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Thread: Photoshop: fill layer with pattern or use pattern overlay?

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    SJS
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    Question Photoshop: fill layer with pattern or use pattern overlay?

    New mapmaker here. In making maps, there are several times when I might want to have a separate layer with a pattern filling to create various effects.

    There seem to be two methods. I might create a new layer, then Edit > Fill with the desired pattern. Alternatively, I can use the desired pattern as a pattern overlay. I could be wrong about this, but with the ability to control the layer's opacity and blending modes, many similar effects could be achieved. However it may be that overlays work differently on the pixels in the layer (e.g., colored white, gray, or black) than the fill would. I also presume it is possible to only have one pattern overlay (per layer) but one can fill a layer with many patterns by Edit > Fill (should one want to).

    I feel like pattern overlay gives me more flexibility. At least, I find it convenient to go into the Layer Style and preview different opacities, blending modes, or swap out patterns. Also, this seems to be the only place one can adjust the scale of the pattern. I also like the ability to try turning off the pattern by clicking on the layer style's eye icon in the layers panel, while keeping everything else about the layer intact.

    I guess what I'm asking the maestros out there is: is this just 2 ways to accomplish the same thing (with a different option or two here or there) or is this a fundamental decision one should be making depending on the function the pattern will have in the overall work?

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    Photoship? Oops. Maybe a mod can fix my thread title. I also wish I'd titled this Photoshop: fill layer with *pattern* or use pattern overlay.


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    It's done

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    Quote Originally Posted by - Max - View Post
    It's done
    Quick! Thank you.

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    I find that the overlay gives me much more flexibility - particularly as you can resize the pattern. You can get a few extra options with the edit / fill by pressing Ctl-Shift-F immediately after laying down the pattern (allows for changing opacity and blend mode).

    The edit / fill commits the action and you can only go back and change it much further down the line if you have saved history, whereas the layer style you can change at any time.

    I'm sure there must be good reasons to use the edit/fill for patterns in terms of putting stuff on the same layer and blending it in with the pattern, but off hand I can't see how they would help with the way I map, but that's just me.

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    Thanks ravells. This was the sense I had based on limited experience.

    Do you think the same story applies to filling with color vs. a color overlay? It's funny, I am more likely to fill with color vs. use a color overlay, and more likely to use a pattern overlay than fill with a pattern - but this would be inconsistent unless I'm not understanding something. I have to play around more with color overlays to see what the disadvantages might be...

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    The way I do things is if I want something coloured, (like for example, a piece of land) I'll draw the outline of it and then make a new layer for the colour. I then set that new layer to Multiply and I find that that works well as well. I don't tend to use colour overlay because I find that sometimes changes the colour a bit. I only ever use overlays for patterns and textures like you mentioned before
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    The only problem with overlays vs. fills is you can't adjust the hues, contrast etc. of the overlay, but once you get the basics set its easy enough to merge it down and then adjust anything you need to. I usually use layer masks for the colored sections so its about the same either way using a color overlay or simply changing the color of the whole layer.
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    Ahs yes, madcow has the right of it. Also, if you were going to use a filter, the overlay wouldn't work, but as madcow says, you could always merge down and then apply the filter but sometimes that won't work depending on your layer construction and blend modes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravells View Post
    Ahs yes, madcow has the right of it. Also, if you were going to use a filter, the overlay wouldn't work, but as madcow says, you could always merge down and then apply the filter but sometimes that won't work depending on your layer construction and blend modes.
    Good point about applying a filter. I hadn't thought of that limitation.

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