Monday, July 5, 2010

GIMP Tutorial: Simple Seamless Tile Patterns & Backgrounds * Beginners*

I was "Googling" seamless vector patterns yesterday and came across some tutorials that explained how to make seamless patterns using Photoshop and Illustrator. Now, I realize many of my own tutorials are fairly long, and I also realize people want to do things in as few steps as possible, (unfortunately not everything can be accomplished so quickly outside of using a script or plug-in) but creating seamless patterns can be accomplished fairly quickly using GIMP.

View the tutorial via video, here:

Step 1:

Open any square size drawing, with a white background (I am using 400 x 400 px @ 300 dpi).

Set up a grid for the drawing: Image - Configure Grid, using the following settings (Note: make the image grid divisible by 4 and make sure the grid is visible - "View - Show Grid"):

The result: 

Step 2:

The following steps are dependent on what you want to use as a pattern, which can be a brush shape, a photograph selection, or an image you created in GIMP. I'm using my sun clipart I created in a previous tutorial (you can grab that image file here):
First I am going to add a warm yellow color to my image background using (ffa800) for foreground.

Open the sun clip art into GIMP.

Follow my placement pattern of the larger suns (scaled to 300 x 300) and the smaller suns (scaled to 150 x 150) on the drawing:

The process is started by copying the sun clip art (Edit - Copy), then pasting it into the new drawing as a new layer (Edit - Paste As - New Layer).

Scale   the first sun at 300 x 300:

Copy the new layer (make sure Snap to Grid is active under View). Continue pasting the same copy as a new layer until all 9 suns are situated on the grid like shown above.

Paste the 10th sun, scale it  to 150 x 150:

Copy that new layer and proceed to Edit  - Paste As - New Layer, the remaining smaller suns as shown in the placement pattern image above (should be a total of 4).

Save the image as a pattern by browsing to the .gimp-2.6/pattern folder, and name the file with a .pat extension (sunshine.pat). Give it an obvious description (.sunshine). Placing a period (.) before sunshine, will move the pattern toward the top of the pattern dialog.

Refresh your patterns dialog and you're done!

Thank you for stopping by! 

[GIMP Tip: To scale the pattern to be smaller or larger, you can add the scale_pattern.scm script and make those adjustments by right clicking the pattern in the dialog menu and select "Scale Pattern".]