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In this course, author Nigel French shows how to use textures to create visual interest, heighten realism, and add dimension to Photoshop artwork. The course demonstrates how to apply multiple filters and paint in effects with layer masks, combine textures with images using layer blending modes, use brushes to paint in and accentuate texture, and create brush presets by sampling textures from photographs. The course also shows how to automate the application of textures with actions.
A close cousin to the Clouds and Difference Clouds filters that we saw in the previous two movies is the Fibers Filter. Unlike Clouds, we actually need some content to generate the fibers from, so we do need to actually have color on the lab before we run the filter. In this example, I have used two layers of fibers to help make this sort of very grungy, antique, pinhole camera type effect, and I am going to break it down for you.
It's all been done non-destructively, so we can get back to the point where our image was when we started. So if I turn off everything but the Image layer by holding down the Alt key and clicking on the eyeball, and then I will also turn off any effects and filters, so this is how our image starts, and it's nice and bright and crisp, and we are going to make it all blurry and dark and distressed. Let's start out. We see that I added a Gradient Overlay which is just giving a small amount of vignetting to the edges, and then I've also blurred everything.
Now on top of that, I have a group and in this group there are two layers of fibers; one with the fibers going horizontally, and the other with the fibers going vertically, and the Blend mode of this group is set to Pass Through. So whatever Blend mode has been applied here to the individual layers gets passed on to any layers below. These are both set to a Blend mode of Darken.
In addition to this I have a layer Mask which applies to this group, and that layer Mask is limiting the amount of fibers that actually reach the image layer below. If I turn that layer Mask off by holding down the Shift key, we see it looks like that, and then I will hold down the Shift key, and click on it again to bring it back into effect. On top of this I have added a layer of grain to give it some more grain, and this has been done through the Film Grain filter, apply it as a Smart Filter and then on top of the whole thing, I've added the Black & White adjustment layer with some Sepia toning to it.
So let's create this from scratch. So here is the beginning image, and to start out with, I am going to convert the Smart Filters. I have made a keyboard shortcut Command+Option+Shift+F, Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F. We'll do that, and then I am going to come to the Filter menu and we'll start out by going to Blur>Gaussian Blur. I am going to give it a small amount of blur. Let's say 5.5 pixels.
Next, I would like to add a layer effect in the form of Gradient Overlay. There are several different ways we can add vignetting, Gradient Overlay is one and it's probably the easiest and certainly non-destructive, but we could also use the Lens Correction Filter. We could also just put a separate layer of black above that image. But I prefer to do it this way. So Gradient Overlay, and I want this to be Radial, I want it to Reverse, so that the edges are dark, and then I am going to change the Blend mode to, numerous ones will work here, but I think probably Soft Light is the one that I am after; Soft Light.
I also want to drag around the gradient which is a nice thing about applying it this way. When I move my cursor on to the image, I can drag that over the subject, but I wanted to actually sort of give visual emphasis to, and then I will reduce the Opacity of that to around 70. So now we are going to get to the main event of this movie which is applying the Fibers Filter and I want to apply this on a separate layer. So I am going to create a new layer, and then I am going to fill that layer with white; currently my background color, so I am going to press Command or Ctrl and the Backspace, Delete key.
Then come to the Filter menu, Render>Fibers. It doesn't matter what my color is, because it's going to be obliterated by the fibers but there has to be some color there in order for the Fibers Filter to work. I can mess around with the Variance, and the Strength to get the kind of texture that I am after. Obviously, I am going to go with something like this, that's fine. When we run Fibers, Fibers always are vertical.
So if we want them horizontal, then we need to do something else and that is we need to duplicate this layer, spin it around and then stretch it so that it fills the canvas. But before I do that, I'm going to experiment with the Blend mode of this filter. Now, to experiment with Blend modes and when we are working with textures we do a lot of experimenting with Blend modes. So here is a really useful keyboard shortcut and it is Shift+Plus or Shift+Minus and that's going to just run you through your different Blend modes.
