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How to create patterns from Photoshop custom shapes Tutorial

create photoshop patterns using custom shapes

How to use Photoshop custom shapes to create amazing patterns / seamless tiles tutorial. Custom shapes / vector artworks can make wonderful Photoshop patterns. Custom shapes can be added to create patterns in Photoshop using blending modes and transparency. You can apply the custom shapes at different spacings to create different pattern designs. Using the Photoshop shapes as a layer, you can use the transparency to overlap and create multiple layers of designs for far more complex Photoshop patterns. You can then remove the background and have transparency when you use the edit menu define pattern command in Photoshop. You can also use different colors for the custom shapes in Photoshop and they can be combined. That can also be then defined as a Photoshop pattern. As custom shapes can have a fill and outline, the outline of the shape can also be used as a great source for patterns in Photoshop CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc You can also simply just add the custom shapes to create a loose pattern made out of multiple layers of shapes. This tutorial shows a number of methods to create interesting Photoshop patterns from custom shapes

Custom shapes to purchase

$7.79 (also GBP, etc) for the set, CSH format, download


BUY 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop CC 2017 2015 2014 CS6 CS5 etc and Photoshop elements for use as a source for patterns CSH 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop and Elements

  1. Select custom shapes tool

  2. Select shape

  3. Apply shape to document

  4. Edit menu

  5. Define pattern command

Patterns can come from anywhere. You can use part of an artwork, part of an image, an image, multiple artworks, effects etc and much more. The key thing with all the Photoshop patterns is that you have to create / define the tile via the define command.


If you want to create a seamless tile then just don't add the artwork at the edge of any document or selected region.

Using blending modes and fill layers in Photoshop - create fill layers via the layers menu

darken blending mode custom shapes into patterns

You can combine multiple artworks based Photoshop patterns by using blending modes such as darken. If the tile is applied as a fill new layer Via the layer menu) then you can quickly either create a new layer (use the same or other artwork) or use the duplicate layer command.


Some blending modes in Photoshop work better than others and depend on the actual content / color of the artwork.


The key thing here is the tile has enough space around the central artwork to avoid any overlapping of the layers.


You can repeat this multiple times though the actual results depend on the source material, sometimes the result of combinations will be just a mess

Using transparency and Photoshop patterns - create the patterns with transparency and combine them in unique ways

upside down panda patterns and custom shapes transparency in Photoshop

If you use the Photoshop custom shapes / source material vector as a layer then you can use all number of combinations. The key thing here is that using the artwork as a layer is that you can remove the background and use transparency to combine the artworks.


You can also add transformations into the definition of the tiles such as adding a tile with the source vector and then the vector upside down or the vector rotated 90 degrees or 45 degrees or any angle.


You can also scale and shear the Photoshop custom shapes / vector artwork or perhaps make multiple combinations of different groups for the Photoshop patterns tile. You can then combine them all using the new fill layers content.


If you are using a tool such as Affinity Photo then you can rotate the fill layers (as well as scale them) but sadly you can only scale them in PS so any transformations have to pre-generated.

Coloring the patterns - you can set the fill color for the source custom shapes to be used as a pattern

red green custom shapes to Photoshop patterns

You don't have to use the same color, you can use them in red and green or perhaps filled with effects or perhaps with gradients or with tiles themselves and they can be then re-shuffled in a huge number of ways. You don't have to always keep everything neat and tidy, the artworks do not have to shift them equally apart. Set the color of the vector layer via the fill setting or perhaps give a stroke setting as well or a different color stroke setting or just set only that. You can then combine the tiles again in numerous ways by creating multiple layers and adding them with the transparency (just remove the background - if locked, unlock the layer by clicking that little padlock)


Stroke setting - you can totally ignore the fill color for the shapes and use the strokes to create line themed patterns

strokes tiles custom shapes for Photoshop patternsYou don't have to use a fill, you can just use the stroke with the vector layer and that can be set via the options along the top of PS. You can then create all kinds of interesting sketchy / rough looking artworks. You can also create perhaps those layers over an existing background image such as a gradient or photo.


Sadly, Photoshop does not have the width profile / beautiful strokes feature of Illustrator so all the strokes are the same sizes all around such as 3px or 5px only. You can combine them using transparency as well as blending modes as well as use different sizes of tiles as well as different opacities and different colors of stroke


  1. Go to the custom shape tool in toolbar

  2. Select a shape from picker

  3. Select shape option

  4. Go to the fill picker (top bar) and set to no color

  5. Go to the stroke picker (top bar) and set to solid color and black

  6. Set the shape stroke width

  7. Apply the shape with the no fill and black stroke

  8. Edit menu

  9. Define pattern

  10. OK

  11. Layer menu in Photoshop

  12. New fill layer and pattern

  13. OK

  14. Select the no fill pattern

  15. Set scale

  16. OK

Non seamless tiles from the custom shapes by drawing the custom shapes over the seams and then defining that as a pattern

yellow broken panda and creating patterns in PhotoshopThe shape doesn't need to avoid the edges / seams of a tile. You can add the vector layers or pixel fills over the edge or you can just use a selection but a selection that does not enclose all of the artwork.


The result will be a tile that has an edge

  1. Select the Photoshop custom shape tool

  2. Select the pixel option

  3. Set the color of the shape and select the shape

  4. Apply the shape (such as a panda etc)

  5. Go to the rectangular marquee tool

  6. Select part of the generated shape

  7. Edit menu

  8. Define pattern

  9. OK

  10. Layer menu

  11. New fill layer

  12. Pattern

  13. Set the name etc

  14. Click OK

  15. Select the previously generated custom shape design

  16. Set scale

  17. OK

Creating a loose pattern - you can apply them in different sizes and different positions to create all kinds of unique patterns

loose patterns from custom shapesThe beauty of the vector artwork is that it can be used to any size so you can create all kinds of artworks that look like a pattern but definitely are not created via the usual define command or the random fill / scripts feature etc but are just created using multiple applications of the vector artwork in different colors and sizes and angles.


You can also use the filter menu offset command to create far more interesting combinations of designs

Other resources

1. doodle and sketchy custom shapes

2. easter egg and holiday wrapping custom shapes

Other tutorials for shapes and patterns etc

1. how to create a stunning random color grid in Photoshop

2. how to create a shaded pyramid pattern in Photoshop