Creating Photoshop Textures: Part 1


Everyone seems to want to learn how to create textures for pattern design in Photoshop. The video tutorial in this installment shows how you can create a useful texture from a blank white canvas. It has a lot of steps, but it's a recipe that you could automate with an action. I'm going to show you how to do this using a single layer, but in a later tutorial, I'll show you how to create it as a non-destructive template file you can reuse as often as you want to generate an unlimited number of textures. I'll also show in later videos what you can do with the texture once you've created it. Making the texture is just the start of its journey. It can "grow up" to be any number of things in Photoshop from part of an image or a brush or a clipping mask base. Here's the video, and below it I'll post the steps we used.

Here's the recipe for the Noise>Blur>Find Edges texture:

  1. Choose Filter > Noise > Add Noise
  2. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur
  3. Choose Filter > Stylize > Find Edges
  4. Choose Image > Adjustments > Levels

That's the basic formula. Here's how you can control the number of values in the texture as well as the smoothness of the various blobs and bits:

  1. Choose Filter > Noise > Median to determine how you're going to clump the pixels. Median finds the mid-range value of the pixels within the radius you specify.
  2. Choose Image > Adjustments > Posterize to reduce the number of colors or levels in the image.
  3. Choose Image > Adjustments > Dust and Scratches to smooth out the shapes.
  4. Finally, use the Levels command again to set your final texture values.

If you do wish to create a black and white layer, you can use the Image > Adjustments > Threshold command at any point after the Median filter.

Here's one of the images I created from this texture. Let me know if you want more tutorials about textures and what you would like to learn!

Flower and leaf created from generated textures

'Til later!

--Sherry (a.k.a. the prancingpixel)

Make Photoshop Do the Four Way Flip--part 2 Editing Smart Objects

Smart Objects are your friend! They give you unlimited design possibilities and you can edit them forever--and any time you want. Picture a refrigerator that takes its own inventory. You can look at the picture on the door of the fridge and see exactly what's inside without having to open it. However, if open the door and put in more food, or use some up, the fridge immediately updates the list or picture of what's inside. That's essentially what a Smart Object does. It lets you use whatever is inside of it as if it were a single image. Even better, you need to OPEN the Smart Object in order to make a change; you can't do it 'by accident' in your file. If you resize your image, the Smart Object keeps its original size. If you cut off your image and only one pixel is left, you can restore the image from inside of the Smart Object and always get it back.

You can add images to the open Smart Object file and make non-destructive changes (you can make destructive ones too, but I hope you won't). In this video, I'll show you some of the things you can do. The secret is that you COPIED the first Smart Object into the other three Smart Object layers. Updating one Smart Object updates them all. For this to work, you need to have used the Layer > New > Layer via Copy command (COMMAND or CTRL +J). The Layer > Smart Objects > New Smart Object via Copy won't work here; it creates unlinked objects.

So, please enjoy the video. Ask my any questions if you have them.

If you have enjoyed this video, please subscribe so you can be notified when I post a new one.


'Til later!

--Sherry (a.k.a the prancingpixel)

Make Photoshop Do the Four-Way Flip--part 1

You can make Photoshop do the flip! Flipping an image horizontally or vertically gives you a mirror image. It works like a mosaic tile and also can create a seamless repeat pattern. You can watch the video below to see how I prefer to do the flip in Photoshop. Under the video, I've listed all the steps to the process.  Be sure to also watch the second video in this sequence. It shows you the benefits of creating a smart object for your  starting image.


  1. Create an image 100x100 pixels.
  2. Fill with Filter>Noise>Add Noise and set the noise to Gaussian and the amount as high as it goes
  3. Double-click to make this into a Smart Object.
  4. Duplicate the layer by pressing COMMAND or CTRL+J (Layer > New>Layer via Copy)
  5. Choose Image > Canvas Size and click the left-center anchor box. Tick Relative and set the Width to 100%. Click OK.
  6. Make the top layer active and choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal
  7. Hold the SHIFT key and carefully move the layer to the right until it joins the original layer.
  8. Click the bottom layer. Hold the SHIFT key and click the top layer in the Layers panel.
  9. Press COMMAND or CTRL + J to make another copy of the two layers.
  10. Leave the layers targeted.  Choose Edit >Flip Vertical.
  11. Choose Image > Canvas Size and tick the top center square. Then set the HEIGHT to 100%. Click OK.
  12. Start to drag the layers down and immediately press and hold the SHIFT key to keep the layers moving vertically. Drag until the layers snap into place and touch the first set of layers.

That is the 4-way flip.

However, because you created three copies of the original Smart Object, there is still more that you can do. For that, view The 4-Way Flip, part 2 video at


'Til later!

--Sherry (a.k.a. the prancingpixel)


Creating Seamless Photoshop Tiles

I am so eager for you to see this technique and to let me know if you like it. It's a way to develop a seamless repeat pattern in Photoshop in a way that is guaranteed to always be seamless and yet allow you to see the pattern in repeat as you create it. It's also easy to do. So, please watch and then let me know what you think.

--Sherry aka the prancingpixel

Recovering and Colouring Layers

Layers are wonderful. Sometimes, though, when you don't quite understand what you are doing (and sometimes, even when you do!), you will accidentally delete them all by creating a single layer of them. This is called flattening the image and it results in a single layer in the image. If you were lucky enough to only have a line drawing in the image, you can usually get your layers back by selecting the background of the image with the Magic Wand tool, reversing the selection and then getting each object into its own layer. One reason to do this is so you can colour your line drawing and add a different colour to each object. Take a look at this short video to see how.

--Sherry aka the prancing pixel


Photoshop Smart Objects 101

When you need to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop, the usual process is to build your repeat tile and then flatten the image so you can apply an Offset filter to see how your tile looks when repeated. However, if you flatten the image, you can't fix anything if you dislike the results. One way to work is to create a "merged copy" layer. You can do this by positioning yourself on the top layer of your image and pressing the COMMAND + OPTION + SHIFT +E keys on the Mac or the CTRL + ALT +SHIFT +E keys on Windows. That is the "have the cake and keep it too" technique that has been part of Photoshop for a long time. It creates a layer at the top of the image that contains the merged content in all of your layers. You can then apply the Offset filter to just that layer and if you hate the resulting repeat, you can simply trash that layer--only--and rearrange your original layers.

A better technique is to use the Smart Object feature that was first added to Photoshop in CS2. I call this the "Jack-in-the-Box" technique because it allows you total flexibility to keep your layers, scale and rotate them, and filter them. Nothing is ever damaged and you can recover or revert at any point.

So, take a look at this video and see what you think!

--Sherry aka the prancingpixel


Drag and Drop in Photoshop

Dragging one image into another was an easy process in almost every version of Photoshop until Adobe had a "better" idea in CS4. In CS4, they started opening each image, by default, into its own overlapping tab. That meant that unless you rearranged the default tabs, you could only see one window at a time. I find the process of dragging one image into another to be quite clunky in tabs and harder to make work. In this video, I'll show you how you can can drag and drop in the tabbed interface and then show you how to make the tabbed interface go away. I have never found a circumstance (other than a demonstration like this) where I needed to go back to tabs. However, take a look and try it both ways. Neither one is wrong or right; in Photoshop, you have the choice of how to work. Click the play button to see it in action.


--Sherry aka the prancingpixel