Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adding Textures to your Images

I've been having fun the last few weeks playing around with some of my images, adding textures to them in photoshop.  I've known about this technique for quite a while, but noticed that it's becoming more popular on photography sites such as Redbubble so decided to dabble. 

First thing I did was google for free textures.  I won't do this very often, I would much rather go around and photograph my own textures, however, with my foot still in my moon boot and too much time on my hands, it was easier this way for now.  I chose Anna Lenabem textures - I downloaded about 10 from her site in Flickr.  

I then took a photo I love, that I took in Morocco, however I had plans to do an HDR on it as it lacked a bit of what I call 'oomph'.  Instead I opened up the image in photoshop.  Then I opened up a Texture image, making sure it was exactly the same size in pixels as my original image.  In my case it is 5184 px by 3456 px, but you can check this by going to the Menu, then clicking Image Size from the drop down menu on your original image.

Make sure your image and texture are floating in the window, not tabulated up on the menu bar.  This makes for much easier moving around.

Then select the Texture and using the move tool (top arrow), move the textured image onto the original image.  Line it all up properly so you can't see the original image at all.  

Then in Layers, where it has 'normal', select the drop down menu and choose either Soft Light or Overlay.  You can use the Opacity slider until you get what you like.  Flatten the image and save.  That's the basic instructions, but of course you can do much more if you want to.  Experiment and have fun

The following images are of my experimentation of the Kasbah in Morocco.  Firstly - the Original image.  The bird is really there - I didn't notice it until I had it up on the computer - it was flying straight for me!

Overlaying and blended with  Texture from Anna Lenabem

The same again overlayed and blended with another texture from Anna Lenabem 

Another texture from Anna Lenabem

And my favourite texture from Anna Lenabem, which I have used twice so far in this one...

In all textures I've used, I have had to use the Hue/Saturation tool to bring down the yellow tones as they were a bit much.  Still I'm very very pleased with the result so far and am having loads of fun.  The favourite texture I also used on my New York City image.   This image was taken in 2006 on my first visit to NYC.  I was in a friends sports car and it was taken from out of her windscreen - a grab shot.  But there's no way I could get it by standing in the middle of the road!!  The first image is the original put through the HDR process to bring out the detail and colour.

The following image is the same one but with the perspective straightened and my favourite texture overlaid.  I really like the result.

I understand using textures is not for everyone.  There are many 'purists' out there who just want to see an image that is straight from the camera, but I like to think that using textures is being more creative.  Not all textures work either so experimentation is definitely the key to success.

I look forward to seeing yours - please link me if you do upload them anywhere.  Oh and leave me a comment to tell me which one you like and why.

Lastly, if you do use someone elses texture to make sure you credit them for their part of the job!

1 comment:

Morgan said...

I love that photo of the cars. Haven't seen that before. I think this technique is wonderfully creative. I like the way merging a "painted" look into the photo gives a new and unexpected artistic expression that is emotionally different from sticking to the content of the photo alone. (I like this sort of thing with music too - combining layers of meaning to create new expressions). I think it would be great for you to do more images like this because your HRD style already says something distinctive and this is similarly inventive and says a lot about your artistic individuality as a photographer.