I hope after creating all of your art and transforming it into elements, that you're ready to finally start arranging it into some stunning patterns! This method is how I transform my art from the canvas (or paper!) into beautiful fabrics, home decor, accessories and more! You can also use your finished patterns to elevate your artist portfolio if art licensing is an area which you'd like to expand into.
For this lesson, you'll want to have at least 7-8 individual elements in .png format which you have already cleaned and removed any background from saved in one folder on your hard drive. I'll be reusing the floral trees from our previous lessons, however, feel free to use whatever art you have created!
You'll also need to have the following installed:
Adobe Photoshop® 2023 - Download it here: https://creativecloud.adobe.com/apps/all/desktop/pdp/photoshop and
Aquario Design's Textile Designer™ Plugin - Download it here: https://aquariodesign.com/aquario-textile-designer/
*Aquario is offering readers of my blog an exclusive 25% discount on their annual subscription! To get this exclusive and limited time offer, use code "BLACKFRIDAY25OFF"
Let's begin with a quick overview of the Textile Designer layout and the added toolbars you will see on your workspace:
You'll first make sure you have the plug-in activated by going into the menu, and under "Plugins", go down to "Aquario Textile Designer", and make sure you have both "AquarioTD" and "AquarioTD Previewer" checked.
Note: You can also activate the "Swatches" palette, but for today's lesson we won't be using it, so I will be leaving it off my workspace for today.
This will change up your workspace a little bit. You should have now have a new window for each of these plug-in's palettes in your toolbars. I prefer to drag mine underneath my layer palette so they stay on the right side of my workspace:
We will be first trying out the different repeat options that are available. You'll first make sure you click on the repeat icon, which looks like 9 smaller squares arranged into a larger square, highlighted here in the lighter grey color:
You have several different types of repeat options available: "Straight Repeat", which is also sometimes referred to as a "Basic" repeat, "Drop Repeat", which you would use for a half drop style repeat, and "Shift Repeat", which is also sometimes called a "brick" repeat.
You also have a fourth option on the far right side, which will show you a multitude of different "Mirror" options as well. I love using mirrored repeats for some of my art, but for now we will leave that repeat type to a future blog post!
You click between these four buttons to change what kind of repeat you would like for your finished patterns. We will go over more in depth what exactly each type of repeat does next.
As the name suggests, this is the most basic format for a repeat. The tiles will be arranged straight across as well as up and down.
Example of a basic repeat (from our friends at www.spoonflower.com)
To make a basic repeat, setup a new canvas, in the size you would like your repeat tile to be in. I generally use 12" X 12" at 300 DPI for my patterns, but you can use whatever size is needed for your project.
You'll import your first art element by using "File" --> "Place Embedded", and then navigate to the location of your saved art files. I'll be using a few our trees from the previous lessons.
I've added two trees into the center of my canvas with different colors so you can see how the different types of repeats will adjust our finished pattern:
I've temporary moved the "AquarioTD-Previewer" toolbar outside of my palettes into it's own window so you can get a larger closeup view. If you click the "Refresh Previewer" icon that looks like a circle made from two arrows, you will get an updated preview of how your current pattern will look:
You can also easily zoom in and out to better view your pattern inside of the Previewer window.
Tip: You can also toggle on or off the ability to see a border around your pattern tile by clicking the "border" button. This will show you exactly where the edges to your repeat are on the preview window.
If you keep the previewer nested between your layers and other palettes, your workspace would look similar to this:
The really cool and timesaving part of using this pattern tool is that you can drag your elements over the edges of the canvas, and it will automatically wrap your image and put it into the type of repeat you selected! You only need to adjust the placement of your elements, and then click the "Refresh Previewer" button on the preview window to see your changes:
So I've dragged my elements so that the pink tree crossed the left side edge of the canvas, and the purple crossed over the bottom edge:
Once I click refresh, the canvas as well as the Previewer window will update to give me the updated pattern:
Tip: Want a different color in the background? You can easily add in another layer beneath the other elements by using the + on the Layer Palette. Name your new layer "Background Color", and drag it under all of the other layers so it is now at the bottom of the list of layers. Use the "Paint Bucket" tool to fill it with a solid color of your choice. I used just plain white for this example, but you could use any color or pattern to fill the background.
