Seamless Tiles are very difficult to create without a utility. Fortunately, Paint Shop Pro 5 and 6 comes with such a utility and it works pretty well. With very intricate tiles, it might take a few tries to get it right. With less intricate tiles, you can usually get it right the first time.

To create a seamless tile similar to this background:

  1. Create a new file 200 pixels by 200 pixels with a white background.
  2. Add a new layer. Work on the new layer.
  3. Fill the square by setting a pattern in the Flood Fill tool, by creating a pattern using either the air brush or the paint brush, or just play with the various filters to create your own pattern. Using the paint bucket, air brush and paint brush are demonstrated below.
  4. Play with the opacity slider on the pattern layer to reduce the opacity of the graphic (if necessary).
  5. Duplicate the graphic (Shift D), work on the duplicate.
  6. Set the "Selection Tool" to a square (make sure "Antialias" is not checked). Choose a square in the middle of your image about 100 pixels by 100 pixels. Choose Selections|Convert to Seamless Pattern. This will reduce the size of the image to your chosen area and (hopefully) create a tile that will be seamless.

Note: To test the tile, create a new image about 500 x 500. Choose your new pattern for the Paint Bucket fill and fill new image with the pattern you just created.

Flood Fill Tool

The Flood Fill (Paint Bucket) tool in Paint Shop Pro is very versatile and fun to play with. You can choose to fill with a solid color, a pattern, or various gradients. We have already covered gradients, so I will concentrate on the Pattern feature.


First you have to open the pattern you want to use. To do this, have the Flood Fill control panel open. Set the "Fill Syle" to Pattern. Leave the settings as indicated above. Click on the "Options" button. This will bring up the "Flood Fill Options" box. In this box click on the drop down icon for "New Pattern Source" to get a list of available patterns. Choose the pattern you want to use (you will see a preview of the patterns when you click on their names). As long as that pattern is open, whenever you use the Paint Bucket in Pattern mode, you will fill with the chosen pattern.

Air Brush Tool

Boy, if you thought the Paint Bucket was fun, wait until you get your hands on the Air Brush Tool and Paint Brushes. To create background patterns with the airbrush tool:

  1. Create a new file 200 pixels by 200 pixels with a white background.
  2. Add a new layer. Work on the new layer.
  3. Choose your foreground color (this will the the main color of the tile).
  4. From the Airbrush Control Panel, choose your a "Paper Texture".
  5. Click on the "Brush Tip" tab.

  6. The larger the size of the brush, the more area it covers. The shape of the brush determines how the color is applied. If you set your brush size to 200 and the shape to square, then click dead-center in the graphic, you will fill the entire graphic with one click. Opacity determines how heavily the color is applied (low numbers, light application, large numbers, heavier application) and density determines how often the pattern is applied. The illustration above shows a typical setting for creating a pattern. The larger brush, round shape and heavy opacity works well for "painting" a pattern.


Sample Patterns created with the Air Brush:

Bricks

"Bricks"
Weave

"Weave"
Letters

"Letters"

Paint Brush Tools

The Paint Brush Tool works essentially the same as the Air Brush Tool except for the fact that it throws in another artistic tool. With the Paint Brush Tool, you can combine textures with patterns! To create a pattern with this tool:

  1. Create a new file 200 pixels by 200 pixels with a white background.
  2. Add a new layer. Work on the new layer.
  3. Choose your foreground color (this will the the main color of the tile).
  4. From the Paint Brush Control Panel, choose your a "Paper Texture".
  5. Click on the "Brush Tip" tab.
  6. Click on the "Brush Options" (the paintbrush to the right of the "Shape" box). The following box will pop up.

  7. The Brush Type determines the texture. Choose a brush type. This will reset the Shape, Opacity, Hardness, Density and Step. To get the effect you want, you may need to raise the Density to bring out the pattern. HINT: Set the shape to square, size to 200 and find close to dead center on the 200x200 tile and click once. This should fill the entire tile with one click. Click again to intensify the color if you wish.

Sample Patterns created with the Paint Brush:

Bricks

"Bricks/Charcoal"
Weave

"Weave/Chalk"
Letters

"Letters/Crayon"

Working With Downloaded Tiles

How often have you visited background graphic pages and found a pattern you really liked, but the tile was way too dark for a background graphic? Well, with Paint Shop Pro 5, fixing these tiles is a snap! The following tiles illustrate how you can take a very dark background tile and make it light enough for use as a background graphic on most pages by adjusting the opacity of the graphic.

