Change Color and Add Pattern in Photoshop

The pattern fill dialog in Photoshop.

Applying Color and Patterns to an Object with Photoshop

With Photoshop, it's easy to make realistic looking color changes and add pattern to an object. The tutorial object will be a tee shirt, which multiple shirts will be made from in various colors and patterns.

Instructions in this article apply to Adobe Photoshop CC 2019.

To follow along, you'll need a t-shirt image and a pattern.

  1. In Photoshop, open the t-shirt image file and save it with a new name by choosing File > Save As. In the pop-up window, type in the text field the name shirt_neutral and navigate to the Color_Pattern folder, then choose Photoshop for the format and select Save.

    Saving the tshirt image in Photoshop.
  2. Do the same with the pattern file, only save it as pattern_argyle (or whichever pattern you select.).

    Saving a pattern in Photoshop.
  3. At the bottom of the Layers panel, select Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer, then select Hue/Saturation from the pop-up menu. This will cause the Adjustments panel to appear.

    Selecting hue in Photoshop.
  4. Place a check in the Colorize checkbox.

    Selecting colorize in Hue in Photoshop.
  5. To make the shirt blue, type in the Hue text field 204, in the Saturation text field 25, and in the Lightness text field 0.

    Making adjustments to Hue in Photoshop.
  6. The file now needs to be given a new name. Select File > Save As, and in the pop-up window change the name to shirt_blue and navigate to the Color_Pattern folder. then choose Photoshop for the format and select Save.

    It is advisable to save your original files in Photoshop's native format, knowing that you can later save a copy of the file in JPEG, PNG, or whatever format suits the project at hand.

    Saving the newly colored tshirt image in Photoshop.
  7. Time to make a green shirt. With the Adjustments panel still active, select and drag the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness sliders, or type numbers into their text fields as before.

    Adjustments to the Hue will change the color. Saturation adjustments will make the shirt dull or bright, and Lightness adjustments will make the shirt dark or light.

    To make the shirt green, enter n the Hue text field 70, in the Saturation text field 25, and in the Lightness text field 0.

    Changing the tshirt hue to green in Photoshop.
  8. The file now needs to be given a new name. Select File > Save As, and in the pop-up window change the name to shirt_green and navigate to the Color_Pattern folder. then choose Photoshop for the format and select Save.

    Saving the newly created green shirt image in Photoshop.
  9. To make more shirts in various colors, repeat the process, changing the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness again and again, and save each new shirt color with a new name in your Color_Pattern folder.

  10. Before you can apply a new pattern, you need to define it. In Photoshop, select File > Open, navigate to the pattern you've chosen in the Color_Pattern folder, then select Open. The image of a pattern will appear.

    Opening an argyle pattern in Photoshop.
  11. Select Edit > Define Pattern. In the Pattern Name dialog box argyle (or whatever your pattern is) in the Name text field, then press OK.

    You don't need the file to remain open, so select File > Close.

    Naming the pattern to argyle in Photoshop.
  12. Open a file containing one of the shirt images. and select with the Quick Selection tool. If this tool isn't visible in the Tools panel, select and hold the Magic Wand Tool to see the Quick Selection tool and choose it.

    The Quick selection tool works like a brush to quickly select areas. Click and drag on the shirt. If you miss an area, simply continue painting to add to the existing selection. If you paint beyond the area, press and hold the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key to paint what you want to delete. And, you can change the size of the tool by pressing repeatedly the right or left brackets.

    Selecting the tshirt image to apply pattern in Photoshop.
  13. Now it's time to apply the defined pattern to the shirt. With the shirt selected, select and hold on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Pattern.

    Selecting a pattern to apply to image in Photoshop.
  14. The Pattern Fill dialog box should show the new pattern. If not, select the arrow just to the right of the pattern preview and select the pattern.

    The Fill dialog box also allows to scale the pattern to a desirable size. You can either type a number into the Scale field, or select the arrow just to the right of it to adjust the size with a slider, then select OK.

    The pattern fill dialog in Photoshop.
  15. With the Pattern Fill layer selected, right-click and select Blending options, and change the blending mode in the drop-down menu to Multiply. I can also experiment with the different blending modes to see how they will affect the pattern.

    Selecting blending options in Photoshop.
  16. To save the new shirt, go to File > Save as, and type in the name shirt_argyle.

Know that Photoshop has a set of default patterns that you can choose from. You can also download patterns for use. Before making this shirt, I downloaded a free set of plaid patterns. To download this plaid pattern and other free patterns, and also learn how to install them for use in Photoshop, click on the below links. To learn how to create your own custom patterns, continue on.

Create a Custom Pattern

  1. To create a custom pattern In Photoshop, create a small canvas that is 9 x 9 pixels, then use the Zoom tool to zoom in 3200 percent.

    Creating a new pattern file in Photoshop.
  2. Create a simple design using the Pencil tool.

    A custom pattern is drawn in Photoshop.
  3. Define the design as a pattern by selecting Edit > Define Pattern. In the Pattern Name pop-up window name the pattern diagonal and select OK. The pattern is now ready for use.

    Naming the custom pattern in Photoshop.

Apply the Custom Pattern

A custom pattern is applied just like any other pattern. See step 13 to apply your custom pattern but select the one you created instead.

Applying the custom pattern in Photoshop.

You can keep creating multiple shirt colors and patterns to your hearts desire.