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Photoshop is a powerful design tool to create patterns and graphics. In this guide I am going to show you how to create Patterns in Photoshop.

How to Create A Pattern in Photoshop

You can easily create a seamless repeating pattern using any shape in Photoshop.

First create a new document. For this tutorial I am going to use the dimensions 600 px by 600 px at 300 dpi with a transparent background.

Next add a shape. From the left hand menu select a shape tool. For this example I am going to use the Triangle Shape tool.

Click to add a triangle to the canvas. From the layers panel, click on your triangle layer and then right click and select duplicate layer.

Turn on Pattern Preview Mode

In Photoshop 2021 Adobe added a new feature – Pattern Preview Mode. I love this feature! It makes creating patterns in Photoshop so much easier. If you are using an earlier version of Photoshop keep reading below to see how to create a repeating pattern by using the offset filter.

From the top menu select View > Pattern Preview.

This mode will extend your canvas and repeat your shape. You will notice a blue line marking your original canvas dimensions.

To create a “polka dot” repeating triangle pattern drag one of your triangles to the corner and Photoshop will automatically cause it to repeat in the corners throughout your canvas.

Defining your pattern

With the pattern preview mode still turned on in the top menu select Edit > Define Pattern.

To see your new pattern in action open a new document.

Go to File > New. For this example we will use the dimensions 3600 x 3600 px which is a common size for creating digital scrapbook paper.

Next, I am going to add 3 new layers. In the bottom of the layers panel add a solid color adjustment layer. This layer will be the background color for your pattern.

Next, add a pattern adjustment layer.

From the pattern fill menu, use the drop down arrow and select your new pattern. In this menu you can change the angle of your pattern and scale it up or down. When this dialogue box is open you can click on your canvas to move around your pattern if you want to change the way it starts on your canvas. You can click on Snap to Origin to center it back to the original layout. Once you have it positioned where you want click on OK.

To change out the color of your pattern we are going to add another solid color adjustment layer. Select your color and then use a clipping mask to have the color attached to your pattern. To create a clipping mask select your solid color layer and right click > Create Clipping Mask.

When it comes to Photoshop a lot of times there is more than one way to do something. I like to recolor my patterns this way because you can easily see the color of your layers in the layers panel. If you want to change the color of the pattern you can just double click on the color and select a new color.

How to Create A Seamless Repeating Pattern in Earlier Version of Photoshop

If you are using a version of Photoshop before Photoshop 2021 then you do not have the pattern preview mode. To create a repeating pattern you will need to use the offset filter.

Before duplicating your shape make sure it is centered on the canvas. You can do this by using the smart guides or using the Marquee tool (shortcut key – M). With your shape layer selected and the marquee tool selected hit Cmd or Ctrl + A to select everything on that layer. Next switch to the Move tool (shortcut key – V). The alignment actions will be displayed at the top. Click to align to center vertically and horizontally. Once it is aligned in the center you can click Cmd or Ctrl + D to deselect everything.

Next, duplicated your object. Go to Filter > Other > Offset. Photoshop will prompt you to convert the shape to a smart object.

Taking into account the size of your document you will want to offset your object by half of your vertical and half of your horizontal distance. In this case our document was 600 px by 600 px so we will offset it by 300 px vertically and 300 px horizontally.

In the undefined areas you will want to make sure Wrap Around in selected. Click ok to apply your filter. Once this is done you should see a part of the triangle in all of the four corners of the canvas. Next, go to Edit > Define Pattern to save your pattern.

The Patterns Panel

With the update of Photoshop 2021, Adobe also revamped how they manage their patterns in Photoshop. When you go to Window > Patterns it will bring up the patterns panel.

In the Patterns panel you can organize your patterns into folders. In the bottom right corner you will see a folder icon that allows to create and name a folder. Once you have created the folder you can organize your patterns by clicking on a pattern and dragging it into the new folder. If you have more than one pattern. Click on the first pattern, hold shift and then click on the last pattern. It will automatically highlight all the patterns allowing you to move more than one pattern at a time.

In the top right corner you can click on the three line icon to bring up more pattern settings. Here you can choose to rename your pattern.

How to Export a pattern in Photoshop

Photoshop saves patterns in .pat file type. In Photoshop you have the option to export your patterns. You may want to export your patterns if you want to save and back up your patterns on another device. You can export your patterns to share with others or sell them on a marketplace.

First open up the patterns panel by going to Window > Patterns.

Select the patterns that you want to export. You can select more than one pattern by click on the first pattern, holding shift and then click on the last pattern.

Next, in the upper right corner click on the 3 line icon to access the settings menu.

Click on Export Selected Patterns.

You will then be prompted to choose a file location for where you want to save your pattern.

How to Import a Pattern in Photoshop

You can also easily import patterns into Photoshop. To do this you will first need to open up the Patterns panel by going to Window > Patterns. In the upper right corner click on the 3 line icon to access the settings. From here click on Import patterns.

Select the patterns file and click on Open. Your newly imported patterns will be added into the patterns panel to now use with your designs.

How to access the default Photoshop Patterns

If you ever find that you can’t see the default Photoshop patterns all you need to do is open up the patterns panel by going to Window > Patterns. Click on the three line icon in the upper right corner to access the settings menu. Select Legacy Patterns and More and it will automatically load the default Photoshop patterns.

How to add a pattern to a shape

In Photoshop you can also add a pattern directly to a shape. After you have created your shape in the top menu click on the Fill icon. You can choose between no fill, solid color, gradient or pattern. Click on the pattern fill and from the menu select the pattern you want to use. In the example below I have added a diagonal pattern to a rectangle shape.

How to add a Pattern to Text

You also can add a pattern to text. First using the text tool type out your word or phrase.

Double click on the text layer to pull up the Layer Style panel.

Click on Pattern Overlay and from the drop down select your pattern. In the example below I added a gold texture pattern to my text.

More Photoshop Pattern Tutorials