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Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop

6/23/15, 3:06 PM

Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop
Written by Steve Patterson.
In this Photoshop tutorial, we'll learn how to turn a photo into a pattern of colored
dots using one of Photoshop's filters, a layer mask and a simple repeating pattern we'll
be creating from scratch. I'll be using Photoshop CS5 here but any recent version will
work. However, Photoshop CS6 and CC (Creative Cloud) users will want to check out the
fully updated Turn A Photo Into A Pattern of Colored Dots tutorial.
Download our tutorials as printable PDFs! Learning Photoshop has never been
easier!
Here's the image I'll be starting with:

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/color-dots/

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Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop

6/23/15, 3:06 PM

The original photo.
And here's what it will look like when we're done:

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/color-dots/

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3:06 PM The final result. we see that we currently have one layer .photoshopessentials.the Background layer .Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Let's get started! Step 1: Duplicate The Background Layer With the photo newly opened in Photoshop.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 3 of 24 . if we look in the Layers panel.which is the layer our image is sitting on: http://www.

Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Release your mouse button when the hand cursor is over the New Layer icon. with your mouse button held down. This makes a copy of the Background layer which Photoshop places above the original: http://www. drag the layer down onto the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (it's the icon directly to the left of the Trash Bin): Click and drag the Background layer down onto the New Layer icon.photoshopessentials. Click on the Background layer and. 3:06 PM The original image sits on the Background layer in the Layers panel.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 4 of 24 .

Normally. Photoshop places new layers above the layer that's currently selected (which in our case was the Background copy layer). We can see in the Layers panel that we now have a new blank layer named Layer 1 sitting between the Background and Background copy layers: http://www. 3:06 PM A copy of the Background layer appears above the original. but by holding down the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key while clicking the New Layer icon. we told Photoshop to place the new layer below it instead.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 5 of 24 . Step 2: Add A New Blank Layer Between The Two Existing Layers Hold down your Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key and click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (the same icon we used in the previous step): Hold down Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) and click on the New Layer icon.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. This adds a new blank layer to the document.photoshopessentials.

3:06 PM The new layer appears between the two previous layers.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 6 of 24 . Change the Use option at the top of the dialog box to Black: http://www. Step 3: Fill The New Layer With Black Let's fill the new layer with black which will become the background color for the effect. Go up to the Edit menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choose Fill: Go to Edit > Fill. This opens Photoshop's Fill dialog box.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15.

photoshopessentials. 3:06 PM Change the Use option to Black. Click OK when you're done to close out of the dialog box.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 7 of 24 .Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Nothing will seem to have happened in the document window because the image on the Background copy layer is currently blocking Layer 1 from view. but we can see in Layer 1's preview thumbnail in the Layers panel that we've filled the layer with solid black: Layer 1's preview thumbnail shows that the layer is now filled with black. Step 4: Select The Background Copy Layer Click on the Background copy layer in the Layers panel to select it and make it the active layer: http://www.

com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 8 of 24 . then choose Mosaic: Go to Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic. This may take a bit of trial and error to get things right.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Larger values will create larger squares.photoshopessentials. Step 5: Apply The Mosaic Filter Go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen. 3:06 PM Select the Background copy layer. The Mosaic filter pixelates an image by turning it into a series of solid-colored squares. Make sure you remember the exact value you used because we'll need it again in a moment: http://www. We can set the size of the squares using the Cell Size option at the bottom of the filter's dialog box. smaller squares. so you'll want to set your Cell Size value based on the number and size of the colored dots you want in your final effect. choose Pixelate. I'm going to set my Cell Size value to 20. Smaller values. These squares will eventually become our colored dots.

photoshopessentials. Your image should now look pixelated: http://www.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 9 of 24 .Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. 3:06 PM Remember the value you entered for the Cell Size option. Click OK to close out of the dialog box.

