Years ago, seamless textures were used primarily for desktop wallpaper and web page backgrounds. Today, high resolution textures are used for a variety of design applications including 3D texture mapping. This tutorial will show you how to create your own seamless texture from a digital photograph.

Step 1 : Selecting a Photograph

I'm using a green sponge texture from the Pixel Perfect Digital image archive. You can download it here. This photo should work well because it has a fairly consistant pattern and color.

Green Sponge Texture

Open the full-size (3264 x 2448) image in Photoshop.

Step 2 : Resize the image

Resize the image in Photoshop

Let's resize the image to 800x600 to make it easier to work with. From the top menu bar select Image > Image Size. Now enter 800 for width and 600 for height.

Step 3 : Offset the Image

We will now "offset" our texture into four equal parts. The offset is what allows the image to repeat (or tile). From the top menu bar select Filter > Other > Offset.

Offset the image in Photoshop

Enter 400 for Horizontal Offset and 300 for Vertical Offset (1/2 of the original image length and width).

You will now see the image appears to have been cut into four segments:

Image divided into sections using offset in Photoshop

The offset image clearly has a vertical and horizontal "seam". We will eliminate those using the Clone Tool. But first, lets even out the color a bit.

Step 4: Duplicate the Layer / Set Blend Mode

Now duplicate the layer and change the top layer's blend mode to "luminosity".

Duplicating layer and setting Blend Mode in Photoshop

Step 5 : Adjusting Color with High-Pass Filter

From the top menu bar, click Filter > Other > High Pass. Enter 18.0 for the Radius. You can experiment with different radius settings. I normally use a setting between 15-20 depending on the image. The lower the number the more drastic the change.

Adjusting Color with High-Pass Filter in Photoshop

Here's our image after the High Pass Filter has been applied:

Image with High-Pass Filter applied in Photoshop

All four segments have the same color tone. No harsh shadows or highlights. Now to get rid of the seams!

Step 6 : Removing the Seams with the Clone Tool

With the clone stamp tool (formerly known as the rubber stamp tool), you can copy, or clone copies of a portion of an image and paint them onto any other part of the image. The size of the area copied depends on the brush size you select from the brushes pop-up menu on the tool's options bar.

Removing the Seams with the Clone Tool in Photoshop

When cloning, it's always best to use a brush with soft edges (a hard edge brush tends to create even more seams). From the Brush Drop Down Menu, select a 27 pixel diameter soft edge brush.

Photoshop Clone Tool

Now that we've specified the brush size, we're ready for the clone tool. The clone tool icon is located on the tool bar and looks like a rubber stamp. Click the clone tool icon and move your pointer over the image. You should see a circular outline of the brush you selected earlier.

Hold down the Alt key while clicking to pick up, or copy the image data you want to transfer. Then move the pointer to where you want to apply that data and click, or click and drag. A cross-hair will appear to indicate where you are copying from. When you start painting, the cross-hair will be at the spot where you Alt-clicked.

By selecting pixels from random areas on the image, then applying them to the seams, we can blend all four sections of our image together. Here's my image after working with the clone tool for a few minutes:

Image after seams removed using Clone Tool in Photoshop

You can download the new (800x600) seamless tile here. I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.

Browse our collection of Free Seamless Textures, Background and Patterns.