I can just place it using the move tool. Now there's another place that that white is used and that's down here. But you can see that this area of the pattern and this area of the pattern are pretty much the same, so I'm going to build up these two black stripes and then copy it to make this one. Let's just re-display this, let's add a new layer. I'm going to press Ctrl or Command D to deselect the current selection. I'm going back to the rectangular marquee tool. I'm going to drag out another shape here, and this is going to be for the black. I need to bring black in so I'm going to click here on the default colors or I could press the letter D. Because black is a foreground color, I'll press Alt Backspace, Option Delete on the Mac to fill this shape with black. Now I'm going to take this black layer, I'm going to drag it on to the new layer icon. I'm going to move tool. I'm going to move it just under the white one here. I'm going to make sure that they nestle up perfectly against each other. I don't think they do right now, so I'm going to select the zoom tool and just zoom in here and see if I can get them to fit just a little bit better. These two black stripes are now perfectly aligned to the white stripe, so I'm going to grab all three of these because I want to make a duplicate of them. I'll drag them onto the new layer icon and while there still selected, I'm going to move all three of them right down to the bottom of the document and just nudge it into the bottom of the document because it then provides the bottom stripe, which means the bottom and top stripes are identical, and that's what we want for our plaid. I'm going to add a new layer now, and we're going to add these white stripes in. So there are two smaller white stripes and a black one. I'm going here to the rectangular marquee tool, I'm just going to drag out a very narrow white stripe. White is my background color, so I'll press Ctrl Backspace, Command Delete on the Mac. Now I want a duplicate of this, so I'm going to drag it onto the new layer icon. I'm going to move it down to here, and then I want a black one. So it needs to be the same width. I'm saying that these two stripes and this one are the same width they're just different colors. So I'm going to make another duplicate of that. I'm going to move it down a little bit, and I'm going to fill it with black. So it selected, I'm going to press Alt Backspace, Option Delete on the Mac to fill it with black. I want to make sure that these three lines are pretty evenly spread out between these two black ones here, and they look pretty good to me. Next, I want to put in the white and the red, and the easiest way to do that is to work behind the existing stripes. So I'm going back down to my very bottom layer. I'm going to press Ctrl or Command D to deselect any current selection. I'm going to add a new layer, and now anything that I draw it's going to be behind everything else. So it doesn't matter if I overlap a little bit. I'm going to rectangular marquee tool. I'm going to drag out a rectangle here, and you can see that I'm incorporating bits of the black stripes and that doesn't matter because I'm working behind them. Now, I'd like to sample a red from the image so I'm going to the eyedropper tool, I'm just going to click on a red here so I can sample a red color from this existing tartan or plaid pattern. Now because I've got my selection in place, red is my foreground color, Alt Backspace, Option Delete on the Mac to fill it with red. Then I'm going to do the same up here but with white. So firstly, a new layer. Click on the rectangular marquee tool, drag a marquee all the way to the very top of the document, white is my background color, Ctrl Backspace, Command Delete on the Mac. Because my white layer is placed behind my black layer, I'm making sure not to lop any of this black off, but I'm also making sure that everything's butting up against each other really nicely. So really the only thing I had to do or be careful with in terms of placement was butting these two black stripes up against the white. Everything else is fitting just perfectly, just by nature of the design itself. I'm going to press Ctrl or Command D to deselect the selection. Now I have my stripes. I'm going to isolate this and the last pallet by clicking on the topmost one and I'm going to shift click on the bottom most one, and I'm going to merge these to make a single layer so I'll right-click and choose Merge Layers. You could also press Ctrl or Command E. So there are my horizontal stripes but I also need some vertical stripes. But if you have a look at your tartan pattern, your plaid pattern, the vertical stripes are actually exactly the same as the horizontal ones. There's black and white and black, and then your red with black, white, white through it, and then your black, white, black and your white. It's just they don't look quite the same, but they are identical. So what we're going to do is we're going to take this layer and we're going to make a duplicate of it. That's just dragging and dropping it on the new layer icon. Now I need to rotate it so I'll choose Edit, Free Transform, and up here in the angle, I'm just going to rotate it around 90 degrees, and I'll click the check mark. So now I have the stripes, the vertical and the horizontal stripes that are going to make up my plaid pattern. All I have to do is put them together and we're going to do that in the next step. 4. Pt 3 - Create the Plaid: Now the trick to putting these two sets of stripes together to make the pattern is to use a pattern to do so. We're going to use a pattern as a mask. We are going now to create our pattern, but I'm going to explain to you something about the size of this document, that's really important, before we create our pattern. The pattern that we're going to create is based on our 15 pixel by 15 pixel document. This document that contains the sets of stripes has to be measured as a multiple of 15 pixels. Its width and its height, when you take those dimensions, have to be evenly divisible by 15. Now, I made this document 1,500 by 1,500 pixels in size, and 1,500 is evenly divisible by 15. When I divide it by 15, there's nothing left over. You have to make sure that your plaid stripe starting document, at