I’ve been playing a lot with textures lately. It’s something I just recently learned how to do and its been doing a lot to enhance my images and bring out more of my creativity. Once I got it down it doesn’t take long to do and it can really help an image with a less than pleasing background.
The image you’re looking at above was enhanced with a texture I got from Joel Olives Photography. There’s many sources for textures all over the web, some free, some you pay for. I use Joel’s because they are very high quality and I get the look I want very quickly. The original is below.
I didn’t like the background color much at all. This was straight out of the camera with the aperture set to f5.6. I did the best I could to get an attractive green background behind the flower, but the color to me came out in what looked like to me a sickly green.
When I’m faced with a situation like this, I look through my collection of textures to find one that seems most suitable. I look for one that has a color that will either match the existing background in a better shade, or one that will blend in well with it.
In this case I picked one with a darker shade of green, since I felt the original was too light. I also look at the texture itself. Sometimes I want it to be grungy, other times I want something more subtle.
Once I’ve decided on the texture, adding it is very easy. There’s different ways to do it, but the way I do it goes like this:
1. In Photoshop or Photoshop Elements I go to File>Place. This opens a dialogue that allows me to navigate to the texture I want to use. I click on the “Open” button.
2. The texture will then be superimposed over my original image on its own layer. I right click on the layer and in Elements click on “Simplify layer”, or in Photoshop “Rasterize Layer”. I need to do this to be able to add a layer mask if necessary.
3. I stretch out the texture to fit over my image the way I want using the mouse while holding down the left button. There is no need for any special tool to do this.
4. When it’s where I want it I either click on the green checkmark below the image if I’m using Elements. If I’m in Photoshop, I select the “Move” tool and click on the “Place” button that appears.
5. In the layers panel I go to the blending modes and usually select “Soft Light”. “Overlay” and “Multiply” can be useful at times. Experimenting with Opacity slider and blending modes can yield interesting results.
From there I may choose to use a layer mask to paint out the texture or an inverse mask to paint it in. I may choose instead to apply Topaz Adjust or Topaz Simplify to part or all of the image, depending on the effect I want to achieve.
If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section or contact me directly. Joel Olives also has some good tutorials on his website that helped me considerably in learning how to do this.