Old photo texture Photoshop

How to Use Textures to Enhance Your Photographs

textures-1.jpgIf you’ve spent anytime at all exploring sites like Flickr, I’m sure you’ve notice a good many photographs that have a certain “vintage” look to them, a patina if you will. There are many variations to this theme, ranging from simple toning to full blown distressing of the photograph complete with film like grain or scratches and surface variation resembling an old or imperfect photo. Up till now you might have thought that achieving this look was difficult and time consuming, but in fact it is remarkably easy, and it is done using textures.
What exactly is a texture? The term texture when used in photoshop refers to an image that is used on top of your own image that when adjusted via blend modes or opacity imparts a “texture” on your image. The “texture” doesn’t have to be of a physical texture, in fact it could be nearly anything, including another photo. Generally however textures will be photographs or scans of old pieces of paper, fabric, a hand written letter, etc. But it could be a image of clouds, rain drops on a windshield, a bokeh pattern, bubbles, water reflections, and on and on.textures.jpg auty of using textures, they could be anything and combined infinitely to create a wide range of different looks.
Of course this variation makes it seem a bit more confusing than it is, but to clear up any confusion I’ve provided a walk through on how to use a couple of textures that make a good photo into a very interesting photo. It’s easy to overdo textures, and I prefer to not stray to far from my original material, but you could take this is as far as you want with as many textures as you want.

For this we’ll be using Photoshop CS4 (any version will do, including Elements), an original image, and a couple of textures.textures-2.jpg rk. In this case I used a paper texture similar to this one (via flickr member: Feodora Umarov), and a bokeh texture available here (via flickr member: laughlinc). Both are free to use as textures in your work under the creative commons license, but by all means browse around for further possibilities.

The Original Image

textures-3.jpgI picked this image because of the brooding mood of the subject and ample negative space. I really like the photo and the out of focus quality present, but it could use a little “enhancement”

Step 1

Open up your original image in Photoshop.

Step 2

Open up your texture file in Photoshop. Here’s mine, an old piece of scanned paper. You should now have 2 files open in Photoshop. Drag the texture file onto your original image file to add it as a layer. For CS4 users, drag the texture layer to the original image tab (if you’re using the tabs), until the original image is displayed, then let the texture file go on the original image to add it as a layer.

Step 3

Re-size the texture layer so that it covers your original image entirely. With the texture layer highlighted in the layers palette, use the shortcut command/control T to resize the texture layer. Press “return/enter” to finalize your resize.

textures-4.jpg textures-6.jpg textures-7.jpg textures-8.jpg

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