How to make seamless tiles

When I first started doing pixel art I always had a tough time making seamless tiles in my backgrounds. When I would try to make a tilemap for a game it would have obvious repeating patterns and it looked bad. My solution was to try to line things up in my mind and a lot of trial and error until I got something that looked nice. That process was tedious and I knew there had to be a better way.

Nowadays I use this technique. It is an easy 6 step process and it does not require any specific tools or programs. I will be using 100×100 pixel tiles to make it easy to see but this technique works with any size. I will also keep the pixel art simple and exaggerate things. This way it is all easy to see what I am doing.

The 6 steps to seamless tiles.

  1. The first thing you obviously need is a tile. Let’s say I want to make a field of flowers in a tile map game. I may start with something like this.
    Flower Tile 1
  2. If I tile these together I will get something like this. It is easy to see the repeating pattern here and that makes it look bad.
    Flower Tile 2
  3. At this point I will cut out a new tile of the same size from the intersection of 4 of these tiles. I added black lines so it is easy to see what I am doing.
    Flower Tile 3
  4. Now I have something like this to work with.
    Flower Tile 4
  5. At this point I touch up the tile and maybe change a few things around to make it look nice as a single tile. Try to stay away from the edges if you can help it.
    Flower Tile 5
  6. Then I put the new tiles together and I get this. It already looks a lot better and you cannot easily tell were one tile starts or ends.
    Seamless tiles

That is how I make seamless tiles. Sometimes I will even repeat steps 3 to 6 and fine tune how I want it to look. No need for any fancy tools like Adobe Photoshop and so far, it has worked for everything I wanted to do.

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