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Quick Start Texture Tutorial

Tutorial: Beginning Level

This quick-start tutorial will have you working with textures right away and to make it really easy to follow along, I’ve decided to give you the files. Two high-resolution original files. One Anemone flower photograph and a Fine Art, grunge texture. Downloads At The End of the Post.

You’ll need the texture, Saffron Fields and the Anemone flower image. Got the files? Great, let’s get started.

Step One: Open both documents in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

You’ll have this Japanese Anemone image.

Original Anemone Photograph

Flower download image for your practice.

And this High-Resolution Texture that I created just for this tutorial. It’s called Saffron Fields.

Saffron Fields Texture

Free French Kiss Texture

Step Two: Place the Texture into the Anemone File

This isn’t my favorite method to put a texture into my destination document, but as it’s the most basic way, I’ve decided to start with this. See an alternate way in the next post.

  1. Select the entire texture with CMD (for MAC) / CNTRL (Windows) + A
  2. Copy the texture CMD/CNTRL  + C
  3. Select the Anemone file and paste in the texture with CMD/CNTRL + V
Texture pasted above image

Texture pasted above the anemone image

You’ll now see the Texture document in the layer above the background layer in the Anemone document. I have purposefully made the Anemone document a little bit smaller than the texture document. Since there is interesting detail along the edges of the texture that we don’t want to lose, we need to scale down the texture layer to fit the document.

Step Two: Resizing the Texture Layer

Again, this is not my favorite way to do this, but let’s start here and later I’ll show you my preferred method.

  1. Make sure the texture layer is selected in the Layer Panel.
  2. Open up the Transform tool. You can do this via the menu: Edit>Transform>Scaleor CMD/CNTRL + T.
  3. The layer will now have a bounding box that extends beyond the document window.You may need to zoom out to see it.
  4. Grab one of the square handles at the bottom right and drag up to the edge of the document. note: It doesn’t matter with this texture, but if you were resizing an image you would want to constrain the proportions by holding down the shift key when you drag.
  5. Tip: Make sure that Snap / Document Bounds is selected from the View menu.
  6. Hit Enter to apply the transformation.

transform to size

Step Three: Setting the Layer Blend Mode

Let’s set the blend mode. Blend modes determine how the pixels of one layer blend with underlying layers. I’ll go into the details of blend modes in future tutorials. For now, select a blend mode of Multiply. Multiply is usually the first blend mode I try and does work fine with this file. We’ll also leave the opacity at 100%. Feel free to play around with the other Blend Modes and opacity. Note: a lot of them don’t work very well with a white background.

Setting the Blend Mode

Set The Blend Mode to Multiply

The image should now look like this:

Blend mode applied

Texture with Multiply Blend Mode.

Step Four: Applying a Layer Mask

This actually doesn’t look too bad without a layer mask, but let’s go ahead and add one to play around with.

Click on the New Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layer panel and a white box will appear to the right of the texture.

What is a layer mask? A layer mask is a non-destructive way to hide or reveal areas of a layer. Here’s the basic idea of how a layer mask works: wherever we put black, it masks the interaction of the layer, revealing more of the layer below. The opacity of the black will determine how much of the selected layer is masked. Think of painting in black as erasing away part of the selected layer—except that unlike erasing, you can edit the mask at any time (thus it’s non-destructive.)

New Layer Mask

Click the New Layer Mask Icon

Now that we have a layer mask, we’ll paint away over areas of the flower that we want to reveal more.

  1. Select the brush tool
  2. Select a brush that is soft edged (0 hardness) and make it around 200 pixels.
Brush Size

Select a soft edged Brush

To start out, let’s set the opacity of the brush to around 30%

Brush Opacity

Set the Brush opacity to 30%

Make sure your mask is selected—in the layer panel you should see a second set of lines around the rectangle. See the illustration below. Then, just start painting the center of the flower and you’ll see it brighten. You may want to paint away a little on the petals as well. I think in this case, it looks pretty good having some of the texture showing on the flower. This is what my layer mask looked like.

