Seamless Repeat on Photoshop

I wanted to document my processes on how I make a repeat, it was something I learnt quite late really using Photoshop as my primary application, although I did have a go with illustrator too. Photoshop is my preferred method because I have managed to make it a quick and easy process for myself.

I start off by creating a square canvas which will be my grid, I tend to go for a 1000 x 1000 pixel grid or 2000 if I am working for pattern contest as it effects the preview of my design when I add to for the contest.

I then add the motifs that I want to use into the tile, and separate them into little groups, so I have a couple of different hare designs, a couple of foxes, some trees, pinecones, and leaves. These can also be utilised as flipped motifs, just flipping the design can change the effect of it and make it look like a different motif. I am going to be going for a busy hero design in this example.

First of all I sort out my edges, so hang some motifs over the edges, being careful that they do not form a straight line down the side of the tile, so you can see the fox is only missing a tiny bit of tail but the hare is missing half a body. I sometimes will put a motif right in the corner but on this occasion I think I could do without it. If a piece is put in the corner it must be repeated into each of the corners.

The next step is to repeat the designs on the other side of the tile, so that when several of these tiles are put above and below it, they will all link and look seamless. So I click on one of the motifs, usually starting from the top side piece, and duplicate the layer, this puts an exact copy of this motif in the same place. I then select the copy, and go to Filter then Other then Offset. This will move the motif to where you want to for you, which is great for precise numbers. Because I want it to go exactly the same height at the other side of the tile, I need to use the horizontal control on the offset. Because my canvas was 2000 x 2000, I need that motif to move 2000 pixels to the right. This now shows the part that is missing from the motif on the left, coming in from the right. This process is repeated for all the motifs on the side, then the ones along the top. Watch for any overlaps or bad looking placement at this point, because they do have to be done again to ensure both of the matching motifs are in the same place. I use the set to transparent option on the offset menu, as if I let it wrap around, I get a weird glitch where the motifs think the canvas is larger than it is. I used to make repeats by putting my motifs in the middle of the screen then offsetting them as wrap around objects, so the motifs would literally be split into two, which did make it harder for me to play around with placement.

I then fill in the rest of the motifs in the gaps where I see them fitting, this is a lot of resizing, playing around and fitting things in. You can see I repeated the hare but flipped it so it looks a little difference. Usually I would go a lot smaller with my motifs to make a bigger repeat, so the repeat will not be so linear and obvious.

I the use very small motifs such as tiny leaves or little texture marks to fill more of the negative space, this just makes for a really nice busy image which is what I like to go for. I would probably usually have some motifs a little smaller and larger than the leaves, but I did not draw a massive range of motifs for this pattern as it was for a single pattern for the design contest based on Canadian Wildlife. I did enjoy this pattern though so I created some coordinating patterns to go with it. This is the point where I would also add a background colour to the bottom background layer.

Then I would click Edit, and Define Pattern, which adds this tile to the pattern section, which can be found in the Live paint bucket tool. It would be saved as a 2000 x 2000 pixel pattern, so you would need a 4000 x 4000 canvas to show the pattern repeated one time fully.

So I opened a 4500 x 4500 canvas and used the live paint bucket tool to put a pattern onto it. So this has repeated the image 1 extra full tile and a quarter both across and down from the top corner of the canvas.

I am happy with these designs and I like how they look, the method I use is good for me as I have learnt shortcuts to streamline it and feel like I can get a good repeat this way.

Business Cards and CV Designing

I have been avoiding the business cards for so long, but I finally made a point of sitting down to design it. I went through such a lot of different drafts and things and I am at a place now where I think I could carry on being fussy or I could accept the design. I think I will try and get some opinions to see what others think of it which can help to spot obvious design problems that I may not be able to spot, being so close to it.

Business Card Drafts

You can see here I went through a few stages of placement on the card with the name, title and logo. These were the main things I needed to get on there, and then just trying to get some design elements on there such as a border and a few floral decorations. I ended up taking away the white border and adding the border on the edge of the cards which I think looks better. I kept printing them out too as a wallet print because I think these are close to the real size and I wanted to make sure the writing was clear and readable. The other main decision was the text, I used a font that I use a lot in my work for my name, and then used a clear font on the back for important contact information. So I was debating between these two fonts for the bit underneath as well that says I am a surface pattern designer and artist. I think personally I prefer the clearer font for this, it is a lot more readable and is a good size there. I think I would have to make the other font a lot bigger to get it to the same readability but I would not want to overpower my name.

