Photoshop textures

by Design Workshop Sydney

Blending a photograph with a texture is a great way of adding an artistic punch to an otherwise ordinary image. This is one of the many techniques we explore in our Adobe Photoshop training courses.photoshop-texture
You can get interesting textures from almost anywhere: sand, soil, leaves, rocks, clouds, wood grain, rust, fabric – just about anything in the natural world has some interesting texture you can utilize in your creative explorations.
Open your chosen image and texture in Photoshop. To see them side by side go to Window > Arrange > Tile, or Cascade. Then copy the texture into the image by selecting the Move tool and simply dragging & dropping the texture across into your photo. Note that this has created a new layer on top of the photo. Close the texture image, and save your photo as a PSD (Photoshop default file) – this will save your layers in a working file. You will need to zoom out and resize the texture by going to Edit > Free Transform, or Ctrl+D (Mac: Cmd+T).
Note the field with Normal on the top of your layers panel – this is the default for most layers, meaning that the image is fully opaque and the underlying layers are hidden. The rule of layers is that the topmost layer is closest to the eye. But we can change how this layer interacts with those below it by changing the Blending Mode. Click on the drop-down arrow beside the word Normal to see the list of layer blending modes.
On the Windows version of Photoshop we simply choose the next mode down (Dissolve) and use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the list of blending modes. On the Macintosh version you’ll need to hold down the Shift+Option keys and hit the plus or minus buttons on your keyboard.
Dissolve doesn’t do much, simply fracturing the edges of the image. Multiply is good but a bit dark. Screen is better but perhaps too light. Overlay is a good choice. Soft Light and Hard Light are also good – these 5 modes are generally the best, but try them all. You can also adjust the opacity of the effect on the top right of the layers panel.
If you want to keep the original photo’s colours you could add a Desaturate adjustment layer and click the small arrow button so that it only affects the layer immediately below it (ie. the texture). Or change the Hue by adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
You could also try a variation by inverting the texture: Image > Adjustments > Invert. Or rotate the layer for another variation: Ctrl+T again. You could also add a Gaussian Blur form the Filter > Blur options.
Many more tips and techniques can be found at the Adobe website. And see many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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