The Designmark Graphics blog
Quality tutorials for Inkscape and GIMP
One of my blog readers asked me whether I download the backgrounds to my 'Final image' tutorial results or whether I make them myself. Well, as with pretty much all the imagery on this blog, I make as many of them as I can, using the graphics tools at my disposal. Today I'm going to share some of my creations with you for you to use for personal or commercial projects.
About this freebie
The ZIP file contains 18 .PAT files which GIMP will understand as being Pattern files and display in the Patterns dialog box (Ctrl, Shift and P to bring it up). You can then fill any layers, selections or masks with the patterns by simply dragging and dropping them from the dialog box into your document.
They're great for adding interest to backgrounds and overlays, and some of them can even double-up as texture overlays too. All that's required is a few clicks, then choose the right layer blend mode and you're up and running. I'll show you how below.
Included in the pack are:
How to install the pattern pack
Installing custom content and third-party items is easy in GIMP. Simply download the ZIP file from this site using the link at the bottom of the article, and unzip it to the folder on your machine which GIMP stores all its .PAT files. You can find where this is quickly by selecting Edit --> Preferences from the menus and, under the Folders option, selecting Patterns.
Copy or memorise the folder path from the info box, then locate that folder on your computer and drop all the .PAT files in the archive there.
Back in GIMP, bring up the Patterns dialog box by pressing Ctrl, Shift and P, or go to Windows --> Dockable Dialogs --> Patterns. Click the curly Refresh arrows in the pop-up that appears and presto - the new patterns should be visible and available for you to use.
Using patterns from the pack - An example
Now for the fun part - making use of your new selection of patterns.
This is just a pretend example here so don't read too much into it, but here's a theoretical website layout I've mocked up.
So far so good, but the plain gradient background is rather ... well, plain. To introduce a bit of variety, without spoiling a tasteful design, I'm going to create a new layer in between my outer background and the main body page background.
Making sure the dimensions of the new layer are the full width and height of the area I want the pattern to affect, I add the new layer using the box and accept the rest of the settings.
Then I bring up the Patterns dialog box again, the same way as before, and drag a pattern from the palette into the document window. The whole layer will be filled with this repeating pattern, all the way from top to bottom.
All that's left is to change up my layer blend mode to combine the original layer's colour with the new layer's pattern without ruining it's colour. Two of the best layer modes to use for this are Overlay and Grain Merge. In either case, reducing the opacity is definitely a good idea so you can retain the correct colour while introducing the pattern into the design.
And as you'll see, the effect on your image is immediate - a repeating pattern overlay which adapts to the colour of whatever background you use it on. Easy!
You can experiment with different blend modes and opacities for different strengths of the effect and, with 18 patterns at your disposal, there's plenty of variety to be had with this pack. Download it using the button below and leave me some feedback so we can all see what you've made with them!
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