Archive for November, 2013


I was curious to see how a grid layout with thick lines would translate into a pattern repeat. I had a feeling the lines might contribute an interesting geometric element to the overall design.

For this grid layout I used the App “A Beautiful Mess”. The grid was divided into 3, and I chose for the top and bottom the same image, and for the middle a similar but not identical image. All 3 images were created in Frax on my iPad 2 and then transferred to my Samsung Galaxy S4. At this point I wasn’t concerned with getting the images perfectly symmetrical or matching. Here they are as they landed on the grid.

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Next, I used the App “Smoothie” to remove and replace some of the original colour, and I also Solarized the image, which essentially bleached the right side of the image. I liked the softness and feminine look this effect imparted to the image.

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Now for the fun part. Using only PicsArt’s Collage grid layouts, I played around with various arrangements of the image above, and came up with 7 different but equally pleasing combinations. All variations of the same theme, but with slight differences. So yes, a layout with thick lines can be used effectively to create geometric designs when in repeat.

Enjoy!

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

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Here is a continuation of my experiments with the Apps “Frax” and “A Beautiful Mess”. Oh, I know there are iOS Apps that give similar and more  effects as “A Beautiful Mess”, such as Tangent and Leonardo. However, these Apps are not available to me on the Android platform, but “A Beautiful Mess” is literally at my fingertips. And, being a lazy sod, I tend to use what lies at hand. I could, and may still do so, process my images using both iOS and Android Apps in my iPad and Samsung Galaxy S4, but it isn’t very often that you will find me using both devices at the same time.

The pattern design “Bird in a Cage” uses the Collage section of “A Beautiful Mess”, with added geometrical borders and lines. I simply chose 2 Frax images for the 4 corners and the middle parts. At this point I was simply playing with possibities, so wasn’t paying too much attention to colour or motif.

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Then I decided to add a little something to the image. I didn’t want to spoil the inside of the red diamond section. So I used the app “Photo Effects” to split the image and send each quarter to the Magic Corners. Like so:

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Now, a quirk of Photo Effects is it doesn’t let me Save to my photo gallery. So I always use the Share button instead, and send it to another App, where I can either save it to my gallery, or tweak it first before saving. For this image, I sent it to PicsArt, where I added a yellow origami bird.

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As you can see, the red diamond shape has been split, and the outer green corners are now brought together to form a different diamond shape.

I then used Photo Effects again to split the image, sending the yellow origami bird to the four outer corners.

Now comes the fun part. But first, a bit of tweaking. I used Photo Editor to replace some of the colour in the image, and also to resize the image from 1 to 4 MP.

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Then, I ran the image through PicsArt’s Collage grid layouts until I got this.

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A couple more passes through the grid layouts, and I got these.

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The geometrical lines add a modern feel to this design. The lines of the origami bird echo the geometrical aspect of the design. A further set of geometrical lines just discernible as an offset irregular shape, could be the outline of a cage. The whole layout, of lines and grids, resembles a cage. Hence the title “Bird in a Cage”.

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In this post I will share with you my list of books that I’ve found useful in my exploration of the world of textile design and pattern repeats.

For textiles, there are a plethora of books available. Some relate to the fashion industry, others to home furnishings. Both are equally useful if you, like me, are wanting to see your designs on a scarf or wrap, or as the cover of an armchair.

The book I like to refer to for inspiration is “Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge” by Bradley Quinn.

Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge by Bradley Quinn http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1856695816/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_7bsMsb0XDQ0D1

Now, if it’s a primer on how to design fabrics, using Photoshop and Illustrator, I would recommend reading these 4 great books:

1) A Field Guide to Fabric Design, by Kim Kight A Field Guide to Fabric Design: Design, Print & Sell Your Own Fab… http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1607053551/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_gesMsb00NR4A7

2) The Complete Guide to Designing and Printing Fabric, by Laurie Wisbrun The Complete Guide to Designing and Printing Fabric by Laurie Wisbrun http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1408147009/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_1gsMsb0H18H34

3) Printed Textile Design, by Amanda Briggs-Goode Printed Textile Design by Amanda Briggs-Goode http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1780671180/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_RjsMsb0RT6D53

4) Digital Textile Design, by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac Printed Textile Design by Amanda Briggs-Goode http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1780671180/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_RjsMsb0RT6D53

The book that is fast becoming my Pattern Bible is Jane Callender’s brilliant “2000 Pattern Combinations – a step-by-step guide to creating pattern”.

