Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a rocklike texture with Clouds, part of Photoshop for Designers: Textures (2011).
When working with textures in Photoshop most of the time we are going to be starting with some sort of textural image or will be printing some sort of texture and blending in some sort of texture, but there are times when you don't have a texture and you want to start with nothing and the Render group of Filters allow us to do that. We can use these filters to generate texture synthetically. Now in this particular example I have some sort of synthetic rock texture, maybe it's tinfoil, maybe it's the surface of mars, that is generated from clouds and then on top of clouds we have another filter applied to that, and then we also have this shaft of light here and just for some graphic interest I've added a shape layer in the form of this target and that is filled with red which is multiplying onto the clouds texture.
So let's re-create this. I am going to start with a New document 1200 pixels x 800 pixels, and the first thing I am going to do is run the clouds filter. Clouds will randomly generate noise based upon your foreground and background color. So I have my foreground-background color at that default black and white and that's just fine for my purposes here. Render>Clouds, that's what I get. If you want a less contrasty result then choose a black and a gray or a light gray with a dark gray or two colors that are relatively close to each other.
If you don't like what you are randomly given because it is random. You can press Command or Ctrl+F to run that filter again until you get something that you do like. What I am going to do next and I'll be doing this throughout this series is converting my layout for Smart Filters. That's going to allow me to apply other filters to it and to keep track of what filters have been applied and exactly how much of those filters have been applied and also allow me to go back and edit the filtering.
So Smart Filters are tremendously useful. So back to the Filter menu and I am going to come down to Sketch and Bas Relief. I could also go to Filter Gallery and find it there as well. It's going to be exactly the same thing. I will press Command or Ctrl+Minus to make my Preview window smaller. And because I want my detail to be nice and crunchy and crisp I am going to up the detail and move the Smoothness slider all the way to the left and I am going to have the light coming in from the top-left but here are my other choices.
So having done that, I am now going to create a shape layer on top of this. I am going to choose my Custom Shape tool and I am going to use the Target Shape, which is right there and I want to change the foreground color that the shape layer would be rendered in. I am going to use a nice terra- cotta red that has these values 200 Red, 67 Green, and 47 Blue.
To keep the shape proportion I am going to hold down the Shift key while I drag, and then I can position that wherever I want it to go. Now I've actually ended out with the opposite of what I wanted here because I wanted the background in red and the shape reversing out of that. To fix that I am going to choose my Path Selection tool, I am going to click on the edge of that shape and then use this option right here Subtract from shape area, which is going to give me that result, and then I am going to change the Blend mode of that layer to Multiply so that we see the texture through it.
I might just want to switch to my Move tool, I am going to press the V key to do that and then just drag that around. If I want to scale it Command or Ctrl+T and holding down Option+Shift or Alt+Shift to scale it from the center point and keep it proportional. Press Enter or Return to accept that. So I am now going to create my shaft of light, and to do this I am just going to draw the shaft of light. I could also do it using a layer effect, Gradient Overlay, or I could do it using a Filter, Lighting Effects, and I am sure there are other ways as well.
I am going to do it like this. I am going to add a new layer. I am going to fill that layer with white. White is currently my background color so I am going to press Command or Ctrl and the Backspace, Delete key to fill my layer with white. I am going to change the Blend mode to Overlay. So we can see that if I turn that off it's just having an overall lightning effect on the whole composition. Now I am going to use my Polygonal Lasso tool to draw my shaft of light, like so.
I am going to inverse that selection, Command+Shift+I, and then I am going to fill that with black. So I am going to make black my foreground by pressing D and then Option or Alt and my Backspace, Delete key to fill and then Ctrl or Command+D to deselect. Now, I am going to soften that and I could convert this for smart filters but I'm going to leave dangerously here and just go directly to my Gaussian Blur and apply a lot of blurring, about 90 pixels of blurring, and then to soften that overall effect I can reduce the Opacity of that layer down to around 35-36%.
That's my end result. What I want you to take-away from this movie is not that we use the Clouds filter to make red tinfoil with target shapes on it but rather that we use the Clouds filter as a starting point and having applied the Clouds filter we can then apply other filters on top of that and then build up our texture, which we can then combine with other layers using blending modes.
- Using render filters
- Applying textures with the Texturizer filter
- Adding noise and film grain
- Matching grain when cloning
- Aging photos
- Blending textures with layer masks
- Applying texture to an uneven surface
- Creating texture brushes
- Building density with brush settings
- Applying texture to type
- Finding, downloading and installing actions