Quick Tip: Easily Create Seamless Photo Textures You can Tile

Quick Tip: Easily Create Seamless Photo Textures You can Tile
Quick Tip: Easily Create Seamless Photo Textures You can Tile

Wonder how people create those tileable photo textures? Whether you're using it to create desktop wallpapers or website backgrounds, you'll find it easy to do with this Photoshop tutorial. Read this tutorial to learn how you can manipulate your photo to make it seamless/tileable.

Final Results Preview

Metal Panel Texture

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Open a photo that you want to turn into a texture. The easiest photos to use are the ones with the least lines, lens distortion, tilt, and differentiating colors. Here’s the photo that we’ll be using for this tutorial. Download the image and use it to follow this tutorial.

Metal Panel Texture

Step 2

First, we need to get rid of the barrel distortion and vignette. You can do this quickly and easily with the Lens Correction tool (Filter > Lens Correction). Your photo should have its original camera metadata for this to work its best. In the Lens Correction tool, Photoshop should auto-detect the settings and apply the correction for you. If it doesn’t work out, go into the Custom tab and adjust the settings manually.

Lens Correction

Here’s our image with the lens correction applied. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough – we can fix the settings later.

Metal Panel Texture

Step 3

If your texture has lines that stretches from one side to the other, like the vertical lines in our photo, you’ll need to use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter to align them so that they are perfectly horizontal/vertical. In the dropdown menu, select Perspective as the correction method. While holding down the Shift key, draw correction lines over any lines in the photos. Ensure that they match perfectly. Click OK when you’re done.

Step 4

Select the Crop tool. In the options bar, checkmark the “Delete Cropped Pixels” option.

Crop the transparent areas out of the frame.

Step 5

Go to Image > Canvas Size. Set the width and height to 200 percent, anchor to top-right, then click OK.

You should now have a lot of area to work with. We’ll be extending the texture to cover these areas which will make your image dimensions around 4x larger.

Step 6

Duplicate the layer (Ctrl/Cmd+J) then go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Use the Move tool to move the image to the top-right corner.

Merge the layers (Ctrl/Cmd+E) then duplicate the merged layers (Ctrl/Cmd+J). With the new layer selected, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical. Use the Move tool to move the image to the bottom edge. Press Ctrl/Cmd+E to merge the two layers.

Step 7

Here’s what our image looks like. This is our seamless texture but you can see many repeating patterns near the center of the photo.

Use the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove some of these repeating patterns.


Step 8

If your texture looks good, you’re done! You can use the Offset tool (Filter > Other > Offset) to offset your image before saving.

After offsetting the image, you may notice more repeating patterns that you can remove with the healint brush tool. Here’s what the image looks like after being offset. You can also use the Content-Aware Move Tool (new feature in Photoshop CS6) to move other distinctive parts to other areas (set the mode to Move in the options bar).

Step 9

To preview your pattern, turn the image into a pattern by going to Edit > Define Pattern. Next, add a Pattern adjustment layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern), lower the scale setting, then drag anywhere on the screen to reposition the pattern. Delete this layer when you’re done previewing.

Final Results

Metal Panel Texture
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7 comments on “Quick Tip: Easily Create Seamless Photo Textures You can Tile”

  1. Hey Denny,

    thanks for your tutorial. It seems really nice! I am relatively new to photoshop and currently learning/using CS5 and I cannot find the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter that you used in Step 3. My Google research told me it's a new thing in CS6 :(!!

    Is there any way to do the same thing in CS5?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Unfortunately that filter is only in Photoshop CS6 or CC :(

      You can try adding some guides and using the transform tools to skew it but it might not work on every image.

  2. Cool trick and good results.
    It looks awesome in your photo, but the problem is lighting. Because your photo is flat, you don't run into this problem. Try it with a texture that's more 3D and you will see the lighting get flipped.

    There are GIMP plugins that can do this like "make seamless" or "texturizer" but they don't enlarge your texture like this way. In the 3D world, there's a lot more texture making programs but too expensive for the casual designers.

    TLDR; This tutorial is best for flat surfaces. On 3D surfaces with sharp shadows/light, it won't work. But nonetheless, this is the best I've seen for flat surfaces.

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