Playing With Textures

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Adding textures to photographs seems to be all the rage lately, doesn’t it? No fewer than five different photography sites that I’ve perused this week have featured themes relating to textures.

Being the joiner that I am, I thought I’d play around with some textures, myself. I’ve never worked with them before this, so I was curious to see what kinds of effects I could achieve.

Upon researching the technique of applying a texture, I was pleased to find that it’s a relatively easy trick with layers. I used Photoshop CS3 to open the texture file and copy the texture image, then opened the file I wished to apply the image to, and pasted the texture image on top of it. It helps if both of the images are the same size – otherwise you have to fiddle around with changing the layer to a smart object, then using “free transform” to re-size and place it. Alternately you could just re-size the texture image before copying and pasting it.

On the Layers Panel, I changed the layer from “Normal” to “Overlay”. Then it was just a matter of fiddling with the opacity until the image looked the way I wanted it. Finally, I flattened the image to merge the layers together.

Here is the original image I started with, straight out of the camera – plain, kind of boring. I like trees, and I was trying to capture how blue the sky was that day. Hey, sometimes you photograph fascinating stuff, and sometimes you don’t, right?

20091017_Flagstaff_0054

I chose a texture from the Vintage Texture Pack from Design Reviver. Following the instructions as outlined above, I applied the texture overlay at 35% opacity, and this was the result:

texturedpines

I thought it was kind of cool. Of course, the successful application of textures depends completely on wisely choosing the type of texture to apply to a given photo. Certain things work together, others don’t. I could easily spend a few hours fiddling around, applying different textures to different photos to see what works.

In my next entry, I’ll describe how to create your own textures!

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