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Whether it’s retouching portrait photos or post-processing landscape and architecture shots – when it comes to getting the best out of your own shots, Photoshop is often the first place to go.
But there are other ways to get creative with Photoshop. For example, how about a custom pattern that you can extend indefinitely? Especially for the creation of greeting and invitation cards for various occasions, such as Christmas, Easter or an anniversary, a self-created pattern brings even more individuality. We will show you step by step how to create your own pattern.
Step 1: Preparation – Selecting backgrounds and symbols
The pattern that we present here consists of different hash shapes or diamonds. To create these diamonds you need at least two different structures, which can be very similar in their nature. The colour of the structures plays only a minor role, because you can easily change them in Photoshop. In addition, the biggest difference is created by the use of brightness and contrast.
Vector graphics or photos matching the theme can be used for the inside of the diamond. Here you can also use your own pictures or those obtained from portals.
When selecting the motifs, the given colour does not play a major role either, as it can be changed during the pattern creation process. Of course you can also use personal photos in your pattern. Especially for an invitation to a birthday, various photos of the birthday child look good.
Step 2: Creating a basic structure from diamonds
Open Photoshop with a new white area of 3300 by 3300 pixels. Next, use the rectangle tool from the tool panel to create a square diamond. In the upper edit bar, enter “B:” and “H:” for the width and height, respectively 900 pixels.
Then use the Move tool to align the square in the middle. If the square is exactly centered, a pink auxiliary line appears both vertically and horizontally. Alternatively, you can specify 0 pixels for the position in all four fields in the properties of the square on the right.
To turn the square into a diamond, turn it 45 degrees. Make sure the square is selected in the Layers panel and press Ctrl and T on the keyboard to freely transform it. This will reappear under the menu bar with a line of diamond settings. This line contains an angle symbol. Enter 45 degrees in this field to rotate the square. Confirm the transformation by clicking on the check mark.
After your square has been placed correctly, you can drag and drop the first structure into your desktop. Place the structure by clicking on the hook above the diamond. Now right-click on the layer of the structure in the layer control panel and select “Create section mask …”.
Because of the cutting mask, the structure has adopted the shape of the diamond. In the Layer control panel, you will now see a downward pointing arrow in front of the layer of the structure. This arrow means that the structure level refers to the rectangle level below it.
If you want to change the colour and brightness of the structure, you can do so now. Select the “Corrections” tab in the right sidebar and start with the “Hue/Saturation” correction. Click on the “Rectangle with arrow pointing down” icon to specify that the correction only applies to the layer below.
Move the Saturation slider to the left to minus 100 percent to remove the colour from the structure. At the same time, you can increase or decrease the contrast. In our template, the structure of the first diamond will lighten up.
After the first hash follows the second – Create another square with the Rectangle tool. This diamond should be smaller than the first. In our example, the second diamond has a size of 700 by 700 pixels. Place your second structure over the second diamond and proceed as for the first diamond. This time darken the structure of the second diamond to create a contrast between the two diamonds.
With the next diamond, a little bit of colour finally comes into play. Create it with a size of 600 by 600 pixels. You don’t need a new structure for this one. This time simply colour the rectangle in any colour, for example a rich red (R: 112, G: 23, B: 36). Then set the opacity to 60 percent to make the underlying structure visible.
This step is followed by the fourth diamond. This has a size of 540 x 540 pixels, so that only a narrow stripe of the coloured diamond can be seen. A dark grey (R: 48, G: 48, B: 48) with an opacity of 90 percent was used for this rectangle. Convert the last two diamonds into a Smart Object by right-clicking on the respective layer.
These four diamonds represent the basic structure of the pattern.
Step 3: Add a personal touch to the pattern with designs
To insert a design into the diamond, you can proceed in the same way as with the structures in the diamond. Create a new rectangle with the size 480 x 480 pixels, place the image over it and right-click on the layer “Create cutting mask”. Before you create the mask, you should resize the image.
Reduce the image until it only covers the diamond to be filled. When you create the cutting mask, the subject will be clearly visible. If the colour of the image does not match the desired design, you can also change the colour of the image or remove it completely using the “Hue/Saturation” correction.
The first diamond for the pattern is finished with the inserted motif. In order to keep an overview between the many processing steps, it is advisable to pack these into a folder.
While holding down the Caps Lock key, select all levels except the background level and click the folder icon at the bottom of the Level panel. A meaningful naming of the individual layers also helps to keep the overview.
Step 4: Create variety with additional diamonds
By grouping the layers the created diamond can be duplicated easily. Now select the group of the second diamond and press “Ctrl” and “T” to move the entire diamond including all its components.
You can place the diamonds next to each other with or without spacing. If you decide on the distance, you must make sure that it always remains the same during duplication.
Since the goal is not to create a pattern from a recurring diamond, you can now change the second diamond. The first step is to change the brightness of the structures. In the first diamond, the outer structure is brighter than the inner structure. Now do it exactly the other way round in order to bring a change into your pattern.
To do this, select the “Hue/Saturation” correction of the first structure and move the Brightness slider in the opposite direction. Repeat with the second structure. The names of the individual layers already help you to select the correct correction layers.
After changing the brightness of the structures, select the third rectangle to change the colour using the Fill tool. For a Christmas or winter motif, a dark green (R: 0, G: 47, B: 30) is recommended in addition to the first diamond. Here, too, the opacity of the rectangle must be set to 60 percent to create transparency.
The fourth rectangle can remain as it is unless you also want to change the colour or brightness of the rectangle. This works in the same way as rectangle 3.
The last step for the new diamond is to change the inner design. To do this, move the selected image to the trash. The inside of the diamond will now appear in the colour of the underlying rectangle (grey). Insert a new image or structure into Photoshop and convert it into a cut mask again.
If you want to insert a graphic into the interior, such as the outline of a snowflake, you can use the second structure used in your diamond as a background. Insert the structure again and position it above the “Rectangle 5”. Here, too, convert the structure into a cutting mask and apply a “hue/saturation” correction. Use the same settings as for the second structure. In our example this is saturation equal to minus 100 and brightness plus 44. Finally place the graphic of the snowflake in the middle of the diamond.
Step 5: Enlarge pattern by duplication and grouping
Just two diamonds are enough to create a pattern. Duplicate each of the two diamonds and put them together diagonally mirrored to form a square. Now combine all four groups of the individual diamonds into one group. This allows you to duplicate and juxtapose the small pattern of four diamonds to create a large pattern.
To cover larger areas, after juxtaposing the first four small patterns, you can again form a group to create a larger repeat of 16 diamonds. As soon as you have filled a sufficiently large area with your diamonds, your pattern is already finished.
Now all you have to do is save your design in JPEG to use it when creating greeting cards and photo books. Save the Photoshop file to be able to change and enlarge your design later.
If you want to make your pattern even more impressive and varied, you can create four different diamonds instead of just two. There are no limits to your choice of design and colour. Nevertheless, you should make sure that you do not design the four diamonds too differently and that the colours used harmonise with each other. Too many colours or colours that do not match each other can quickly appear restless.
We hope you enjoy trying it out!