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Click the pattern that interests you to go to a page of the same and similar patterns in a variety of colours and different looks.
The whole pattern can't be seen in these thumbnails.
Don't trust me on this. When it comes to the crunch, I'm finding it hard to decide where one colour ends and another begins. Blue or green? Cream or yellow? Pink or mauve? If the colour you want isn't where you'd expect it to be, try a neighbouring colour.
A wide range of free backgrounds that can be used on web pages or in ordinary Outlook Express or Windows Mail stationery. There are no "right across the page, picture on the left" stationery backgrounds here. These are all "entire page" backgrounds.
There are a large number of backgrounds that will add less than 1 kilobyte to the file size of your web page or stationery.
These illustrations are links to the pages where you can see tiles as an all-over background and save the tile or tiles that you want. The illustrations are not tiles themselves, and they won't match up properly.
Some large tiles, such as the apple blossom, lace and Christmas tiles, are too big to be shown completely in the link illustration. You'll get a much better idea by going to the page.
Please do play with these backgrounds. This can be a great starting point if you're having trouble thinking up a design. Save a tile and paste it into the program of your choice: Paint, Irfan View, Harm's sTile, PSP or whatever you like. In Paint, replace one colour with another, in Irfan or sTile apply filters, effects and/or colour corrections. Save each changed image with consecutive names:tile01, tile02 and so on.
Even when you begin with a perfectly seamless tile, you'll find that some colour changes will cause lines or edges to appear, in much the same way that "rivers" sometimes form in justified text. Some filters, too, will have the same effect, often very markedly. You just have to decide whether the background still pleases you, or if it looks blocky and needs to be discarded. For some, I kept them, but with others I couldn't hit the undo button fast enough! Whatever, don't be dismayed—the next colour change or the next filter you apply may make that edge disappear. Experimenting is the only way to find out!
It's always better to have a plain writing area on a piece of stationery or a web page. Text can be hard to read if it doesn't contrast with the background, or if the background is busy and distracting.
On these sample pages you can see and compare differences or save any background that you think you may find useful. (When you want to save a background, right click, choose either "Save Background" or "View Background". In the latter case, the tile will appear on a page by itself and can then be copied.)
How to Make Seamless Tiles The whole process, step by step.
Seamless Tiles—How to Cut Detailed explanation of turning a tile inside-out so that edges meet seamlessly.
I almost always draw my first tile in Paint; it's easy to cut, paste, and move things around. For smoothing edges from a photo cut-out, I find PSP the best program to work in.
I paste it into Harm's sTile to make sure that the edges match, then save it in PSP4. PSP lets me save in any 16 or 256 colours, not just those that Paint allows. Then, with the tile still open in sTile, I play with colours, filters and distortions. I find it amazing to see how different a pattern can be made to look just by having its colours changed; some parts of the pattern disappear, while others leap into view. It's great fun to see what will happen when a change is made. I can hardly ever guess!
Sometimes I'll paste it into Irfan View and try the filters and colour changes there. Whichever program I make the changes in, I always copy the ones I like and paste them into PSP4 for saving. If the changes have resulted in more than 16 colours, then I save in 256. With tiny tiles the size doesn't get very big.
The standard rule of "photos must be jpgs" doesn't always apply when saving backgrounds. Occasionally I save a finished tile as a jpg, but only if I want softened edges, or if, on saving the file into both formats, I find the jpg to be smaller on disk or to look nicer.
To look through a whole folder of tiles and see each one as a background, I use AMP Tile Viewer.
Great programs one and all, and apart from the viewer, which is for inspecting finished work, I have them all open at the same time!
Ultimate Paint has a "Symmetry" mode, in which you can draw background tiles and watch them as a background while you work. Given some time, I think this would be really good; I haven't played with the program enough to be sure. So far I haven't found a way, within the program, to save a single tile.
Quite often, without intention, a tile will finish up looking like some kind of cloth: damask, brocade, cotton print, knitting, net or surface embroidery. I found though, that when I wanted to make a background that really looked like a particular fabric, I had to construct my initial picture in the same way that the weaver would've constructed the real cloth. Maybe this is obvious to you; it wasn't to me. I tried and tried to make tartan but it always came out looking like multi-coloured gingham. Ha! On close examination, the top threads go "two over, two under, start the next row one thread further down". This gives a twilled effect, and when I tried it with single-pixel lines instead of threads, it worked well. I think that most of my tartans do look like tartans.
Background tiles are like pots of jam: fun to make, with always the chance that it won't work out as expected—and once you've succeeded, what can you do with them? Here's hoping there's something here that's exactly what you want.
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