Pattern Design: Creating Seamless Repeats in Photoshop | Abby Hersey | Skillshare

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Pattern Design: Creating Seamless Repeats in Photoshop

teacher avatar Abby Hersey, I draw things. I make things. I love coffee.

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Types of Repeats


    • 3.

      Creating a Square Repeat


    • 4.

      Creating a Half Drop Repeat


    • 5.



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About This Class

Seamless repeating patterns are a wonderful way to use your artwork to create fabric, apparel, home goods, wall covering, stationery, and more! Join surface pattern designer & illustrator Abby Hersey as she shares her process for creating seamless repeating patterns in Photoshop. Using existing artwork, you’ll arrange motifs into two types of seamless repeats.

Lessons will cover:

  • Types of repeats and directionality
  • Arranging motifs into a square repeat
  • How to create a half-drop repeat
  • Testing your repeats to ensure they are seamless

Basic Adobe Photoshop experience is required. Motifs are provided for the project, but you’re encouraged to use your own raster artwork to create your repeats.

Meet Your Teacher

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Abby Hersey

I draw things. I make things. I love coffee.



My love of design began with the over-the-top, unquestionably 1980’s rainbow wallpaper in my childhood bedroom. It inspired in me a love of color, pattern, and shape that’s only grown over the years and has driven me to create engaging and inspiring designs of my own. I passionately believe in the power of illustration and design to transform spaces, simplify communications, and build relationships.

I was formally trained in graphic design, but most of what I use on a daily basis is self-taught, trial and error,  or learned from Skillshare, which is why I am passionate about sharing what I've learned, demystifying design concepts and technical skills through my classes.

