You CAN create your own texture layers right on your desktop.
This past year I ventured into a different type of photography work. Based on the work of some long gone Dutch painters such as Vermeer, I set out to create work that presented my impression of local scenery.
I had already made a number of images of the various tourist spots around town, local events and other commonly appreciated views, so now it was just a matter of blending these images with the appropriate texture layers to make the pictures complete.
After capturing the scene with the DSLR, I needed to ad layers (sometimes many) in order to bring the image closer to what I had envisioned in my mind. This would involve either gathering texture files from online sources, photographing natural objects and uploading the files and now, creating my own textures in Photoshop.
Lets look at a method of how to create texture in Photoshop for layering with your images.
Keep in mind that this is my method, and will probably gather its share of doubters and critics. So use it as you wish and feel free to alter any of the steps to your satisfaction.
First off, I set the size of the image at a respectable 3000 x 2400 pixels at 72ppi with a white background.
I then create a second empty layer, and fill it with the base colour for the texture layer I have in mind.
With a variety of brushes loaded in the brushes palette, I’ll pick a tone similar to the base colour already used to fill the new layer. I may then randomly apply brush strokes on the layer or on a layer above it. This give me an idea of what I will get somewhere down the road, but it is my now means fixed in stone.
As I slowly add brush strokes, I’ll change up the brush and add some variety so they don’t start to form a pattern or look man-made. Note, using the Wacom tablet makes this technique so much easier that fighting with a mouse.
Keeping the idea of variation in mind, I will take a look at the huge variety of brushes available and swap the current brush in use for any number of the styles on hand.
After I have used the current colour tone to satisfaction, then I will choose a different colour tone, or perhaps apply the eraser to the canvas in order to add a bit of roughness by removing colour in small strokes or spots.
Adding and removing colour, making the image appear to be smooth or rough; it’s all achieved by taking a bit of time and playing with the options.
More layers mean more colours and I perhaps will even apply a curves or levels adjustment just to see how it makes the layer deals with it. It doesn’t always work out to my satisfaction, but without trying I wouldn’t know. Happy accidents to happen.
After I’ve achieved a satisfactory file, I will save it (perhaps adding some sharpening first) and then create quick colour variations of the same image by using Adjustments > Replace Color.
By playing around with the sliders here, I can quickly change the overall feel of the image with almost no time invested. The file is then saved with a new file name. For example: purple_clouds.jpg, orange_clouds.jpg, blue_clouds.jpg. These images would be exactly the same, except for the overall colour cast. Doing this gives me 3 colours to choose from instead of one, for the same amount of time invested.
From here you could use any number of filters to increase the variety of backgrounds available to you. Add noise, reduce noise, stylize, sharpen, distort. The options are almost limitless it would seem.
Once you have this library of texture layers at your disposal, you increase your ability to concoct the most interesting if images. I say make at least 20 layers and tuck them away for spontaneous creativity.
Give it a shot and see what wonders you can create with a little bit of prep time.