Today I’m going to show you how to use textures on your images using the Cotton Candy texture from my Sugar & Spice collection. I’m using Photoshop Elements 8 for this, but you can do it in any photo editing software that will allow you to use layers.
When I first started using textures I didn’t know very much about them, so my images tended to look overly processed and much too dark.
But I hope to give you some techniques that will help you avoid making the same mistakes as I did and show you how to apply them a little more skillfully!
So using the Cotton Candy texture we’re going to turn this image:
into this one:
It’s not a huge difference, I know, but the point of the Sugar & Spice textures is just to add a subtle hint of something sweet to your shots. So a little light and colour, but nothing too dramatic is the effect we’re aiming for.
So to start with we’ll open both images in Photoshop Elements (or whatever program you’re using).
The photo we want to use the texture on is in a portrait format, so we’ll need to rotate the texture into a portrait position by going to Image > Rotate > 90° Left
Next we want to open the texture as a new layer on the original image. In Elements all you need to do is click the texture icon on the very bottom of the screen and drag it onto the original image. You can also select the texture, copy it and then paste it onto the original image.
You might find that the texture is too large for your original image. So if you press Command + T together, or if you go to Image > Transform > Free Transform you can change it to suit your particular image.
If you look at your Layers dock (if it’s not visible go to Window > Layers) you’ll see that the texture has opened as a new layer over your original image. Make sure your texture layer is selected by clicking on it and checking if it is highlighted.
What we want to do next is play around with different blending modes and opacity percentages until we find the perfect one for the look we want to create.
For this image we want a soft, light look, so modes likes ‘Overlay’, ‘Soft Light’ and ‘Screen’ will be quite successful. But play around with all of them until you find the one you like best, different modes will suit different images!
To do this you use the drop down tools on the top of the layers palette:
For this image I’ve selected the ‘Screen’ blending mode and an Opacity of 38%.
At this point you’ll already see a marked different, the texture has added a very nice shade of pink and extra light into the original image:
Next we’re going to add an extra original layer on top of the textured layer, and then reduce its opacity. This will ensure the image doesn’t get too softened by the texture and that there is still plenty of contrast left.
So we’ll add an extra original layer by selecting the background layer in the layers dock and pressing Control + J together. Drag the new layer to the very top, above the texture layer:
Now reduce its opacity until you are happy with it. There’s no need to select a different blending mode, simply leave it on ‘Normal’. For this image I’ve reduced the opacity to 10%
The result is subtle, but important, especially if you are using heavier textures that your original image might otherwise get lost behind.
At this point the image looks pretty good, it’s probably perfect to use at it is, but we’re going to change one more tiny thing.
In the bottom left corner you’ll see some dots of colour left from the sparkly section of the Cotton Candy texture. We want to get rid of the spots, but keep the colour and effect of the texture.
So to do this we need to open a new blank file, whatever size you like, and fill it with a light colour. In this case I’ve filled it with a light pink:
Select the Healing Tool from the panel on your left and press Alt while clicking on any part of this new coloured image to make a selection.
Now return to your textured image, specifically to the texture layer, and apply the Healing Tool to whatever parts of the texture you would like to blend away. You’ll find that the Healing Tool allows you to keep the colour of the texture, but erases any marks it might leave on your image.
This technique is especially helpful if you’re using texture on photos of people and want to get rid of any marks on their skin.
Now we’re finished with our image, and the end result looks like this:
To save the file you’ll need to go to Layer > Flatten Image first. This will turn the photo into one single layer.
And we’re done!
I hope you’ve found this helpful, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me: email@example.com and I’ll help if I can!