Create Unlimited Patterns

Tutorial by Orion Williams


You may have overlooked patterns yourself like I used to.  I've realized that creating patterns not only gives you more customization and pride in Photoshop but it's the main secret behind creating unlimited layer styles.  When looking to create new patterns, look for primarily for textures and patterns.  Here are some of my photos from my collection.

I like to look for different shades of a same color within a photo.

Here are some other examples where you could extract good patterns from.

From experience, these two images turned out to produce a whole range of great patterns so I will be using one of them for this tutorial.

Select your image to open it.

These two are great images to get patterns from.  You can also get them on if you have a paid account; I just can't redistribute them but they are great examples.  Try to start with a high resolution to get higher quality.

Go to Filter: Pattern Maker.  I don't memorize shortcuts for 'all' of the possible options.

Here we have the image in the Pattern Maker.  Just take your marquee selection tool to find an area you think would make a great pattern.

I recommend to raise the Sample Detail up to have higher resolution in your pattern.  This will make a difference but will take up more processing power and will take longer to render.

Click generate to create a new pattern.

Then you will see what it ends up like.  In this case we generated the default 128 X 128 tile size off of the original sample.

In the tile history go ahead and click the disk icon to save your pattern if you're happy with it.

I like to give them official names to raise the value of them.

To make another Pattern go to Show: Original

Now you can drag your selection area to a different part of the image.  I'm looking for areas of good or interesting texture.

Then just press Generate Again.

You can always press it again to get an even more processed version of your pattern.

The process is pretty simple as you can see.  The objective is to get great looking textures and patterns.  The possibilities are limitless and it's hard to predict what you'll end up with sometimes.

An image like this one has plenty of possibilities for new pattern ideas.

I'll just name them something that I think it represents or the first concept that comes to my mind.  I encourage this because it inspires your creativity to keep working.

That was a nice looking pattern.


By changing the size of tile generation in the preview box you'll get a larger size generation.

With a larger sample detail and tile size it's going to take longer to generate but you'll have max resolution.  Remember from there you can always go down in file size.

It's hard to predict exactly what you'll get..this is a really cool basketweave result.  The best thing is just to start with great subject matter to get great results like this.


You can just bring up an image in the Pattern Maker just to generate patterns without applying it to the image - press Cancel not to apply the current pattern.

Now we can go to our Pattern Fill Layer on the layers palette.

Here you can see the latest patterns that were generated.  Click on different patterns to choose a different pattern fill.

On your windows here you'll find a little flyout menu button.  If you press that you'll bring up more pattern options.

We can also bring up the Preset Manager from here.

You can choose Patterns from the preset manager.

You'll want to officially back up your new patterns after you've created a new set.  Why?  Well, if you're a PC user (from experience) it may go ahead and delete your latest work.  To back up you'll 'select' your latest patterns.

Click on the latest pattern at the bottom and press Shift and click on the last pattern.  This will select all of the latest ones.


Now go to Save Set.

Then you can name your new set.

Now if you just want to add your new patterns to a previously made set, use the same process to select the new ones and the old ones.

Hold Shift to click the first and last to select them all.

Then Save Set.

Now click on the set you want to override or add these to.

When it asks you to replace them say yes.  This will not delete your previous patterns, it will add the new ones to the old ones as long as you selected the ones that were already here.

So I've just taken our new patterns and added them to the full set. 

Then press Done on the Preset Manager.

Once you have your patterns saved in a .pat set I recommend to back them up on an external hard drive.  It will be stored in your Presets\Patterns folder.  You can even Reset Patterns and you'll be ok.

You can press OK to replace with the Default.

Then go to the little flyout menu.

Go to Load Patterns.

Then you can bring in the same set you just saved or a different one if it's there.

It will load those patterns from your Preset folder.

The important thing to remember about Patterns is that they're underrated.  Find some images with good textures and you can start creating your own unique patterns and textures to use as backgrounds, fills, textures and for poweruse in creating unlimited layer styles.  Start with some good images and create your own Patterns.  Get beyond the (boring) default ones in Photoshop to create some great design elements!


Orion Williams has produced Photoshop tutorials online for 100,000's of Photoshop users worldwide since 2004.  Copyright Dreamcore Productions, Ltd. U.S.A. 2007

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