So these are where I am right now, I think it may be worth asking the actual printers for advice too because they work to design business cards a lot and I think I remember seeing some offers on websites where they can check designs.

I wanted to also design my CV in a more creative way as it had not be updated for a while and was not designed in my style or anything. I also want to send it to someone in the careers department as I have not seen the adviser for over a year now as well.

So this is what my CV is up to right now as well, with some of the similar design elements from the business cards. I will probably keep the green and pink colour scheme across my presspack as it is a colour combination I enjoy using, mixing the natural with a contrasting colour, and used it in my consultancy module and will probably take some of those colours into my exposure too.

Spoonflower Contest

I chose to take part in the next Spoonflower contest, called ‘Canadian Wildlife’, so the first step was to do a little research and see what kind of animals and trees I could look at. I thought about moose, bears, they seemed a little obvious, and large animals, so I thought I would look for something smaller, which is where I came around the beaver, red fox and arctic hare. I think they worked well because they all have a slightly different colour to them, and with green forest colours I think it gives a nice little natural colour scheme.

The Hero Design submitted

I submitted this design above, using a mixture of the animals and a lot of trees and foliage as well. I was really enjoying using these animals and motifs though, so I decided to create some designs to go along with it, I think this is a good practice to do just to practice making these families of designs. If I was doing this for a full collection I would have taken more time to do some more motifs, smaller motifs and maybe add a more contrasting colour into it. But working from this one hero is a task in itself to see what different things can come from it.

So these show what I was playing with from that main design, and the repeat of it here at the bottom. While I think it is an obvious repeat, I do tend to stick to basic tile repeats for spoonflower as I want it to be easy to see in the tile when people are looking through and voting for designs. I could see this working for stationary or small giftware things like my main collection, I think this has given me some confidence in designing animal motifs that are not really realistic too as I want to be able to show some life and texture to them without them being boring and flat too.

Continuing to enter contests and take a few hours out of my week to do this regularly is helping me expand my work and practice pattern making while I am still in the mark-making stages of my collection.

Mushrooms Research Images

I forgot about mushrooms when I did my second hand research last week, I did berries, fruit, nuts, acorns, even structures, but I think the mushrooms just slipped my mind. What reminded me was finding a mushroom in the garden so I photographed this then went onto Unsplash to find some other images of them that I could draw from.

I do not really know anything about mushrooms, but I think they are quite interesting and it would be cool to learn about the different types of them that you could encounter in the wild.

I really like the variety in the images I found on Unsplash as I think it looks at a huge range of species that I think will be great for research and drawing.

Plant Life Sketchbook

I found I was actually coming to the end of my first sketchbook, I chose to focus on leaves and foliage in the one sketchbook, and use a different one for the animals, and the plan was to kind of combine them and work on motifs that incorporate both in whichever sketchbook has more room left in it. But right now I think I will start another A3 book to continue with the plants and foliage, because I have yet to start with the berries, nuts, acorns or structures development in my book.

I continued to explore some styles that I was enjoying using, and working on combining them and refining them, and considering how they would translate over to a more digital format as I plan to take my mark-making over to Procreate as well.

These pages show the continued experimentation with techniques that I think could work well for motifs, although I think I would have liked to try a thin dark green outline on the lighter green leaves for example to avoid the heavy use of black, but I found a sharpie was not achieving this look in the colours and the use of paint just would not achieve that thin perfect line that I wanted, but again this can be done on Procreate.

I took some of my favourite shapes of the leaves to use and to try and name a few of them. From here I knew I wanted to go ahead and play with the solid shape of it more that I touched on previously.

I tried out some techniques here that represent the idea of shape a lot, such as the cut out and the patternwork shapes, I also tried an embroidery technique and a woven technique which I think helped to amplify the shapes and form of them more as the stitches defined the edges and the woven technique made from squares is quite obvious. I also tried the wax resist by drawing with a candle which was quite good to give a strong line drawing. I also went back to some of my favourite techniques such as the leaf skeletons, the splatter resist of the shapes and the bleach outlines too. I want to think of some ways to translate this better to Procreate and digital and see what I can do with it then.

