Layering Textures to Enhance an Image
Experience Level: Novice
In this Tutorial you will learn how to superimpose a texture layer to add an antique patina to your photographs.
Open a new project file
Adjust the display options in Adobe Photoshop Elements
Add layers to an Adobe Elements project
Adjust Blending options to create new effects.
The screenshots for this tutorial will be from Adobe Photoshop elements 10, but the techniques discussed will work in Elements, Photoshop, and The Gimp.
Step 1: Open a New File
In Adobe Elements select File- New- Blank File
Set the width to 4″ and the height to 6″. the menu should look like the one above.
We’ve chosen to name this file “Layering Texture”, but you can name it whatever you’d like.
When you have your menu options set click OK.
Step 2: Open your resource files
If you haven’t yet downloaded the resource file we will be using for this tutorial, use the links above and do so now. We have saved our versions of these images in a folder titled “LayeringTexture” so they will be easy to find.
Once you have the files downloaded to your computer select File- Open-
Navigate to the folder in which you saved your images. Hold down Ctrl while you click over the two images you want to open, then click OPEN
Step 3: Add Layers to your Layer Stack
At the top of your screen you will see three bars of information. The top bar is your main navigation bar. Below that is a lighter grey bar with some basic control options. Below THAT bar is a horizontal list with the names of all the files you currently have open. If you’ve named your files exactly the same as we have then these three bars look like THIS
And our Woman in Crocheted Hat is showing in your document window.
Note that the file name of the image on top of the stack is highlighted in white. Clicking the little x’s next to the files will close the files. Clicking on the names of a file will bring that file to the top of the stack.
Click on the name of your original file. If you have been following along exactly this file will be named “LayeringTexture”. The name of this file will turn white and the blank white canvas will appear in the center of the screen.
On the right hand side of your screen, below the little green icons, is a panel labelled “Layers”. Right now this panel shows that you have only ONE layer…just the white background of your blank canvas.
At the BOTTOM of your screen you will see a bar with all the files you currently have open. This is your Project Bin.
Click on the image of the woman and drag it into the blank white canvas.
The image of the woman is now in the same document, layered OVER the white background. This new layer will show in the Layers panel to the right.
Click on the “Background” layer in the Layers panel. The layer panel background for this layer will darken to let you know that the layer is selected. Any changes you make now will occur on THIS layer. If you add a new layer to the stack with this layer selected the new layer will appear above it.
In the “Project Bin” at the bottom of the screen click on film texture file and drag it into main canvas, just like you moved the image of the woman earlier.
You won’t see the texture image in this window because it is UNDERNEATH the woman in your layer stack, but you can see it in the layers panel.
Step 4: Resize a Layer
It doesn’t do us much good to have a cool texture we can’t see. Let’s move the “lomofilm5″ file to the top of our stack so we can see it over the image of the woman.
In the layers panel click on the image of the film texture and drag it above the image of the woman. You’ll see the top bar of the “WomanincrochetedHat” layer darken just a bit as you pass over it. Let go of the mouse button and the film texture is now above the woman.
This is a start, but the texture layer is smaller than the canvas. Let’s adjust that!
On the edge of the film texture layer is a dotted line interrupted by larger hollow squares. These squares are handles that you can use to adjust your image size and rotation.
If you hover your cursor near one of these handles it transforms into a double ended arrow.
Click and drag the handle on the left side of the texture image until it meets the left side of the canvas. Repeat this on all sides until the texture file completely fills the canvas. Click enter to finish resizing the layer.
Now the woman is completely covered by the texture layer.
Step 5: Adjust Blend Modes
At the top of your layers panel you will see two little boxes, one with the word “Normal” and one with the word “Opacity ” . First let’s try adjusting the opacity to see what that can do for us.
Click and drag in the box next to “Opacity” to highlight the text, then type in 50% and click enter.
Texture overlay at 50% Opacity
Now we can see the woman, in a ghostly sort of hazy way. Cool, but still not quite what we were looking for. Enter 100% into the box to restore the opacity.
Let’s move on to that “Normal” box. Click on the little arrow to the right of “Normal” and a drop down menu of “Blend Modes” will appear. This stuff is magic! Blend modes tell Photoshop how a layer should interact with the layer beneath it in the layer stack.
Take a minute to play around with selecting different options to see what they do. Some options may make drastic changes with these two layers, others make make little to no visible change here (but might do something AWESOME in another project).
You might also try rearranging the stack order in your layer stack, putting the woman above the texture and adjusting HER blend mode and opacity.
This is all about experimentation and the more you play, the more you’ll learn!
The stack order we chose has the texture file on top with 100% opacity and blend mode set to “Multiply”. Sound fancy doesn’t it?
The image now looks like this
Try applying this technique with different textures in your own projects.
You’ll be impressed with how much just this one little trick will add to your arsenal!