Today, I’m turning the wheel over to my blogging buddy, web designer friend, and fellow color addict Libby. She’s going to show you how to create patterns using a free resource (who doesn’t love free, right?)!
Confessions of a Colour Lover
I am super excited to be on Brandi Girl Blog today, and thank you so much Brandi for letting me share my colour obsession.
In January 2009 I became a colour lover – do you know it? The community of passionate colour geeks who gather together here and create palettes, patterns, and name colours, which to me is the next best thing to naming a star. It wasn’t love at first byte for me – to be very honest. I eagerly signed up, investigated every corner of the site (I do that), and admired the cool palettes – I mean who doesn’t love 5 well placed colours side by side?
But I scratched my head and wondered how this place could ever be of use to me. Oh my, how naïve I was. Then last May (yes your calculations are correct) over 2 years later I returned to ColourLovers with a specific task – to extract colours from a photo of a hot air balloon and there my obsession was born.
So today, I wanted to show you a little about how I use it to create patterns and you’re welcome to play along – OK, ready? This will be fun.
Making a Pattern
ColourLovers has two versions of pattern making software: Seamless Lite and Seamless Studio. Seamless Lite is a free online tool that allows you to create patterns from pre-defined shapes or from shapes you create. Seamless Studio is a paid desktop version that takes all the features of Seamless Lite with the addition of allowing you to import your own shapes. I use Seamless Studio, but Since Seamless Lite is available to all, I’ll use this for my walkthrough today.
When you first open Seamless Lite you will see the following; you have your shapes and layers along the left and your main window on the right. – (note the zoom in the top right is very helpful).
The window has a square in the middle and this is your canvas and anything placed here will repeat. The best way to see this in action is to grab a shape from the shapes box and drag it onto the canvas. You can see here I’ve grabbed myself a heart shape from the basic shapes and added it to my canvas but clever Seamless Lite has repeated my heart so with just one shape I have created myself a seamless pattern.
But let’s spice this up a bit, I’m going to clone my heart and start making a more complex pattern. With your original heart layer selected, click on the clone button.
Now you’ve got two hearts sitting in the same spot on the canvas, use your mouse to move the top heart off the original and if you like you can make use of the corner handles to resize or the top handle to rotate (hold down your SHIFT key when rotating or resizing to maintain proportions). I’m going to rotate my heart, and create a few more clones so I have something that looks like this.
OK, I know what you’re thinking; it’s looking anything but colourful right now – correct? Well this is actually the genius of Seamless Lite. Each ColourLovers palette is made up of 5 colours, and when creating patterns templates these are reflected as shades of grey from light to dark. Your background will be one colour, which means you’ve got four colours you can use for your pattern. When creating a pattern template each new shape will be the same shade of grey until you assign it a different shade of grey, which will finally translate to a different colour. Let’s add some ‘colour’ to our pattern, to do this, click on the grey swatch to the right of a layer and choose a different grey.
Do that a few more times and already you can see you’re creating an interesting pattern. Lets do that some more, add in another shape and generally play around and see what we end up with… give it a go! Here’s my completed pattern.
So now I need to save my pattern template and give it a name. Click on the Save button and fill in at least the pattern name. I always like to file it under a category as well and if I’m working on a theme I usually add my thoughts or inspiration in the description. If you’re playing along with me today, Save the template.
Alright now it’s time to make your pattern template sing. When you’ve made your template it returns you to that template’s page with the opportunity to replace your greys with colours. To be honest this reminds me of a blank canvas in art school – in a word – overwhelming. So I usually choose a palette I have created previously or you can choose a palette created by someone else. Here is my Shining Heart palette (aptly named for our project today). If you are feeling stuck right now just click on Browse andfind a palette that appeals to you.
You can see under my palette there is the option to Create Pattern, select it and then you need to browse for your pattern template. Unless a lot of time has lapsed between creating your template and creating your pattern, you should see your template on the first screen of available templates. If you don’t see it, you can either browse by category or search by name. Once you’ve locate it click on your template to see it come to life. What a transformation right?
If you’re like me and want to do some more tweaking, you can shuffle your colours around or back out and choose a new palette and start again. If you’re blissfully happy with the pattern then don’t forget to save it, view the full screen version just to admire your creation and share it with the world!
See you on Colour Lovers, and thanks Brandi for having me.
And thank YOU, Libby, for taking the time to share how to use Seamless Lite!