this point, is sized so that its width and its height are multiples of 15. Now, they could be different multiples, so this could for example, be 750 by 1,500, as long as it's divisible by 15, as long as both those measurements are evenly divisible by 15. Now let's go and create our pattern. For this, I'll choose file and then new. I'm going to make a document that's 15 pixels wide by 15 pixels tall. It's going to have a transparent background and I'm just going to click "Create". Now this is a really small documents so I'm going to use the zoom tool and zoom in so I can see it really clearly. Now what I want to do is to create a pattern that is going to be a series of diagonal lines. For this, you're going to need the pencil tool. The brush tool just doesn't work, so you'll select the pencil tool which shares a toolbar position with the brush tool, and then drop down this panel here. What you want to do is, you want to go and pick up the one pixel square brush. Now, if you don't see those square brushes in your list, go to the fly-out menu and from the brushes list here, choose square brushes and click "Append". That just appends this set of square brushes to your Photoshop brushes list, and the one you want is the one pixel brush so just select it. You want to make sure that black is your foreground color so just click here to get back to the fore colors. You now have a brush, it's actually a pencil that will draw a one pixel square. This is what you're going to do. You're going to click here in the top corner and you're going to click again, and you're going to make four pixels across, and then have a line here that is four pixels down and then you're just going to fill this in on an angle. You're going to do exactly the same in the bottom corner 1, 2, 3, 4 and then we're going up 1, 2, 3, 4, and then we're just going to fill this in. Provided you sort of strike the middle of where the line's going to go, everything's going to be fine. Now up here, we want to come four pixels in. I'm going to click 1, 2, 3, 4 and I'm going down four again. That fills in this top corner. Now I'm going to make a sort of stepped line. What I'm going to do is continue down here, but each of these lines is going to be one bigger or one deeper than the one before. I'm going to come down here and this one is one deeper and this one is going to be one deeper. You can see that I've run out of my starting pixels. That's an indication to me that the next line starts one lower and it goes one lower than the last. This one's going to start one lower, and it's going one lower than the last. Now, let's just say you make a mistake and you go too far. Well, if you go too far, you're going to need to go to the eraser tool, but the eraser tool has some different settings. It has a brush which is the default. Well, you want to drop down this little menu and choose pencil as your eraser so that you can erase a one pixel block. Then you want to go to the brushes here and you want to make sure that your eraser brush, is set to this one pixel square block, otherwise you won't be able to erase it correctly. Now I'm just going to erase that. You can see that the eraser is working perfectly to remove that entire shape. I'm going back to my pencil tool and let's just draw in the bits that I do want. The pencil tool is the only tool that will actually give you a filled pixel. If you try and do it with another tool, you just don't get the same results, the brush tool just doesn't work. It has really soft edges and that's not going to help us here with this pattern. What we have here now is a set of diagonal stripes. We're going to choose edit and then define pattern. We're just going to call this stripes and click "Okay". The stripes document was 15 pixels by 15 pixels in size. We're going to drop it in on top of our pattern document here, that is, using dimensions that are evenly divisible by 15 pixels. I'm just going to add a new layer here at the top and I'm going to choose layer, new fill layer pattern. I'll click "Okay" and then the default pattern is the pattern that I just created. You can see it's going in on top of this design as a series of diagonal lines. At this point, you can check to say if the diagonal line is about what you want. If you want to, you could scale it down to 50 percent and that would give you finer lines. I'm actually going to leave mine at 100 percent and click "Okay". I'm going to rasterize this layer by right-clicking and choose rasterize layer. Now instead of an editable pattern, I just have a series of black diagonal lines. I'm going to take this pattern filled layer and I'm going to drop it just above my original image, so it's underneath the two sets of stripes. I'm going to the topmost stripe layer and I'm going to add a mask. Just click here on the "Add Layer Mask" icon and then target the mass so it has this little border around it. What we're going to do, is we're going to put these diagonal lines into this mask. We're going to effectively poke holes in this top layer of stripes in the form of diagonal lines and through those holes, we're going to see the pattern paste behind. The easiest way to put a layer into a mask is to use a tool called apply image. Now, in the layer area here, we have to tell Photoshop put layer in the document we want to go into the mask and right now, it's this merged layer and you can see what's happening, what our mask looks like. Well, we're going to select this pattern fill layer. Click the drop-down list and select pattern fill. This is what the mask is going to look like. It's got a series of diagonal lines in it which pokes a hole in this top-most layer through which we can see the layer underneath. That's giving us our plaid pattern. I'm just going to click "Okay". Now this is our pattern swatch. So we're going to create a single layer of it. I'm going to click on the topmost layer and create a stamp layer. I do that by holding Control, Alt and Shift, that's Command Option Shift on the Mac and pressing the letter E. That just gives me a single layer with this pattern swatch in it. I'm going to choose edit, define pattern. I'm going to call this plaid and click "Okay". In the next video, we'll come back and actually use the pattern and then look at a way of distressing it slightly