Core Skills: Photoshop
This month, Mark White takes a look at how to quickly embellish your paintings with textures, and what they can do for your work
Learn about textures, with Mark White.
Texture is often what blurs the lines between traditional and digital artwork. Often it’s easy to tell the difference between the two if your digital artwork doesn’t have any kind of canvas behind it, but by applying your own textures in Photoshop, you can help to give your artwork a little more realism.
Here, we’re going to be applying a simple noise and canvas texture, which will look and feel a bit like paper. We’ve created a simply chalk and charcoal drawing to use it on so that we can see it clearly, and it’s going to help add a little more shape and tone to the image. This is why texture is great; without some kind of texture behind this picture, it looks rather obviously digitally drawn.
It’s not just paper textures that you can add to your artwork. You may want the illusion of a film texture for more realistic pieces, or even a wall of some sort for a street art effect in your urban sci-fi composition. There are plenty of pre-made textures online that you can insert into your work and change the blend mode of. Okay, let’s see how much of a difference a texture makes…
1 Add noise to become the basis of your texture
Start by setting your foreground and background swatches as black and white by hitting D. Create a new layer then go to Filter> Noise> Add Noise. Choose an amount of 400 per cent, check the Monochromatic box and make sure you choose Gaussian, before you hit OK.
2 Adjust the Blend mode of the texture
Because we want to blend our noise texture in a little with the digital artwork that’s sitting on a layer beneath it, this is the stage where we’re going to change the Blend mode. Set the Blend mode to Linear Light in this case, and reduce the Opacity to around 40 per cent.
3 Blur the texture layer for a more subtle effect
Now we’re going to apply a blur to the noise to just smooth it out a little. Go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur to apply your blur, and choose a radius of around 3-5px before hitting OK. You can see in the preview dialog how it will affect your work before you apply it.
4 Set up a canvas texture
Next up we’re going to use a canvas texture, just to give this image a more believable base. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery and choose Texture, then Texturizer. Choose a Scaling value of 200 per cent and a relief setting of 10, with light in the image coming from the top, before you apply.
5 Sharpen and smooth your texture
Finally, duplicate this texture layer and go to Filter> Other>High Pass. Set your value as 5px and click OK, before setting the layer to Overlay. Merge this with the layer below, set to Linear Light again and then go to Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise to further smooth out the texture.