Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Building a PSD texture resource file, part of Creating and Using Textures for Design.
- Once you've successfully captured a real-world surface texture it's time to turn it into a working design asset you can start using in your design projects. In the last movie, you saw how I've organized my texture library and created a simplified hierarchy of texture resource files I can immediately access and use. In this movie, I'll show you how to create the exact same resources yourself so you can take an photograph texture and create and easy to use design asset with it in Photoshop.
Let's get started. So, now that you've gone texture exploring, you've photographed some really cool surface textures. How do you turn those into actual working design assets you can immediately start using in your projects? Well, I'll gonna show you how I go about doing it. Now, during this process and as you do it yourself, you're probably going to figure out other ways you can do it as well and that's the nice flexibility of Photoshop so make sure to experiment because that's how you discover things like that.
This is an example of a crackling paint texture that I shot on an old shed and it's just paint that's peeling up and it's making this nice kinda vertically oriented texture that will work great on putting on top of a design element or on an illustration for that matter to give it a nice authentic look. Now, I wanna adjust all of this photograph and create what I call a resource PSD file, a Photoshop document, and this is what that looks like, so, if you go into all of my texture sets, each one of the texture images within a given set will be organized in terms of this hierarchy shown here in Photoshop.
So, I have a positive image, positive is the dark areas of the texture in regards to this specific image and I have that set up just in a format where I can export this out if I zoom in, you can see it's ready to go and it'll work nice as either as grayscale but I've also can export it out as a Bitmap and it'll convert over to that as well. I've also set up a nice layered file with a mask because I might be working in Photoshop and I can just drag this layer to my other Photoshop document and then colorize it however I want and start using it.
I've also created an inverted texture from this texture so everything that was positive is now negative and this works great because I've also created a mask where I can drop artwork on a layer and then use this mask to apply to that layer on a folder and it's a easy way to really quickly mock something up and then go from there and model it out. So, I wanna walk through how I create one of these PSD files based off of a photograph and so we're gonna go to this photograph which is of a nice rock formation, this was on the Oregon coast, and I shot this with my SLR camera, so, lots of information here and the first thing I wanna do is I always save the original photograph even though I might start off in Photoshop and I might change the file type I'm working in, it might start as RGB and I move to grayscale, I always keep an unaltered version of where I started so I can go back if I ever need to.
So, in this case, we're just going to duplicate this layer, click OK, turn off the bottom layer, and now, this is where I'm just gonna start exploring, and there is no real step by step here. It's all about visually watching how your image changes as you adjust so we're gonna go up to Image, Adjustments, Levels, and that'll bring up the window to control that. I usually put it off to the side so I can see what I'm working on. Obviously, if you have a couple monitors you have more real estate than you do on the Screencast, so, it's easier to do this on a workstation than it is here for me demonstrating it but this will suffice and so on levels I usually blow out the low-end and this takes out any of the lighter areas in this photograph and I wanna consider those the paper stock or the image that I'm going to be using, this texture showing through there, so, those will end up being translucent.
So, you can see me blowing those up but because my image is still in RGB, this isn't always ideal. So, I don't like to just jump into it right away because I'm in RGB mode, so I'm gonna cancel out of this. I wanna convert this document to Mode to Grayscale. Now, the better, and we don't wanna flatten, we wanna keep our layers, so, we'll go Don't Flatten, and we don't need to see this again so we're gonna go Discard 'cause we don't care about retaining the color information.
Now, what's really important though is when you shoot photograph textures a good contrast is going to make this process far easier if everything's the same value it makes a lot more difficult. It's possible, just more difficult. So, now we're gonna go back to Adjustment, back to Levels, bring it up, and I'm gonna move the bottom level over and I'm blowing out the background that's the light color and I'm not trying to do it too much 'cause I want some of this nice artifacting within certain areas of the white, I don't want it be just completely blown out and then I'll pull in the dark areas and you can see how I can, if I pull it too far, you get kinda that.
I don't want quite there, I want transparent pixels in this so that I save out a grayscale image and then you can adjust the mid-value, so, I'm gonna adjust that a little bit and I think that looks pretty good. So, we're gonna go OK. So, now, we have this really great texture. If I zoom in on this, you can see how we're, we have nice solid areas of black and minimal areas of gray but enough to cause a nice texturing effect with those artifacts showing up.
So, I think that's gonna work really, really good. Now, the next thing I do is I wanna create all the different layers so I can make access to this artwork easy. Well, first, I get in the habit of organizing your layer hierarchy. So, I'm gonna name this one Ancient of Days and this is positive since the cracks are the dark areas and now with this level selected, we're gonna switch to channels here, and I'm just gonna hold option down and click, and you can see it creates a selection based off of that photograph and that's what we want.
So, we're gonna create a new layer here and we're gonna apply that mask to this layer and if we turn off the top, we're gonna fill that mask layer now with black, and we'll go to Fill, and Foreground Color, OK, and you can see how it makes an inverse of it so we're gonna keep that below this one and we're gonna name this one Ancient of Days and we'll call this negative because it's a negative of it.