to give it a more realistic look. 5. Pt 4 - Fine Tune the Pattern and Wrap Up: To try out our new pattern, I'm going to create a new document. I'll choose File and then New. I'm going to create a document that's 3600 pixels by 3600 pixels in size. That's scrapbook paper size, 300 pixels per inch, RGB color. I'm using sRGB color mode and I'll click "Create". To add my pattern, I'll choose Layer, New Fill Layer Pattern. I'll click "Okay" and the last pattern that I created is now used to fill this document. I can scale it if I wish or I could take it down, for example, to 50 percent or much smaller, or I could increase it to say, 200 percent. You can do whatever you like with your pattern at this stage. I'm just going to settle for 100 percent and click "Okay". Now having created the basic plaid pattern, we can now look at a few things that we could do with it, and one of them is to go back to the original pattern piece and just have a look and see what we've got. You may notice here that there are no lines through this red part of the pattern, and we can solve that by borrowing the set of diagonal lines that we had hidden here. We use them as the layer mask, but we now no longer need them, so we could use them as an element in our pattern. I'm just going to drag them above the entire pattern element. Well, obviously the lines are way too dark, but if I drop down their opacity, you can see that they will have some effect on the red and the white areas of the image. I've got an opacity of 20 percent, but you could even take it a little bit lower if you wanted to. At five percent, I'm seeing the lines through the white part of the image, not so much through the red part. Let's just turn the eyeball on and off. You can see it's having very little effect on the rest of the image. This would be a way of building some of those lines into the image. You could also apply a blend mode here. I'm just going to take the opacity up to a higher level, and let's have a look at some of the blend modes such as overlay. Well, in overlay, you're getting the darker lines through the red but not through the white. Let's just click this on and off. These darker lines here are only affecting this red area of the image through here. What I'm going to do is I'm going to dial down the opacity to borrow those lines for just this area of the image. I'm going to make a duplicate of this pattern fill. I'm going to set it back to normal blend mode and I'm going to adjust its opacity to about five percent. So it's just affecting this area up here. Now I've got lines through both the red and the white area. I'm getting another sort different look to my pattern. I'm going to make a new stamp layer with Control Alt Shift E, Command Option Shift A. I'll create this as a pattern. Let's go back to our working document. I'm going to double-click on the layer thumbnail for this pattern. I'm going to open up the pattern drop-down list, and the very last pattern is going to be the one that has this slightly different effect on it, and I'll click "Okay". If we zoom into this pattern in contrast to the last one, we're getting a slight effect of woven fabric through the white and through the solid red areas in this image. Now another thing that you may want to do to add a little bit of say, a more fabric look, maybe even a slightly faded fabric look to this image is to add a layer and to apply some paint elements to it. What I'm going to do is I'm going to the brush tool, which is now hidden under the pencil tool because we use the pencil tool earlier, but I'm going to use the brush tool. I'm going to select a brush that looks something like this. This is a splatter 24 pixel brush. Now, right now it's really small, so I'm going to enlarge it quite large. I'm going to set white as my foreground color. I'm on a brand new layer. I'm just going to add some texture over the final pattern. Now this is way too much white, but I can just dial down the opacity until I get a very light effect over my plaid. I'm actually going to use living capacity of something like about 15 percent. I'm going to set my blend mode to screen so that will lighten the image a little bit. Actually, I think my opacity could be even lower, and this is the before and after it. It's a subtle difference in the image, which gives you a little bit more of the look of fabric, just simply because it has some unevenness in it. Now having created one layer of paint that is in the screen blend mode, we can take this paint layer, drop it onto the New layer icon, and rotate it. I'm going to choose Edit, Free Transform. I'm going to rotate it 90 degrees. This time the paint strokes are in a slightly different position on the image, and instead of screen, I'm going to use exclusion, and that makes darker strokes of a combination now of some lightening and some darkening in the image, and this is the before, and this is the after. Again, a fairly subtle effect and one which could be dialed down even further. But it does give a slightly worn, perhaps even more fabricky look to your plaid image. Now, armed with an image of any plaid pattern, it's fairly easy to reproduce it in Photoshop using this process. Your project for this class will be to create your own plaid image. Go and find an image of some plaid on the Internet, or use a plaid that you make up as you go along. Create a pattern swatch for your plaid, and then post an image of your plaid swatch in use as your class project. I hope that you've enjoyed this class and that you've learned something about creating plaid pattern swatches in Photoshop. As you're watching these videos, you will have seen a prompt which lets you recommend this class to others. Please, if you enjoyed the class, do two things for me. Firstly, give it a thumbs up and secondly, write in just a few words why you're enjoying this class. These recommendations help other students to say that this is a class that they too might enjoy. If you'd like to leave a comment or a question, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments and questions. I look at and respond to all of your class projects. My name's Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of Graphic Design for Lunch, and I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming episode soon.