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A Very Basic Guide to Textures

First off what do textures do? Well, things like this…

music-mountains
drive-in-liqour

yellowstone

Some are more subtle than others, obviously! So how do you add them to your photos? The easiest way is to use textures that other people have created. Some are free and some you need to pay for but either way this is what you need to do with them once you’ve downloaded them:

1. Open both the texture and the photo you want to edit in Photoshop. Click on the photo and check it’s dimensions.

2. Change the dimensions of the texture so that it’s as close to the same size as you can get it ( you can uncheck the constrain proportions box if you need to).

3. Still with the texture selected (rather than the photo) press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A (or go to file, select all) and little running lines should appear around the texture.

4. Press Ctrl+C or Cmd+C (or go edit, copy).

5. Select the photo and press Ctrl+V or Cmd+V (or go to edit, paste). The texture will be pasted over the photo so all you’ll see is the texture and not the photo underneath. Don’t worry you’ll bring the photo back in a moment!

6. With the texture layer still highlighted select the opacity in the bottom right corner of the layers tool box. Move the opacity from 100 down towards 0 until the texture looks the way you want it.

And that’s it! It’s pretty straight forward. Play around with a variety of images, textures and opacities to see what you like best. You can put more than one texture on one photo and you can still do other bits of editing such as converting to black and white, playing with the levels, or adding the built in Photoshop filters.

Here are a few sites to for some free textures to get started with:

Essence of a Dream (on Flickr)

CG Textures

Texture Warehouse

Gallerie 1 – this one’s in German but simply click on the blue links at the top of the page to browse the textures.

There are literally hundreds of other sites too, try searching Google or Flickr for “free textures” and you’ll find no end of choice. Remember to check the terms of use, some are royalty free others are under creative commons licenses of various kinds. So have fun, mess around, and let us know in the comments if you find a favourite texture!

Ray Davis

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