I worked agin with lino here but made sure they were cut out shapes that would make clear motifs, I then made such the veins were the right kind of shape on there, and went ahead and tried out some patterns with these, over watercolour and bleach backgrounds or just plain white to focus more on the motifs.

More Garden Finds

As a couple of weeks pass, I am finding more and more that things in the garden are changing. Things are growing and blooming, which is great for extra photos as I see them.

The Iris plants by the pond came out in the last week, very bright and vibrant flowers with an unusual shape and pattern to them.

The wild strawberry plants a month ago looked like weeds, they were growing out of the paving and I nearly removed them, but now today the little strawberries have started to be more noticeable and there is actually quite a lot of them. Something I suppose will not last too long as I am sure birds and things will eat them before they have a chance to be fully ripe.

Finally, these two dragonflies landed right next to me by the pond, after months of skulking around ponds looking for them in my last module and not really getting a successful image. Finally, a week after my deadline for Consultancy, I had the chance to get a close up picture of a couple of them. The same day I also encountered a monster dragonfly, I couldn’t get close to it, not that I wanted to anyway with the size of it!

Missing Research Images

When I was looking for research, I took a lot of my own photos myself, but I did come across a couple of issues where either plants and trees were not out or in bloom yet, or in the case of the animals, they are hard for me to find and could be invasive to actually get close up photographs of them.

I used Unsplash to look for some of these research images, as well as google with a filter that looks for images that are free to share and use, I will be using these photos for inspiration to draw and sketch from, not using the photo directly in my work.

Berries and Fruits

I loved some of the images I got for these as they are well positioned within the frame and show leaves and things around them too, which make for good motifs. With the leaves too, just knowing which ones goes with which berry is great because I can use the berry as the centre and then make my own leaves around it as I know what they should look like. I think it is good to change around some things too because I have directly copied the composition of an image before and some folds and imperfections just do not translate well to the drawings and would look better if the leaf had been moved that tiny bit or unfolded.

Nuts and Acorns

Nuts and acorns provide a vital bit of food for squirrels and dormice particularly, so I wanted to include these as motifs as I think these are quite important things to have. I also included some pinecones as these are common woodland things that the creatures would encounter a lot.

Shelters and Structures

Sheds, walls, stone barns, wooden fencing, all plays a vital part of the woodland creatures adventures through the world. I think the main thing is that they can be adapted to provide shelter, and if left abandoned by humans, they can be made much more wild and could be used by a variety of creatures. Hedgehogs will often make home in open sheds and bonfires quickly, so its important to make sure they are not in there before things like this are lit or closed up. The fencing and stone walls can be used as shelter and protection from predators or weather, so I think this is a vital part of their journey, it is also a common sight on the mountains or in the forests, falling apart because they are not maintained very well.

Hedgehog Images

I wanted some hedgehog photos that showed the hedgehog in a couple of different positions as I think it would be nice to see in the pattern if there was a varied effect to it. I particularly like the picture of it walking as I have never really seen their legs before, I also like the ones curling up on their backs, its a very cute view. I need to experiment with the faces and things on them too as the effect of the face could make the pieces totally different, big eyes could look childlike.

Hare Images

The hare images were useful because the view of them fighting or standing in the field are so interesting, they have a range of poses but again the common one is just sat down looking. I think the ears are the best bit, they are so large and iconic to the animal I think this is a prominent feature that has to be shown in the images.

Red Squirrel Images

The red squirrel is an iconic animal, and I could have probably gotten an image if I went to locations nearby where they are known to live as I live in the buffer zone to their safe, grey-free zone. However with restrictions, this is difficult at the moment, same with hedgehogs, if I had put a camera outside a few months ago I might have been able to get a clear hedgehog image or video by now, as I think it has been such a slow process of finding the right places and narrowing down the locations where I might be able to find them. This gives a range of views of the creature too which is great for sketching out.

Dormouse Images

Again these images are great for a variety of positions, the dormouse is the cutest animal as well with its iconic large eyes and its unusual little tail.

Overall this research will really help me to get more studies and things done so I think I gain a better understanding of the creatures and can study things that I have not managed to get my own photos of in my limited area and in the last couple of weeks.