Adding a Texture to an Image

Welcome back to our discussion on texture. This time we are going to add a texture to a second image. Presumably you have TWO photos in hand, one a processed photo of choice and the second a texture.

Here is my own “before” image:

Original Photo

Original Photo
© 2009 Fran Saunders

Step by step, here is what we are going to do:

  • Open your photograph in Photoshop. Make your post-processing adjustments.
  • You can work with any RGB image: JPG, PSD, TIFF, etc.
  • Note the resolution of your photograph (image/image size and look at the resolution box). Your texture should have the same resolution. So go ahead and open the texture to check the resolution. If they don’t match change one or the other (image/image size/type in new resolution/uncheck resample box/click okay).
  • Now you want to bring your texture into your original photo file. (File/Place/Select Texture File Name/Click Place). Your texture file is now overlaid onto your photograph. You should see a cross on the texture and notches at the corners and the mid-points of each line around the perimeter of your image. Drag the notches to resize your texture so it is the same size as your photograph and then click enter to complete the action. Your texture now fully covers the photograph.
  • Be sure your layers window is visible. Just underneath the tab that says “Layers” you will see a pull down menu box. Normally, the “Normal” name will be showing. These are the blending modes. Click the arrow to the right side of the box and you will see the long list of options you have to “blend” your texture with your photograph. Select one, say “Overlay” and click on it. Whoa, what happened to that photo?
  • How do you pick a blend mode? Yes, sorry, you need to experiment. Different photos and textures react differently when blended. Some have no effect whatsoever, while others offer dramatic transitions. Some that are particularly useful with textures are hard light, soft light, multiply, screen and overlay. But try them all so you know what they’ll do.
  • Many times after blending the effect will appear much too strong and artificial. In this case, look at the menu box just to the right of the blend box. This is the opacity slider. With your texture layer highlighted adjust the slider until you get the effect you want.

The real fun starts when you add more texture layers and adjust opacity to suit to create a truly unique look. If you do add additional textures, after you’ve place them you may wish to turn the layer effect off (click the eye to the right of the layer, click again to turn the effect back on), because sometimes your changes are really slight and may not be worth the larger file size that results from increasing layers. Delete those texture layers you do not want to keep.

In my own “texturized” image I used three different textures, along with my typical levels and curves adjustments. Here’s how it looks:

Texturized Image

Texturized Image
© 2009 Fran Saunders

We’re not really done yet, although it may appear so. Next time we’ll play with ways to remove the texture from parts of your image If you have any questions about what we’ve covered today, do not hesitate to ask, but be sure to save your work first!


About Fran Saunders

I am a photographer located on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I live with my husband and my Yellow Lab, Sam.
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