Bullman Design


Photoshop Noise Patterns

October 11th, 2011

Adding noise to Photoshop artwork can add much needed texture and realism to your images. For this tutorial, I wanted to show you my favorite way of quickly and easily adding noise with reusable Pattern Overlays.

Bring The (Photoshop) Noise

As with everything in Photoshop, there are several ways to do this. My favorite method utilizes the Pattern Overlay layer style. The main benefit of this technique is in its re-usability. The patterns only have to be set up once and can then be applied quickly and easily.

Step 1

Create a new document 200 px wide by 200 px high at 72 pixels/inch.

Step 2

If it isn’t already, fill the “Background” layer with white. Right-click on the layer and select “Convert to Smart Object”.

Step 3

From the “Filter” menu, select “Noise > Add Noise…”. Set the Amount to 10%, Distribution to “Uniform” and make sure the Monochromatic box is selected. Click “OK”.

Step 4

From the “Edit” menu, select “Define Pattern…”. Name the pattern “Noise 10%” and click “OK”.

Step 5

We’re now going to create several more patterns, each with increasing amounts of noise. Since the layer is a Smart Object, the Noise filter settings can be adjusted easily. In the layers panel, double-click “Add Noise” to re-open the filter settings. Raise the Amount to 20% and click “OK”. Create another pattern, this time with the name “Noise 20%”. Repeating this process, create patterns with noise amounts of 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90%.

Step 6

Now we will create a Pattern Set for our new noise patterns. From the “Edit” menu, choose “Preset Manager”. Choose “Patterns” from the Preset Type. You should see all of the patterns we created along with some default Photoshop patterns. Shift-select all of the noise patterns and click “Save Set…”. Name the set “Noise Patterns” and click “Save”.

Note: I had to close and re-open Photoshop before the new pattern set would show up in the preset list.

Step 7

Now to put those killer new noise patterns to use. To apply the patterns, double-click on a layer to open the Layer Style menu. Select Pattern Overlay from the right-hand menu.

Step 8

Use the arrow on the right side of the Pattern select and choose our new “Noise Patterns” set.

Step 9

Select the pattern of your choosing. Change the Blend Mode to “Multiply” and adjust the opacity to your liking.

Note: The Blend Mode can be adjusted to achieve different results. For darker artwork or colors, try “Color Burn”.


Now you can apply great looking noise texture to any artwork quickly and easily. I have several texture presets and use them all the time using this technique.

Additional Resources

5 Responses to “Photoshop Noise Patterns”

  1. Notimportant says:

    Awesome! A very productive tip! Thanks!

  2. Very smart tutorial. Excellent way to make patterns using smart object!

  3. Jamie says:

    Awesome tutorial, really simple and exactly what I needed. LOUD NOISES!