Denise Ippolito – Adding Texture to an Image

I worked with Denise Ippolito on one of my recent workshops and was blown away by her photoshop skills. I begged her to let me share this tutorial so that you could see her magic at work and so that I could steal the technique for myself! Thank you Denise! [singlepic id=1107 w=580 h=520 float=center]

This is an advanced process and does require a working knowledge of Photoshop CS.

In this mini-tutorial Denise will walk you through some creative texturing applications as well as multiple filtering applications to bring your textured images to life. You will learn how to blend an image with the right textures as well as some highlighting techniques that will help you create an artistic stylized image.

Choosing the Texture

You should generally, Ok always in my opinion, choose a texture that matches or compliments the features of the image. In other words, don’t use a strong pattern on a dainty flower. Similarly, don’t use colors that are more dominant than the color pallet in the image. We are trying to compliment the image with additional textures and colors, not overwhelm the image. Don’t confuse strong contrast with strong colors. Contrast can be used with great effect. When you choose a texture think outside the box. Remember that not only are you going to change your image, but you can also change the features of the texture you are going to use. For example, if your image has strong horizontal lines and the texture that you really want to use has vertical lines, just rotate the texture image to match what you want. The same goes for hues in the texture image. If you need azure not teal, just tweak the texture image rather than trying to find a “perfect” match.

Applying the Texture

OK, now let’s have some fun…! Open the image and the texture in Photoshop and tile the images. Drag the texture on top of the image. The original image should now be the Background Layer and the texture will be Layer 1. Adjust the size and position of the texture layer so that it covers your image completely. Now that you have the texture layer on top of the base image you can begin to experiment with the Blend Modes. This is somewhat of a trail and error phase so experiment with all of them. Multiply, Soft Light and Overlay are the ones that I use most often.

Fine Tuning Your Art

Usually you will want to reveal some details form the image. Add a layer mask to the top layer and start by using a soft brush set to 40% opacity and feathering it outward by starting at the center of your subject.

Finishing the Art

Add a new Layer and then apply filters to the image. Filter>Distort>Diffuse Glow Start with settings Graininess 0, Glow Amount 1, Clear Amount 9. Experiment with these number with your image. I often adjust the opacity level or even a new blending mode to get an effect that I find pleasing. Remember you are the only that has to be happy, have fun with and play with the settings. Add another new Layer and apply some light. Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. Start with Light Type Omni, Intensity Slider 35, Focus 40. As with this whole adventure in the world of textures: experiment, experiment and experiment!

Before and After Image Gallery

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Shadow House Creations has a ton of free textures on their website. RADLAB has a plugin called “Dirty Pictures” that will automate the process of adding the textures. It is $149 and available on their website. Denise Ippolito shares more tutorials as well as her workshops and eBooks on her website.


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  1. Fun with Textures Filters and your Photography | PAW

    […] approach, where you add a texture layer to grunge, or tint an image in some artistic way. See my original post via Denise Ippolito for a refresher on this concept. My original high key image had no background […]

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