          

To lower the opacity setting and make a new tile:

  1. Open the graphic you want to copy.
  2. Open the layers panel.
  3. Right click on the "Background" tab.
  4. Choose "Promote to Layer".
  5. Add a new layer and drag it under your original layer and flood fill with white.
  6. Click on the graphic layer and use the opacity slider to lower the opacity.
  7. When you get an opacity you like, choose File|Save a Copy As, and save as a gif or jpg. This saves a copy of your tile and leaves the original layered graphic intact.
  8. You can experiment with the effect by making the bottom layer a different color other than white.

Working With Downloaded Tiles (Another Approach)

I found this great brick background, but I don't want red bricks, I want light colored bricks for my background. So, I converted the red brick background to a light grey/white brick background.

     

To make this conversion:

  1. Open the graphic you want to convert.
  2. Promote to layer and add the background layer filled with white as outlined above.
  3. Working on the graphic layer, change to greyscale (Colors|Greyscale), then up the colors to 16 million.
  4. Play with the opacity slider until you get the effect you want.
  5. You can colorize this tile by adding a new layer, flood filling with whatever color you want, then lower the opacity until the bricks below show through.
To add the graffiti to the background:

  1. Add a new layer to your graphic.
  2. Place the text in a dark grey color.
  3. Add noise (Image|Noise|Add) at 50% random.
  4. Greyscale then bring the colors back to 16 million.
  5. Rotate the text (Image|Rotate) Left, Free, 20% (make sure that "All Layers" is unchecked).
  6. Reduce the opacity of the text if necessary.

Working With Downloaded Tiles (again)

I found this great background tile on the internet. But, I didn't like the colors at all. So, I "colorized" the tile, then reduced the opacity to the point where it makes a wonderful background tile that does not conflict with text. Following are the three versions of the tile, on the left is the original, the next is my "colorized" version and the last is the final background tile.

                 

To create the new tile:

  1. Copy the tile (Window|Duplicate).
  2. Promote to layer, add background layer, and fill with white as outlined above.
  3. Add a new layer and flood fill with a color. Reduce the opacity of this layer until the underlying tile shows through. Play with different colors until you find a combination you like. I used purple as the color on this tile.
  4. As an alternative, flood fill with a color then play with the various "Layer Blend Mode" settings on the layer. If you set the mode to "Color", it colorizes the tile without adjusting the opacity. If you set the color to "Overlay", it combines the two colors. You can get some interesting effects with these modes.
  5. If you don't like your first try at colorizing, just hit choose Edit|Clear on your color layer and your overlay of color will disappear.
  6. When you come up with a combination you want, turn off the bottom background layer. Then choose Layers|Merge then Merge Visible (this will merge the color and the tile layers).
  7. Now you can lower the opacity on your new tile until you get the effect you want.

Creating New Tiles From Masks

An easy and creative way to create a new seamless tile is by using masks. You can start with a black and white pattern and turn it into a tile or you can take an existing tile, make it into a mask, and use that mask to create new tiles. This is a more versatile method of creating seamless tiles than the colorizing method. The problem with the colorizing method is that you have to keep choosing different opacity settings. With masks, you just load the mask, set your colors and experiment away! Following are some samples and instructions:

        

The first tile is the original tile, the second is the greyscaled tile and the third is the new tile I created from the mask. The theory behind masks is that black is protected and white is filled in. To create a mask from a tile:

  1. Open a black and white graphic or a colored tile.
  2. Duplicate the tile and work from the duplicate.
  3. If you are using a colored tile, greyscale the tile (Colors|Greyscale), then reset colors to 16 million colors (this is important, you can't make a mask from a greyscaled image).
  4. Choose Masks|New|From Image.
  5. Leave "This Window", choose "Source Luminance" and have "Invert Mask Data" unchecked.
  6. Choose Masks|Save to Alpha Channel and give your mask a name.
  7. Choose Masks|Delete and don't merge with the layer.
  8. Flood fill this layer with white.
  9. Add a new layer.
  10. Choose Masks|Load from Alpha Channel.
  11. Flood fill with a color then play with the opacity slider.
  12. If you invert the mask (Masks|Invert) you will get the opposite effect. The colored tile on the left is not inverted, the tile on the right is inverted.
  13. Choose Masks|Delete and say "yes" when asked if you want to merge with the layer.
  14. If you don't like your color, just flood fill the masked layer again with a different color. With this method, you can make numerous background tiles of the same pattern in different colors.

Following is another example of this technique:

       

Tiles From Textures Using Masks

Following are some texture tiles for you to use to create background tiles. On the left is the greyscale image of the tile and to its right is an example of that texture as a colorized tile. I used the same technique outlined above to create these tiles. Note: If you don't like your effect, try inverting the mask (Masks|Invert). Experiment...have fun!