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Texture overlays in Adobe Photoshop by John Edwards
Submitted By: Pat Date: January 29, 2010, 7:52 PM Views: 712

Texture overlays in Adobe Photoshop
by John Edwards

Since I started producing images with texture overlays I've had many requests for information on how I produce the images.

This short tutorial is based around one of my images titled "Purple Rain" and uses a base image of an anemone photographed against a grey background plus four texture images. All images are the same dimensions.

Textures can be found by doing a search via Google for "Free textures" or you can use either or . Both sites have some very useful textures.

Step 1
First we need to open the photograph we will use for the subject of the image, in this case a pink anemone flower photographed against a grey background as shown below in fig.1:

Step 2
The first thing we need to do with this image is to convert the background to a layer. In the layer palette double click on the background and a "New Layer" dialogue box will appear as in fig. 2. Enter the name "Flower" and click ok

Step 3
The next step in the process is to extract the flower from the grey backgroung. This can be done in several ways such as using the eraser to remove the grey, using the magic wand tool to select the grey and then deleting it or by use of the "Extract" filter. Once the flower was extracted it was repositioned higher in the frame to improve composition. See fig. 3 below.

Step 4
Next we open the first of our texture images which in this case is bright green! I know the final image is purple so we'll change the colour later.

Position the flower and texture images side by side as in fig. 4.

Make the texture image active by clicking on it and then select the move tool from the tools palette. Click somewhere in the texture image and still holding the mouse button down drag across to the flower image. Hold the shift key down and then release the mouse button. Close the texture file.

We now have our first texture layer in the flower image. See fig. 5. Holding the shift key down before releasing the mouse button centres the new layer in the image. Note! In the example below I've not done this so that you can see both layers.

Double-click on the texture layer and rename it texture 1 and then drag it below the flower layer in the layer palette so that it becomes the bottom layer.


Step 5
We now open the second of our texture images which is some water droplets on a blue background that has had motion blur applied to simulate falling rain (see fig. 6) and move it to the flower image as in the previous step. This texture layer should be renamed Texture 2 and be positioned above the first texture layer. In the layer palette change the blending mode to "Multiply". Close the texture file.

Step 6
Next we open our third texture image of some crumpled paper (see fig. 7) and again move the layer to our flower image. This layer is renamed "Texture 3" and is positioned as the third layer in the layer stack just below the flower layer. Change the blending mode of the new texture layer to soft light.

Step 7
Now we change the colour of the image. From the layer menu select "New Adjustment Layer" and then "Hue/Saturation". Set the Hue to +131 and the Saturation to +3 leaving the Lightness at 0 as in fig. 8

This layer is positioned above the texture layers and below the flower layer.

Step 8
It's time to add our final texture layer which is an photograph of some cracked mud (fig. 9).

This is moved to the flower image as we did before and positioned at the top of the layer stack above the flower layer. Rename it "Texture 4" and in the layer palette set the blending mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 48%. (See fig. 10)

Step 9
Our image is almost complete but the flower is now a little dull and muted. To brighten and lift the flower slightly selct the flower layer in the layer palette and then select "Duplicate" from the layer menu and click ok when the "Duplicate Layer" dialogue box appears. Using the layer palette move this duplicate layer to the top of the layer stack. Change the blending mode to Overlay and the Opacity to 55% (See fig. 11). The image is now completed (see fig.12)

If your first attempts at texture overlays are not successful it is worth repeating with different texture images. By experimentation and experience you'll find which textures work best for the subject and the effect you want to achieve.

If you want to try the technigue using the images I used then a zip file containing lo-res copies of the four texture files plus the flower cut-out is available here.

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Steve Randles
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March 3, 2010, 10:17 AM
Nice tutorial John.


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