Using Textures

26 posts / 0 new
Last post
Using Textures

Are there scrapbookers or photographers out there who frequently use textures in their layouts/photography? I've tried a few times and generally just don't like the outcome. So, the purpose for this forum topic...

1. Do you have any tips or tricks in how to use them successfully...i.e. blending modes and such?
2. Are there community members out there who would be willing to post some work that they've done using different textures?

Thanks so much! smiley

I often love layouts where the emphasis is just on the photo and a lot of texture and brush work has been added. I don't know how other people talk about this, but I call it Photo Art, and I have a Pinterest board just of layouts using this technique. It is one of my goals to make more layouts like this, and you can see several I made for the Bedouin Nights Kit (link and filter by layout).

One thing that I see repeated often in layouts I like is when the important part of the photo is left relatively untouched and then somehow blended in with the rest which is given more texture/whatever. This techniques allows you to have everything, emphasis and clarity on the important part, and an arty/textured feel to the rest.

Whenever I use a texture, I usually just scroll through the blending modes checking out how they work (if it's highlighted you can just use the keyboard arrows to scroll through quickly). I'm more familiar with some of them than others, and this way I can sometimes find a surprising effect I wouldn't have thought of otherwise. Also, sometimes duplicating the layer and using multiple blending modes can help get just the effect you want (don't forget you can change the opacity of the layer, so the effect isn't so extreme).

I'm going to crawl out from under my little rock, and throw in my two cents, because I. am obsessed. with textures. smiley It's been awhile since I did a forum post including pictures, so hopefully this works right! (For larger/clearer images, these are all designs I've done for my Etsy shop, which is linked to in my profile.)

I don't generally use textures directly on photos, unless I'm trying to make them look as though they were printed on old paper or something similar - I feel it often looks far too heavy-handed otherwise - but I hardly ever do any sort of background without a texture to it! My favorite textures are often more subtle ones, I use old paper textures constantly. (Lost & Taken is my favorite resource for these.) Blending modes vary - I often just play around to see what I like best. Luminosity is always a good place to start! But I find that keeping the opacity less than full, no matter what mode I use, helps keep it from being overwhelming. I'll also adjust the levels on the texture layer, to get the amount of light/dark I want.

It adds just enough of a tangible feeling to make an otherwise glossy-smooth design feel "finished", and a bit more warm and human. In this one, I have the layer mode set to Multiply, but not at full opacity:

If I'm trying to replicate the look of something physical - like vellum layered over other paper, or watercolor - I find textures are a huge help in achieving what I'm looking for! (The layer with the aged-looking splotches was set to Color Burn, since I wanted a hit'n'miss kind of aged look. I also have a pattern overlay on Luminosity on the white scalloped paper shape.)

As an experiment recently, I tried out doing some "watercolor" style. This was a slightly different twist on using a texture..let me see if I can remember how I did it lol. 1) White background. 2) Found a watercolor texture I liked (from this set), and put that on the next layer. 3) Set a layer mask on the watercolor layer, and made it completely black. 4) Took a white brush (probably something from the Wet Media set), set the opacity low, and brushed onto the mask where I wanted the color to appear! ..technically, I think I picked out the flower outlines first, and had those on a higher layer to use as guidelines, but that's the general idea. smiley

Hope that makes sense, and maybe even is helpful to someone! Making things "look old" has been an obsession of mine for yeeaaars, so if anyone ever needs help with that style, feel free to ask!

Also, Marisa: I *LOVE* that style! Way too intimidated to try it, but it's SO gorgeous, I always love looking at it.

Oh wow...what gorgeous creations! I'm totally just to play around and try my hand at some of the techniques. Thanks so much for the tips ladies. smiley

I'm now following both of you on Pinterest and Facebook. Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. smiley

Jerry at Shadowhouse Creations has got zillions of high quality fabulous free textures and even more at a second site called My Second Skin. If you snoop around his site, he also has tutorials and brushes - all free.

Oh wow...can't wait to check them out after I get the kiddos to bed. Thanks for posting the links ladies! smiley

@Tina: Jerry's stuff is fabulous! Another good person for textures is Kim Klassen. She usually sends them out through her newsletter once a week. Needless to say, I'm signed up! I haven't tried them out yet, but I just know I will some day so I made a folder for them...

Ashley, I checked it out and would love to download some resources but wasn't able to find out whether they can be used for commercial purposes. By chance do you know?

