Latest sample galleries
Latest in-depth reviews
The Everyday Sling might just be the perfect pack for not carrying too much gear, combining comfort with Peak Design's signature modern style.
|Adding a texture in Photoshop is a simple, easy way to add a painterly effect to a photographic image.|
Adding texture to photographic images has exploded in popularity in the last year or so. You can create your own textures, or choose among a wide range of both free and commercial offerings available on the Internet, including smartphone and tablet computer apps.
The resulting images often look more like painted pieces of art than pure photographs. The beauty of working with textures is that you have a great deal of latitude in how you choose to apply them. Some images respond to a more aggressive use of texture while others benefit from a much subtler approach. In this article I'll show you how to achieve results to match a range of personal preferences and styles.
|A colorful subject against a blurred background...||...can be changed dramatically by adding a texture.|
Adding textures is not a new approach. In fact, I was first exposed to it by Freeman Patterson at a workshop a decade ago. He was still working with film, and he would sandwich two slides together in the enlarger - one a photograph of the subject, the other of a specifically chosen texture - to create a final image that was often mystical and far beyond the ordinary.
Since the two slides were sandwiched together, in essence doubling their density, each slide needed to be over-exposed. The trick was to determine how much to over-expose each image, which made for a lot of trial and error to prevent the texture from overpowering the subject, while still remaining visible. And of course you had to carefully consider the color of the 'texture' slide, as it would greatly impact the final result. These hurdles limited the popularity of the technique, and are probably why you've never heard about it.
Creating a composite image is much easier in the digital darkroom since you can modify the exposure of the individual images after the fact and precisely control the way in which they are blended together. That means less frustration and far more successful results. As a bonus, you can even add multiple textures for endless possibilities.
|This image combines a strong composition with dramatic light.||A subtle texture creates a different mood without veering too far from a photo-realistic result.|
Creating your own texture is easy. You can photograph any number of items to use. Paper towels, wooden siding , concrete, sand and clouds can all work well. Let your imagination soar! Once you've decided what to shoot, fill the frame with your chosen texture. Try different angles and compositions. Shoot from up close up and further away. Remember, the more choices you give yourself at this stage, the more options you can explore later in Photoshop.
Be sure though to keep your camera parallel to the plane of the texture so that the entire area will be in focus. I find that most times using an aperture of f/8 is adequate. If, however, it's not possible to hold the camera parallel to your subject, then you may need to shoot at a smaller aperture to ensure adequate depth of field. One trick in this situation is to focus at the hyperfocal distance. Set your focus one third of the way from the near edge of your subject since your depth of field will extend a bit further behind the point of focus than in front of it. This assumes, of course that your subject lays relatively flat along a single plane.
|The orange color and random patterns of rusted metal make for an interesting texture.|
Generally speaking, I find textures that aren’t overly contrasty or detailed easier to work with, but there are no hard and fast rules as to what will work and what won’t. Furthermore, should you find that a texture you've photographed is too contrasty or simply the wrong color, you can always modify it in Photoshop.
If you don’t have time to shoot your own textures or want to use some preexisting ones as a starting point, there are numerous sources on the internet, just a Google search away. One site that has some nice textures is shadowhousecreations.blogspot.com. The image below was created using one of their free textures.
|I liked the optical illusion that the boat was carrying the sun, but the image feels a bit flat.||Adding a texture provides a sense of dimension that was missing from the original.|
With free textures available, why would anyone bother to pay for one? A main reason concerns the size of the files. Some of the free files are smaller, relatively low res files. If your goal is to apply textures to images from a 16MP camera, for instance, these small files may not produce acceptable results when they are upsampled to match the dimensions of your primary image.
Don't make any assumptions when you're purchasing textures, however. I suggest downloading samples whenever possible to be sure you’re buying something that will work at your desired size. Another advantage of paid files is that they are often bundled together in logical groupings that make it easier to identify the type of texture, making it easier to choose the most appropriate one to use. Some sites, such as flypapertextures.blogspot.com regularly feature work created with their textures, which can serve as inspiration for your own creations.
Let's get to work and see how this is all done. In the steps below I'll be using Photoshop CS5, but Photoshop Elements users should find it easy to follow along.
|The first step is to open the primary image (shown above) and perform any necessary spotting.||Next, I open the rust image and use the Move tool (V) to drag it on top of the primary image.|
To resize the texture layer, choose Edit>Transform>Scale. Drag the handles to resize the layer and press Enter/Return to apply the transformation.
|If the texture has a varied pattern to it I often make it larger than the primary image. That way I can use the Move tool tool and fine tune its position, which may extend beyond the visible image area.||I then set the Blending Mode in the Layers Panel to control how the images are combined. Here I've chosen Soft Light, but experiment with the other modes and you'll soon find your own favorites.|
For the best results, you'll almost always want to reduce the opacity of the texture layer. Start by setting the Opacity slider to a value of around 75% and make adjustments until you have a pleasing blend between the two layers.
