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Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Add a Texture to a Photo

My friend, Mersad, asked if I would elaborate on how I edited this snowdrops photo.

I am starting from the beginning,
you can select which aspects you are interested in.

Taking the photo.
I picked the snow drops and put them in a small bottle.
I spritzed the flowers with water.
I set up a white board background on my table
and photographed them using natural light 
coming in from the window to the right of the photo.
I probably had the camera on a tripod to steady it.
 Here is the original photo. 

Next I 'cleaned up' the photo.
I opened the photo into Photoshop (I use PSE8)
I often use an action called Wonder Quickie from Paint the Moon.
An action is a tool that saves you time in editing
by repeating a set of steps someone did and saved into an auto process called an action.
You can purchase actions or take
advantage of the many free actions out there.
The steps, which are called layers, can usually be edited to your liking.
Wonder Quickie quickly adds the following adjustable layers which are turned off:

I turned on and adjusted 3 layers as follows:
Sharpen Details (Turned on, 53%)
Lighten (Turned on, 48%)
Contrast (Turned on, 69%)
Color Boost
Cool It Down

The action is installed in my Effects Folder for photoshop
so it will show up in my Effects tab by the red dot.
The square shows the icon for the action I used.
Click on it twice and it will "run."
The arrow shows a layer I turned on.
See the eye ball in the little box?  That's on.

The rectangle shows where to adjust the opacity 
which effects how strong the effect is applied on the photo.
When finished adjusting go to Layer>Flatten Image

(You don't need an action to do any of this,
it just saves time.)

I opened a texture in Photoshop.
Here is a texture:  

A texture is exactly that...something that adds texture to your photo.
Again, you can buy textures or take advantage of the many free textures out there.
This texture is by Anna Lenabem.
(I do not recall which textures I used on the original photo
so I am just starting over.  
I have since started coding textures I use so I can add the code 
to the file name and always know which ones I used.)

How to:
Open the texture.
File > Open > Wherever you keep your textures.

Drag the texture on top of your photo.
Once you drag it you do not need to keep the original opened.

Resize the texture to cover your photo by pulling the edges out.

Click the green check mark when your have resized the texture over the photo.
Next, go to blending modes for your layers.
Make sure the texture layer is the active layer. (Click it)

Choose a blending mode.
I chose soft light - 
that is usually my 'go to' blending mode.

You can adjust the opacity to your liking right next to the drop down box.
Now you see your photo with a texture on top of it.
You likely will not want the texture on top of the subject.
So select your eraser, adjust the opacity of the eraser a tad down,
erase the texture from the subject.

On this photo I added two textures. 
The next texture added the bokeh, or circles.
Here is a bokeh texture by Ashley Sisk.

I followed the same process as I did on Anna's texture above,
only this time I used Overlay as the blending mode.
I erased the texture from the subject at a much lower opacity 
because I like the brightness it adds to the flowers.

Here is the finished product. 
If this were the finished product I was keeping I would have tweaked
the upper right corner that appears washed out
and I didn't erase the first texture off the stems for time purposes.

For free resources of actions and textures go to the sidebar on my photo blog
and scroll down to the section "Online Resources I Love and Use."
Please don't copy the textures here,
rather go to the designer and download them from their site.
Be sure to read any usage requirements.
Some have limitations,
some have none.