There are a variety of ways you can create textures. For the purposes of simplicity, let’s say that there are two main ways to make textures. Either with brushwork in a program like Adobe Photoshop or you can start with an image.
Here I used brushwork in Photoshop to create a textured look for this rose photograph.
Here are some great resources for brushes
PSHero This is a great tutorial and he gives you the brushes as a download. Photo Grunge Edges. Be sure to tip the Hero!
Gwip. Great tutorial here on using brushes to make a texture. Also a great brush download. Five Second Grunge Background.
BittBox: Great tutorial and brushes on making textures with brushes. Reverse Grunge.
Your scanner is a great way to obtain textures. You’d be amazed what you can come up with when you look around with a new eye. Go wild. I’ve scanned my plastic Ikea chopping board, old books, old paper, fabric, vacuum cleaner filters, and old negatives.
A Few Tips
Scan with enough resolution to accommodate the size photographs you use. My Canon 40D shoots 3880 x 2592, so I make sure I have at least that much resolution.
If you are scanning something scratchy or rough, think of protecting your glass with a clear sheet of acetate.
If the item is bulky like a book, cover your scanner with a big piece of black fabric so you won’t have light leaks.
Examples of a few things I’ve scanned:
Old book cover
The above scan of a color negative was one of those clear frames where there had been no exposure. I wiped it down with a paper towel and alcohol to get the scratches.
Homework: collect items and scan them.
Photographs are basically the same idea as a scanner, except it’s a lot easier to walk around with a camera than a scanner. (Kind of hard to fit stone walls on the scanner as well.) So the idea is either in your house or out on the street, go find texture. I advise you to look for things that have texture, but aren’t wild. The most useful textures – especially in the beginning are quite subtle. Some of the first things I ever shot were just too wild. While anything can be used, it will be easier to start with subtle textures.
Examples of suggested textures
Less useful textures.
In the beginning, I would avoid things with too strong of a pattern / color.
A few tips for taking photographs:
Use a tripod and take the image straight on. If the camera isn’t parallel to the object, you will get distortion and out of focus areas. Don’t use a lens that is too wide as you will get distortion. I love my Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro for textures. Make sure the lighting is even and not too strong or too dark. A lightly overcast day can be perfect for photographing. Do not use your flash.
Mix it all up
These are the raw materials. The real fun starts when you start to mix all this up.