If you'd like to flip or rotate the texture layer, click on that layer (so it is highlighted in blue) and go to Edit>Transform. From this sub-menu you can choose from a number of rotation options as well as perform a horizontal or vertical flip.
|There are some areas in which I want to reduce visibility of the texture layer. I add a layer mask to the texture layer, choose a soft-edged brush, set the foreground swatch to black and set the brush opacity to 50%. I then paint* on the layer mask to 'hide' portions of the texture layer.||I added a Curves adjustment layer to boost the contrast. To restrict this edit to the texture layer I press the clipping mask icon (it's to the left of the 'eyeball') at the bottom of the Adjustments Panel. The bottom layer now remains unaffected by the Curves adjustment.|
*Before painting with the brush, verify that the layer mask, rather than the image layer itself is selected - the layer mask will show 'frame corners' around its icon in the Layers panel. Otherwise you will be painting over the pixels in your primary image!
A quick tip: When painting on a layer mask I recommend using relatively short, frequent brush strokes as opposed to long, meandering ones. You can press Opt/Cmd Z (Alt/Ctrl Z on Windows) to step backward through individual strokes. By using multiple strokes you can undo small changes without starting over from scratch.
|The final image with the texture applied.|
In the example above, I used only a single texture layer, but there's nothing to stop you from adding multiple texture layers in a single Photoshop file. The basic concepts remain the same. You may also wish to experiment with additional effects found in Photoshop's Filter menu. Don't limit yourself to photorealistic results, you're an artist painting with pixels. The results should be limited only by your imagination!
If you prefer a program that can automate most of these steps for you, you could try Totally Rad’s Dirty Pictures. The price is a bit steep but you might find the time savings and ease of use to be worthwhile.
I should point out that adding a texture is not intended to magically turn poor images into masterpieces. And textures do not improve every type of image. For the best results you need to begin with good quality images that are well-composed and exposed. Then you can use the technique I've shown you to make good or great images even more eye catching. Have fun creating a new look with your images.
For more detailed instructions on using layer masks and blending modes, please see Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers; A Workshop in a Book (Anon & Anon, Sybex 2010.)
Sep 21, 2014
Sep 8, 2014
Sep 25, 2014
Jul 15, 2014
The Canon EOS R is the first full frame mirrorless camera to use the new RF mount. We're well underway putting it through our range of standard tests – take a look at how it compares to the competition and our thoughts on using it so far.
The Everyday Sling might just be the perfect pack for not carrying too much gear, combining comfort with Peak Design's signature modern style.
When the Fujifilm X-T2 arrived, it was more than just a modest upgrade to the already impressive X-T1. While the new X-T3 hasn't changed the overall design of the camera, this model is way more than a minor refresh: it's a major leap forwards.
What's the best camera for a parent? The best cameras for shooting kids and family must have fast autofocus, good low-light image quality and great video. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for parents, and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
What’s the best camera costing over $2000? The best high-end camera costing more than $2000 should have plenty of resolution, exceptional build quality, good 4K video capture and top-notch autofocus for advanced and professional users. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing over $2000 and recommended the best.
|Dubai by Nilesh Trivedi|
|Hummingbird Tight by Dennis Bayer|
from -Vivid Purple- (in Full Colours Only)
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.
Luna Display started its life as a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. Now, it's available to purchase directly online.
We sat down with the Google Pixel camera team to learn about key new camera features on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and an explanation of the sophisticated software advancements that power them.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the cameras in Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and newer dual-camera models infringe on a patent that was granted in 2003.
Nikon's Coolpix P1000 has moved the zoom needle from 'absurd' to 'ludicrous,' with an equivalent focal length of 24-3000mm. So far, it's a fun camera to shoot with – if a bit over the top.
Like the LG V40 ThinQ the A9 combines a super-wide-angle, regular wide-angle and tele camera, but adds a depth-sensor to the mix as well.
The FAA has issued a warning to drone pilots in anticipation of disaster response following Hurricane Michael, noting that fines for interfering with emergency operations can exceed $20,000.
According to a report from Fortune, Apple acquired Danish masking technology startup Spektral in December 2017 for "more than $30 million."
Insta360's latest model comes with a range of features that allow for the creation of unique action cam footage.
The Photogrip can be used as a camera grip, mini tripod or phone stand and comes with a detachable remote.
At a time when manufacturers are adding triple and even quad-cameras to their flagship smartphones, Google is sticking with one main camera. But given the sophistication of the company's computational efforts, we think it's the right approach for now.
DPReview is hiring! We're seeking three Software Development Engineers at a range of experience levels to join our Seattle-based team.
The University of Dayton Research Institute created a video detailing what damage is caused when a drone strikes the wing of an airplane.
Lenovo's upcoming high-end smartphone will be the first model to feature four cameras on the back.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer a second front-facing camera and a host of improved computational features such as digital zoom based on super-resolution capture, better depth mapping and a fill-light effect for low light portraits.
Canon has ported a large chunk of its Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Raw processing software's feature set to iOS and launched the DPP Express app.
The Panasonic LX100 II offers a higher-resolution sensor over its predecessor, but it's the addition of a touchscreen that makes the Mark II so gosh-darn enjoyable to shoot with. We've got some fresh samples from Panasonic's new premium compact camera.
Sony has announced a new "Alpha Female" program, a creator-in-residence opportunity that will award six-month grants to five female filmmakers and photographers.
The new 490, 492 and 492LCD are targeted at amateur photographers and come with a 4kg/8.82lbs payload.
The Fujifilm X-T3 exhibits very good image quality overall, with excellent detail and color at low ISOs. Further analysis of the high ISO performance confirms it falls behind its predecessor, though.
A new Smart HDR feature promises lower noise levels and better detail on the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.