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In the glory days of Windows v3.1, seamlessly tiling textures were definitely
the way forward in desktop wallpapers. They consumed very little memory, were
visually appealing, and caused negligible system slowdown. Of course, much has
changed since then, with high-resolution wallpapers now the standard for nearly
everyone. That does not mean, of course, that seamless textures have been
consigned to the junk pile. They are now more useful than ever, valuable for
webpage backgrounds, 3D texture mapping, and many other professional
applications. Luckily for designers, they are also easy to make, providing you
have the required patience and know the techniques necessary to make them.
Note: This is an advanced method for making seamlessly tiling
textures. If you are a newbie in Photoshop and can get away with it, the
more traditional method may be for you. If, however, you need more precise control or your texture is troublesomely complex, then read on!
Find/Create a image of a decent size that you want to make into a texture.
This image can, within reason, feature almost any content, although removing
the seams from more detailed images will require substantially more effort. Look at this
image and ensure that the elements are the same size on all
four sides. Bricks, for example must be the same size. If they aren't, use
Edit > Transform > Distort to adjust the image elements manually.
When you have completed this step, drag your guides to the desired points.
Look at my example below - These are very small rocks and the chosen area could be quite small, but I
have decided to choose a larger
area to to move because the image is somewhat washed out on the left side.
Choose a spot for your guide that cuts a line of rocks in half, or closest to
2: Be sure that View > Snap
to Guides is on. Then, using the the rectangular marquee tool, select the bottom
area (blue section
2) & copy and paste it into a new layer. Move this layer to the top - it will
snap into place. Do the same with the section to the left (green section 1).
Move it to the right. The lower left corner will not be used. See Image 2
below if you need help visualizing this concept.
drop shadows will not exist in your version - I've just added them so you
can see the section that has been
3: Now onto the manual fiddly bits. Hide section 2 and make
section 1 the active layer. Whip out the eraser tool with a hard-edged
brush and erase around individual rocks so they look natural with the
original layer below. Don't use a fuzzy brush. The red lines indicate where
the images erase boundaries in the corners. Each side must match so
overlapped images (in the corners) will not be seamless. Do the same with Section 2 (keep
section 1 visible so you can match with it as well). I've hidden the
original image to show what the erased layers will look like.
4: Once you've blended the two sections, select Layer > Flatten Image
to merge all the layers together. Select your
new tile, copy and paste it into a new layer, and hide everything else.
Now to test your texture! Looking at the image below as an example,
drag the layer into empty section 1 (it should snap into
place). Copy and paste two more layers and fill in section 2 and the lower
left corner. Hide your guides (via View > Extras) and you will see your new
seamless tile in action. If it looks perfect (and I hope it does) select File
> New and paste your CURRENT selection into your new window (it should fit perfectly). Save
your work. If it's not matching up the way you want, use your History, back
track and fix. And that's all there is to it!
Advanced Practice: For images with large elements like leaves, select your areas so that
you're cutting the leaves in half. This way you only have to erase around
the leaves you cut and they will overlap the original image.
If you can help it, don't use a fuzzy eraser. Here's one seamless
texture I made earlier:
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