You can see on the right side the Preview window will show me exactly how the repeat will look when I export it. This basic repeat is pretty much finished!
Tip: You need to remember to change the "Duplicate Opacity" field back to 100% before you save your finished file!
You can now use "File" --> "Save As" to save your finished pattern file in your desired format. If I'm going to upload the image to a POD website, I use the file formats which they suggest, which normally would be either a .JPG or .PNG.
If you are wanting to save the file so you can come back and edit or work on it later, you can use 'File" ---> "Save" to save the file as a .PSD format.
Half Drop (Drop Repeat) & Half Brick (Shift Repeat):
These types of repeats staggers the tiles either vertically or horizontally, respectively.
Half Drop: This type of repeat is similar to a basic repeat, except the design is repeated with a half-step vertically as you move to the right. Example images from our friends at www.Spoonflower.com:
Half Brick (Shift) Repeat: This is also a staggered repeat, but the design shifts a half-step horizontally to the right as you move upwards like bricks, hence the name.
You can create both of these types of repeats using Textile Designer in a very similar fashion. You only need to toggle between the "Drop Repeat" and the "Shift Repeat" buttons on your AquarioTD window before you start creating your pattern.The difference seems slight, but the two options will result in your finished file having very different looks! Notice how the Preview shows the different layouts change.
If I place one element on the left side of the canvas in the center, the two other "halves" of the image will repeat across the upper and lower corner on the right side.
If I place one element on the top center edge of the canvas, the two other "halves" of the image would be repeated on the lower left and right sides of the canvas
You can continue to add more art elements into your pattern, refreshing the "Previewer" window as you go to see how your finished pattern looks.
Here's my example of a file where I used the "Drop Repeat" (Half Drop) option, but you could also choose instead to use the Shift Repeat option instead. I added a few more trees using 'File" ---> 'Place Embedded", and then used the "Move" tool to change their position around the canvas. Remember, in order to see the element repeat, it needs to have some of the art over the edge of the canvas.
I can see on my preview window on the right that I still have some weird spaces between my trees. Maybe I might want to shift them around a little bit more to balance out the areas of negative space. I decided to go ahead and make a few adjustments, and also I wanted to try a different background color.
So as you make your adjustments on your canvas, be sure to then click the "Refresh Previewer" button again to see how your changes effect your finished pattern:
Et voila...You have a half drop pattern tile! You could certainly add more details with textures in the background, or add in some smaller elements to make your pattern visually a bit more complex.
I wanted to keep these examples a but more on the simple side, but I would encourage you to experiment with the different repeat options and see which you prefer to use!
Tip: Make sure before saving/exporting your finished pattern tile that you adjust the duplicate opacity field in the AquarioTD palette back to 100%. This will make sure all of your elements are the same color/opacity level!
Use "File" ---> "Save" to save your work as a .PSD file if you're needing to continue working on it later.
If you're ready to export the your finished pattern tile to upload onto a POD website, you can use "File" ---> "Save As" to save as your desired file type, such as .JPG or .PNG
I Hope you enjoyed learning more about how to use Aquario Design's Textile Designer plugin to create a seamless pattern tile quickly and easily! It is a great tool to have in your creative arsenal so you can add beautiful patterns to your portfolio, and you can showcase and sell your patterns across a number of different products such as fabric, home decor, and accessories. With the ability to quickly switch between a basic, shift, drop, and mirror repeat tile, you can design so many different kinds of beautiful patterns!
Check out our next blog that will go over another of Textile Designer's powerful functions: Color! We will discuss how to use Textile Designer to reduce the number of colors in your finished pattern, as well as how to recolor your pattern quickly to make alternate colorways! Make sure you are signed up for my email list here on my website to get notified when new blog posts drop!