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 10 of 24 . we'll need a new Photoshop document. so go up to the File menu at the top of the screen and choose New: Go to File > New. For that. 3:06 PM The image after applying the Mosaic filter.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Step 6: Create A New Document Let's set our image aside for a moment and create our repeating dot pattern.

Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. hold down Ctrl+spacebar (Win) / Command+spacebar (Mac) on your keyboard to temporary switch to Photoshop's Zoom Tool (your mouse cursor will change into a magnifying glass with a plus sign in the middle).photoshopessentials. then click a few times inside the document to zoom in on it. In my case. 3:06 PM This opens the New Document dialog box. I set my Cell Size to 20 so I'll set my Width and Height options to 20 pixels each. Here. Set both the Width and Height of the document to the same value you entered for the Cell Size option in the Mosaic filter's dialog box. Since your document is most likely very small. This will create a new document that's exactly the same size as the squares in our image. I've zoomed in to 1600%: http://www. Make sure the measurement type is set to pixels. Don't worry about the Resolution value but make sure Background Contents is set to White: Set your Width and Height to the same value you entered for the Cell Size.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 11 of 24 . Click OK when you're done to close out of the dialog box. Your new document will appear on your screen.

photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 12 of 24 . Step 7: Select The Elliptical Marquee Tool Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the Tools panel. then choose the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the list: Click and hold on the Rectangular Marquee Tool. Step 8: Draw A Circular Selection http://www. 3:06 PM Zoom in on your new document to make the next steps easier. so click on the Rectangular Marquee Tool and hold your mouse button down for a second or two until a fly-out menu appears. By default. it's hiding behind the Rectangular Marquee Tool.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. then select the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the fly-out menu.

3:06 PM With the Elliptical Marquee Tool in hand. Step 9: Fill The Selection With Black Go back up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and once again choose Fill.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. click in the very top left corner of the document and. with your mouse button held down. http://www. drag diagonally down to the bottom right corner of the document to draw a circular selection outline. The Use option should already be set to Black since that's what we changed it to last time. drag the outline into position with your mouse. hold down your Shift key. then release your spacebar and continue. so simply click OK to close out of the Fill dialog box. If you need to reposition the selection outline as you're drawing it. hold down your spacebar.photoshopessentials. the edges of the selection outline should touch the edges of the document so it's the same width and height as the document itself: Drag out a circular selection inside the document.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 13 of 24 . just as we did back in Step 3. Holding the Shift key down as you drag will force the selection outline into a perfect circle. When you're done.

The pixel grid is a new feature as of CS4 and is simply a visual aid when you've zoomed into your document.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 14 of 24 . The grid will not appear if you're using Photoshop CS3 or earlier: The document (still zoomed in to 1600%) after filling the selection outline with black.photoshopessentials. you'll see a grid outline (known as the pixel grid) appearing through the black circle. If you're using Photoshop CS4 or CS5 and you've zoomed far into your document as I have. Step 10: Invert The Colors In The Document Go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen. It's not part of the image itself and will disappear when viewing the image at its actual size. choose Adjustments. 3:06 PM Photoshop fills the selection outline in the document with black. then choose Invert: http://www. Press Ctrl+D (Win) / Command+D (Mac) on your keyboard to quickly deselect the area and remove the selection outline.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. so just ignore it.

Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. while the corner areas become black. Step 11: Define The Circle As A Pattern Go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Define Pattern: http://www. making the black areas white and the white areas black: The circle itself is now white. This inverts the colors in the document.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 15 of 24 .photoshopessentials. 3:06 PM Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert.

