Sunday, March 6, 2011

Textures and Tutorials

I love textures, and I love adding textures to photos. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I had a more professional camera and a variety of lenses to play and experiment with...but I don't know. Certainly, I look forward to an equipment upgrade someday, but until then, I'm really happy with my current creative journey.

Yesterday, I got to head out to my parents' farm and snap some pictures.

While I sorted through them and textured one of them (see above), I got a hankerin' (yup, I said "hankerin'") to make my own texture, something I've only done a handful of times with varying results.

I started with a recent picture I took of a blue and slightly cloudy sky. I went into "Images/Adjustments" and did an "Auto Level" adjustment. It made the clouds too orange and the blues too blue, so I went to "Edit/Fade Levels" and backed it up a bit...

Then, I started adding layers to my texture. It's kind of an organic process, I suppose. I don't start with an image in my mind of the finished product; I just go with my gut and choose textures that appeal to me in that moment. I knew that I wanted a canvas look, so I added a canvas texture that I made entirely on PhotoShop (found a tutorial online somewhere):

I played around with the layers and what it comes down to again is gut instinct, a moment of "Yes, I like that." I set this one to "Overlay." I thought about "Multiply" but it was too dark and I can't adjust the levels on "Multiply" on my version of PhotoShop due to some sort of error (boo).

Next, I add a variety of layers based on what I think looks good. Each one is set to a different opacity, generally "Soft Light" and "Overlay"...


 oily garage floor

stone paver

I looked at all the layers, "Flattened," and I felt that it was missing something. It looked "painterly" but I wanted the canvas to stand out more than what it was. I added the canvas layer again and I went to "Image/Adjustments/Auto Levels". It darkened the canvas layer and once the opacity was set to "Soft Light," I gave myself a bit of a high-five. Flattened and voila:

"Canvas Skies"

One last step, then...Try it out! This time, I'm relieved and happy. This is the stage where many of my textures have been abandoned, but I'm happy to see that this particular texture is usable:

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