photoshop creative

How to merge texture and photos, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 13, 2013

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

Download all the files you need for this tutorial here

Blend texture and photos


Start by opening up the file named ‘paintedclouds_skeletalmess.jpg’. This texture will be used both as the base as well as texture layers later in the tutorial. Copy and paste into a new document sized 230 x 280mm. Leave the blending mode at the default setting of Normal with Opacity at 100%.


Create a new layer by selecting Layer>New from the main menu. Select the layer, choose blue with the colour picker and fill. This will darken the tone of the sky and make it a richer blue. Select the Soft Light blending mode in the layers palette and set the Opacity to 40%.


Because we do not want the blue tone where the grass will be, we will add a gradient layer mask to blot it out. Add a layer mask by clicking the icon at the base of the Layers palette (grey rectangle with circle in it). Select the Gradient tool, set Foreground colour to black and set the mode to Multiply. Start at the bottom of your canvas and move your mouse approximately a third of the way up. Now you have successfully masked the lower portion of the blue.


Open source file ‘blurry_field.jpg’. Select all, copy and then paste into your working file. This will place the image on a new layer. Name the layer and reposition to the bottom of the canvas.


We can fix the hard line by creating a layer mask, setting Foreground colour to black and the mode to Multiply. Choose the Gradient tool and, starting at the top of the image, move your mouse down (hold the Shift key to keep your line straight) to the top of the grass. You may have to do this several times to get the effect of the grass blending into our painted sky.


We still want the grass to blend in more, since it is not the main focus of the image. Select the field layer and change the blending mode at the top of the Layers palette to hard light. It is still a bit strong, so you can adjust the opacity to tone it down. I chose 60%.


Open the file named ‘Dahlia.jpg’, copy and then paste into your working document. Grab the layer and position the flower at the bottom of the page and leave the blending mode set to Normal. There are many other ways to mask an item, clipping paths, channels, and painting masks, but for this purpose the Magic Wand will suffice.


Select the Magic Wand, adjust the Tolerance to 20 and click on the background. You may have to hold down the Shift key to select more areas. Once you have the flower selected, choose Inverse and add a layer mask. Your flower is now masked from the background. At this point, select the mask, take a soft brush, select black and clean up the edges. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, you can always paint parts back in with white.

Continue to part 2 of this tutorial…