2000 Pattern Combinations: for Graphic, Textile and Craft Designers by Jane Callender http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/184994007X/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_HtsMsb021ZCM0

In her easy manner, Jane sets out to explain how patterns are created, with diagrams showing each step. Everything you need to know about designing patterns is in this book. I can’t praise it highly enough. I want to run, not walk, but I find I have to make myself really sit down and read each mini-tutorial slowly so I understand how it’s done. Jane explain how patterns are created on a computer as well as freehand. My task is to challenge myself to see if I can replicate these using only my Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apps.

When creating patterns, you may want to find clip art or images to use. Try the Dover publications, Dover specialise in non-copyright images or those whose copyright have expired. They literally have millions of images available for use. Some of their books come with CDs containing TIFF files of the images, so you can download them to your computer to play with to your heart’s content. Be aware that there may be certain restrictions as to the usage of these Dover images, these will be outlined in the preface of their books.

http://store.doverpublications.com/

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If you have been following my series of mini-tutorials on how to create repeating patterns, you know that I use only a handful of Apps. There isn’t one big App that will do absolutely everything, and although I do have Photoshop on a Creative Cloud subscription, I struggle with its user interface. I’d much rather use the Apps,  filters and effects that I know the results of, even if that means moving the image I’m working on from one App to another on my smartphone.

To recap, while we’re here, my list of Apps used for patterns is as shown in this screenshot. These are a mixture of Android and “universal” Apps (i.e Apps that are available on both Android and iOS). The powerhorse in this lineup is PicsArt, which, iPhone artists will be happy to know, is a Universal App.

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Lately, I’ve been a naughty girl. I’ve been playing around. With an iOS-only App called “Frax”. I have it on my iPad 2 as “Frax HD”, it cost about $2…and after playing with it for 10 minutes, I was impressed enough to fork out another $8 to upgrade to the Pro version.

Now, there are essentially 2 ways to make a repeat – 1) split and 2) mirror.

Split means to quarter an image and rotate each quarter 180° to meet in the middle again. Which means throwing the centres of the image to the four outer corners…I’ve heard these described as “Magic Corners”. This then is your working template. Bear in mind however, that a split image will not give you a seamless repeat, and you may have to use erasing and cloning filters to smoothen out the joins. Split is what I use if I want to place, for example, clipart in the empty space between repeats.

I much prefer the Mirror method. Which does alter your initial image, but which does give you unusual and intriguing abstract or geometrical images. If you do a Horizontal pass and a Vertical pass, at least once each, you are guaranteed to get a perfectly seamless repeating tile. I like to call my tiles “Modules” as they form the basis of repeats which build up to something bigger.

So, here we are with the Frax image that I’m putting through my trusty workhorse PicsArt.

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And after the PicsArt treatment:

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After this, it’s a simple matter of using the grid system in PicsArt’s Collage section, to play around with finding a pattern that appeals. You can do this easily by experimenting with flipping the modules within the grid system, or rotating them.

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I like how the pattern’s tendrils interlock naturally to bring the whole together cohesively. This design and colourway remind me of a William Morris wallpaper, or a Victorian tapestry or brocade wallhanging.

For the next design, I chose a grey Frax design.

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I manipulated this in PicsArt until I got this result.

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Which I repeated in a grid to get this.

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Hmmm, that looks a bit drab. Let’s spice things up just a little. I went over to Litho to see if the developers had ironed out those freezing/unresponsive buttons. Happy to say I can save my work now in Litho, yay! I used a simple Half-tone effect to add a splash of colour to the middle of the image.

