Today’s blog is a tutorial on the use of textures. Often we see texture added to images of flowers or landscapes with bland skies. Although these types of images are awesome for texture use, for this tutorial, I will demonstrate how a texture can also add character to portraits. I will be using an image I took for a newly engaged couple.
In this tutorial I will also be featuring Joel Olives textures. Joel creates his beautiful textures, overlays, and bokeh overlays monthly. I joined Joel’s Texture Club in February and over the past 7 months, I have received hundreds of incredible textures. Joel also shares his methods and provides a blending action on his site as well. If you are interested in Joel’s textures, follow the link and use DENISE20, to receive a 20% discount on your purchase!
Here is a sampling!
Because they are high resolution, they can be used to enhance any image without worrying about pixilation or degradation.
At first blush, the thought of incorporating textures may be overwhelming, particularly with so many options. But actually, it is pretty easy and once you get the hang of it, it can be done in minutes. The tutorial will seem long, but that is because it includes loads of images (so you know where to look for things), as well as multiple techniques on how to achieve different types of blending effects. In the end, this tutorial will provide you with a step by step process to get your creative juices flowing.
So let’s get to it!
First, start by opening your image and making any adjustments you may feel are necessary (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc). For the image I selected, I needed to make sure the doorframe was straight and I corrected any lights/darks, as well as enhanced her beautiful eyes. Now that my image is ready, its time to add a texture.
There are a number of ways to add a texture to an image. I will show you the two ways I use most often.
1) File/Place/Select File/Place
This technique will bring the image in as a new layer and already have the transform feature activated so you can scale it to fit the background layer. When scaling the texture layer, you may decide to scale one for one (to fit exactly on the background) or you may decide that you want it to be bigger than the background. This may be the case, when you have selected a texture you really like, but for a particular image, the edges are too dark.
In the texture layer, left click on the texture image and drag to the image you are working on. Before unclicking, hold the shift key. This will drop the layer in a new layer and scale it to the background directly. Should you wish to change the scaling, as noted in #1, just choose Edit/Free Transform (⌘ T or Ctrl T – PC). This will allow you to scale the layer (texture) to your liking.
For this image, I selected jo-tc-aug-2013-13 from Joel Olives August 2013 Textures.
To get the image in to my working file, I chose option #1 from above.
For me, the texture opens in to Camera Raw. This gives allows me to make changes to the texture prior to inserting it in to my working file. For this texture, I added a little Clarity and Vibrance, then I hit ok.
As you can see, the texture definitely needs some scaling! The great thing about Joel Olive textures is that they are high resolution, so scaling this texture to fit my image will not degrade the texture (and therefore, will not degrade my image) at all.
To rotate just the texture layer, select Edit/Transform/Rotate 90°CW.
Next drag your corners out until the meet the edge of your background images. The texture will lock in. If you wish, you can also drag the end texture layer out further. For this particular image and this texture, I like the dark edges with the leaf pattern, so I am sticking with a one to one ratio.
There are a couple of ways to blend in a texture.
1) Manipulate the Opacity slider
2) Use Blending Mode
Here is the result using #1 (Opacity slider) – This result is not very pleasing and to truly see your background image the opacity of the texture would have to be so low, as to not even feel like a texture.
To make this technique work, you would need to add a Layer Mask and then mask the texture out of areas, such as her face and arms. Using a Layer Mask for this can be difficult and requires multiple brushes, at various opacities, often leaving a “hard” edge. Using the Blending modes and the techniques discussed below will give a more subtle and even feel to the texture.
Here is the result using #2 (Blending layers) – This result is miles ahead of just using the Opacity slider. You can use a number of Blending modes to achieve the result you are seeking (Overlay, Soft Light, Screen for a lightened effect, even Multiply for a dark edgy feeling).
For this tutorial, I chose Soft Light.
Next you can soften the effect of the texture by changing the opacity. I changed the texture layers opacity from 100% to 75%. As you can see, the background image is more prominent, but I have lost those beautiful eyes and her skin looks dirty and uneven from the texture. We are going to fix that next!
Once the texture is in place, you can manipulate it using Layer Adjustments.
You can use any adjustment from the Layer Adjustments menu (Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Levels, Curves, etc). These adjustments are personal preference and based on the image to which the texture is being added.
For this image, I chose to make a Levels adjustment, to slightly darken the texture layer.
In order to have my Layer Adjustment only impact the texture layer, I must associate the adjustment to the texture directly, as indicated by the downward-pointing arrow on the adjustment layer. To link layers (this technique links any layers/adjustments) hold the Alt or Option (PC) and however over the layer you want to link (in this case, the Level Adjustment). You will see a downward-pointing arrow appear, left click your mouse and the adjustment will be attached. To remove, just repeat these steps.
If you do not link your adjustment to the texture, the adjustment will after both the texture and any layers beneath. This might be what you want, but if not, the linking technique will be your solution.
At this point, there is a decision to make.
Do you want the subject matter (in this case the face, eyes, and skin) to retain the some texture or no texture at all. Depending on your preference and the image to which you are adding a texture, there is different method for each.
First we will see the technique that retains some texture…
Start by hiding the adjustment layer (click on the eye), then select the texture layer and change the blending back to Normal and increase the opacity back to 100% (all temporary).
Now, choose the Color Picker tool.
With the color picker, left click on the texture, looking for a medium tone.
This color/tone will become the Foreground color.
Once you have made this selection, change the texture Blending mode back to Soft Light, the opacity back to 75% and click the eye on the adjustment layer.
Select the Brush tool (B). Use a soft edged brush and set the Brush opacity to an opacity that is pleasing. For this image, I chose 70%.
Left click on the texture and then with the brush tool, paint over the areas of the texture that you want the background image to be more prominent (show through).
Since we “placed” the texture, when you go to paint, you will get the following message.
Just select OK and then begin painting.
For this tutorial, I have “lessened” not removed the texture from her face, eyes, hair, and left arm. To show the difference, I have not removed the texture from her right hand. However, were I to “finish” this image with the option, I would have likely lessened the texture in her right arm as well. You can still see some texture on her fact and left arm, however it is not as intense.
Next lets look at the technique to remove the texture from her altogether, while leaving the underlying tone of the texture behind.
For this technique, you will need to create a New Photoshop file. You will only use this temporarily, so there is no need to Save it.
After you hit OK, you will get a White background layer. First thing we need to do is Fill it with color (any color). To do this, select Edit/Fill and under Contents Use: choose Color. The color picker tool will come up, pick a color and choose OK. Then choose OK to fill.
Next choose the Healing Brush Tool.
Now, holding the ALT or Option (PC) key down, click anywhere on the color image. Your brush will change to the sampling tool.
This “loads” the Healing Brush.
Once you have completed this step, return to your working image. Make sure the Healing Brush is still selected and click on the texture layer.
Start brushing out the texture (even though the brush is a color). It will look like you are coloring on your image, but you are not. I promise, just keeping brushing, stopping every so often (for larger images) to let the Healing Brush process. Remember, you are not painting with this brush.
Here is a close up of the process. Here I am about halfway done. You can see that her skin tone and his are the same, but the texture is completely gone. You may see that the Healing Brush leaves some color… no fear, just brush over the area again and it will disappear.
Now for the final image (I am sticking with the “no texture” option).
Remember, every choice I made in this tutorial, was just that a choice. There are many ways to incorporate textures in to your images… let your imagination guide you. 🙂