How to produce a repeat pattern on photoshop: step by step guide!

What makes a repeat pattern so effective?

Anyone can produce a repeat pattern and following these steps will have you a pro in no time. You will realise how simple creating a repeat pattern is and how effective it looks.

There aren’t really many limitations to what you can create a repeat pattern of, so let your imagination go wild and let’s get started!

Step 1: Setting Up Your Document

For this tutorial you will need to have a slightly different document to the standard one.

You will need to edit the width and height to 1000 x 1000, this will give you a squared shape needed to produce a repeat pattern. As well as this, make the resolution 300 and select pixels/centimetres. Make sure to also have your document in the correct colour mode, for online uses only select RGB and CMYK if you are going to print. Once selected, press create and your document should appear.

Step 1 screenshot

Step 2: Setting Up Rulers

Adding rulers will make it easier to place your image in the centre of the document, this is easily done by clicking ‘View’ then ‘Rulers’. The two vertical and horizontal ruler bars should then appear in the corners of your screen. Once they have appeared, drag your mouse from the vertical bar to place a ruler on the document, it should then gently snap into the middle once you hover over the centre. Repeat the same step with the horizontal bar to create a cross, signifying where the centre point is.

Turn on your rulers
Turn on your rulers
Create a cross guide with your rulers
Create a cross guide with your rulers

 

 

Step 3: Choose and Paste Your Image

Now to really get started...

If you have already chosen an image you would like to create a repeat pattern with that's great, if not now is your time. The image can be pretty much anything, but preferably a singular object, person or animal to begin with. I have used a Butterfly for mine, a truly beautiful insect!

Pasting the image onto the new document can be done in several ways and is pretty straight forward, the easiest is copying the image and pasting it onto the document via 'Edit' then 'Paste' (as seen in the above photo) or CTRL + V. Once pasted, place the image in the centre by using the transform tool (CTRL + T and holding shift to keep proportions the same) to resize and move the image. Use the rulers as a guide to help locate the centre of the document.

Step 3 screenshot

Step 4: Duplicate the Layer

This step is quite simple really, all you need to do is right click on the layer with your image and press 'Duplicate Layer'. A pop-up box will appear, but just press OK. This will create a copy of the layer that we will use to create the repeat pattern.

Step 4b screenshot v2
Apply the offset filter
Apply the offset filter

 

 

Step 5: Applying the Offset Filter

We are so nearly there! We will have you repeating patterns independently in no time. This filter is your best friend when creating a repeat pattern, you will use it almost, if not every time in the process. 

To apply the offset filter, go to 'Filter' then 'Other' and click 'Offset' as shown in the photo to the left.

 

This will pop up a box which you will need to alter accordingly. As our document is 1000 x 1000 pixels, we need to change both the horizontal and vertical sliders to 500 pixels (half the dimension of the document) and make sure to press 'Wrap Around'. Press OK to close the box and you will now see how the pattern is coming together.

Change the pixels accordingly
Change the pixels accordingly
Define your pattern
Define your pattern

 

 

Step 6: Define Pattern

Now that you have made a repeat pattern we need to define that pattern and put it into practice. If you go to 'Edit' on your menu bar you should see an option for 'Define Pattern'. A box will appear with the option to rename your pattern before saving it. I named mine Butterfly, but it is completely up to you what and if you name it. Now that you have saved your pattern, it is time to see the finished product!

Step 7: Applying Your Repeat Pattern

Create a new document, preferably A4 size to give enough space for the pattern to fill effectively. Go to the 'Edit' bar and click 'Fill'. This should take you to a pop-up box where you can select the pattern you want to fill the document with. Using the drop arrow, click on your selected pattern.

Create an A4 document and select 'Fill'
Create an A4 document and select 'Fill'
Select your repeat pattern
Select your repeat pattern

Now that you have selected your pattern, it is time to see the magic happen. It has been an anticipated wait but press OK on the box and you should see your repeat pattern appear across the entire document.

Now that you have made your repeat pattern, try creating a couple of different repeat patterns to familiarise yourself with these steps and then you are READY! Get creating!

Repeat Pattern v2