Wednesday, January 9, 2013


If you're not already using textures or overlays in your Photoshop workflow, you're missing out on some serious fun! There are LOTS of sites offering texture downloads, some free (one of my favorites is Kim Klassen's Cafe), and others you pay for (like Flourish, Totally Rad, and Flypaper Textures), but for the most part I prefer to use my own. They're not difficult to fact, my very favorites are simply scans of the end papers in old books I have on hand, or handwriting (real or font) on the back of a stained recipe card. And you can make them as subtle or bold as you want.

Here's the original photo...the process works best when you have an open background area like sky or a wall. (Picture this: I spotted this kid running up the dune, and his dad was chasing behind him. There I went, running interference thru the sand with camera in hand, trying to get the shot without the dad in it. Ah, the lengths we go to!)

Here are some of my scans:


And here's the photo using the scans in just a couple variations.

Here's the basic tutorial...some knowledge of Photoshop is essential:

1) Open an image.

2) Open a texture file, copy and paste or drag into original image. If necessary, drag handles to cover the image. (I often add multiple texture layers to one file, turning them on and off to judge the various effects.)

3) With the texture layer selected, go to Blending Mode and choose Multiply, Soft Light, or Overlay.

4) Adjust the layer Opacity as you like.

5) Use the Eraser tool (or a Layer Mask) to remove texture from any areas you want left alone.

For advanced exploration and seemingly endless variations,  adjust the color and/or saturation with Hue/Sat adjustment layer(s).

Let me know if you have any questions!

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