Applying Patterns to Type

Applying Patterns to Type

You can apply patterns to type in several ways. One way, which is rather roundabout and not very flexible, is to rasterize the type layer, and then use the Paint Bucket tool to fill each character with a pattern. Although this method does work, it has a few serious minuses: After rasterizing a type layer, you can no longer edit the type with the Type tools. Also, if you want to add drop shadows, bevels, or any other special effects, you have to jump through a few hoops.

The easiest and most versatile way to apply a pattern to type is to use layer styles. Using layer styles, you can fill the type with a pattern and add any other effects that you need at the same time. (To find out more about working with layer styles, turn to Technique 20.)

Here’s how to apply a pattern to type by using layer styles:

  1. Create the type that you need by using the Type tool.

  2. With the type layer selected in the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Styles button at the bottom of the palette and choose Pattern Overlay from the menu, as shown in Figure.

    Figure: Choose Pattern Overlay from the Add Layer Styles menu.

    The Layer Styles dialog box opens with the Pattern Overlay style selected, as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Layer Styles dialog box opens with Pattern Overlay selected.

  3. In the Pattern area, use the Pattern picker to select a pattern.


    Several pattern libraries that ship with Photoshop aren’t loaded into the Pattern picker. You can load them into the picker by opening the Pattern picker’s menu and selecting a pattern library from the bottom of the menu.

  4. Use the Scale slider to size the pattern.

  5. Set the pattern’s transparency by using the Opacity slider.

  6. To blend the pattern’s pixels with the type’s pixel color, use the Blend Mode drop-down list and choose a blending mode.

    (To find out more about blending modes and how they affect pixels, turn to Technique 17.)

  7. Use the Layer Styles dialog box to add any other special effects that you want, such as a bevel or drop shadow.

  8. Click OK.

    The pattern (and any other special effects that you chose) is applied to the type, as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: A flower pattern and drop shadow applied to type.


    Even after you apply layer styles to a type layer, you can still edit the text with the Text tools.

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