Sunday, 6 July 2014

Techniques For Creating Custom Textures In Photoshop

Textures are everywhere - the concrete of the sidewalk, the fabric on the chair, even the glass (or plastic) surface of the screen you are looking at right now. It is natural textures appeal to us because we see and feel every day. And no wonder why textures have become an important element in the design - so important, in fact, that I want to share with you the tips and tools to create your own textures with Photoshop.

Photoshop is not just for image retouching or photo manipulation. It can be used for much more, such as creating your own textures - as long as you know where to look. In this article, I will introduce a base of techniques to help you build custom textures. I will go over three features that I rely on Photoshop to do most of my texturing - filters, layer styles and brushes. Before we jump in, I want to demonstrate the importance of textures. Consider the following picture:

In the image above, we see a scene without textures. (OK, there is a texture, flat gray. Without at least a texture, the image would not exist.) The second image (right) shows a fully textured scene (the wood under the surface of the dusty table cloth in the chair, etc...) in fact, this entire image was created in Photoshop (without the use of external images), using many of the techniques described in this article. Note that this article explores how to create textures, but if you are interested in learning more about the use of texture as a design element, a bit of further reading is included at the end of this article.

Textured with filters 

Filters are still seen by many as cheap tricks that have no real application function in Photoshop. (I know, I used to be on that side of the fence.) Conversely, Photoshop filters are very powerful effects, when used properly, can produce some amazing results. If the filters are not part of their normal workflow in Photoshop, I encourage you to take another look at these understated effects and use the following tips to get started.

Apply a filter to a filter

Nobody ever said that you can apply a single filter. Instead, try adding a second or third or more. Experiment with various filters and see how they interact with each other to create new effects. Panel Filter Gallery (Filter → Filter Gallery) even has a stack of filters where you can get a preview of how various filters work together. The following image shows how the craquelure filter becomes much more interesting; simply by applying the crosslinking filter through the Filter Gallery.

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