When I’m not in the studio, I’m probably outdoo... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I'm Abby Hirsi, a surface pattern designer and illustrator based out of Columbus, Ohio. My love affair with pattern began at an early age. I doodled patterns on everything paper, shoes, walls, even my jeans. It was the eighties, and everything was covered with bold, crazy designs. It never really occurred to me that it was someone's job to create those patterns until it was much older. I went to school for graphic design and worked in the printed graphics industry for a number of years. In my spare time, I learned how to take my artwork and build a repeating pattern. I began printing and selling my designs on spoon flour and now license my artwork to fabric companies for distribution in shops all over the world. Repeat patterns are extremely versatile, enabling your artwork to be used on fabric, clothing, accessories, wall covering, gift wrap and stationery. HomeGoods and more in this class will cover the different types of repeats and how directionality factors into your pattern. I'll show you my process for arranging motifs into a square repeat and how to create 1/2 drop. Repeat. We'll test our repeats to ensure their seamless and talk about what to do with our finished pattern. This class is designed for Adobe Photo Shop and Raster artwork For a different technical approach. Using vector artwork, please check out my class on creating repeats an illustrator. 2. Types of Repeats: Let's talk about the basic types of repeat thes examples that I'm going to show you are extremely simplified. I am only using one heart and having it repeats across my art board. These are the basic foundations for any repeat, no matter how complicated. But for ease of explanation, I've simplified. Hm. You'll see in this first type the square, repeat that my design repeats and is aligned, left to right and top to bottom, basically a square grid of repeating artwork. The second type is called 1/2 drop. Repeat. My design still aligns from top to bottom, but from left to right there some variation. And this is because every other row has been dropped by half the size of my artwork. The third type is a brick repeat. This is essentially the same principles, 1/2 drop, but it works in the other direction, so my motifs are aligned from left to right, but top to bottom weaken. See that every other row has been moved over by about half the size of my artwork, and it forms kind of a brick pattern. There are other, more complex foundations you could use for your repeats in these examples. I've just used solid colors to show the shape, but you could fill these shapes with motifs or patterns, and use this as the structure for your repeats. This example is hexagons. You can also use diamonds. Stripes are pretty obvious. One clam shells are scales. Sometimes they're called and oh, jeez, The other thing you'll need to consider when you're laying out your pattern is the directionality. And what this means is the direction in which your pattern is best viewed and best used. This example is what is considered a one way pattern, and that is because all of my motives are facing the same direction, and it looks best from this direction. If I flipped it around, it would look upside down whether or not that was my intention, it definitely is made to be used one way. This is an example of a two way pattern, and that's because half of my motifs are facing one way and half are facing another. You could look at this from top or bottom and still enjoy the pattern the way it was meant to be. There are two kinds off non directional patterns. The first and one of the most popular being a tossed pattern. There's also a four way pattern in which the motifs are facing in all four directions. There's not a right or wrong way to set up your pattern. It's all about what you're trying to accomplish. In general, a one way pattern looks a little less sophisticated and has more limited use than a four way or a tossed pattern. But some items air just best viewed one way, and so that's a decision you'll need to make as you work on your layup. 3. Creating a Square Repeat: we're going to begin by creating a square repeats here in a photo shop. I have some motifs that I'm going to use for my pattern. These are some lucky charms style motifs that I water colored, and I'm ready to set up my canvas. I'll begin a new document, and I'm going to set it up in pixels as opposed to inches. But you can do whatever you prefer. What's important is that in photo shop, what we're creating is raster artwork, which means the size we create it at is the largest it's going to be. If we stretch it beyond that in the future, it could lose some quality, so you want to start with the size that is big enough for your end years. If you are preparing your pattern for printing, please refer to the guidelines from your print provider in terms of size and DP I I'm gonna go ahead and choose a size of 4800 pixels by 4800 pixels, and I will start bringing in my motifs by copying and pasting when I am arranging motifs in a pattern. I like to have this auto select box checked at the top of my menu. This means that when I click on a motif, it automatically selects it and they can move it. I don't have to fuss with my layers palette to figure out what I want to grab. Aiken, just click drag and manipulate pulling my motives apart so I can see what I'm working with , and I will start arranging them from the center out. I don't want any overlapping the edges yet. We'll take care of that in the steps where we make the repeat seamless. So right now I just want to fill the center and work my way out towards the edge. - Once I have my art board relatively full of my pattern, and I'm happy with the way it ISS, I'll begin by making the top and bottom repeat seamlessly. Next step is to select all of the layers containing my motifs from the layers palette on the right hand side and merge those together by clicking right, clicking and selecting merged layers. This leaves the background unlocked and will allow me to apply a background color later, but it puts all of my motifs into one layer I can manipulate. I'm gonna go to filter other and offset. As you can see here, it gives us two options horizontal and vertical. What the's air going to do is allow us to bring the top and bottom together to fill in their gaps and the left and right sides together to fill in the gaps. We're gonna work on one at a time and I'll start with the vertical option. This will bring the top and bottom of my artwork together. The number I want to put in here is