How to Make a Pattern in Photoshop

Use the Rectangle Marquee to create patterns from any image

What To Know

  • Open an image. Use the Rectangle Marquee to select an area. Go to Edit > Define Pattern > name it > OK.
  • Next, open another image and select an area to fill > Edit > Fill > Custom Pattern.
  • Choose your new pattern, select a blending mode > OK.

This article explains how to use patterns in Adobe Photoshop to add repeating elements to a selection or layer. This capability has been available since Photoshop 4.

How to Use a Basic Pattern in Photoshop

A pattern is an image that's repeated; you can use patterns to fill in layers or selections. While Photoshop has preset patterns, you can create and save new patterns.

  1. Open an image you want to use as a pattern base.

    Photoshop with an image of flowers in a field.
  2. Use the Rectangle Marquee tool to select an area to use as a pattern.

    Photoshop with rectangular marquee tool and a selection highlighted in image of flowers

    If you want to use the entire image as your fill, go to Select > Select All.

  3. Select Edit > Define Pattern.

    Define Pattern highlighted in Photoshop with image of flowers
  4. In the Define Pattern dialog box, name the pattern and select OK.

    Photoshop Define Pattern dialog with Flower pattern and OK highlighted
  5. Open or create another image.

    Field image open in Photoshop
  6. Select the layer you want to fill, or make a selection using the Rectangular Marquee or another selection tool.

    Photoshop image of a field with selected area highlighted
  7. Go to Edit > Fill.

    Fill selected from Photoshop's Edit menu
  8. Select Pattern.

    Pattern selected in Photoshop's Fill dialog
  9. Next to Custom Pattern, select the down-arrow.

    Down arrow highlighted next to Select Pattern in Photoshop Fill dialog
  10. Select your new custom pattern.

    New custom pattern highlighted in Photoshop Edit Fill dialog
  11. Leave the Script checkbox deselected. (Scripted patterns are JavaScripts that randomly place an item defined as a pattern either in the selection or on a layer.)

    Unselected Script box highlighted in Photoshop Edit Fill dialog
  12. Choose a Blending Mode to have your pattern interact with the colors of the pixels of the image it is placed over, especially if it is on a separate layer. Select OK.

    Blending modes and OK highlighted in Photoshop Edit Fill dialog
  13. View your result. Add additional fills as needed to create your vision.

    New image with pattern shown in Photoshop

What Is a Pattern in Photoshop?

A pattern is an image or line art that can be tiled repeatedly. Tiling means subdividing a computer graphics selection into a series of squares and placing them on a layer or within the selection. Thus, a pattern in Photoshop is essentially a tiled image.

the original image, the Pattern Fill dialog box and a selection filled with a pattern are shown.

Using patterns eliminates the need to create intricate objects using a repeatable image template. For example, if a selection must be filled with blue dots, using a pattern reduces that task to a mouse click.

Make custom patterns from photos or line art, use the preset patterns that come with Photoshop, or download and install pattern libraries from various online sources.

Tips for Using Patterns in Photoshop

To maximize the usefulness of patterns in Photoshop, keep the following in mind:

  • Only rectangular selections can be defined as a pattern in some very old versions of Photoshop.
  • In the Fill dialog, check the box to Preserve Transparency if you want to fill only a layer's non-transparent portions.
  • If you're applying a pattern to a layer, select the layer and apply a Pattern Overlay in the Layer styles pop-down.
  • Another way of adding a pattern is to use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the layer or selection. Select Pattern from the Tool Options.
  • Your pattern collection is found in a library. Select Window > Libraries to open your libraries. 
  • You can also create content using the Adobe Touch Apps and have them available in your Creative Cloud library.
  • How do I put text on an image in Photoshop?

    To add text to a picture in Photoshop, open an image and select the Type tool. Click in the image where you want the text; a text box will be created. Enter your text, adjust your text box as needed, choose the font and size you want, and select Enter.

  • How do I resize an image in Photoshop?

    To resize an image in Photoshop, from the top menu bar, select Image > Image Size. Enter custom width and height options, or choose Fit To to match specific parameters. You can also change the image's resolution or resize for printing purposes.

  • How do I remove a background image in Photoshop?

    To remove the background in Photoshop, use the Magic Wand tool to automatically select all adjacent pixels of the same color as the one you selected. Or, use the Quick Match tool with the Brush tool to paint over everything you select, and then select Delete.

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