Aligning patterns (or not)

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As is the case with the rubber stamp, the Options bar for the pattern stamp tool provides an Aligned check box. If you select the check box, Photoshop aligns all patterns you apply with the stamp tool, regardless of how many times you start and stop dragging. The two left examples in Figure 7-18 show the effects of selecting this option. The elements in the pattern remain exactly aligned throughout all the brushstrokes. I painted the top-left image with the Opacity value set to 50 percent, which is why the strokes darken when they meet.

To allow patterns in different brushstrokes to start and end at different locations, turn the Aligned option off. The point at which you begin dragging determines the position of the pattern within each stroke. I dragged from right to left to paint the horizontal strokes and from top to bottom to paint the vertical strokes. The two right examples in Figure 7-18 show how nonaligned patterns overlap.

As discussed in Chapter 6, you can also apply a pattern to a selected portion of an image by choosing Edit ^ Fill and selecting the Pattern option from the Use pop-up menu. If you have an old grayscale image saved in the Photoshop 2 format sitting around, you can alternatively choose Filter ^ Render ^ Texture Fill to open the image and repeat it as many times as it takes to fill the selection. (Texture Fill is intended primarily for preparing textures and bump maps for a three-dimensional drawing program, so most folks never touch this filter.)

Figure 7-17: After marqueeing a single window (top) and choosing Edit ^ Define Pattern, I painted a translucent coat of the pattern over the statue with the pattern stamp tool (bottom).
Figure 7-18: Select the Aligned check box to align the patterns in all brushstrokes so that they match up perfectly (left). If you turn the option off, Photoshop starts each pattern with the beginning of the brushstroke (right).

Also investigate the new Fill Layers and Layer Style options for filling layers with patterns. You can explore both in Chapter 14.

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