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I'm a web developer by training who is branching into UI/UX design. One of the things my design work lacks compared to experienced designers is subtle use of texture, such as on these sites: http://www.trendkite.com, http://chartbeat.com

Do designers generally make these patterns from scratch, and if so, what is the best way to go about learning how to create them? The only freely available, subtle patterns I've seen that are as nice as this this are on subtlepatterns.com. I've had an equally difficult time finding tutorials on how to make nice patterns from scratch. Any resources you could point me to would be very helpful.

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It's also not uncommon to find an interesting texture in real life, take a photo of it, and turn that into a repeating texture. Not quite as easy as it sounds as the lighting for the photo has to be extremely flat, and getting it to repeat seamlessly isn't easy (there are tutorials, don't know any off the top of my head), but it's not hugely difficult. Improvising a softbox by holding thin paper in front of a normal bulb is often enough for the photo. –  user568458 Jan 9 '13 at 9:56

3 Answers 3

If you're on a Mac you should check out PatterNodes, it's an app for making custom patterns using a parametric interface that makes it very easy to tweak the result and make something subtle, but your own. http://www.lostminds.com/content/product.php?patternodes

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Hi user33652, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! –  Vincent Nov 17 '14 at 14:35
This doesn't address most of the question and seems to be a spam ad for your product. If so, you need to disclaim that information. –  Ryan Nov 17 '14 at 15:18

The good ones do.

Generally a good designer has a library of custom patterns they refer to. Most "found-on-the-web" patterns are lacking something whether it's good seams, transparency, or whatever. There are some good one's out there (subtlepatterns.com being one of those). But they are rare.

There are millions of tutorials on creating patterns.

Once you understand construction, it's merely a matter of proper artwork and a designer's eye to know what is too much.

In addition, many textures are created by layering various patterns on top of one another. It's helpful to construct transparent patterns with minimalism in mind, then stack them for more complex appearances. This method offers far more versatility when creating.

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what to look for that makes a tutorial more improved? since there are millions of them, one would like to take her/his time with a good one.. :) –  naxa Nov 4 '13 at 18:07

Generally yes, In my experience the designers will create most texture effects like that on their own, if they feel confident they can do it. There are of course alternatives like free image sourcing sites, and paid sites as well like istockphoto.com etc.

When I'm designing a website, I tend to make the textures myself to avoid copyright violations on images. If I see a texture I particularly like I'll always try to recreate it myself before using an already existing image.

Hope that helps somewhat.

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