Ever wonder where all those seamless backgrounds come from? How
does the creator get them to blend so...well, seamlessly? If you've
tried to create your own, I'm sure you've perused at least a dozen
tutorials on the subject. Some may have garnered excellent results,
and some not so much. I'm not going to grade the quality of anyone
else's tutorials here. I know from personal experience that a
single error to a technique or misplaced step will award the writer
a small avalanche of email. Been there, but I'm not complaining.
You folks keep me sharp, and I like it that way! This week I'm
going to give a personal twist to the ol' seamless background
creation niche. I've warmed up the digital cam (my trusty Mavica...
forgive me Jim Patterson, but I love that camera) and snapped a few
shots. Let's see if we can't create something interesting.
I call this one 'Spikes On Cinderblock'... my attempt at industrial
photography. 1. First off, duplicate the background layer by
dragging it to the new layer icon on the bottom of the layers
2. Select the copied layer. Go to Edit>Transform>Flip
Horizontal. 3. Click the 'Add a Mask' icon on the bottom of the
3. If you are unfamiliar with masks, you will notice that
the foreground/background colors are white/black respectively. We
are about to apply a gradient to the layer mask, which will render
half the layer visible (that covered with white) and have will
reveal the layer beneath (the black portion of the gradient). 4.
With the Mask selected, click the gradient tool. Click inside the
gradient in the options bar to bring up the gradient editor.
5. Click the white color stop and manually enter '35%' for the
location. Select the black color stop and manually enter '65%' for
6. Click the Mask field for the copied layer in the Layers Palette.
As strait as you can, draw the gradient from left to right across
7. Take a look at your image. You should see something like this.
8. With the top layer still selected, hit Command/CTRL+E to merge
the layers together. 9. Duplicate the background again. We are
going to follow the same procedures as above, only this time we
will flip the new layer vertically instead of horizontally. Also,
this time apply the gradient to the mask from top to bottom rather
than left to right. When completed, it should look like this:
10. Merge the layers again. 11. Go to Image>Adjust>Image
Size. Deselect 'Constrain Proportions' and enter identical
measurements for the width and height.
Here's the image:
So is it seamless? Well here's a quick test. First. I'll reduce the
size again. Next, I'll go to Edit>Define Pattern. Third, I'll
create a new document. I'll then test my background by filling the
new document with the new pattern.
Try saving the above tutorial as an action. Here are a couple
I hope you have fun with this one. Take care, and I'll see you next
Special thanks to www.planetphotoshop.com for
allowing us to reprint their Photoshop tutorials here at
Renderosity. You can e-mail Al Ward, the author of this article, at