Nov 29, 2011

How To Make Your Own Photo Textures

Why Making Your Own Textures Is Important

Often times finding textures on the internet will mean that they come with a few restrictions. The biggest restriction is often resolution. Very few textures are at a high enough resolution to fit on a full size image without being scaled up. Scaling a photo up too far can really take away a lot of the details that make textures nice in the first place. The second restriction is copyright. If you do not own the texture you place over your image, you can get in trouble legally, and that is not a place we want to be in. Be sure to credit the person who provided the texture if you do choose to use one you have found online.

How to Make Your Own Photo Textures

If you make your own textures, you can make them as high resolution as you want, and you own the copyright to the images. It is a win win situation, and we cover the entire process.

Start out by looking for organic materials, things like stone, fibers, wood, metals. All of these have surfaces with will interact with light differently, producing different effects. The biggest thing to look for in choosing your subject material will be the difference between darks and lights. If you want to add subtle cracks to your image, look for dark cracks on light pavement. If you want to add sparkle, look for small light flecks of stone in a dark granite countertop.

These stark contrasts between dark and light make the process of texturing much easier, because you will be able to use blending modes to do most of the work for you.

What You Will Learn

  • 0:30 – Intro to our 2 part series on making and using your own textures
  • 1:00 – Defining texture
  • 1:20 – Artist Highlights Rosie Hardy & Brooke Shaden
  • 1:50 – Where to find good textures online
  • 2:30 – Issues with using other people’s textures
  • 3:10 – What to look for in making a texture
  • 4:10 – Exposure compensation when photographing textures
  • 6:00 – Taking Photos and explaining blending modes
  • 7:20 – Help focusing on dark subjects
  • 8:00 – Alternate places to photograph textures
  • 9:00 – Challenge to make texture library

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  • Andrea Peipe

    The A in the background makes me grin :D I should get one too ;)

    Actually I never really thought about making them myself…  I mean every now and then I sure take shots (e.g. a reflector makes a nice texture!) that I use as textures but I never really built a wide selection you know? So I just took a few shots of my wall and my marble (yes, marble ;) ) windowsill! Awesome! :D

  • Tavis

    I found a lot of great textures when I visited Scotland. The headstones in an old graveyard came out great!

  • Demetrius

    great episode!!  I know a lot of photographers that spend tons of money on textures instead of using their talents and environment to create their own…  bravo!

  • Paula

     It would be awesome to have a good libraby with textures here on Phlearn!
    I would love to share any good textures I shoot (planning on trying to make some this week!)
    and I think there will be more Phlearnaholics willing to share :)

  • Annabelle Denmark

    Do you use your left eye when you usually take pictures ? just asking cause you did in the video and I do too (and I wish I didn’t, it’s awkward to focus with right side of face stuck on camera.) . I thought I was the only one with this weird habit. 
    That wasn’t a very productive comment. Oh wait!! Yes textures. Flickr :


    • Kelly

      I also find blurring out the back ground between tree branches and making bokeh makes great textures. 

  • Christopher Toy

    Love the episode! I actually enjoyed watching you snap even if it was of a desk top lol. I think it would be really cool to watch videos of you in action on the spot teaching aswell!

  • Freddy.O

    Good Stuff, I know you’re promoting taking your own images, but in a time of need here’s a huge library of free high resolution images to work with, I use this place a lot for textures for 3D objects.

  • Jeremy Cupp

    It’s fun to go around the city and create textures. There are tons of good textures on flickr. 

    Brooke gets all of here here-

    and I like this guys –

    I have a bunch of other great texture sites, but I’m at work and the links are at home.