Alibony Lessons for Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Digital Photography

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Photoshop Elements: Make a Pattern from Custom Shapes

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 6

August 15, 2008

Make a reusable pattern using shapes from the Custom Shape tool. You can use any combination of shapes to make complex and interesting patterns. In this lesson, make the Hearts of France pattern used in the Patterned Textured Paper lesson.

Pattern Textured Paper Using Pattern

Set the Guides

Because this pattern uses shapes on a diagonal, it helps to have guides to place the shapes. An easy way to do this is to set grid preferences and then view the grid to aid you in your work.

To set grid preferences:

  1. From the Edit menu, select Edit Preferences, then Grid.
  2. In the Grid dialogue, enter the following to create a grid that divides the canvas in four sections:

    • Gridline every: 50 percent
    • Subdivisions: 1
  3. Click OK.

To view the grid, from the View menu, select Grid.

Make the Pattern

To create a pattern using custom shapes:

  1. Create a 200x200 pixel file for the pattern:

    1. From the File menu, select New, then Blank File.
    2. In the New File window, enter the following custom settings and click OK:

      New pattern

      Note: Make sure that the background is transparent. Using a transparent background for your patterns makes them more versatile as you can later change the background color easily for different effects.

  2. Press Ctrl+D to set the foreground and background colors to black foreground and white background.
  3. Add the hearts to the grid:

    1. Using the Custom Shape tool, select a heart from the Shapes set.

    2. Click and drag to draw the heart in the upper left quadrant.
    3. Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the heart on a new layer.
    4. Select the Move tool and click and drag the duplicate heart to a diagonal quadrant.
  4. Add the fleurs-de-lys to the grid:

    1. Using the Custom Shape tool, select the fleur-de-lys from the Ornaments set.
    2. Click and drag to draw the fleur-de-lys in the upper right quadrant.
    3. Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the fleur-de-lys on a new layer.
    4. Select the Move tool and click and drag the duplicate fleur-de-lys to a diagonal quadrant.
  5. Align the layers:

    1. Align the shapes horizontally. In the Layers palette, press Ctrl+Click on the layer name to select the top two shapes.
    2. On the options bar, click Align to view the alignment options. Select Top Edges.
    3. Repeat with the bottom two shapes.
    4. Align the shapes vertically. In the Layers palette, press Ctrl+Click on the layer name to select the left two shapes.
    5. On the options bar, click Align to view the alignment options. Select Left Edges.
    6. Repeat with the right two shapes
  6. From the Layer menu, select Merge Visible to merge all layers. Merging the layers also simplifies the custom shapes, converting them from vector graphics to raster graphics.
  7. Apply the Offset filter:

    1. From the Filter menu, select Other, then Offset. The Offset window is displayed:

      Offset window
    2. In the Offset window, set the Horizontal and Vertical offsets to +180 and select Wrap Around.
    3. Click OK. The Offset filter helps to make the pattern seamless when it is tiled. The pattern should now look like this:

  8. From the Edit menu, select Define Pattern. Enter a name for the pattern and click OK. The pattern will be appended to the current pattern set.

Note: To save your pattern permanently, you should use the Preset Manager to save a new pattern set. Otherwise, when you load a different pattern set, your pattern will be lost.

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Updated on July 31, 2013