Useful Digital Skills for Artists

Imaging Skills

Print& Scan

Web Skills

Cynthia Beth Rubin

Repeating Patterns and Backgrounds in Photoshop

1. Open an Image in Adobe Photoshop

  • Immediately Give it a New Name
    without fancy symbols and NO slashes (/)

  • Go to FILE, down to SAVE AS
  • Save it as a .psd (leave the suffix in the title: bark.psd)

2. Select part of the image to be the Repeating Texture or Pattern

  • Use the Cropping Tool
  • This is in the upper right of the Tool Box, hidden under the Selection Tool
  • In Photoshop 6.0 and above, you have the option of choosing a transparent color to show you what you are cropping out. You also must check off the box in the upper left when you are done selecting the cropped area.

  • SAVE any time!

3. Resize the Selection to about 150 pixels square, or 100 by 200 pixels.

Under IMAGE go down to IMAGE SIZE.

  • Change the Size by either PIXEL or PERCENT.
  • IGNORE THE INCHES dimension. We are thinking in PIXELS now.
  • Set the Resolution (DPI) to 72 if you are working for the web.
  • Leave on Constrain Proportions (unless you want to distort the image) and Resample Image (Bicubic)


  • Under FILE, go Down to SAVE.
  • Get in the Habit of SAVING as you go along

4. Under FILTER go to OTHER and down to OFFSET

  • Choose Horizontal and Vertical Dimensions which are about 50% of your image size
  • Check Wrap Around
  • You will see your image repeated with lines where the top and bottom were


5. Create a Seamless Repeating Image

  • Although the center of your image is now a mismatch, you know that the edges repeat perfectly.
  • Using the Cloning Tool, Paint out the Overlapping area
    • Hover over the area that you want to take FROM
    • Hold down the option key and click the mouse
    • Release the mouse and the keys
    • Go to the area where you want to paint.
  • Your background will be more effective if you allow for repetitions within the new image that you are creating.
  • The pressure sensitive pen works with the clone tool.
  • You can clone from another image, or from parts of the same image.

6. REPEAT the above steps Several Times to be sure that the Repetition is Working

  • An interesting trick is to duplicate the entire image to another file, and then change the scale of the image.
  • Use this changed image as the cloning source. It will help to hide the repeat effect


7. To Create a Texture that can be Loaded in the "Texturizer"

  • The Texturizer Filter (Under Texture) puts the texture of one image onto any other image in a repeating pattern.
  • Desaturate the Image (under IMAGE, go to ADJUST, then Desaturate). This will give you a grayed image.
  • Adjust the contrast of the grayed image using Levels, Curves, or Brightness-Contrast. (Under Image, Adjust)
    SAVE the Gray Texture with a New Name.


If you PASTE onto your image, you must CROP again before using the offset filter.

Image parts under the "matte" (that you cannot see) will be part of the repeat if you do not CROP!