I've created a repeating tile pattern in Illustrator that I hoped - when saved to swatches - I'd be able to access and use in Photoshop. I've realised this is not possible (via swatches)

The pattern is a repeating hand gesture icon with a transparent background. I want to use this over layers filled with solid colour (so that the pattern is visible).

I've been playing around with different ways to transfer and use this pattern in Photoshop while preserving the quality of Illustrator.

One way I've tried is to copy and past the pattern straight from Illustrator into Photoshop. This preserves the vector format. However, this then means pasting multiple copies of the pattern from Illustrator onto the Photoshop document and lining them up so that they are a repeated pattern. Time consuming!

The other method I've tried is creating the pattern in Photoshop (using the original hand gesture icon and creating the pattern in the same method I used in Illustrator), and adding it as a pattern overlay to a layer. Here is the finished result: enter image description here

As you can see, the pattern is pixelated. I understand that Ps uses Bitmap, and Illustrator vector, but is there any way to create a pattern in Photoshop that won't reduce the image quality? I want to use the pattern overlay option as this allows me to scale the pattern after placing it in the document.


  • 1
    Some hints: Check the document size. Your pattern will never get sharper than the resolution of your document allows. (Which zoom level is the screenshot made at? Is it 100% or have you zoomed in?) Which size was the pattern made to begin with?
    – Wolff
    Feb 4, 2020 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Use the copy/paste/create pattern method for Photoshop.

And since it's simple one-color artwork, paste the artwork as a Shape Layer.

Do this larger than normal, in a high resolution document. In other words, paste your hand into a large 300PPi Photoshop document as a Shape Layer and then define the pattern.

By doing this you create a high resolution pattern in Photoshop.

  • Thanks Scott! Can I still change the colour of a shape layer in Photoshop at a later time, should I choose to?
    – Molly
    Feb 5, 2020 at 8:37
  • @Molly Once you paste in the shape, choose Edit > Define Custom Shape It'll then be a custom shape you can reuse any time changing it's color if desired and then regenerating a pattern using that new color if you need.
    – Scott
    Feb 5, 2020 at 11:05

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