25 April, 2012

Free Texture Wednesday VI

currently I am very busy creating a pack  of new textures. I am trying to make them easier to use. Which means, that I have to invest  more time and experimentation in their creation to make them better.
To bridge the time until I finally can release them, here's a pair of free textures, that I created in the process. They won't be included in the pack, because I thought they don't fit the style & theme of the new pack.

Texture 1:

Red Corner
Aus Free texture

Texture 2:

Orange Corner
Aus Free texture

Click on the texture or the link to download.

I used "Orange Corner" to process an old pic I shot on a trip to Madeira. Move over the picture to see a before/after.


Additionally I made a hardcopy of the layers in Photoshop. This didn't need much tweaking. I only used the texture on two layers. First to tone it a bit more yellow using multiply. that made it a bit too dark so I added a second layer of the texture and used the Vivid Light blend mode to make it brighter.


That's all for today!

See you soon.

11 April, 2012

Steps to creating textures: Shooting surfaces & Free Texture


I'd like to give some hints & tips concerning shooting surfaces that may serve as a basis for the creation of your own texures.

Shooting surfaces & textures
  • Use auto focus, in my experience it is very hard to focus textures manually. Even with auto focus you should take various shots to make sure the focus is right.

  • Distance to surface: Normally you want to have great detail. Depending on the surface you are going to shoot, you will have to get closer (fabrics, paint, clothes) or farther away ( rough stone walls, soil, bricks). However you should fill the full frame with what you are shooting.

  • Angle: The object of desire should be shot in a 90° angle facing the camera directly. If you don't do this, you might have to fix perspective issues, but keep in mind that there are limits to the extend of what you can remedy in software.

  • Light: avoid dark shadows, flare, reflections – shoot on a cloudy day, never in direct sunlight (if possible), don't use a flash!

  • Aperture: avoid shallow dof. In my experience an aperture of 4.5. - 7.1. is best.

  • Exposure: keep your ISO as low as possible (ISO 100/200).

  • Shutter Speed: If you shoot handheld a speed of 1/60 and higher is recommended. Blurred parts of a texture kill detail and might render your shot unfit for use as a texture. If you shoot in darker surroundings use a tripod.

  • Shoot in RAW. I normally do a lot of post processing on my textures and RAW gives you alot more of possibilities.

  • Lenses: I found out that shooting with an angle of 35 mm to 50 mm is best, so better no wide angle lenses, because of the lens distortion.

 This short article comes with another free texture. Just click on the picture to download it from Picasa!

Spring Green Square

Next time I will give another example of how I finally create a texture. You can check out my first post on the actual creation of a texture here:

the making of a texture

 Have a great week!!


01 April, 2012

Tips for texturing photos

Hello, I am back from a trip and wanted to make good on a promise.

I thought of pointing out some important points one has to think of when texturing photos and give away some tips that help you  texturizing photos (hopefully!)
If you follow these steps/tips, you might minimize disappointing texturing results.

1.  Process your source pictures
I always process any picture that might become a later candidate for texturizing. The picture should stand on its own. It is not worth while trying to improve a weak or bad shot by using a texture. You should aim at turning a good picture into an unique and special one. Processing the picture also helps me to develop a vision of the final result.

In this picture I used a perfectly processed uncropped b&w version, before I started working with it.

Man & Wave
2. Choice of texture(s)
Once you have an idea of the final result, it is much easier to chose a texture. At least it helps me to narrow down the no. of trials. Do I want to make a sky darker by using a texture? Maybe applying a texture that has a gradient to do so? Do I want to make an empty space more interesting by subtly texturing it? Do I want an overall grungy look? Do I want a painterly look? Am I going for vintage colours?
These are some of the questions that help chosing a texture.
In the above picture I only wanted a subtle texture that is visible in the dark parts of the picture. 

Example painterly look

3. Size of texture
Make sure that the texture you use has a printable size. It is not worth while using a low resolution texture on a full size picture. You might not see it on Facebook or Flickr in low resolution, but if you want to make prints or even sell your work, you should always take a high resolution file (>  3000 px)
Resize the texture, but don't blow it up to more than 150% of its original size. 

4. Working with layers in your software
You have to make yourself familiar with layers and masks in Photoshop or other processing software
If you work with Photoshop, PS Elements or GIMP you know what I am talking about.

If you want to achieve a soft look (flowers, faces) you should chose a fine texture with light colours and set the blending mode to Screen, Overlay or Soft Light at a low opacity (30%) to start with

Example for a soft look

Do want to have a grungy or dramatic look take a strong texture and use Hard Light at low opacity.

Example grunge look

Texturizing pictures has a lot to do with experimenting. If you don't get good results, stop it and take another look at it a day later...

Don't overuse textures, always consider whether it will do any good to your picture. (I cannot count the times I had to restrain myself from overtexturing, I think I failed many times....)

5. Alter the texture
You should work with/on the texture. If the colour isn't right but the structur  is - change the colour, make it lighter or darker. Play around!
Delete parts of the texture that do not fit the picture, e.g. use a layer mask to erase parts that are not important. (see layers)
If you want to keep the colour of the texture, but you don't want the structure select the part of the texture and blur it.

Have a look at the layers of my picture "Man & Wave" After working on the colours and adding the blur I added the textures. From the first texture I almost erased 3/4 of the middle part, so that it is only visible in the dark parts of the picture. The Light Grunge texture was used subtly in all parts but the wave.

Hope I could help you get started with using textures. Next I want to give some tips creating your own textures.

Please consider purchasing textures from my make-your-own-texture-pack
Thank you!