There is no right or wrong Blend mode; it's the one that you like. But the ones that are likely to work will be Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, but whatever, there is the one that you like. I am going to go with Darken, a Blend mode that I rarely use. But I think it looks good in this instance.
I need to see more of the canvas around my image for what I am about to do next. So I am going to press Command or Ctrl+Minus to go to a reduced view. I also want to reduce the Opacity on the Blend mode, so I am going to knock it down to about 50%. I am just going to press 5 on my keyboard to do that. Then I am going to duplicate this layer; Command+J or Ctrl+J and then Command+T or Ctrl+T which will take me to my Free Transform and I can now spin that around, like so.
I might want to hold down my Shift key as I do so, so that I move in increments of 45? and I also will need to scale it. The fact that I am distorting it doesn't really matter here, it's just a texture, so we can take some liberties with it. I am going to hold down my Alt key or my Option key, and then just pull that out like so, so it fills the whole canvas and then press Return. Now, to work on these two layers of texture together, I could merge one into the other by coming to the layers menu and choosing Merge Down, but I like to play it safe.
So I am going to select both of those, holding down the Shift key and then press Command+G or Ctrl+G which will put them into a group. Now that we are in a group, and it's always a good idea to name your groups, and your layers, now that we are in a group, I can add a layer Mask to that group which I am going to do. So effectively, I can have one mask serving both layers. Now, on this layer Mask and this is a technique that's used a lot when working with textures, I want to paint away any sort of pattern that there is, there.
We want to make this more random and we want it a bit less of it as well. So I will press B to go to my Brush tool. I am going to come up here and make my brush a lot bigger. I want to make sure I am working with a Hardness value of 0. Just to increase my brush size more, I press my Right-bracket, and then just start rubbing away bits of that texture. Now, that's too much. Before I do that, I'm going to reduce the Opacity of my brush.
Set my Brush Opacity at 50% and then just sort of dab away areas of the texture so that we are not seeing quite as much of it as we were before. Now if I've overdone that or if I want to further adjust that mask, I can come to my Masks panel where I can just reduce the Density of that. I think I want to do that a bit, so I am going to bring the Density of that down. I can continue to work on that, it's all completely non-destructive, continuously editable.
I can turn it off by holding down the Shift key and clicking on it. I can view it by itself, Alt or Option and clicking on it. So we see just these gray blobs on there which are masking the full extent of that texture. Okay. The next thing I want to do is add some grain and I am going to add the grain on its own separate layer. So I am going to come down here, hold down the Alt or Option key and click on Create New layer. I will name this layer and I am going to change the Blend mode to Overlay and fill it with Overlay-neutral gray and that's what the layer looks like.
If I were to change the Blend mode to Normal, it would look like that, but because the Blend mode is Overlay, we are not currently seeing any of that layer. I am now going to convert that layer for Smart Filters and then return to the Filter menu and come down to Noise, and add some noise. I want the noise I add to be monochromatic. So I am going to slightly overdo to it here, just so that the grain is discernible when viewing this on the video, or on some sort of iPad or however it is you are viewing this where nuances might be lost otherwise.
But if you are doing this for real, you may not need quite as much as I am currently applying here. But you can season this one to your taste. Now having applied it like so, I can always go back and just double-click on the name of the filter right there, and add more or less. That's the nice thing about applying this as a Smart Filter. Now, just to finish this off to make it more antiquey-looking, I am going to add a Black & White adjustment layer, like so.
I am going to choose to tint it. So I am going to click on the Tint Swatch and it automatically gives me a sort of sepia color which is exactly what I'm after. So I don't need to change anything else there. But now let's go and look at what we have here, and how we've created this. So we have our Image layer, Gradient Overlay, and Gaussian Blur applied to it, on top of this we have some Fibers, on top of that, we have some Grain and on top of that, we have a Black & White adjustment layer with sepia toning applied.
I can come and refine this as much as I want using my Opacity sliders and editing if necessary my Smart Filters. As with so many of Photoshop's filters, with Fibers, you really need to look beyond the obvious application of that filter. Fibers like Clouds and like some of the other ones that we'll be looking at is a really useful starting point to creating some interesting texture which you can work into your images.
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