How to Make a Pattern in GIMP

Written by anne cagle
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How to Make a Pattern in GIMP
You can make pattern files in GIMP (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a free graphics editor that runs natively on GNU/Linux but has binaries for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X. The software is for image editing, such as resizing, image cropping, manipulation and converting between different image formats, like JPEG or TIFF. GIMP has tools like Patterns (.pat) files that users can add to the software either from existing graphics or from images that they create.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Install GIMP on the computer. Download and install the software from the GIMP website. Choose the .exe for Windows and download to the computer. Click on the .exe file which will start the installation process. Choose the specific type of Linux distribution for the computer operating system. Download, for example, a Debian (.deb) for Ubuntu and install in Ubuntu Software Center, through Synaptic Manager, or through a terminal. Choose the type of Macintosh operating system for the computer, such as Snow Leopard.

  2. 2

    Open GIMP and click "Open." Choose an image from computer files. Find an image that is already a background or a pattern image on the hard drive. Use a simple pattern that can easily translate to a repetitive texture, such as floral, or geometric, like squares, circles or triangles. Choose a small file because larger files will not size correctly as a pattern. Size the pattern smaller if the image goes above 150 pixels in Width and 100 pixels in Height. Click on "Image" and then "Scale Image." Make the image into RGB format if the image is not already this type of file. Click on "Image," "Mode" and then "RGB." A RGB format makes it easier to save the file into a .pat because it preserves the red, green and blue settings that make RGB colouring. Choose, as an alternative to filed images, to create a graphic from a blank canvas. Click "New" and use tools, like brushes, patterns and filters to make a new image.

  3. 3

    Modify the image if you want to change the graphic with Filters, Colors, Tools and Brushes. Flatten the image. Click on "Image" and then "Flatten Image."

  4. 4

    Save the image as a .pat file. There are various ways to save a pattern file in GIMP. Save the pattern, for example, in Ubuntu in the User directory. Give yourself access to the root directory by creating a root user account guarded with a password. Be careful in root because this section of the computer changes the computer globally. Log into Root. Click on "File System," "User," "Share," "GIMP," "2.0" and then "Patterns." Move the created .pat file into the patterns folder. Close the directories. Log out of Root, log into the regular user account, and open GIMP. Click on the "Bucket Fill" icon and find the pattern in the drop-down menu. Click on the "Bucket" icon to fill the blank screen. Save .pat files in Windows under the C: directory. Click "C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator.gimp-2.4\patterns\example.pat" with your file name replacing "example". Close this directory. Open GIMP and use the Bucket tool.

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