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Creating Patterns with Images
Let’s explore the Offset command a little more, because it’s good for creating more than an offset repeat. Download and open Bobbins.tif and Buttons.psd. The illustration of the thread bobbins could use a more interesting backdrop and base than plain red. The Buttons.psd file has nine layers, each with a scan of a button, neatly trimmed and I added a slight drop shadow so when the pattern builds up, the buttons will shade each other a little.
Creating a Random Pattern
Your task is to create a pattern of buttons to apply to the background of the bobbins illustration using the Offset command. But unlike the wallpaper tutorials, the button pattern shouldn’t look like a pattern, but instead it should look like a random dispersal of buttons. This is secret Number 2 of pattern creation— you can fill large areas with a pattern that the viewer can’t see obvious repeats, thus creating something that is more of a texture than a clear pattern. To do this, you’ll want to use the Offset controls to put some buttons at the edge of the document window to form the seamless pattern, but also put some buttons toward the center of the window, making an asymmetrical composition.
- Click the Blue button title on the Layers palette; this will be the first button you offset.
- Choose Filter>Other>Offset. In the Offset dialog box, drag the horizontal and vertical sliders until the button appears in the document window so that it offsets to the four corners of the document window, and then click OK.
- Moving up in the layer stack, leave the Teal button alone— it’s fine where it is. Click the large wood layer title, and then press Ctrl/cmd+Alt/Opt+F to call up the Offset dialog box without applying the filter.
- Drag the sliders so that the button appears at the edges of the document window, but not directly behind the blue button; let it overlap just a little, and then click OK. You’re offsetting the larger buttons so that the background of the pattern is filled; the larger the object on a layer, the more quickly you can fill the pattern edges.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the rest of the layers until you have a nice scattered composition. In Figure 9, I’ve put the green button at top and bottom without horizontally offsetting it, to add more asymmetry. Don’t hesitate to reorder the layers by dragging them up or down in the layer stack on the Layers palette, and don’t be afraid to duplicate button layers— in case you have an unwanted gap or two in the pattern — by dragging them into the New layer icon on the bottom of the Layers palette. It’s okay to leave some empty space in the pattern— when you apply it to the bobbins illustrations, some red background will show through.
- To achieve coverage in the pattern, create a copy of the PSD file by right-clicking on the document title bar and then choose Duplicate.
- With the duplicate in the foreground in the workspace, right-click over any layer title on the Layers palette and then choose Merge Visible.
- Drag the combined layer into the New Layer icon on the Layers palette.
- Press Ctrl/cmd+Alt/Opt+F, and then offset the duplicate layer so that you can only see perhaps one or two transparent areas, as shown in Figure 10.
- Save the composition as a pattern: Edit>Define Pattern. Then you save the original document (you can close the duplicate pattern file without saving it), because you might want a different random ordering of the buttons as a pattern in the future.
The Define Pattern command looks at all the visible layers. If you want to exclude a particular layer from a pattern, click its eye icon to hide it before using the Define Pattern command.