I'm going to name mine "Circle 20x20" since the size of my document is 20 px by 20 px. 3:06 PM Go to Edit > Define Pattern. Step 12: Add A Layer Mask To The Background Copy Layer Switch back over to your main document and make sure the Background copy layer is selected in the Layers panel.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 16 of 24 . so it's a good idea to include the size of the document in the name: Give the pattern a name. You may end up creating more circle patterns. but Photoshop has now saved the document as a pattern. Photoshop will pop open a dialog box asking us to name the new pattern. It won't seem like anything happened. There's no need to save it. Click OK when you're done to close out of the dialog box.photoshopessentials. Click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel: http://www. so choose Don't Save when Photoshop asks if you want to save the document before closing it.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. all at different sizes. Give the pattern a descriptive name. You can close out of your circle document at this point since we no longer need it.

Notice that the thumbnail has a thin highlight border around it.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. This tells us that the layer mask itself is selected: A layer mask thumbnail appears on the Background copy layer. nothing will seem to have happened in the document. This time.photoshopessentials. 3:06 PM With the Background copy layer selected.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 17 of 24 . click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Again. Step 13: Fill The Layer Mask With The Circle Pattern Once again go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Fill. change the Use option from Black to Pattern: http://www. but a white-filled layer mask thumbnail appears on the Background copy layer in the Layers panel. letting us know that we've added the layer mask.

Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. It should be the last thumbnail in the list. 3:06 PM Change the Use option to Pattern. Choose the circle pattern we just created by clicking on its thumbnail. the name of the pattern will appear when you hover your mouse cursor over the thumbnail: Click on the circle pattern's thumbnail to select it. http://www. Click on the Custom Pattern preview thumbnail to select the pattern you want to use: Click on the Custom Pattern thumbnail. This opens the Pattern Picker. If you have Tool Tips enabled in Photoshop's Preferences.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 18 of 24 .photoshopessentials.

Each dot in the image is made up of a single solid color thanks to the Mosaic filter we applied earlier.photoshopessentials. 3:06 PM Click OK once you've selected your pattern to close out of the Fill dialog box. I'll zoom in closer to the image so we can see the effect more easily.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Photoshop fills the layer mask with the circle pattern.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 19 of 24 . The black area surrounding the circles is from Layer 1 below the image (which we filled with black back in Step 3): http://www. and our image is now made up of a pattern of colored dots: The image after filling the layer mask with the repeating circle pattern.

com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 20 of 24 . we can enhance the effect a little by increasing color saturation in the image.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel: http://www. 3:06 PM A closer view of the effect. Step 14: Add A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer (Optional) As an optional final step.photoshopessentials.

And with that. The further you drag to the right. I'm going to increase my saturation to +20: Drag the Saturation slider towards the right to increase color saturation in the image. For Photoshop CS3 and earlier users. the controls for the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer will appear in the Adjustments panel. a Hue/Saturation dialog box will pop open on the screen.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 21 of 24 . we're done! Here. In either case. increase the color saturation in the image by clicking on the Saturation slider and dragging it towards the right. the more saturated the colors will become. 3:06 PM Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon. after boosting color saturation. is my final "photo to colored dots" result: http://www. click OK to close out of the Hue/Saturation dialog box. Photoshop CS4 and CS5 users can leave the Adjustments panel open. Choose a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer from the list that appears: Choose Hue/Saturation from the list of adjustment layers. For Photoshop CS4 and CS5 users. If you're using Photoshop CS3 or earlier.photoshopessentials.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15.

com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 22 of 24 . 3:06 PM The final result.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15. And there we have it! That's how to turn a photo into a colored dot pattern with Photoshop! Get all of our Photoshop tutorials as printable PDFs! Download them today! Adding Fireworks To A Photo With Photoshop http://www.photoshopessentials.

Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 23 of 24 . 3:06 PM Bourne Ultimatum Color and Motion Blur Effect With Photoshop Create A Starry Night Sky In Photoshop Image Resolution And Print Quality Placing Multiple Images In Text With Photoshop Understanding Layer Masks In Photoshop The Quick Selection Tool In http://www.

com/photo-effects/color-dots/ Page 24 of 24 .photoshopessentials. 3:06 PM Photoshop http://www.Photo To Colored Dot Pattern With Photoshop 6/23/15.