Join Jim Krause for an in-depth discussion in this video Using texture to influence a palette's look, part of Color for Design and Art.
- Now I realized that what I'm going to start talking about right here, it might not seem like it has all that much to do with color, but trust me, it does, and we'll get to that connection in just a minute. So, I keep a quality digital camera with me, pretty much all the time, a camera like this, and it's a step above a cell phone camera. And I take pictures of whatever catches my eye. You name it, lots and lots of pictures, and it's not uncommon when one or more of these images makes their way into a layout that I do for a client or inside one of my books.
So yes, I have a whole bunch of photographs in my computer. They're mostly organized in the folders that say things, like, buildings, streetscapes, sky, water, people, bugs, nature, and so on. But you know which folder contains the most images? It's the one I call Visual Textures. Now, what are visual textures? Well, they're images of anything that's visually textural, you know what I mean? It's like a shot of a metal floor, a decorative glass, a peeling paint scene, stainless steel, painted asphalt, you name it.
Do you snap photos like these, visual textures? If not, I highly recommend it and here's where this photographic topic connects with color. The reason why I think you should collect photos of visual textures is because of their ability to significantly transform the look and even more importantly, the thematic inferences of color. For example, here's a photo of a sign. It's a sign that I shot, was on a road trip through Montana. It's kind of timeless in the way it looks, so old-fashioned seems contemporary, you know.
Well, I've taken the image into Photoshop and now I'm adding a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer and setting it to Sepia and increasing its strength to 100%. Very quickly, the image is starting to look like a proper, old-timey photo, right? It's not bad, but something's missing. What is it? Well, you guessed it. Some visual texture. So I've already loaded a couple textural images into this document. I'm starting with this black and white shot of some worn and peeling paint and I'm going to press Command I to Invert the image.
That way, it doesn't quite look like it's obviously peeling paint. Next I'll put the image to work by changing its Blend mode to Color Dodge, and yeah, now our photo is starting to look more properly worn and distressed. In fact, I'll actually lessen this effect slightly by lowering this layer's opacity to 75%. Here it is with the layer off, and back on. How about another visual texture layer? Something just to darken the edges of the photo.
Here's another image I've loaded into the document. It's an old concrete wall. For this layer, I'll go to the Multiply setting and I'll go to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on the Add Layer Mask button. With this mask selected, I'll click on the Brush tool and paint with black into the center of the image. If you know about layer masks, then you know that what I'm really doing here is painting away this layer's effects in the middle of the photo. If you look at the layer mask, you'll see where I've painted into it.
Here are the layers off, and now back on again. Now one more textural effect. I'll click on the original image layer, the Background layer, go to Filter and Filter Gallery. I'll open the Texture folder, click on Grain, set the Grain type to Enlarged, the Intensity to 50 and the contrast to 25, there. I'm going to zoom way in here so you can see just what happened. Here's the image without grain and here it is with it.
I like this. That is one aged, weathered, and really beat-up old-time photo, or so it appears. It's hard to believe that it started out looking like this just a few minute ago, and now back again. All right. Have you got a pocket sized digital camera? If not, you can use your cell phone camera to shoot pictures of visual texture, but I'd recommend this model because the quality is simply higher. So, keep what you've got on hand and keep your eyes open for photo opportunities that include visual texture.
And believe me, these photo ops are everywhere and you can use these images to do all kinds of really interesting and attractive things, not only to photos, but also to illustrations, backdrop patterns, and even entire layouts.
Primarily aimed at designers and illustrators, the course leans heavily toward digital tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but concludes with some challenges using real-world media (inks and paints!), so members can get a solid understanding of mixing colors and what tools and combinations work best.
- Navigating the color wheel and color vocabulary
- Why a color's value is so important
- RGB vs. CMYK vs. spot
- Finding the perfect color
- Working with grays and browns
- Building a color palette
- Borrowing hues for palettes
- Establishing color hierarchies
- Fixing color problems
- Altering color in photos and illustrations
- Using texture with color
- Painting for learning and fun