Intro to Pattern Design: Developing Motifs From Your Photography | Melissa Meyerson | Skillshare

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Intro to Pattern Design: Developing Motifs From Your Photography

teacher avatar Melissa Meyerson, Digital Artist, Pattern Lover, Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

8 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Selecting and Categorizing

    • 3. Initial Selection

    • 4. Refining the Mask

    • 5. Silhouette Brushes

    • 6. Complex Selection and Editing Brush

    • 7. Final Project

    • 8. More to Come

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About This Class

     In this class, I hope to inspire students to use their personal photography, as the raw material for botanical motifs and pattern designs.

In this Photoshop class, you will learn:

- How to isolate the focal element from it's background, with the use of Selection Tools, Adjustment Layers, and Layer Masking

- How to easily create Silhouettes from your selections, and turn them into Photoshop Brushes

and MORE!

     Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions, I will respond as soon as possible.

     I will also have 2 follow-up courses in this Series, with the creation of Pattern Designs in both Photoshop and Illustrator.

     I hope you'll join me, so I can share my passion and inspire new ideas.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Melissa Meyerson

Digital Artist, Pattern Lover, Teacher


My name is Melissa. I am always happiest when I'm a part of any creative community. My first passion was black line art. I tried many other mediums in an effort to expand and grow as a creative, and then I discovered and fell madly in love with Digital Pattern Design.

I had a lot to learn, and I was so grateful for all the online opportunities available, as I took on these new learning curves.

I am now a graduate of all 4 Modules of the very popular, Make It In Design Courses, run by Rachael Taylor and Beth Kempton. I was thrilled to have one of my designs recently selected for The Surface Pattern Design Lookbook Vol.2, within the Global Geometric category.

I LOVE that Skillshare is here for all creatives, and I'm really excited to finally enter the commun... See full profile

