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How I use and apply textures to my images

I love textures, they give a special touch/atmosphere to an image and I use them in almost every artwork I create.
In my previous post I shared 10 free textures to download and now I want to share with you how I use textures in my works. These are the steps I go through when applying textures to an image in photoshop, let’s go!

Find the right texture
First of all I go through my texture library to find out which texture I want to use. This is the hardest and longest part of the process, I try lots of textures before chosing the right one for one particular image.

Color or black and white
I normally work with desaturated textures but colored ones are also a great choice (first image above). I have lots of colored textures so I normally desaturate the one I chose before applying it to the image. Once desaturated I can also give it a special color tone if needed.

Blending modes
Photoshop has lots of blending modes and I usually go through all of them before chosing one. The ones I use more often are:

  • multiply
  • screen
  • soft light
  • overlay

I often duplicate the texture layer as well so I can use different blending modes of the same texture in order to get the result I want.

Turn around and invert
Like I normally do with images as I wrote in this post I always turn around the texture to check which side looks better on the image. I also invert the texture (cmd-I) to see if it can give a different look to the image. This is particularly useful for some textures with grain and scratches.

Strength of texture
I work on the texture to make it match my image by working on these elements:

  • opacity – with the opacity slider
  • light – I add a curve over the layer to darken or lighten the texture as needed
  • layer masks – to erase part of the textures from the image (or the other way around: inverting the mask and adding the texture where I want)

Above, below and multiple
I apply the texture above the main image to make it match the visual style I’m trying to create but I also apply it sometimes below the main image and reveal only some parts with a layer mask. I generally use two or more textures on my images, sometimes I take just a tiny part of a texture so I’m not afraid of piling up layers when I’m creating.

Hope this was helpful!
Happy texture!

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