Now, we can select this mask layer, reselect the mask. We're gonna now inverse it and this will give us a positive of that selection and we'll apply that to another layer, turn this one off and we're gonna fill this with black too. Now, we have a positive version but it's based off of a mask and we'll name this one Ancient of Days and this is positive as well.
We're gonna clone our original level. So, we'll make a duplicate of it, you just right click on the layer to do that, and on this one, because we're making a duplicate, we're gonna turn it into a negative, so we're gonna name it that, and I like keeping all these organized so I'll drag it down so we have positive then the positive mask, we have the negative, then we have the negative mask. That's kinda the hierarchy I like to create. Now, on this one, it's still a positive so we wanna go to Image, Adjust, and Invert, and that'll create the negative and then it's at this time because I have the original photograph outside of Photoshop I don't need this anymore.
I'll toss it and then I will save this PSD file as Ancient_of_Days.psd as it's showing here and now I have my Photoshop resource file that I can always go back to really quickly and utilize whether I'm working in Photoshop, whether I'm working in Illustrator, I can save out the image that I need, and this is how I set up all my texture files. It makes it easier. Now, any texture file, any texture photograph, that is, is gonna work.
I shot the one I previously showed with the rock using an SLR. Really great camera, captured everything, but you can use your iPhone. Here's an iPhone one and I'm gonna walk through the same process but it doesn't need to be complicated. We're gonna make a copy of this, we'll go to Image, we'll go to Mode, we'll change it to grayscale. We don't wanna flatten. Once again, we'll go to Image, Adjustment, Levels, and we're gonna blow out what's white because we want that nice texturing on the floor so we can use it and we've adjusted it and once again this is a visual thing, just watch the, your artwork, and when it looks good you're done, it's that easy.
We'll click OK and now we got this awesome texture we can use and I'll walk through the same process to set up this PSD in the exact same way so I have a texture resource of this I can use and obviously on this one if you go to Adjust, and you go to Invert, you can create a positive of it as well, and this is a great texture. This would work really well for a design but not all photographs you take are gonna be great in terms of their contrast.
Here's one when we texture explored Art City which you saw on a previous movie. There was this really great texturized kinda truck there and this was a rust texture I took from that. Now, the lighting wasn't ideal so the contrast isn't ideal and that's gonna make working with this a little more difficult than a high contrast image. Now, I could convert to grayscale and try to work with it but there's another way you can go about doing this on certain photographs that is gonna make the whole process easier and in this case, wanna make a duplicate so we can always go back to the original if needed.
We're not gonna leave RGB mode here. We're gonna stay in RGB mode and instead of going to Levels, we're gonna go to Image, Adjustment, and we're gonna go to Curves. Now, I'm not really a Photoshop expert, it's just that I've used Curves for years to do exactly what I'm gonna show you here and that is to improve the artifacting in this image, we're just gonna start adjusting this. So, I'm just gonna pull this up and you can see how its kinda blowing away the image right now but we'll continue to work on this and this is, once again, this is a trial and error process.
What I'm trying to accomplish here is I'm trying just to create more artifacting, to create more kind of contrast between textures, not necessarily color. I'm not talking color here. So, if I move this, you can see how instead of the tonal value of the entire image being distinctly kind of medium tone, which would make contrasting it a lot harder, I use Curves to kinda break up the artifacting in that texture image and I think this one's gonna work pretty good as is.
So, we're gonna go, OK. So, if you compare the original with this, it's essentially the same texturing, I've just kind of broken it up to make the process easier as we move into grayscale. So, now, we're gonna convert to grayscale mode, go to Image, Mode, Grayscale, and we'll go, we don't wanna flatten it. So, you can see now, that compared to the original texture if I woulda just converted to grayscale, everything's gray.
There's not a lot of contrast but now that I've adjusted the curves in RGB before I went to grayscale, there's a lot more information to work with and this is gonna be a lot easier to go to Image, Adjustment, and then Levels, and now we can go ahead and play with this. So, we're gonna, I'm going to, let's see, gonna bring this over, and it's a visual thing, so you'll adjust it until it's looking good.
That's getting close.. And... yeah, that looks really nice right there. So, we'll go OK and you have just an absolute great texture that I can now proceed to create my hierarchy of layers for the different effects so, I would duplicate this layer, name it Original. Always be original with your names, it just makes the process funner. Image, Adjustment, Invert, and we can create a negative of it, so on and so forth to create your resource file in PSD format, so, keep in mind, this methodology allows for your own prerogative so, make sure to experiment in Photoshop and you'll discover your own preferences for adjusting and creating useful texture sets and don't forget to save a copy of your untouched, original photograph, and I'm talking within Photoshop, I'm talking your source photograph outside of Photoshop, so you can always go back and you have the ability to re-approach it later and try something completely different.
- Photographing real-world surface textures
- Importing texture photographs with Adobe Bridge
- Organizing a library of textures
- Building a PSD texture resource file
- Creating wood-grain and painterly textures
- Using a Photoshop texture brush
- Using textures in Illustrator