photoshop creative

How to merge texture and photos, part 2

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Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 14, 2013

Continued… For this Photoshop tutorial you will learn how to turn an ordinary photo into a textured masterpiece

How to merge texture and photos in Photoshop

Follow part one of this tutorial 


Select the painted clouds layer, duplicate it and then move it above the dahlia layer. Adjust the blending mode to Hard Light to increase the contrast. Since it is a bit too bright, change the Opacity to 37%.


Since we want the flower to stand out, add a layer mask to the new cloud layer, choose a soft brush (I went for a size of 300, the Normal blend mode and 100% Opacity) and paint over the flower area with black. You can also mask out the grass at the bottom if desired. You can adjust the size, opacity and flow of the brush to achieve whatever looks you desire.


Open the file ‘dark_brown_paper.jpg’ and copy into the file. Since it is a dark texture, you will want to adjust the blending mode and opacity. I have chosen Hard Light with an Opacity of 51%. Remember subtlety is the key. Since I don’t want the texture on the flower yet, we will mask it by placing a layer mask on the brown paper layer and painting over the flower area using black and a soft brush. Zoom in to check and make sure you have masked the area where you do not want texture to appear


Open the file ‘light_paper.jpg’ and copy in. Because this image is lighter, we can set the blending mode to Multiply, Opacity to 100% and achieve the faded look while maintaining the texture’s wrinkled edges. Masking is optional on the flower.


When textures are applied, they sometimes lower the contrast of an image. One trick you can do is duplicate your main layer, sharpen and set the blending mode to Overlay or Hard Light which will brighten it up a tad. In this case, I chose Overlay with an Opacity of 23%. Go to Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen to add a touch of sharpening.


Duplicate your brown paper layer and drag it to the top, and this is where the final aging happens. We will use this texture to tone the image creating a desaturated, vintage look. First we need to delete the layer mask. Select just the mask on your top layer and drag it to the trash icon. Select Color for your blending mode with an Opacity of 40%.


As I mentioned before, textures tend to flatten the look of an image, so to add contrast, I sometimes use one last texture by SkeletalMess called Difference Maker. Open ‘difference_maker.jpg’, duplicate or copy to working file. Set blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 20%. And you are done, just enough contrast to make things pop a bit.