Tina, oh my gosh Shadow House Creations has a TON of gorgeous textures AND you can use them for commercial purposes. I really can't wait to get started excited!! Thanks so much for posting the link!

Lizanne, I'll have to check out Kim Klassen as well. smiley

Great links everyone! Thanks for sharing.

Another source of beautiful high quality free textures is Brenda Starr. You can find her on Flickr and also here on Flickr and also here on her blog

I've also downloaded a bunch of Pareerica's textures also on Flickr

Joel Olives offers a lovely set of free textures.

I love textures I use them a lot on my photography, Lizanne mentioned Kim Klassen. I mainly use her just because I love them and they look great with any photo you use them with. She's got a wide variety of textures. It's pretty awesome how much a little bit of a texture can change a photo.

Great sites of textures!!! I love use textures in my papers or photos... Thanks for share this sites!!!

I'm particularly in love with textures, use the PS6, and open the image, and open the texture just above, then use the various ways and options that the program we offer, as sobreposições.Grata by beautifull textures.

Media Militia also has a lot of freebie textures, mostly the 'grunge' type like rusty metals etc. All of them are CU ok.

Off I go to check out more links. Thanks for posting them ladies!! smiley

Melouise, thanks for the fantastic link. There were some things on there that I'd actually been looking for for a while. It's just a bonus that they were there for free! smiley

There is a panel you can add to Photoshop, versions CS5 and CS6 for sure, that lets you add a texture while working in PS. It was developed by Adobe's Russell Brown and 'Fly Paper Textures'. Once you load it, open up the panel and select the texture you want to use, you simply double click on it and PS places it and adds a blending mode to it even!

The script is at

Here is what it says:

"CS5: Texture Panel 1.0.3
Posted 4/22/12

Add textures to images with this great new Panel for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS6. Included with this panel is a wonderful sampler set of textures from Fly Paper Textures.

This new version will now allow you to select a folder of your own textures and load them into the panel. Use the fly out menu to access this new feature. WARNING! If you target a folder containing very large image,s or more than 20 images, then the loading process may take several minutes. Use smaller textures when every possible."

You can set the blending mode any way you like. Give it a try! It streamlines your work if you are accustomed to using some of the same textures frequently. The textures that come with it are from Fly Paper, so, they are real nice! But, as it says above, you can use your own textures, as well. Just pay heed not to use a large file. What I did was select a few of my faves and put them in a folder. Then, I load that folder. Easy-peasy!

When you unzip it, there are instructions for installation.

As for some of my all-time favorite textures, I like those that you all have already mentioned. But, I also like (Each entry may have multiple textures in it.)

There is a DeviantArt account for Hadania, too:

But, my absolute favorite is Smoko-Stock at DeviantArt! You really have to see them. They are art to start with!

Hope you like some of these!


Thanks Su

I'm obsessed with textures as well, can't get enough of them! smiley
I'll usually try out the different blending modes as most people have already said, to see what works.
I'll take a soft eraser brush to remove parts of the texture I don't want applied to my 'subject', varying the opacity as I get closer to the edge of the 'subject'.
I'll usually finish the whole thing off with a nice grayscale overlay of a canvas texture on the whole thing, including the subject. If I can't find a grayscale canvas texture I like, I'll just use what I have and go to image/adjustments/desaturate in photoshop.
You also may want to turn a lot of your textures you're layering into grayscale, because a really warm or cool texture will change the color of your subject.

I've also got lots of free textures saved on my pinterest board HERE

Here's some of my textured images, you can see all of them in my gallery HERE

Dragonfly by Heather Green Photography, on Flickr

Friesian - Textured by Heather Green Photography, on Flickr
(this one is printed out on textured photo paper hanging in my living room.)

Sometimes I'll even finish a textured image off turning the whole thing black and white...

The Turkey Vulture by Heather Green Photography, on Flickr

If you get really into it, a great program is 'Dirty Pictures' from Totally Rad!

Great texture work Heather! Thanks for sharing!

OH my gosh!!! Thank you Heather! I absolutely love textures!!!

Can't wait to check them out. Beautiful creations by the way. smiley

Love your photography.

Wow, these are great resources, everyone.

@Heather, your work is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing some of your techniques with us.

@Marisa, thank you for the link to your Pinterest board. I'm excited to explore it and do some repinning!

Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge ( and the link). This is something I'd like to do more of.

Thank you, Heather. Beautiful work.