Texturing Photos Tutorial

July 26, 2013 Tutorials  One comment



This will be a tutorial of sorts for texturing photos…. I’m kind of all over the place when I sit down to texture a photo, so it’s difficult for me to nail down an actual process for you but I will try.

Sometimes I’ll just open up an image and start layering textures over it with different blending modes, erasing bits I don’t want with a soft round eraser brush, and sometimes I’ll just use the plug in Totally Rad Dirty Pictures (Dirty Pictures is SUPER easy to use and I highly recommend that program if you’re just starting out!)  For this tutorial, we’re going to do everything the free way.

When you start out looking for free textures online to download, it can be overwhelming.  The easiest way to start out adding textures (in my opinion) is to go for a vintage canvas look.

Since it will be easier for you to follow along, using the exact image, textures and action as I go…I’m going to link you up to each free downloadable image I’m going to use for this tutorial.

First, we’re going to use this Fallow Deer from Wikimedia Commons – download link below

you can download the full size image HERE (click the link, once the webpage opens with the image, right click it and save it to your computer)


Now, we’re going to download some textures to use on the Fallow Deer image.

Shadowhouse has a lot of free textures so be sure to check out the whole site when you get a chance.  For now, we’re going to download this canvas texture (it also comes with a paper texture in the zip file, but we’re only going to use the canvas one). – download link below

Download the texture pack that includes the canvas texture above HERE


Next, we’re going to download Beneath The Surface 2 texture from Shadowhouse – download link below

Download the full size HERE (once the page loads, at the top you’ll see a drop down menu for ‘more’…click that and choose download photo).


Next, we’ll download Oil Painting 3  – download link below

Download the full size HERE  (once the page loads, at the top you’ll see a drop down menu for ‘more’…click that and choose download photo).


Next we’ll download the Black Magic Texture Set – download link below

Download it HERE


And finally, we’re going to download a Photoshop action to run on our textured image when we are finished.  This is from the Coffee Shop Blog and it’s the Velvet Truffle action. -download link below

Download the action HERE (you’ll find the link to download the action at the bottom of the blog post)


Ok so you’ve downloaded everything, right?  Let’s start!

Open your Fallow Deer photo in Photoshop.

Next, open up the Oil Painting 3 texture.

Drag the Oil Painting 3 texture on top of your deer photo.  Choose edit/free transform and drag out the texture to each edge of the photo, covering the whole photo with your texture.  When you’ve got the texture covering the whole photo, click ENTER on your keyboard (remember this step, we will be using it a lot)

You’ll see in your layers palette over to the right, that you have two layers.  Your deer image with the oil painting texture on top of it.  We are going to change the texture’s blending mode to overlay as you can see in the screenshot below.


Next, since I didn’t like the blue hue of the texture, I desaturated it.

Keeping that texture layer highlighted…. go up to the top and choose image/adjustments/desaturate

Now our texture is gray and won’t be giving off a strange hue to our image.


Next, we are going to keep that layer highlighted and take our round soft eraser brush and just quickly go over the deer’s head and body (don’t worry about the antlers).

Now we’re going to take the Beneath The Surface 2 texture and drag that onto our work.  Again, just choose edit/free transform and drag the texture out so that it covers the whole image.

We are going to change that layer to ‘multiply’ and leave the texture as is, we are not going to desaturate this one.  But we ARE going to take our soft eraser brush and erase the texture on this layer from the deer’s head and body again.


Now we are going to open up the canvas texture and drag that onto our work, resize it to fit on the photo and then desaturate it.  This time we are NOT erasing this texture off of any parts of the deer because we want it to cover everything, giving it the look of painted on canvas.  We ARE going to change the blending mode to soft light (see image below).


Next we are going to take our Black Magick-9 texture and drag that onto our work, edit/free transform for it to fit over the whole image and then change the blending mode to SCREEN.  This will make the black of the texture vanish leaving only the white visible on our image, adding to the vintage feel of it.


Our image may look a little faded and washed out, but that’s ok we’re going to fix that.

Now, from the black textures set we’re going to open Black Magick-4 and drag that onto our work, transform it to fit and now choose LINEAR BURN and set the opacity to around 57%


Setting the opacity below:



And finally, we are going to flatten our image and run the Coffee Shop Velvet Truffle Action on it (if you’re unsure how to use actions see multiple tutorials HERE)

After running the action…here’s my final result!  (In retrospect, I would probably take the burn tool and run over the head of the deer quickly so that it’s not so bright)



When it comes to texturing, it’s all about what you think looks good.  Nobody is really right or wrong with what method they choose.  We could have EASILY stopped at the Beneath The Surface texture and left it as is.  As you go about texturing and layering you’ll start to figure out what looks you like and what looks you don’t.  Maybe you don’t like a vintage look, maybe you don’t want to run an action, maybe you want to run another action or instead of an action..open your final image up in Nik Color Efex or a similar program and edit from there.  It’s all up to you and what you like.

This was just a quick and easy tutorial to give you the general idea of layering and texturing.  By no means is this the only way to do this.  When I texture an image, I do it with different methods every single time.

Please be sure to look up other tutorials online of how others do this as well.  Once you gain more experience you’ll start to figure out what textures will look good on your photo and what won’t before you even open up photoshop.


Links To Check Out:

Coffee Shop: free actions, textures, tutorials and more.

Shadowhouse Creations: free textures, tutorials and more.

Deviantart: link to free textures

Pinterest: link to my pinterest board of free downloads for photoshop

Flipboard: link to my flipboard magazine (ipad/iphone app but is viewable in your web browser) that lists free downloads


Here’s a few of my favorite textured images I’ve done in the past…

Friesian - Textured

Barn Owl Flight



Enjoy and happy texturing!

One comment to Texturing Photos Tutorial

  • Jennie'sPix UNITED STATES  says:

    Very well explained Heather.

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>