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THREADLESS TEETORIALS: HOW TO MAKE TILE REPEATS INTERESTING IN PHOTOSHOP (PART 1)

Teetorials are tips and tricks for adding those special touches to your designs, and they’re brought to you by our very own Threadless staff designers! Today’s Teetorial is brought to you by Threadstaffer Margaret Baggott.

This tutorial will cover making tile repeats, half-drop repeats, and brick repeats by adjusting the canvas size. It also will use the transform tool (command + t), guidelines, defining patterns, and filling patterns. Finally, it covers creating a seamless repeat pattern.

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Pretend that this is your design. It looks alright as a placement print, but you’re curious to see what it looks like as a repeat pattern. If you are looking to make a repeat pattern, this would be known as a tile, or a unit. When the Threadless challenge guidelines say, “Patterns need to be perfectly squared, tiled repeats with any of the following dimensions: 6x6, 12x12, 16x16, 24x24, 32x32,” it means that this tile (i.e. polka dot) needs to fulfill those dimensions. Since here my tile is 4“ x 4“, I would have to resize it before submitting it. But let’s continue on…

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Edit ? Define Pattern

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Click OK

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File ? New

Open a new document to see what your design looks like as a repeat pattern. You want your new canvas to be at least 2.5 times bigger in each direction than your tile design measurements.This ensures that you are able to understand what is going on with your repeat. My unit was 4” x 4” and my new document is 20” x 20”.

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Edit ? Fill

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Dialogue Box

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Choose your unit that you just defined as a pattern

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Click OK

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Yay! You’ve made a tile repeat! This is a tile repeat—it is called that because this repeat looks as if we’ve laid down tile (unit) next to tile (unit). But it’s kinda boring, right? We can “jazz” up a tile repeat by adjusting the unit.

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So let’s go back to our original unit. There are many ways to repeat a polka, but the two basic ways to adjust the uni aret: (1) as a brick unit and (2) as a half-drop unit. A brick unit will create a brick repeat and a half-drop unit will create a half-drop repeat. It is perfectly okay to submit a brick unit or a half-drop unit, so as long as you stay within the parameters (mainly the dimensions) of the challenge submission rules. This next part of directions is about changing your tile (unit) so that the repeat is more interesting.

Let’s look at how to do a brick repeat first:

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First thing to do is to transform (command + t or Edit ? transform). Apply guidelines by putting your mouse on the ruler click and drag your blue lines around the canvas and on the cross section of the canvas. Also, make sure to turn on the View ? Snap To ? Guidelines. With a repeat, the design has to match up perfectly—the guidelines help with this.

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Image ? Canvas Size

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Change to Percent from the drop box
Put 200 into the Height box
And anchor at the bottom middle box

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Click OK

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Copy (Edit ? Copy or command + c) and paste (Edit? Paste or command + v) the original unit above and the right half of the unit showing and above and the left half of the unit showing.

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You’ll be happy to have your guidelines and your “Snap To” turned on for this step.

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Just like before…
Edit? Define Pattern
Click OK
File ? New (Remember to choose a new canvas that is at least 2.5 x as wide and tall as original unit dimensions).
In the new document:
Edit ? Fill 
Use : Pattern
Choose your brick unit that we just made
Click OK

By adjusting the tile (or unit) we’ve created a pattern that’s a little bit more interesting. If you wanted to submit this as your pattern for Threadless, then screen shot #16 would be considered the tile or unit (but remember you’d have to resize your tile to stay within the dimensions).

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Next, the half-drop unit and half drop pattern.

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Going back to our brick pattern unit, we can either rotate the canvas CW 90 degrees (View ? Image Rotation ? CW 90 degrees) or…

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On our original tile unit:
Image ? Canvas Size
Change to Percent
Put 200 into the Width box
And anchor to the middle left block

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Click OK
Copy and Paste original unit showing the bottom half and the top half

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Edit? Define Pattern
Click OK
File ? New
Edit ? Fill
Choose Pattern
Choose your pattern under custom pattern
Click OK

Now we’ve made our tile repeat a bit more interesting by turning it into a half-drop pattern. If you wanted to submit this as your pattern for Threadless, then screen shot #21 would be the tile (but remember to stay within the dimensions).

For all of our Teetorials, click here.