How to color repeating patterns in photoshop

In the previous lesson, we learned the basics of creating and using simple repeating patterns in Photoshop. We developed a separate motif using the Oval Region tool and the Shift filter, and then saved it as a pattern. Subsequently, we chose this new pattern and filled them with a layer where the pattern was repeated as many times as necessary to fill the entire area. This lesson is a continuation of the previous lesson, so you may want to complete the previous lesson, where we created and added our “Circles” pattern, if you have not already done so.

The main disadvantage of the pattern created by us is that it is not interesting enough and informative. The reason, in many respects, is that we have drawn a black pattern on a white background. In this lesson, we will look at how to improve the pattern with colors and gradients! As before, I will work in the version of Photoshop CS5, but any recent version of the program will also work

Here is how our pattern looked so far:

Black circles on a white background. Notspecialinteresting.

Add colors

Let’s start by replacing the white background with a color. We could use the team “Run Fill” (Fill) to fill the background with color, but I propose to apply a more flexible method using the fill layer (a little later I will explain what is meant by the words “more flexible”). First, on the layers panel, click on the background layer to select it:

Click on the background layer to make it active.

After selecting the background layer, click on the icon. “Create a new adjustment layer or fill layer” (New Fill or Adjustment Layer) at the bottom of the layers panel:

Click on the “Create New Adjustment Layer or Fill Layer” icon

From the list that appears, select at the top “Colour” (Solid Color):

At the top of the list, select “Color”

As soon as you select the item “Color”, the program will open the Color Picker where you can select the desired color. This color will become the new background color in your pattern. I’m going to pick the color blue. Of course, you can choose any color at your discretion, but if you use the same colors as me, look at the parameters R, G and B (abbreviated from Red (Red), Green (Green) and Blue (Blue)) at the bottom of the Color Picker and enter the following values: 98 for R, 175 for G and 200 for B:

In the Color Picker, select the desired color as the new background color.

Click OK to close the Color Picker, and if you now look at your pattern in the document window, you will see that the white background has become a new color:

White background changed to blue

If we look at the layers panel, we can see what happened. Photoshop has added a new fill layer called “Fill color 1” (Color Fill 1) and placed it between the layer with the white background and the layer with the black pattern (Layer 1). The reason that we first selected the background layer, and then added a fill layer, is because the program adds new layers directly above the selected layer, and we needed the fill layer to appear above the background, but below the layer with pattern. The circles remain black because they are located above the fill layer, which does not affect them:

The fill layer now closes the white background layer in the document.

We can use another fill layer to add another color to the pattern with circles. This time we need to add a fill layer above the patterned layer, so click on Layer 1 (Layer 1) to activate it:

Click on Layer 1 to make it active..

Then click the icon again. “Create a new adjustment layer or fill layer” (New Fill or Adjustment Layer) at the bottom of the layers panel and select from the list “Colour” (Solid Color), as we did before. The program will again open the Color Picker where we can select the desired color. This time I will choose a light blue color, specifying 216 for R, 231 for G and 239 for B:

Choose a light blue or whatever you like.

Click OK to close the Color Picker, and our repeating circles will now become light blue:

Document after adding layer-fill above the pattern with circles

Wait, what happened? Where are our circles? Where is our background color that we just added? Why did everything turn light blue? If we look at the layers panel, we can understand what happened. The problem is that the program exactly executed all our commands: I added a layer-fill with a color called “Fill color 2” (Color Fill 2), filling it with a light blue color that we chose in the Color Picker and placing it above the layer with circles:

A new layer-fill appeared above the other layers.

Since the fill layer is located above the rest of the layers in the layers panel, it blocks the visibility of other layers, so we only see a light blue color on the screen. We need to somehow convey to the program that we want the new fill layer to affect only the pattern in the form of circles on Layer 1 below it. In fact, this can be done with a clipping mask.

Make sure that the “Fill color 2” layer is active on the layers panel (the active layers are highlighted in blue. Click on the layer to select it if for some reason it is not active). Go to section “Layers” (Layer) on the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Create Clipping Mask” (Create Clipping Mask):

Choose Layers> Create Clipping Mask

After that, the “Fill Color 2” layer will move a little to the right in the layers panel. This will mean that it is “cropped” under the contents of the underlying layer, affecting now only Layer 1 with a circle pattern:

A layer shifted to the right means that it is “cut off” by the underlying layer.

In the document window, we now see the desired result. Black circles became light blue on a darker background:

Same black and white pattern, but now in color.

Change colors

Earlier, I mentioned that layers-fillings give us more flexibility in working with color compared to filling a layer using the “Fill” command. The reason is that when working with a fill layer, we can change its color at any time! To change the color of a fill layer, double-click its thumbnail in the layers panel. Let’s change the background color. Double click on the layer thumbnail “Fill color 1” (Color Fill 1), which is located above the background layer:

Double click the thumbnail of the “Fill color 1” layer

As a result, the Color Picker will open again, where we can select a different color. This time I’ll select the cherry color by entering the following values: 204 for R, 32 for G, and 130 for B:

Choose a new color for the background

Click OK to close the Color Picker, and the background color will immediately change to a new one:

Background color changed with ease

Changing the color of the circles is just as easy. Double click on layer thumbnail “Fill color 2” (Color Fill 2):

Double click on the thumbnail of the “Fill color 2” layer

As a result, the Color Picker will open again, where we can select a new color. I will choose a light pink shade, typing 218 for R, 144 for G and 161 for B:

Choose a new color for the pattern with circles

Click OK to close the Color Picker, and the document will immediately update again, this time there will be a new color for the circles:

And for the background, and for the pattern with circles, the colors have been changed

Add a gradient fill to a repeating pattern.