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Then I thought, let’s see what my newest App acquisition “A Beautiful Mess” can do…apart from creating a besutiful mess, of course ;-). I found that if I used a thick white border on my image, I could get a 1960s geometric look.

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That looks promising indeed. But will it work as a repeat? I repeated this Module in PicsArt, and arrived at this result. This CAN, I am pleased to report, be repeated over and over again seamlessly. Happy Days! :-)

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I got a new App the other day. It’s called Pic Mirror and it’s really simple to use. You simply either take a photo, or, in my gatherer case, use one I took earlier. Then you choose whether to crop it, square it or leave it as it is. Next, 4 simple buttons let you mirror your image vertically, horizontally, or left and right. There is a slider at the bottom, which lets you adjust opacity of the reflection. I leave my slider at home ;-).

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So, here I am playing with the image of a blue peony. This was cut out using another Android App called “AThumb Cut”. Quite simply, you lasso the area you wish to cut out, and it does it automatically for you. To finetune your cut, you simply draw inwards towards the area you want to keep, to cut out anything outside…and draw outwards towards the area you want to expand into. It’s easier to do this than it is to explain it.

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So, for this tutorial I created 4 doubled images of my blue peony. Said blue peony is actually from a bolt of Japanese fabric at my local Spotlight store. I chose to use the vertical and horizontal mirror images, and ran them through PicsArt’s Collage filter until I arrived at this.

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The background was too dark, so I decided to change it. I used Photo Editor’s Colour Replace (RGB) filter. At first I liked this one:

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Which in itself is lovely enough. But then I saw the “threshold” slider in that filter and I thought, why not have a play with that too…so I tweaked the background colour to a pink, and magically erased some of the peony by using the “threshold” slider. This is what I got.

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Isn’t it pretty?

Now, this only started out as an experiment with using new Apps and exploring filters within Apps that I’m not familiar with. But it’s turned out much better than I thought. Happy days!

Here’s an abstracted pattern repeat using the blue-now-pink peony design.

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Despite being reassured by the developers of the App Litho, the bugs still haven’t been ironed out. I can’t save my processing in Litho, which is a crying shame as it’s the only App I’ve come across that allows me to easily adjust the X and Y axes of an image. Other Android Apps that offer this Offset facility are aPic, Photo Editor Ultimate and IE AustereSoft Image Editor…but these are laggy, buggy, or simply don’t work half the time.

(NB. Since this post was written, Litho appears to be functioning again. Still laggy, but at least it Saves now).

If I need a straightforward split of an image to the 4 “magic corners”, I use Photo Effects. Which works, but unfortunately does not offer any adjustments to be made along the axes.

Photoshop Effects (NOT related to Photoshop, btw) has the same split image function, but it saves at a low resolution.

Here is a screenshot of the Apps I most commonly use for creating pattern repeats.

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For this pattern design, which I call “Children’s Quilt”, I created a colourstrip of 3 different colours to use as the background. I used 3 different images created using the App “Impressionist Fingerpaint”, to create a collaged strip in PicsArt.

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I then processed this through the App “PicsPlay Pro”, which I thought I’d play with to see if its Clipart section was any good. It gave me these 2 cute little birds, and I spiced it up with a little dose of grunge.

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Next, I wanted to see just what offsetting this image would do in the world of repeats. Litho not working as usual, I decided to try the hit-n-miss approach of aPic instead. This involved inputting random numbers in the X and Y axes fields, and then watching the results. (I still haven’t figured out how the numbers work, they don’t relate to pixels or any logical correlation to the image being offset). When I got it to split to a halfway decent mark, I saved the image.

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Now came the interesting part. How could I manipulate this “module” into a repeat pattern that made sense and appealed to the viewer?

I used my trusty workhorse App “PicsArt” and ran the image through a number of permutations. I flipped, rotated, moved and repositioned the repeats until I arrived at this.