Layer Mask

Layer Mask painted to reveal more flower

Feel free to play around with the layer mask.

  • Try a different brush opacity
  • Try a different brush size. The shortcut for enlarging your brush is CMD/CNTRL +]to decrease brush size CMD/CNTRL +[
  • If you go too far and want to apply less mask, just switch your color to white and paint over those areas of the mask that you want to diminish.

Final Image

Here’s what my final image looked like, but feel free to play around. If you got lost or something is confusing, a perfect place to chat is the Facebook page.

Final Image

Final Image

Get The Downloads

  • When you click the link, the download will start downloading into where ever you’ve set your downloads. This is often into a download folder.
  • The file name is: FrenchKiss_QuickStart.zip
  • File size is: 7.1 MB
  • Unzip the file by double clicking on it. Occasionally, zip files can become corrupt during downloads. If you are getting errors, try to download it again. I recommend the free Stuffit Expander for unzipping files.

download button

Boring but essential copyright info. © Leslie Nicole 2010. You are free to use the flower image for personal use, but please do not reproduce it as your own. You may not reproduce it in any form other than personal sharing. The texture is free to use in your personal and commercial work and no link or credit is required (although it’s always appreciated.) You may not share it or resell it  as is or claim it to be your own. Enjoy!

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43 Responses to Quick Start Texture Tutorial

  1. Theresa Elvin September 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Thanks for your brilliant tutorial. I’m learning alot about using textures and having great fun too. My latest effort can be found at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/theresae/4982104557/

  2. michelle October 4, 2010 at 5:01 am #

    Thanks for sharing your great tutorial, the only problem I had with it was that Elements 8 doesn’t have a layer mask tab and I couldn’t find it anywhere but otherwise it worked great.

    • Leslie Nicole October 4, 2010 at 5:47 am #

      I appreciate that feedback, Michelle. From my understanding of things I’ve read, I know that a lot of people use Elements for textures. Maybe the layer mask function is different? I do have a copy of Elements. When I get a chance, I’ll open it up and try it. Thanks!

  3. helene von rosenstiel October 6, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    Thank you for the interesting sequence of processes. having never drawn anything on the computer, or used it so creatively the project seems daunting. the instructions seem clear. thanks for taking the time to help others learn, grow and enjoy.!!

    • Leslie Nicole October 6, 2010 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Helene,
      It can be daunting. I threw a lot at you in this post. I wanted people to have an overview. If textures interest you, but this post seems overwhelming, just break it down to one small thing. If you are interested in texture work, just follow the blog and there will be a lot of little tips that will help you break the ideas down.

      • charlotte wilson October 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

        Leslie,

        For Elements Users, there are some free layer masks that can be downloaded into the effects panel. One is from Rita at Coffeeshop.blogspot.com.

        thanks for the beautiful texture and tutorial!

        charlotte

  4. Kim Fuoco October 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Leslie, Thank You for the tutorial. It was very helpful, I am just starting to learn how to use layers I find it a lot of fun .

    • Leslie Nicole October 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

      Thank for the comment, Kim. I’m glad you find the tutorial useful.

  5. Judy Vincent October 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Leslie, I have Elements 8 and I am trying to learn how to do this, but I have hit a road block and getting rather frustrated. I do fine until I get to step 4: Applying a layer mask. In MY program, I do not have a “new layer mask icon” in my layer panel. I have looked at the adobe photoshop tutorials (which are poorly done, IMO), and all I see is one for “creating a clipping mask” which I tried but apparently is not the same thing? When I tried it and then did the painting part, it did not reveal any of the image below the texture…instead it just painted a black splotch on the whole image. Can you help me figure out what to do?
    Judy

    • Leslie Nicole October 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

      Hi Judy,

      I understand a lot of people use Elements. I have an older version that came with my Wacom tablet that I tried to load in, but it wouldn’t work. Perhaps I’ll download a trial version to check out. I’m sorry I don’t have a quick answer for you as I don’t know Elements. I’ll work on either learning it or getting someone who knows it to guest post, but it may take a little time for me to get you a response. Thank you for letting me know your frustration and I’ll work on it. 🙂

  6. Anna Larson December 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Thank you, Leslie! Finally I can understand and use masks!! I have Serif PhotoPlus X3, which is much like PhotoShop and really enjoy it, but had not been able to understand the instructions on using masks.

