Beginners Guide to SFX
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How To Make Your Own Photo Textures

Nov 30

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How to use your photo textures

So you have taken some amazing photos, and are excited about turning them into photo textures, now what? In this episode we cover how to turn your photo into a great texture.

Your best friend when it comes to using your image as a photo texture are BLENDING MODES. Blending modes will take the information in the image, and blend it in different ways depending on what blending mode you choose. For instance if you have an image that is mostly dark, with a few light areas, and you want the darks to dissapear, try using SCREEN or LIGHTEN. In contrast, if you want the LIGHT areas to disappear in your photo textures, try DARKEN or MULTIPLY.

Most Used Blending Modes

These will do the trick about 90% of the time.

  • Soft Light
  • Overlay
  • Multiply
  • Screen
  • Color

What You Will Learn

  • 0:30 – Intro to textures
  • 1:15 – Most common blending modes
  • 1:50 – Copying your photo textures onto your image
  • 2:30 – Showing an example of a texture in use
  • 3:10 – Explanation of Blending modes
  • 4:10 – Using levels to enhance your textures
  • 5:30 – Duplicating textures to add more variation
  • 6:30 – Adjusting SATURATION with the HUE/SAT slider (CMD+U)
  • 7:10 – How to quickly flip through your blending modes
  • 8:00 – BLEND IF adds even more control to your texture
  • 9:00 – Masking out areas of your texture to make them less visible in places
  • 10:20 – Why using textures at a low opacity is important
  • 11:00 – What is your opinion on textures?

Who do you know rocking textures?

Have you found any artists online that use textures well? If so, link to their work below so we can all see what potential these textures have. Do you like the use of photo textures? Let us know why.

Gear Used in This Episode
  • Syed Iqbal

    Learnt so much about textures. Definitely going to do and post it here. Thanks Aaron! 

  • Acruz333

    Dude, I just can’t STOP leaning new tricks WOW you make sooooo easy amazing!!!!

  • Anan Adnan

    i love texture :) and i’ll made my own 

  • Christin.E

    Thank you very much for Phlearn!
    I learn new things everyday and its soooooooooooooooooo fun!
    All my best
    Christin from Sweden

  • Felicia Kieser

    I tried to use my own textures on this old picture i took, let me know what ya think!

  • Petter Haugen

    First of all I like to congrat you with a splendid website. Well organized and clean. Glad you are making such a progress with this project and you deserve it!! Think you are constantly moving in the right direction! I do spread the word of this website, and I`m gonna continue doing so.

    Secondly I would like to introduce Dave Lincheid, who I personally think has come far to include a red thread in his photos concerning textures. Watch his photos at flickriver (interesting-manner)

  • Michael Nightmare

    These are awesome  episodes. I agree once I learned that  textures should be used very subtle I started to like using them in my work. I find building up a few textures very subtly adds a bit more depth to some photographs. 

  • Aaron Nace

    awesome job Felicia!

  • James Warwood

    Think i’m going to shoot a bunch of stuff tomorrow and create a collection of textures for future use

  • Anonymous

    I like it..

  • Felicia Kieser

    thank you! i love all your videos, they help me so much! I literally have a notebook filled with notes i take from these videos. hahah

  • Sebastian Ortiz

    “If this is getting so complex, it’s blowing your mind, rewind and watch it again!”… HAHAHAAAAAAAA! Aaron, I damn near wet myself, when you said that!…. HAHAHAAAAAAAA!!! 

  • Laetitia Messinger

    this is a self portrait I took a while ago; added a texture to it, which is basically a photo of a spider web!
    slightly unrelated but can anyone tell me why the photos come out with a distinct yellow tint when I ‘save for web and devices’?

  • Abdias Merone

    heres mine

  • Zach for a shot of me that i blended with a burnt wooden ceiling.  I like it.  maybe you will too! 

  • Linda

    is this the technique you would use to add smoke or fog to an image?

  • Sophie rata

    haha you soo have adhd ;-)
    nice work, cool tip about the levels and detailed layer options, never tried that before, i usually just work with selections and masking…

  • Sophie rata

    haha you so have adhd!

    tnx for the tips! i usually just use blending mode and masking – levels is a great idea, as wel as the detailed layer settings!

    greetings from belgium

  • Anonymous

    Love Textures, thanx for more info on how to use them, just when you think you know…BOOM.  

  • Anonymous

    I love textures! My friends call me a texture whore…actually they call me a brush whore too…hmmm, I think I need new friends. Anyway, two of my favorite texture resources are Lost & Taken (Caleb Kimbrough) and Art Backwash (Von Glitshcka’s old blog). Von has a couple of books that are great resources as well.
    Aaron, I’m not a photographer, but your video has made me think I should try to make my own.

  • Merelle

    This was a fantastic video!! I learned so much!

  • Oscar the photographer

    this is the one i was messing with. 

  • Oscar the photographer

    here is one more i did. i love overlaying textures.

  • Andrea Peipe

    This completely rocked Aaron! Seriously! I knew about the blending modes (although I only knew about them because of an earlier phlearn episode) but had no idea about the blending option in the layer style window! loving it already! I just played around with it and I am so happy with how great it works!

    I love textures but honestly I am only beginning to understand how to use them…

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