Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Create an Argyle Pattern

Finally something new on the tut front!  This should be a versatile pattern you can use for creating kit papers, backgrounds, and pattern fills.

This tut was written 18 February 2013 using PSP 9.

This tutorial uses no outside filters.  It will use only effects and tools native to PSP 9.  Those same tools and effects should be available in other versions of the program as well although they may be located in different menus.  I'm only familiar with and have only ever used version 9 so I'm unable to help with other versions of the program.

If you wish to create your pattern exactly as the one in my sample, save my palette below to use.  If you want to create it in other colors, just select 3 colors of your choice.  Typically, I see argyle patterns with a dark neutral color and then two additional colors.

Let's begin!

1.  Open a new transparent canvas.  Any size is fine and will depend on how large you eventually intend to use your created pattern.  Just be sure it is a square canvas (height & width being equal).  For my example, I'm using a 400 x 400 pixel canvas.

2.  Using the Paint Bucket tool, flood fill your canvas with the dark color from your palette.  For mine, I'm using #808080.

3.  Add a new layer (Layers > New Raster Layer...).  This will be the layer where you add the light & dark shades of the color you're making your pattern.

4.  Activate your Selection Tool, and then choose the Custom Selection tool.

5.  Enter the positions as follows:  Top - 0, Left - 0, Right - 200, Bottom - 200.  (Those values work for my example canvas of 400 x 400 pixels.  If your canvas is larger or smaller, just divide your dimensions by half to find the numbers you should enter for the Right & Bottom values.)  Click the OK button to make the selection active, and flood fill the selection with one of your palette colors.

6.  Activate the custom selection tool again, and enter the values as follows:  Top - 200, Left - 200, Right - 400, Bottom - 400.  (Again, these are the correct values for my example canvas, but if your canvas is different, use the full height & width values for the Right & Bottom and half the height & width for the Top & Left values.)  Flood fill this new selection with the second color from your palette.  Merge this layer down (Layers > Merge > Merge Down).  Once merged, your canvas should resemble mine.

7.  Grab the edge of your canvas and drag it open so you have blank space visible around your working area.  Activate your Pen Tool, and choose White as your foreground color, set the background color to null.  Width of the line for my example is 5, and I chose the dotted line style. 

8.  Watch the lower right of the PSP window as you move the point of the Pen Tool around the canvas.  The "x" value is your horizontal position, and the "y" value is the vertical position.  I want the line I'm creating to be exactly centered across the top half of my canvas so I click the first time with the pen when my "y" value is at 100.  The "x" value doesn't have to be exact at this point.  Click again somewhere out in the blank area around the working canvas so that the line will completely cover and extend beyond the colored squares.

9.  To ensure that the line you just drew is perfectly straight, click again on the end point and move it up.  While still holding the end of the line with your mouse, push the Shift button on the keyboard.  That will make the line snap to positions in 45° increments.  Move the end of the line back down, and release when it snaps to the straight position.  To position the newly drawn straight line across the canvas, go to Objects > Distribute > Space Evenly Horz.  Your canvas should resemble mine as below.

10.  Convert the layer with the line to a raster layer.  Duplicate that layer (Layers > Duplicate) and then flip the duplicated layer so that there's a second line across the bottom half of the canvas too (Image > Flip).  Merge the two layers with the dotted lines (Layers > Merge > Merge Down).

11.  Your canvas should have two layers at this point.  The bottom layer has the colored squares, and the top layer contains the two dotted lines.  Make sure the dotted lines layer is active and duplicate this layer (Layers > Duplicate).  On the duplicated layer, rotate it by 90° right (Image > Rotate > Free Rotate) using the settings shown below.  Make sure the "All layers" box is UNchecked.  You just want to rotate that new duplicated top layer of lines.

12.  This time, merge everything so that you're down to a single layer on the canvas (Layers > Merge > Merge Visible).  Your canvas should resemble mine at this point.

13. Next, you'll need to increase the size of your canvas so that you have room to rotate the swatch you've created.  Image > Canvas size..., and in the window that opens, use the settings as shown below.  Note - if you have created your canvas at a different size than mine, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your dimensions by 3.  So, mine was 400 x 400 pixels, and I will be increasing mine to 1200 x 1200.  Be sure to select the center placement.

14.   Rotate the swatch by 45°.  Image > Rotate > Free rotate or Ctrl + R.  The direction doesn't matter.  Right or left is equally fine.  Yours should resemble mine as below.

15.  At this point, we're ready to resize the swatch so that it takes on a diamond shape rather than a square.  Go to Image > Resize... or Shift + S.  We only want to change the width setting, leaving the height alone.  So first, UNcheck the "Lock aspect ratio" box so that you can edit the height & width separately.  I adjusted the width on mine to about 65%.  My settings are shown below.

16.  Crop the canvas to remove all the excess space around your resized swatch.  I always use the Merged Opaque option on the Crop Tool.

17.  After applying the crop, your swatch should resemble mine as below.

18.  Next, in order to make the swatch seamless, you'll need to duplicate the layer and move to duplicated layer to fill the blank corners of the canvas.  In your layers palette, you can right click the layer name and choose Duplicate from the menu or you can also duplicate by using the Layers > Duplicate menu.  Once you have duplicated the layer, activate your Move Tool either by selecting it from the tools menu or just hit the M on your keyboard.  Grab the top layer and drag it into position.  Mine is shown below after the first duplication & move.  Just line up the top layer so that you don't have a gap between the segments.

19.  Repeat the previous step 3 more times, duplicating the bottom original layer each time and then moving the new duplicated layer into position to fill the blank areas.  Each step as I progress is shown below to give you an idea of how it will look at each stage.

After duplicating & moving the second time.

After duplicating & moving the third time.

And finally, after duplicating & moving the fourth time.

20.  When you're satisfied with the positioning of each duplicated layer, merge everything into a single layer.  Layers > Merge > Merge Visible.  You're ready to save the file so you can use it as a pattern to fill background papers or shapes or letters.  I used my resulting pattern to make the background below.

As always, any results from the tutorial are yours to do with as you please.  I hope it's been a useful tut & one that was easy to follow!  Feedback is always appreciated.  Let me know what you thought of it! :)

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