    I’m very grateful for the gorgeous textures and clear instructions!

    • Leslie Nicole December 3, 2010 at 9:11 am #

      Great, Anna! Thanks for your comment and I’m glad that helps.

  7. Pauline August 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Leslie, thank you so much for this tutorial. However like a lot of other people I too have an old version of Elements so could not create the layer mask. I have been told that there is a way around this in Elements itself so would love to learn it. I found that using the erazer tool removed the texture but it didn’t remove just a bit of it[your 30%] so it was as if the image had just been placed on top of the texture and was not a subtle effect. I don’t want to make you have to go to more trouble but it would be good on your tutorials if you could say whether they are suitable for Elements users too. Really loving playing with your beautiful textures!

    • Leslie Nicole August 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Pauline,

      I’m not an Elements user myself, but I recently purchased Elements 9 so I could be more familiar with it. Most of the tutorials would work for Elements as well. I’ve found the big difference between Elements 9 and Photoshop to be in the layer grouping features. I’ll try to start incorporating more info about Elements, but not being an expert in Elements, I’ll only be able to tell you if it works in version 9. I highly recommend that Elements users upgrade to version 9, which does support layer masks. Thanks for your comment!

      • Pauline August 25, 2011 at 8:54 am #

        Oh it is great to know that Elements 9 supports layer masks Leslie! I will look into how much it would cost to upgrade! I might not be able to for a while though but as I am new to learning about Photoshop I really appreciate being able to learn from your tutorials. Thanks so much!

  8. Flowershopgurl January 18, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Hi Leslie, I just found your tutorial this evening and am new to Photoshop and am using 7.0 and was able to follow your directions and I am so excited. I’ve been playing around for months now and wasn’t able to do what you just showed me to do, one thing though, lol, I don’t know how to end my project after completing the step with the brush. I feel foolish but if I don’t ask I won’t learn. Thank you so much for your help!
    Kim

    • Leslie Nicole January 18, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Hi Kim, glad to know this helped. After you finish with the brush, you’re done with your master file. It’s always good to keep a master file in case you want to come back later to re-work it. That’s the beauty of layers and layer masks. To publish your work – share it, etc., you will want to make a flattened file and depending on your destination save it for web, save as a jpg. etc. To flatten just choose Layer from the menu then Flatten Image. Appreciate your question!

  9. Flowershopgurl January 19, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    Leslie, Thank you so much for your help. I just posted about using your tutorial on my blog, thanks again! you can read it here: http://flowershopgurl.blogspot.com/2012/01/learning-some-techniques-using.html
    Kim
    Flowershopgurl recently posted..Learning some techniques using PhotoShop…

    • Leslie Nicole January 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Thank you, for the link Luv, Kim! I enjoyed your blog. I’ve been finding a lot of blogs lately on vintage crafts and home decor. I’ve always been a decor fanatic. I’ve always planned on someday starting to do home decor projects as well, so it’s a delight seeing all the blogs and sites out there.

  10. Peggy/DogBreedz.net February 4, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU! I can not wait to really explore your site and your educational offerings – I am very excited! I linked my blog post today to your tutorial ( http://dogbreedzphotographyresources.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/feb-3-366-32-saffron-fields/ ). I am very appreciative of your willingness to share your knowledge with the rest of us!!
    Peggy/DogBreedz.net recently posted..Project 52-5: Bridges

    • Leslie Nicole February 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Thank you, Peggy for that uber-lovely comment and especially for the link luv. xx

  11. RhondaArtdesign March 7, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Thank you for the lovely textures and your very pretty blog.

