How to Use Pattern Overlay Templates in Photoshop

Overview: For this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to use and colour pattern overlay templates including how to create a clipping path for re-colouring. I will also show you how to use layer blend modes to achieve different effects.

- this tutorial was created using Photoshop CS 5
- I'm assuming you have a basic understanding and knowledge of your computer re: files, folders. - - - - you also need a good knowledge of how to use Photoshop or similar image editing software such as Photoshop Elements.

1. Open up the overlay you want to use for this tutorial. If you don't have one, you can download a one from my website here.

2. You should now have your overlay open.

3. Ok, there are a few ways you can use overlays but for this tutorial I'm going to focus on changing the colour of the overlay and also using layer blend modes over your favourite digital paper.

4. Locate a photo or digital paper background you want to use the overlay on. Open it up. You should now have 2 documents open. Your overlay and also your photo or paper.

5. Make sure your overlay png is the active document. You can do this by just clicking on it or go to the top menu by and click on Window. If you have a look at the bottom of that menu, you'll see the various documents that you have open. Just click on the one you want as the active document.

6. Ok - now drag your overlay onto your paper or photo. You can do this using the Move tool (keyboard shortcut key is "v"). Either just drag from the document (overlay) onto the paper or go to your layers palette (Windows | Layers) and drag from there.

You should now have 2 layers - the overlay and the original paper. So you layer palette should look like this:

Layers palette

7. Create a new layer.

8. Fill this layer with a colour of your choice.

9. Your layer palette should now look like this:

Layers Palette - 3 layers

As a side note - did you notice that I named my layers? This is my own personal preference and I do highly recommend that you do it. It keeps things simple when you start working with documents that have 100s of layers! To name a layer, you can double click on the word Layer or right click on the layer you want to name and choose "Layer Properties".

10. We are now going to make a clipping path. In other words we are going to "clip" that colour to the overlay. You could also do this by selecting the overlay layer, create a new layer and flood fill. I prefer creating a clipping path. Everyone's different!

Right now we're going to create the clipping path. Make sure your colour layer (top layer) is active. Place your cursor between the top layer (colour) and your overlay layer in the layers palette (the cursor should turn into a 2 small overlapping circles and an arrow) and click the "alt" key.

You should now have a clipping path and your document and layers palette should look like this:

And that's how to create a clipping path! Cool eh? You can now save that as a psd and then change it another time or flatten it and it's ready to be used for your digi crafting, pattern designs or website background!

11. Ok now we're going to create a layer blend mode. Follow the above instructions up to no. 6. Or go to the History palette and delete the steps so you just have your paper and overlay in the document. Your image should look like this:

12. In the layers palette at the top, click on the little triangle to bring up the blending modes:

13. You should now get a drop down menu box showing all the various layer blend modes@

14. Simply experiment with the various layer blend modes until you get the look you're after. You get different effects with each mode depending on the colour of your overlay and the underlining paper. So have fun! I often use Multiply, Overlay and the Soft Light modes but you can get some cool effects by trying out the other options. You can also change the layer opacity to "tone" down the effects if needed.

Note: you can also start off with a plain colour instead of a digital paper. Create a new document | fill with colour of choice | add your overlay | change colour blend mode. Your results will also depend on the original colour of your overlay. I create my overlays in tones of grey and black as these work best with the colour blend modes.

Here's my finished paper using Overlay as the layer blend mode:

And that's basically it - hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new!


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