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1. Introduction: everyone. I'm Melissa and I have a new pattern design class that involves using your photography to develop pattern designs. I'll teach you to turn your inspiration into actual motifs that could be used for all kinds of beautiful designs. When she started collecting and gathering your inspiration, you'll have a wealth of raw material to work, so you start with your photo. It could be from an iPhone or any camera, and we narrow in on a focal motif, working with selection tools, adjustment layers and layer mask. Isolate your elements. I'll also show you how fun and easy it is to create silhouette brushes from the selections . You can very quickly create a whole collection of new brushes, and I attached a template that you can use for a final project to start gathering and sharing some of your inspiration. This class is part of a Siri's, and I have much more to cover, like creating liner from your photos. Pattern Designs created in photo shop with your isolated motifs as well as pattern designs , created an illustrator. So roll now and let's get started on this journey 2. Selecting and Categorizing: so I'd like to start with some quotes from a really great pattern design book called Digital Textile Design, and the authors are listed below. Photography is an immensely useful medium for the textile designer, whether use directly in the design work or as a means of researching and collecting reference material. It can also be useful to draw and trace over photographs and photo shopper illustrator as a quick way of achieving an image outline. So if you've never considered using your photos more directly, maybe like to start experimenting. So let's say you already have a collection of beautiful flowers, foliage, etcetera or you would like to start building a collection. You can start categorizing your resource is and start thinking of them as pattern motifs. This first election is pretty loosely categorised. I have some single flowers. I like some Berries, things growing on trees For this next that I decided to organize by foliage. I would like to share why I love to use my photos to create motifs and pattern designs, because when I'm initially taking the photo, I often don't have the time to stop and really notice the details. But once I have the photo. I can open it up Photo shopper, illustrator and start exploring those details further. I can see all the elements and how they fit together, textures, etcetera. I'll go back to this first set and zoom into this creeping flocks again. I can see lots of amazing details. I can clearly see shapes, lines, growth patterns, tiny details and textures and occasionally, an unexpected insect having a snack. These are the things I surely may have missed. At first glance. Now we'll zoom into the Salomon seal and again, these lines and shapes are just fascinating. 3. Initial Selection: In this demo, I'll be separating my first vocal element, the Cosmo Flower, from its background with an initial selection and in the follow up demo, I'll be refining that selection. The end goal here is to start creating isolated motifs that could be used for pattern designs. So I want a copy and paste one my photos into a new Photoshopped document. In photo shop. I go to file new, and I'm going to choose us paper, which is 8.5 by 11. What's most important here is the resolution. Make sure it's at least 300. If it's not, go ahead and change it. I'll pay. It's my photo in, and I need to resize it. The shortcut is either control T or commands he for Mac, and I just want to make sure that my focal interest just this one flower is on the page. You don't have to crop your photo, but I like to get rid of some of the background areas that I don't want. So with the crop tool, you just drag the handles down and over and hit. Enter to accept. Next, I'm going to add a levels adjustment layer found under this little half circle icon. Not only does it improve the overall contrast, it becomes a useful tool for differentiating the background from the focal area. So for my initial selection, first zooming closer and I'm going to work with the quick selection tool over here, you want to just make sure it's on new selection to start, and you may need to resize your brush. Using the upper down Brockett keys, you start from the inside and begin dragging out to the edges on the first go. I always get areas I don't want like parts of this flower in the back as well as other background elements. To fix that, I select this. Subtract from selection. It helps to reduce the brush size. If you're going into small areas this time, you will drag over the parts of the image that aren't your focal area. And as I mentioned, this is just our initial selection, so it doesn't have to be perfect at this point. Don't forget, zoom in closer necessary. I can also select the add to selection because in this case I need to include the tip of this pedal here, and I like to just move around and chef my selection. So you spends a little time going back and forth with these options to get a good start. At any point in time, you can double click to get back into the adjustment layer settings for a better view of the edges. Once you're done with these steps, we will be creating a layer mask. First, you must make sure you're on the photo layer. This is important. Then come down and click on this icon. Now everything that was inside your marching ants selection will be visible, and everything else is hidden. If you like. You can also add a color fill layer behind the masked element. You can click on the background layer and choose solid color fill to place it above. For now, I'll just choose a really bright color for contrast. 4. Refining the Mask: this next demo. I want to clean up my selection. There's a lot of dark and messy areas around the edges to clean up because I'll be working with the mask itself. It's important to make sure you select the mask thumbnail first, which is automatically linked to the photo. Once I target the mask, I choose select refine mask from the menu. My first option is to use this edge detection feature for this example. I'm going to use this little brush to the left, and it says that it expands my detection area. This will help for the next set of options. So with this selected, I'm just gonna brush along all of my edges. I moved the smooth and further around just a little bit, maybe to see what effect it has. But the settings that really give me the results I'm looking for are contrast and shipped edge. I find the contrast makes the selection edge sharp. When I move, this shift edge in the negative direction is sharp. Dark areas around my motif start to recede, so that really helped with my edges. But when I look around, I know there are still areas that I want to clean up because they are in tight corners or there's unwanted elements from the background for this task. I like to use the political lasso tool for precise control. So a zoom in real close to those areas make sure my fill color is black again. Make sure you have your mask selected first with the political last, so I can make very small, precise clicks just around the areas that I want to remove. In order to create an actual selection, I need to close the area indicated by the little circle that pops up. Now I can feel this area with black on my mask because black will hide the selected area. Go to edit Phil and choose foreground color you can control de to de select. Next. I select my brush and size it down so that I can just smooth it out a little. And I just repeat this process for other corners in areas like this, where some of the background elements are visible 5. Silhouette Brushes: in this demo. I want to show you how you can take your isolated motifs and turn them into silhouette brushes. I have these five elements here, and each is on its own layer with its own mask. The first thing I want to do is create a new layer above these and name it brushes. I select my first element, and what I need to do is command or control. Click on the mask itself, not the photo layer. This slows my actual selection. Next, I want