How to create a diagonal patterned background in photoshop.

by hannah 13,635 views4

In this example I will create a diagonal line pattern, but this method can be used for any tessellating background pattern in Photoshop.

Step 1.

Go to File > New

Choose Width: 5 pixels
Choose Height: 5 pixels
Resolution: 72 pixels / inch
Color Mode: RGB
Background: Transparent

New Document Window
New Document Window

Step 2.

Select the Marquee tool by pressing Apple M (ctrl M)

Marqee Tool
Marqee Tool

Choose from the Application bar at the top of the screen

Style: Fixed size
Width: 1px
Height: 1px
Be sure to use the measurement type you are using (px, mm) alongside the value as this will automatically revert to centimetres if you only add a numerical value.

Application bar display
Application bar display

Step 3.

Click onto the canvas in the top left hand corner. (Apple + or Ctrl + is zoom if the canvas is appearing too small to see) If the square marker appears elsewhere on the canvas you can click again with the mouse into the corner or use the arrow keys to move the marker to the top left corner.

marquee on canvas
marquee on canvas

Step 4.

Choose the paint bucket from the toolbar (Apple G / Ctrl G) and fill the area highlighted with the marquee tool by clicking inside the dotted lines.

Fill the marquee with the paint bucket
Fill the marquee with the paint bucket

Step 5.

Move thedotted line to the right and down one with the cursor keys and fill the new area. Continue this process until you have a 5 square diagonal line.

Use the cursors to move the marquee
Use the cursors to move the marquee
Repeat the process
Repeat the process

Step 6.

To deselect the marque tool at the end – I find it easiest is to select the lasso tool (Apple L / Ctrl L) and click once on the canvas.

Step 7.

Once the marquee is deselected we need to save this pattern as a photoshop pattern so that it can be used to fill large areas and so it can be used again and again. To do this choose: Edit > Define Pattern

Edit > Define Pattern
Edit > Define Pattern

Step 8.

A pop up box will appear. Give the pattern a description that you can recognise if you are going to use this feature a lot. Click OK.

Name the pattern
Name the pattern

The pattern is now saved.

Step 9.

To try this pattern out. Create a new document 400 pixels by 400 pixels. This time with a white background.

New Document
New Document

Step 10.

Choose the paint bucket tool. Select pattern from the applications menu and then find the swatch that you just created from the dropdown menu.

Application bar settings
Application bar settings

Step 11.

Create a new layer by opening the layers pallette (F7 or windows > layers. Click on the icon to the left of the bin on the bottom of the panel to create a new layer.

new layer
new layer

Step 12.

Make sure that layer 1 is selected and click the paint bucket onto the canvas. You should now have a tessellating pattern.

The final pattern
The final pattern
close up
close up

Step 13.

To change the colour of the pattern – double click Layer 1 in the layers pallette to open the layer style panel

layer style palette
layer style palette

Step 14.

Choose colour overlay from the left hand menu on the panel.

The default is always bright red! Double click the colour swatch to open the colour picker and choose the colour you want. Click ok to close.

Colour Overlay
Colour Overlay
Changing colour
Changing colour

Step 15.

To change the colour of the white lines. Create another layer in the layers pallette.

new layer
new layer

Drag this layer in-between the background and layer 1.

Change layer order
Change layer order

Make sure the new layer 2 is selected choose the paint bucket and choose foreground instead of pattern from the drop down menu in the application bar.

Select the foreground colour you want to use by clicking on the top left colour on the toolbar and choosing the colour in the picker.

Step 16.

Click the paint bucket on the canvas.

With new colour
With new colour
close up
close up

You can further change this colour by repeating the layer style process on the new layer, or by creating further layers of different colours above layer 2.

Step 17.

This process of saving a pattern ’tile’ so that you can reuse it to create a larger repeating pattern can be used in all sorts of ways, with vector shapes or images. The top and bottom of the tile must line up and also the left and right sides to create a repeat pattern that is seamless.

repeat pattern example
repeat pattern example

Comments (4)

  1. Thanks so much. Very helpful!

  2. You’re welcome, glad you found it useful 🙂

  3. Hi! Do you have a tutorial how you installed the diagonal background to your inner content in your blog? I’m trying to create the same effect but would know where to start!

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Hi Florentine, you will need to create your background tile and save it in the images folder on your website. Then whichever area it is on your website where you want to use the pattern you will need to link to it in your CSS, for example if you want it across the whole background it would be: body{background-image:url(‘images/your-image.gif’) repeat;} W3Schools is a good website to learn CSS if you’re not familiar with it.

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