Tiling Textures and Fills - Part One

http://www.sketchpad.net/tiling1.htm

Giving a Texture or Fill a Uniform Appearance

Tiles are used as background images on web pages. Tiles are also used as wallpaper in Microsoft® Windows®. Pattern Fills are used in Photoshop® image editing as a means to fill an area in an image. The following guidelines should be followed in order to achieve a good result.

When making background tiles or fills, care should be taken so that...

A. The overall appearance is uniform when the image used as a background tile or fill, and...

B. The edges of the tiles mate seamlessly together.

This tutorial covers one way to achieve A above. The next tutorial addresses B.

Making a background tile using the sandstone texture (applied with the Texturizer Filter) is very popular and is a good example of the use of this technique.

1. Start by making a 4" x 4" RGB image at 72 pixels per inch with a white background. Save the file as TILE01.PSD or other name. Pick a color from the swatches palette that appeals to you and set it as the foreground color. By moving the mouse over the swatches, the cursor turns into an eyedropper. Simply clicking the mouse on any color swatch will set the foreground color to the one you pick.

2. Next use the bucket tool and click anywhere in the image area to flood fill it with the foreground color you selected



3. Next apply the sandstone filter to the image with the command:

Filter > Texture > Texturizer > Sandstone

In this example set Scaling=100, Relief=4 and the Light Direction=Top. Click "OK" to close the dialog and apply the texture to the image.





4. Make a new 4" x 4" RGB image at 72 pixels per inch with a white background. This image will only be used to test the tiling of a selected portion of the first image. It will not be saved.




5. Click the rectangular selection tool. In the Marquee Options palette select Style=Fixed Size, Width=100 pixels, Height=100 pixels and Feather=0 pixels.



. Click anywhere in the image area. A 100 x 100 pixel selection marquee will appear. You will be selecting an area that will serve as a pattern that fills the second image. Since the defined pattern will simply be a tile, the trick of this technique is to select as uniform an area as possible. The goal is twofold:

a) The defined area should be as uniform as possible without any distracting flaws or unusual patterns that will repeat throughout the fill.
b) The outer edges of the defined area should mate smoothly together when they are tiled, although this is not as important as a) above because the next tutorial will explain how to overcome this.

7. Using any selection tool, click inside the selection and while pressing the mouse button, drag the marquee to a suitable location




Once you have selected the area to define as a pattern, click:

Edit > Define Pattern

8. Next make sure the test image is the active window then click:

Edit > Fill

You will see the following dialog. Select:

Contents:
Use=Pattern

Blending:
Opacity=100%,
Mode=Normal.

Then click "OK" to apply the pattern fill to the image.



9. Now check the results of the pattern fill on the image. Look for smears, ridges, or any uneven repeating texture picked up from the pattern definition in step 7 above. If you see any undesirable repeating pattern, simply drag the selection marquee to a new location in the TILE01.PSD file and repeat the command:

Edit > Define Pattern

Repeat steps 7 and 8 as necessary until the image is filled with a smooth, even texture.




10. Once you are satisfied with the results make the TILE01.PSD the active window and click:

Image > Crop

This will crop the image down to a 100 x 100 pixel tile.


11. Below is the finished tile. You can use it for your own backgrounds. If you are using Netscape® or Internet Explorer, simply right click on the image below and save it to disk.