Making Repeating Patterns in Clip Studio Paint

121,741

InvertSilhouette

InvertSilhouette

Introduction

Hi! My name is Maddie, and I am a long time digital illustrator and lover of patterns. In the following tutorial, I'll be showing you how to make repeating or tiling patterns in Clip Studio Paint. You can watch the video to see the steps in real time, or skip to the text tutorial below.

 

At the end, I'll also show you some more of my own patterns and what kinds of things you can use them for. Let's get started!

Video Tutorial

This video goes through steps 1- 5 of the Text Tutorial below (with a brief portion on how to correct a common mistake). For additional ideas and patterns, see the "How to Use Your New Pattern" section after the text tutorial.

Text Tutorial

Step 1 - New Canvas

Go to File > New and create a new canvas to draw your pattern on. I usually work with a square canvas, but you can work with other shapes if you prefer.

  • Remember to look up what size and resolution your final pattern should be if you're making it for something specific, like a game texture or a fabric print. The section "How to Use Your New Pattern" has some standard US sizes if you need somewhere to start.

Step 2 - Drawing the Pattern

This is where most of your pattern will be designed. Patterns come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Do some research if you're trying to recreate a particular pattern type, or draw whatever you want if you're making something just for you!

Optional - Symmetry

 

Patterns are a great way to play around with shapes and techniques that you don't use very often, so one of the things I like to do is make symmetrical patterns. To do this, look for the ruler tool in your tool bar or press U to open the rulers menu.

 

Once you have the menu open, make sure "Line symmetry" is checked, and select the number of lines of symmetry you want to use. 2 Lines will give you a mirror symmetry, this is what I used here. (The number is two because both lines are overlapping, making them look like a single line).

  • If you want to play around with more lines, you can get some snowflake or mandala like effects!
  • Depending on what type of pattern you're making, the base of the pattern may consist of interconnecting lines, surface textures, or a collection of shapes. See "How to Use Your New Pattern" for some other ideas.

Don't worry about the edges of your pattern just yet, we'll fill in and fix up the seams in the next few steps.

Step 3 - Tiling the Pattern

Once you have the main part of your pattern drawn, it's time to test out how the pattern will look when it repeats! This step will also help set up for step 4.

  • If you're trying to make a seamless pattern, like a game texture or scalable wallpaper, these next two steps are very important! See a comparison of a seamless pattern (left) to a pattern with an obvious seam (right) below.
  • If you don't care about having a seam in your pattern, you can skip to Step 5.

 

Before we begin tiling the pattern though, let's clean up a little.

1. Start by grouping any and all layers that you used to draw your pattern (Ctrl + G or right click > "Create folder and insert layer").

2. Right click and make a duplicate of the group.

3. Hide the original group to keep it out of the way.

 

This will help you keep everything organized, and give you a backup in case anything goes wrong while you're making the rest of the pattern.

Now that you have a backup, let's get tiling.

First, merge the new group of layers together (right click > "Merge selected layers"). Then select everything on the canvas using Ctrl + A or Select > Select All.

 

  • This will ensure that you are making the pattern the same size as the canvas. When you later move the tiled version of your pattern around, the canvas and pattern need to be equal so that the pattern wraps correctly. In other words, so your pattern doesn't accidentally become misaligned anywhere. (I forget this one a lot myself, it's why we have a backup !)

Next right click again and select "Convert layer".

 

In the box that opens up, go to "Type"or press Tab and select "Image material layer".

This will convert your layer to an image material, similar those you can find in the Clip Studio materials folder. In this case, the image is not saved to that folder, but the layer can now use a built-in tiling feature of Clip Studio Paint.

 

To activate this feature, find the Operation tool, and the Object Sub Tool. At the bottom of the Tool Property panel, there will be a box called "Tiling". Check the box and move your pattern around to see it start repeating!

Now we can see the seams in the pattern, and more importantly, draw on them without guessing where everything lines up. The next step will cover filling in the seams and checking the final pattern.

Step 4 - Cleaning up the Seams

Now that we can move the seams to the middle of the canvas, we can work on filling in all the gaps. First though, we have to convert the layer back, or Rasterize it, in order to be able to draw on the layer again. (Image Material layers cannot be drawn on.)

 

Right click the pattern layer and choose Rasterize once you have the pattern positioned as you like it.

Now you can fill in the gaps just like you drew the original pattern! If you need to, you may have to repeat some of the previous steps in order to fill all the gaps cleanly.

 

  • Remember to duplicate, merge, convert, move, and rasterize the new versions of your pattern just like you did before. (Read the instructions above again if you need to.)

Now, when you convert, tile, and move your pattern around on the canvas, there should be no visible gaps or seams!

Step 5 will show you how to check your pattern on a larger scale, and import it into a larger project.

Step 5 - Importing Your Pattern Into Another Canvas

Once you are happy with the way your pattern looks on its own, it's time to use it in something!

 

To begin with, make sure you save your pattern to a .clip (Clip Studio Format) file and remember where you saved it. You will need to reference this file to import it into another canvas.

Next, open another new file, or if you have a particular file you want to use the pattern in, open that file. Then go to File > Import > "Create file object" to import your pattern into the new file. Find your saved pattern and click Open.

A dialog box will pop up when you open your pattern. It's just telling you that the image here is linked to the original pattern file.

 

The good thing about this is that if you see something you want to change in your pattern, re-saving your original pattern .clip will update it in the new file as well. The drawback is that if you move the pattern file into another folder or something, you will have to tell Clip Studio Paint where it is again.

After importing the pattern file, you will also have to go back to the Operation tool > Object Sub Tool again and click "Tiling" under the Tool property panel. This will make your pattern repeat over the entire canvas, so you can now see how it looks when it's repeating!