We can also add a gradient fill to our patterns, and the steps will be very similar. In fact, the difference will be one – instead of adding a layer-fill color, we will add a layer-fill gradient! I’ll remove the two filled color layers that I’ve added before, by clicking on each of them and dragging them to the trash can icon at the bottom of the layers panel:

Remove layers-fill color

Removing the layers with the fill, we again get a black and white pattern:

Original black circles on a white background.

Let’s color our circles with a gradient fill. First, click on Layer 1 to select it so that the gradient fill layer will be located above the selected layer in the future:

Select Layer 1

Remember what happened when we added a fill layer with a color above the circle pattern? The whole document was filled with the color we chose, and only a clipping mask helped us solve this problem. For the gradient fill layer, we also need a clipping mask, but this time we will use the keyboard combination. With Layer 1 selected, press and hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and then click on the icon “Add a new adjustment layer or fill layer” (New Fill or Adjustment Layer):

Click on the “Add a new adjustment layer or fill layer” icon

Select a fill layer from the list that appears. “Gradient” (Gradient)

Select from the list the item “Gradient”

Pressing the “Add New Adjustment Layer or Fill Layer” icon while holding down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key will open the dialog box “New Layer” (New Layer), where we can set certain parameters for our fill layer with a gradient before adding it. The parameter that interests us at the moment is called “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” (Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask). Check the option box to select it. As a result, the layer-fill gradient will automatically “attach” to the underlying layer, and we ourselves will not have to do it later:

Select the option “Use the previous layer to create a clipping mask”

Click OK to close the New Layer dialog box. Next, a dialog box opens “Gradient Fill” (Gradient Fill) where we can select the desired gradient. Click on the gradient preview thumbnail:

Click on the gradient preview thumbnail

This will open the Gradient Editor. At the top of the dialog box, in the “Sets” (Presets), there is a list of thumbnails of ready-made gradients, from which you can select the desired one. Just click on the thumbnail to select the gradient. Each time a gradient is selected, its appearance will be displayed in the document window. For example, if you want something bright and colorful, try selecting a spectral gradient by clicking on its thumbnail:

Click on the miniature gradient “Spectrum” to select it

In the document window we can see what the spectral gradient looks like. Notice that due to the option “Use the previous layer to create a clipping mask” in the “New Layer” dialog box, the gradient fill only touched the circles:

The spectral gradient colored our black circles in all colors of the rainbow.

By default, initially there are not many gradients in the program, from which we can choose the one we need. However, other gradient sets are also available. To find them, click on the small arrow icon above the gradient thumbnails:

Click on the small arrow icon

Clicking on the arrow opens a menu containing a list of additional sets of gradients that can be loaded. Obviously, we will not consider each of these sets, since you can do this yourself, but as an example, let’s choose “Harmonized colors 2” (Color Harmonies 2):

Choosing a set of gradients “Harmonized colors 2”

As soon as you select a set of gradients, the program will ask you whether you want to replace the current gradients with a new set or simply add new gradients to the existing ones. Choose a team “Add” (Append):

Add new gradients to existing ones using the Add command.

New gradients will appear in the Gradient Editor in the gradient preview area after the existing list. Just as with the original gradients, you can select gradients and preview them by clicking on their thumbnails. I will click on the gradient “Blue, Yellow, Pink” (Blue, Yellow, Pink) to select it:

Click on the miniature gradient “Blue, Yellow, Pink”

The circle pattern will now be colored in the more muted colors of the new gradient:

The new gradient will give the pattern a less bright look.

Once you have found a gradient suitable for your repeating pattern, click OK to close the Gradient Editor and then click OK to exit the Gradient Fill dialog box.

Change the gradient fill

go back and change our gradient. Looking at the layers panel, we will see that our layer is filled with a gradient, to which the program has given the name “Gradient Fill 1” (Gradient Fill 1) is located above the patterned layer on Layer 1. Notice that the layer is shifted to the right, indicating that it is attached to Layer 1 below it. To change the gradient, double click on the thumbnail of the gradient fill layer:

Double-click on the thumbnail of the gradient fill layer.

As a result, the Gradient Fill dialog box opens. To change the gradient, click, as we did earlier, on the gradient preview thumbnail:

Click on the gradient preview thumbnail again.

As a result, the Gradient Editor opens again, where we can either choose from the available gradients or load various additional sets of gradients. I will click on the small arrow icon to open a menu with a list of other sets of gradients, and this time I will choose a set from the list “Pastel” (Pastels):

Choosing a set of gradients “Pastel”

I will add these new gradients to existing ones by choosing the command “Add” (Append), and thumbnails of new gradients appear in the preview area in the Gradient Editor. This time I will choose a gradient “Green, Lilac, Blue” (Green, Purple, Blue):

Click on the gradient thumbnail “Green, Lilac, Blue”

Having selected a new gradient, I will click OK to close the Gradient Editor and then click OK to close the Gradient Fill dialog box. The circles changed color according to the new gradient fill:

With gradient layers, gradients are very easy to change.

Of course, we do not need to leave the background white. In my case, I repeated the steps we reviewed at the beginning of the lesson, and added a fill layer with a color above the layer with the background. As a new color for the background, I chose the color Purple in the Color Picker (R: 85, G: 80, B: 129):

The layer-fill with a gradient colorized pattern, while the layer-fill color filled the background

Below you can see the result of the joint application of the layer-fill gradient to the pattern with circles and the layer-fill color in the background:

Summaryresult

In this lesson, you and I have looked at how easy it is to color repeating patterns with color and gradient fill. Next, we will learn how to create unusual and interesting repetitive patterns using arbitrary shapes in Photoshop!

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