Cycles’ material nodes are a great and easy tool to make funky, colourful patterns. The nodes we will be focusing on are the ColorRamp node, the MixRGB node and the texture nodes. So to make these patterns yourself, basic knowledge of Blender is required.
A basic setup.
Open up blender. Delete everything. Create a plane, go to top view and align the edges of your camera view with the edges of the plane. Now you can use the rendered view to see what your pattern looks like.
Create a shader for the plane. Connect an emission shader to the material surface output. Then, choose any texture node you like. Connect it to the emission node. Put a ColorRamp node in between and change the interpolation mode between stops to constant. Play around with the texture and ColorRamp parameters.
With the interpolation mode set to constant, we get sharp edges between our knots on the gradient. However, sometimes you’ll still notice some soft edges. You can clamp these out by adding an extra ColorRamp in between.
Layering with MixRGB.
The MixRGB node can then be used to layer or mix between different texture types.
Try out several blend modes. With the mix factor set to 1, the add operation will add the white parts of color input 1 on top of color input 2.
Multiply will do the same, but with the black parts of color input 1.
Another way to mix is to use a texture as mix factor. With the blend mode set to mix, Color 1 will be mapped to the black values, color 2 to the white values of the mix texture.
Using these methods, different textures can be layered endlessly. It’s a very easy and quick way to make vivid patterns. You can download an example .blend file here. Have fun!