Now you can manipulate your pattern without having to worry about messing up the original. Scale it, transform the perspective on it, crop it, whatever you need! Also, because the pattern is still connected to your original file, you can always update the pattern itself without having to undo any of your transformations here.

 

If at any point you want to stop your pattern from being linked or updating with the original file, you can simply right click > Rasterize the pattern layer in your new file and it will become a standard layer.

Ultimately, it's up to you what you do with your new repeating pattern. There are some suggestions below for different pattern types and setups if you need ideas!

Bonus - How to Use Your New Pattern

As I said before, there are many different kinds of patterns, made for all sorts of different uses. Some of my personal favorite pattern types include Damask (usually a floral wallpaper pattern), Celtic Knot borders (these usually only repeat in one direction), the tiling textures used in video games, and those cute little animal patterns usually used for pajama pants.

 

Here I will demonstrate setting up and using patterns for 3 different applications. There are of course, lots more ways to use patterns, these are simply some I use often!

Print - Moon and Stars Journal

Printing images is a very complex business, particularly when you get into printing on non-paper surfaces (like shirts or bags), but there are lots of different kinds of printing that use repeating patterns! Some of those include large scale prints like fabric printing or wallpaper, and smaller scale printing like notebooks and shirts. In this case, I will be demonstrating a repeating starry pattern on a journal mock-up (a photo with the pattern digitally edited in).

Size - Printing sizes vary widely based on what size the printed product is. Generally, printers or manufacturers can provide the best size for you to use with their products. One of the benefits of repeating patterns though is that you can make sure to cover all of the printed area easier. Make sure that your image size is at least as big as the intended print (if not bigger) and you should be good to go!

 

For this journal, the intended size of the journal is about 5 in x 8 in, so I would make sure that the second canvas (the one with the final print, not just the pattern) is a little larger than 5 in x 8 in. Since the pattern itself can be scaled, I would just want to make sure that it isn't too small (2 in x 2in would be fine for this type of pattern). It's always better to scale images down than to try and make them larger.

 

Resolution - The standard for printing is 300 DPI (dots per inch).

Tips - The star shapes for this pattern were drawn with the 8 line symmetrical ruler and then copied and pasted in random position for the "field of stars" pattern. I converted the layer the stars were on and moved them around to make sure that I did not leave any obvious gaps.

 

The texture I included on the background is actually one that comes with Clip Studio Paint (Dappled Cloud 2)! It was already made to repeat seamlessly too, which means I didn't have to worry about making it seamless myself.

Video Games - Wooden Floor

A lot of textures for video games and other 3D applications are still painted by hand, particularly for games that use a more stylized or painterly look. For flat planes, like floors and walls, a good way to get a lot of texture into a small amount of memory is to use repeating or tiling textures, like the wooden floor here.

 

Bonus: Clip Studio also offers a 3D modeling software to help with drawing, which you could definitely use a texture like this in!

Size - Video game textures are usually squares with sides that are powers of two (512, 1024, 2048, etc pixels), so that they are compatible with older computers. This restriction isn't as necessary as it used to be, but it's a good standard if you don't have a reason for a special size.

 

For this texture, I used 1024 x 1024 pixels to give myself room to put in some extra detail. In most games though, something like a floor would usually be minimized as much as possible to make room in memory for more important assets (like the player character or objects the player interacts with).

 

Resolution - Standard web resolution is 72 DPI (dots per inch). This is the same for most things visible on screens because of the limits of standard computer screens.

Tips - I looked at pictures of real wooden floors while painting this, before adding some of my own exaggerations to make the floor more interesting. It's always important to have reference when you're trying to paint something (semi-) realistically, even I had forgotten what wood floors really looked like until I went to take a look at some in my house!

 

In order to keep it seamless, this pattern included a lot of converting and moving around several layers at once. It's a lot easier (for me) to make sure each step is seamless before moving on to the next one. Otherwise I sometimes forget how I did a particular step or what color I used.

Illustration - Fire Background Pattern

One of my favorite uses for repeating patterns is in illustrations. Most of the time I use them as backgrounds for character pieces, though they can also be used for things like clothing or interior patterns (like in the real world). This particular pattern is a very stylized version of fire, made to mimic the fire of the horse in front of it.

Size - This particular illustration is very large, as I intend to print it out in the future (once the rest is finished). The pattern itself is around 2,000 x 2,000 pixels. The size here gives me a lot of room for those little details in the fire shapes and the texture of the lines.

 

Resolution - Because this piece is ultimately for print, it is at 300 DPI, like the starry pattern above.

Tips - The key to this pattern is starting with simple wavy lines and building from there. I made a few different wavy line sketches until I found the style I liked. From there, I made sure to make the sketch seamless by converting and moving it around to connect all the gaps. I also went back over the whole thing at the end with smoother lines, and added emphasis to the shape of the fire by varying the different line widths.

 

Shapes like these would also work pretty well for other kinds of patterns too. Perhaps something with water flowing in the opposite direction!

Conclusion

As I mentioned, these are by no means the only ways you can use repeating patterns. All different kinds of art utilize patterns already, and there's a lot of them you can study online and in person to get inspiration from. Both in how to make them and what to use them for.

 

If you find you like a particular kind of pattern, there's nothing wrong with trying to copy down some of the shapes they use in your own practice work. Personally, I learned by combining shapes from multiple patterns together in several different pieces. Just be sure to mix it up and make it your own for finished pieces.

 

Now go out and make some art!

 

If you want to see more of my own work or have any questions, you can follow my Twitter or Instagram below -

Comment

New

New Official Articles