half of the overall size of my canvas. So my canvases 4800 pixels by 4800 pixels making this 2400 and you'll see that it has moved . What was at the top is now at the bottom and vice versa. And I work on filling in this center area. Once I'm satisfied that the center area is filled in the way I like to me, I will go ahead and merge all of the layers containing motifs and return to my offset filter Gonna change my vertical to be zero and focus now on the horizontal click. Ok, you can see we have some empty space in here that we need to fill it. I'm going to do one more offset before I consider my pattern finished. So again emerged, my layers go back to my offset, Filter said that horizontal to zero and go back to vertical at 2400. I think I've got a couple more gaps I'd like to fill in and then I'll be ready to move on. At this point, my repeat is essentially done, but I need to test it out and see if any changes need to be made going to go ahead and select all my layers and merge them and apply a background color. Next, we'll go to edit. Define pattern. This is going Teoh. Take everything on my canvas and making a pattern swatch that I can use. I'll call this lucky terms and I'll create a new document. I want this document to be larger than my original so that I can test all the areas where the repeats connect with each other. And so I will make this 10,000 pixels by 10,000 pixels about a layer new Phil later layer and then pattern going toe automatically fill it with my most recent pattern but you'll see that you have the option to change any patterns you've saved previously. You can also play with the scale if you want to see how it would look larger or smaller. But right now, what I'm concerned with is making sure I don't see seems in my pattern and that the balance is pretty good. I definitely don't see any seems anywhere, which is great. And I'm pretty happy with the pattern overall so I can go back to my document and save this , and I'm done with my square repeat. 4. Creating a Half Drop Repeat: to create 1/2 drop. Repeat, we use the first few steps from the square. Repeat. I filled motifs in to the center off my canvas, and then I applied the vertical offset to fill in the empty space, top and bottom. That's the stage. My artwork is that right now I'm gonna go ahead and dragged down guides to be at the top center and bottom of my existing artwork, also going to drag a guide over to the right hand side, and I'm gonna go ahead and apply a background color as well. Next, I'll adjust the size of my canvas by going to image canvas size. I need my new canvas to be 200% larger than it is now or twice the size, so I'll type in 200% for width and height. And now I'll specify my anchor. This dot on the anchor tool shows you where your artwork will be placed in the new canvas as its enlarged. We want the artwork to be in the center left for this next step, so I'm gonna go ahead and click the centre left arrow and you'll see that my anchor point has changed. I'm gonna go ahead and click, OK? And zoom out so you can see that my artwork and my background color are on the left center side and my guides extend across the peace. Gonna go ahead and select both layers with my artwork and merge them to make it a little easier to handle in this next phase. Gonna adopt, Do go ahead and duplicate the layer twice and I'll move one of those copies into my upper right hand corner and one of them into my bottom right hand corner. And right here is the area I'm concerned with filling in right now, so I'll grab some motifs and fill in this empty space. Now I'm going to select the area between the guides on the top and bottom and all the way across the canvas. Well, hit my crop tool and go ahead and crop it down to this. Now I can use my offset tool to fill in my left and right sides. I'll go to filter Look, I got emerge my layers first, select on my layers and merge them and then go to filter other offset. And I want to use my horizontal offset and my canvas is now twice the size it was originally. So instead of putting half a 48 100 I'll just do 4800 and you'll see that now. I have the center area that I need to fill it, grabs motifs and do that. So I'm now at a stage where I'm relatively happy with my pattern and I contest it out. I'll go ahead and merge all my layers. No edit defying pattern. I will call this lucky charms half drop. I kept this pattern document from when we tested are square Repeat and I can just double click on the patterns, watch here in the layer and select my new pattern to test I don't see any seems which is good, but I do see an empty space here that I'd like to fix. So let's see what I can do about that. Go back to my original and I see that that looks like my upper right hand corner. So I'm gonna want to bring my sides together, and I'll do that using the offset filter. I could use my horizontal that set to 40 100 now I can see that area here click. OK, go back to my offset filter. And this time I'm going. Teoh have my horizontal be 4800 pixels and my vertical is 2400. Since we've cropped it in height, I don't click. OK, you can see it's brought together. This area that I was concerned was a little bit empty. I'm gonna throw a motif in there, and I think I want a little something here as well. Now I'm ready to test the pattern. Good at it to find pattern. Colonel called this one lucky charms half drop. I kept open the document we used for testing the square. Repeat and I can double click on the pattern swatch in the layer and just select my new pattern. I can see that I don't have any seems showing. And I'm really pleased with the overall movement of the pattern, and I would consider this done back in my documents. What I have is technically a square. Repeat. It's a rectangle and can be used as a square. Repeat 5. Conclusion: Now that you've designed to types of seamless repeat patterns, you can share these in your project. I'd love to see notes about your inspiration and your process. Your motifs before you arranged. Um, your final pattern, obviously. Ah, and any different color schemes. You might have used things like that. I'd also love to hear what you plan to do with your pattern. If you need a suggestion, I would recommend a spoon flour spoon. Flour is a fantastic site where you can create your own fabric wallpaper gift wrap, and they're capable of handling your repeats in many different formats. You can also use websites like Society six and Zazzle to put your artwork onto tote bags and peril. Shower curtains you name. It s so I look forward to seeing your patterns and hearing what you plan to do with them.