to click onto my new brushes layer again. I need to make sure black is in the foreground color and I'm going to select Edit Phil foreground color. So my selection was filled with black, but my photo was still intact on its original layer, and I'm going to repeat this process for each of these. Next, I'm going to define each of these as a brush because they are all on one layer and I need to select them individually. I'm going to use my lasso tool. Make sure you're on the correct layer and drag around the first element. Go to edit to find brush preset, and you can name it. If you like again, repeat this process for each of these. When I open my brush presets panel and choose my brush, I can see there are all here at the bottom. Next, you can start having some fun and experimenting with your brushes. There is really so much you can dio. I'm going to create a new layer to play with, and I'm going to hide everything else for now for many brushes air like stamps. So I pick one and just stamp it onto my page. But I also want to have some variations so I can go into the brush panel and I can reduce the size. I can flip X, which is horizontally. I can manually change the angle here, and it's always good to work in layers. So I add a new layer. Pick another brush in this time I want to add color, so I will click my foreground swatch, and I'd pick any color from my color picker. Now I want to experiment with layering stamps. So again I need a new layer. I want this one to be a bit darker so I can just drag it lower and my picker I reduced the size and I'm going to stamp it so it overlaps a little. Now we can start playing with the opacity of this layer, and I could move it around as well as play with my blending modes for different effects. Another fun activity is to play with the tone on tone type of effect. So I encourage you to really experiment and have fun with this. 6. Complex Selection and Editing Brush: I have another example of an element I want as a motif, but this time I have more detail and negative space is to focus on. I'm going to follow the same process and speeded up a little. I have my levels adjustment layer. I make sure, mom, my photo layer before I start my initial selection with the quick selection tool for this type of element, I need to spend more time going back and forth with the subtract from and add to selection options, making sure I get all the little details and negative spaces. I can go back to my adjustment layer to see if it helps me distinguish between the foreground and background. Better I do find it helps me with these very small spaces. I had a layer mask to the selection, and like the first example, I would do another refine mask. But at this point, I want to focus more on removing these little spaces, and again, I'm going to be using the political lasso tool and the brush. Just carve out those little spaces by moving in very close and making very small, precise clicks. Once you have the selection, fill it with black to hide it. Sometimes you need to add things back to the selection, like this area of branch here. While still in the mask, you need to switch the foreground color to white and paint that back in. I often overshoot so that I can see really well what I don't want so I can switch back and forth, removing and adding, until I'm happy. So what I love about this kind of motif is how it can also make a really fun brush with all these little details and negative shapes everywhere. And I'll be showing you how you can edit the mask further to create a more simplified brush if you like, I'll start by making a brush, as is with the same processes before command. Click on the mask itself at a layer above and fill with black. So I like this. But I might not want some of these shapes mass together like this. The first thing I need to Dio is make a copy of this layer so I can keep my original mask intact. I'll make my changes to the copy. I start looking at some of the things I may want to remove from the motif so I can simplify it. And again, while I'm on the mask itself, I would use my political lasso tool to just remove any shapes I don't want. You can control de to de select and smooth out any bumps with the brush, and I'll just continue with this for any areas I think might be unnecessary. I especially want to remove the bulk of this one area, so I'll start with this little section on this side and just take out whatever I want from the rest of it. Following the contours of the shapes, I'll take out these negative areas, but I want to leave other pieces in, even though they were part of the other shape and you can just decide as you go now, all filled this selection on another layer above, and I can toggle back and forth between the two to compare them, And I'll likely spend more time on this smoothing and removing areas. When you like the results, go ahead and make another brush 7. Final Project: So this is just a suggestion for the final project if you're interested, and I included a template to download, So I want to spend a couple minutes walking through how I set this up. I chose in 8.5 by 11 Document in landscape in case I want to print this out to keep things neat. I have two groups the top row and the bottom row and a background color. I'm going to open the bottom group players, and this 1st 1 is already set up, so I'll click on this next shape. I just selected the rectangle tool, and you could neither type in the exact dimensions or drag it out above that shape. Our already placed the photo where I want it, so we need to hold down option or old. When you see that little arrow pop up and it's now clipped into that shape, it can still be moved around or resized in any time. I also want to add a stroke like the others. First, I must select the rectangle shape layer, not the photo later. So come down to this FX button at the bottom and shoes stroke. I made the previous strokes 18 pixels. So I'll type that in here, and I changed the color toe white. I added a text layer above to identify it, and I can change the color by sampling the photo with the eyedropper tool for this next one . I'll get all again clip my place photo into the rectangle shape Samos Before and again, I want to add a stroke, but this time I'm going to copy and paste the stroke effect from the previous photo. So I need to right click here where it says stroke and I can choose Copy Layer style First , I want to point out that if you right click on the rectangle thumbnail itself, you get a different set of options. But if you right click on this space next of the thumb now you get the option to pace layer style. I'll turn this type player on, and the last thing I did was also at a levels adjustment to give the photo a little more pop. But when I turned this on, you can see that it effects everything that's on a layer below it, and because I only wanted to affect this one photo I need to clip this layer to my photo layer, and now you can see when I toggle it on and off. It only affects the photo, so I'm going to close this group now. I also have a solid color fill layer here that could be changed in any time. Just double click on it and you can change the hue with this slider over here. But the best thing to do is just sample a color from the photos and just lower the saturation. The last thing I'll show is how easily you can move the group layers together to reposition them on the page. I'll just hide the text, select this first group in shift click to select the second group. I'll do command tea for free transform and just start nudging everything up with my arrow keys. So feel free to use this template or supposed any part of the process for your project, whether it be isolated elements or any brushes that you create from your selections 8. More to Come: So I really hope that inspired you to start experimenting with your photography. And as I mentioned in the intro, I have more to come. Your photos can be used to create vectors more Photoshopped brushes, pattern designs in both illustrator and Photoshop and some terribly fun experimentation with layering and blending modes. So I hope to see you again soon for the rest of this journey.