  12. Tricia Whatley February 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    For those of you with an older version of Elements, you can get a layer mask by going to Layers, New Adjustment Layer, Levels,click OK and without altering anything on the levels box just click ok and then you will see in your layers panel that you have now got a mask you can work on

  13. Lois Bryan April 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Hi Leslie … just wanted to tell you that this is my go-to tutorial for anyone wanting to get into the fun of texture work. Have just linked it to a friend again, today … thank you again!!!!
    Lois Bryan recently posted..Dewy Pink Asters by Lois Bryan

    • Leslie Nicole April 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      Thanks, Lois! I was just mapping out plans for new tutorials today, so more on the way. I appreciate your link luv. xx

  14. Carolyn May 14, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    Very pretty effect with the golden texture.
    Carolyn recently posted..EVENING SKY

  15. Carolyn May 14, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    Topaz Filters…thanks to you I checked out their site and download one for a free trial. As a beginner in CS6, which filters would you recommend for me. I loaded the simply one to oil paint photos. I was blown away with the filter.

    Thanks for your assistance.
    Carolyn recently posted..EVENING SKY

    • Leslie Nicole May 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Hi Carolyn, it really depends on what you want to do. I bought the entire bundle and really love it. If I were to buy just one filter though, I think it would be “Adjust” because it has a variety of filters. The others are more specialized.

  16. Joanne June 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Thank you for the tute and the texture – I’ll be using on a pic of my daff’s – such a warm and yummy pic. Again, thanks.

  17. cathy June 21, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Leslie,
    I am a brand new follower, and I have tried the above techniques using my own flower and my own purchased French Kiss Texture. Im a little stuck however. While I get a texture on my flower, the background stays the same as it was. I am obviously doing something wrong. None of the featured texture is seen on the background. Please help! Thank you!!
    Cathy

    • Leslie Nicole July 4, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      Cathy, it sounds like you have the wrong blend mode. If you don’t use a blend mode like multiply or linear burn, there will be no action against a white background.

  18. Laurel November 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    Thank-you, I enjoyed this tutorial, instructions were understandable. Very glad I found your tutorials.

  19. Janie Greene February 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    I’ve gotten this one time about 5 months ago, but of course I’ve already forgotten it. Also, I keep getting download adobe player and I’ve done that 10 times I know and it continues to come back again and again. So, I”m just going to forget that. It’s too worrisome.

    However, I do love your textures and work. One of these days!!!!!!……..Janie Greene

  20. howtokissright February 23, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    Loved your textures…. nice collection dear

  21. Sherri Nicholas June 18, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Thank you so much, I have to learn how

  22. Sherri Nicholas June 18, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Thank you so much for your tutorial
    Sherri
    Sherri Nicholas recently posted..Got To Love This pretty spagetti strap pretty shirt, by By Sherri Of Palm Springs at Zazzle

  23. claudya guerr June 28, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    Wow! Finally i found a person that shares her tutorial in an easy way! Now i will could create fantastic results with textures on Photoshop! Thanks dear, your resources and site are awesome!

  24. Eric December 18, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    This can be a lot of work but, if you created a mask of your flower (Topaz Remask for instance) and saved it as a .png – You won’t get the white background when you follow the above steps in your blend process.

    • Leslie Nicole February 10, 2017 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Eric, actually you don’t want to do that (normally-there are sometimes when that is the right option.) The beauty of working with textures is using blend modes. Instead of being cut out and placed, it blends in and takes on some of that texture yumminess. This is probably the biggest misunderstanding of people new to working with textures. I often get emails asking me how I cut out my flowers and it took me awhile to realize that they weren’t understanding the blend mode aspect. Give it a try and see the difference. 🙂 Note that I do often cut out flowers if I’m going for a design look.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Better Way To Resize And Place Your Texture | Photo Artist Textures - September 11, 2010

    […] be using the same files that I used in the Quick Start Tutorial. If you would like to download them and follow along, just sign up for the newsletter and […]

  2. Viewing And Editing Layer Masks In Photoshop | Photo Artist Textures - September 21, 2010

    […] cover areas of our original image, so we use layer masks. (If you’re new to textures, see the Quick Start Tutorial.) When masking your image, it can be useful to see the layer mask for greater control in […]

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