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A little more tweaking produced this.

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The yellow bird is now looking at its mirror image in the middle. The 2 blue lines where the blue bird sits serve as markers.

I ran the image through another grid template in PicsArt and got this final image. I love the accidental small rectangles that appeared as a result of the Offset image being placed in a repeat pattern. The colours are bright to attract a child. This would look really good as a child’s quilt or bedroom curtains.

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Here are some more of my repeat pattern designs for your enjoyment. They were all created using the techniques I have described in the last 14 instalments of the “Not Quite Photoshop” series.

It’s been quite an adventure learning how to create seamless pattern repeats, and I will continue to enjoy exploring other combinations and techniques and Apps to help me achieve these repeats.

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I’m really loving using Deco Sketch to create geometric designs on backgrounds I created using Impressionist Fingerpaint. They both go so well together. Then, when processed using Photo Effects, PicsArt, Touch ReTouch, the patterns that develop are simply beautiful.

Here’s how I created “Celestial Designs”. By now, you would be familiar with my processes for creating split images, grids and other image manipulations.

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The original background (above) was then placed into Deco Sketch, and rotated, and then I drew 2 different types of geometric shapes on it.

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I then split the image in Photo Effects, sending each quarter segment to the corners.

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I sent this to PicsArt for a slight embossing effect, to bring out the lines. I then blurred the joins using Touch ReTouch.

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Then, in Repix, I added some dust, scratches and light for a celestial, spacey look.

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Almost done! A run through a 4-square grid in PicsArt, a few rotations/flips, and here is the module for “Celestial Signs”.

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And here is the complete design.

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I thought I’d try doing a geometric design using one of my favourite graphic design type Apps, “Deco Sketch”. Really surprised and pleased how this turned out.

This is the background I used as the basis for my pattern. I created this using the App “Impressionist Fingerpaint”.

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I ran this through “Deco Sketch” and picked a cube pattern, then simply drew some lines down the background, to get this.

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I then processed the image in PicsArt (which is rapidly turning into my go-to App). I simply used a grid of 3 vertical rectangles in the Collage section of the App. I played around with rearranging the 3 identical images, until I got this image.

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Now, you will notice lines where the joins meet. I used Touch Retouch next to brush out the joins, for a smoother image.

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That’s slightly better, but not perfect. Then I thought, why go for perfect? What if instead, I deliberately went for an abstract, dripping paint splatter, grungy look? I used Repix for this.

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Then I tried a kaleidoscope effect using the App “Photo Effects”. There wasn’t a kaleidoscope filter as such, just a “crazy split”, which gave me this interesting look.

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I liked this, but something was missing. The colours were too same-same, I felt it needed some contrasting effect. So, I went to the App “Smoothie” and applied the “colourblend” filter, which resulted in this…basically, it removed the colour outside the area I’d selected.

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I was curious as to how the image would look repeated, so I ran it through PicsArt. Really happy with the end result here! It almost looks like it’s been tie-dyed, or like Japanese Shibori. (Now, That’s something else I’d like to explore!)

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And here it is, repeated again.

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Here’s another one I made using the same formula.

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So, Christmas is nearly upon us, and soon it will be 2014. I’ve decided to create my own Christmassy wrapping paper!

This is an experiment in creating a seemingly random placement of motifs on a grid system. For this, I created a colourfield background using Impressionist Fingerpaint, which I then ran through the “Mirror” filter of PicsArt until I got a pleasing design.

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Then, still using PicsArt, I added some snowflakes. I was particularly mindful of the placement and size of these snowflakes, as I would later be flipping and rotating the images to try to create the illusion of randomness.

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Next, I created a grid of 4 rectangles in PicsArt, and played around with the arrangement of each of the 4 images within, until I got this result.

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I then multiplied this by running it through the same template of 4 rectangles in a grid.

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I’ve made this availableto purchase on my Society6 page, Happy Christmas, everyone!

http://www.society6.com/alyzenmoonshadow

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