Create a Half-drop Repeat

in Photoshop using Smart Objects

What Makes a Good Pattern

A good pattern design will have a repeat that isn’t immediately noticeable.  It should be hidden amongst the motifs to allow the eye to follow the flow of the pattern, rather than be jolted by an obvious repeat.  So with that, I believe the most important step in pattern design is the actual creation of the repeat.  Yes, colour, motifs, and textures are all very important, but if you can’t get the repeat right, your professional-looking motifs will begin to look amateur. 

So I’m, going to help you up the level of your designs by showing you how to create a half-drop repeat.  

What is a half-drop repeat?

In a half-drop repeat, the artwork is repeated along the horizontal and vertical lines, similar to a square repeat, however, the horizontal repeat is staggered so that the motifs are shifted half the length of the repeat either up or down the vertical line. 

Half-drop repeats are great for concealing the repeat within the artwork whereas full-drop repeats or square repeats can be quite obvious to the eye.  There is a place for both types of repeats depending on what you are designing for, but I love half-drop repeats and use them frequently in my work. 

Example of a Full-Drop/Square Repeat

Example of a Half-Drop Repeat

How to create Half-Drop Repeats in Photoshop using Smart Objects

In this video, I’ll show you how to create half-drop repeats in Photoshop using Smart Objects.  Smart Objects provide a non-destructive way of editing, but with pattern design, I use them as a way of avoiding having to update multiple areas of my sections or blocks.

Be sure to download the written steps here

Over time and with lots of practice you’ll be able to train your eye to spot mistakes and bad repeats.  Maybe try going back through some old pattern designs and see if you could possibly make some tweaks to make them better. If a pattern is not designed properly, the eye will be drawn to the repeat line and the design will lose its quality.

Please do let me know how you go.  What did you find was difficult? Were you surprised at how easy it is?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  If you want to learn more, why not check out my Skillshare class here.  You’ll receive 2 free weeks of Skillshare membership if you’re not already a member.