Solution

Start with a one-pixel-wide document that has a white background. Determine how much space you want to appear between your scanlines, then set the height of your document to this value. My starting document is 1px x 1px because I want the spacing between my lines to be 1px.

After you've set up your document, click on the background color swatch at the bottom of the toolbar and set it to a color of your choice (I chose black). Select Image > Canvas Size to bring up the Canvas Size dialog box shown at right. Add 1px to the Height. Your document should now look like the one shown below.

Result of increased canvas height

Increasing the canvas height by Ipx

Result of increased canvas height

Click OK. The new area will be filled in with your background color.

Make a selection of the entire document using Ctrl-A (Command-A on a Mac), then select Edit > Define Pattern. In the Define Pattern dialog box that appears, give your pattern the name scanlines, and click OK.

Select the Paint Bucket Tool (G) from the toolbox. In the options bar, select Pattern from the drop-down menu. Click on the small arrow to the right of the pattern swatch, and choose the pattern you defined earlier, as illustrated below.

Selecting your striped pattern

Now open the image you want to overlay with scanlines. In the Layers palette, add a new layer on top of the image layer. With the Paint Bucket Tool still selected, click once in the document window to fill the new layer with the pattern, as shown here.

Back in the Layers palette, experiment with the blend mode and Opacity value of the scanlines layer until you're happy with the effect. For this solution, the Multiply, Screen, and Overlay blend modes work best. The examples below show how different blend modes and Opacity values affect the way my scanlines look on the image.

Filling a new layer with the pattern

Changing the blend mode

Comparing blend modes

Changing the blend mode

Comparing blend modes

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