How to Create Custom Textures in Photoshop

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when the word “Photoshop” is mentioned? For most people, the first thing that comes to mind is retouched images of Justin Bieber or some model, or maybe adding a different background to your picture so it looks like you’re in Italy instead of standing in front of your home. Or maybe they think about fantasy graphics. This is all true, but Photoshop is so much more than just retouching and manipulating images. It can be used—it is being used for so many other purposes that they may boggle your mind.

One thing that Photoshop is being used for is: Creating your own textures.

WHAT ARE TEXTURES?

Textures are everywhere whether it’s the floor, the fan, the road, the concrete of the sidewalk, or the fabric of your favorite t-shirt. Even the screen that you’re staring at right now has a texture. We see and feel textures everyday yet we don’t give them any importance. In this article, we will share some techniques with you to build your own textures using Photoshop.

C:\Users\kamran.siddiqui\Downloads\Background (12).png

Above you can see the same picture in two different phases. On the left, you see the picture in just one texture, flat gray. Now here, it is important to remember that every image that exists in the world right now has at least one texture. Without texture, image would not exist. We’re sure you’ve heard the famous quote: “I have a texture, therefore I am.” (Apologies for the pun!)

The second scene is fully textured. You can see the wood of the frame, the table top, the fabric of the chair, etc. These are all textures. You must be thinking that we took a full textured picture and took all but one textures out of it, but the truth is the other way around. The scene on your right was created entirely by using Photoshop and no external images were used.

USING FILTERS

Many people think of filters as cheap waste of time. They think that the filters don’t have any useful purpose in Photoshop. Many will keep on believing this. But the truth is that Photoshop filters are one of the most powerful features that you can use properly and they can produce mind-boggling results. If you haven’t been using filters in Photoshop till now, it is a good time to start. Use the techniques given below and start using their effects to your advantage.

APPLY MULTIPLE FILTERS

If you thought that you were only allowed to use one filter at a time, you were wrong. Try using more than one filters, one over the other. Have some fun and experiment with various filters. See what are the effects and how do they interact with each other. You will even find a filter stack in the Filter Gallery Panel (Filter – Filter Gallery). Here you can get a preview of how different filters will work together and look together. 

In the below image you can watch as the Craquelure filter is applied to the Reticulation filter via the Filter Gallery. Just check out what the result is and whether it is interesting enough or not. This is exactly the way you can check out two or even more filters together. Just remember what sequence you are using them in since that is very important.

C:\Users\kamran.siddiqui\Downloads\Background (11).png

Here are some examples of filters being used together. Try them out and see what you find.

COARSE TEXTURE

You can create a coarse texture for hard, wooden surfaces in the following steps. First start with a blank canvas. If you add the Noise filter (Filter—Noise—Add Noise) to it, it will create a random black and white pattern for you. This is a good base for your next filter. Next, apply the Emboss filter (Filter—Stylize—Emboss) on the Noise filter. Voila! You have yourself a new texture.

MAKE A SPHERE

Sometimes, all you need to do is to use the same filter twice or maybe thrice to get the desired results. Let’s try that. If you have a circled grid and you apply the Spherize filter (Filter—Distort—Spherize) you will only see a mild difference. Now apply the same filter to the image again. Now you will see a more believable sphere.

C:\Users\kamran.siddiqui\Downloads\Background (13).png

As you very well know that filters work their magic by manipulating the pixels on a layer, so make sure that you remember the order in which you are applying your filters. This point cannot be said enough, that’s why we are repeating it. If you forget the sequence, you might have to try really hard to find the proper sequence again. There is also the possibility that you might not find the correct sequence again.

Experiment with multiple filters and see what you get out of it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to predict what the filters will do even before you apply them.

CREATING TILES

While Tiling textures are really in demand, they take a lot of time and effort. Be smart and let Photoshop handle all that for you. There are some filters in Photoshop that will automatically tile if you resize your document to the power of 2 like 256 x 256, or 512 x 512, or even 512 x 1024 and so on. Start with one of these sizes and build on them. Without any additional effort an in minimal time you will be able to create tiling textures that are complex and pleasing to the eye. 

One way to do it is to start with a Cloud filter (Filter—Render—Clouds) and apply it to a document that is sized to 1024 x 1024 pixels. Just like the Noise filter, the Cloud filter will give you a random piece of work. This randomness will go nicely with many other filters. Now that you’ve applied the filter, you can easily resize an adjust the image without fear of harming it. Let’s see if that’s true. Adjust the size of your document (via Image—Image Size). This will give your document a squished effect while still keeping the tiled texture. Now, if you want to break up the resulting texture in a number of shades of gray, just add the Posterize effect (Image—Adjustment—Posterize). Apply the Find Edges filter (Filter—Stylize—Find Edges). This will isolate just those edges and give you a wooden grain pattern.

CONCLUSION

These are only some of the ways that you can create your own superb-quality textures without spending a lot of time or effort. Now apply them to your next piece of Art and see how they work.

AUTHOR BIO

Sarah Jay is a graphic design expert and an Art aficionado. She has a more than a decade of experience in this field. She has proven time and again that his imagination and crazy creativity know no bounds. 

She is known globally for her love for graphic designing, her continuously impressive work that people love, and her love of sharing hers knowledge and gems from her experience with others through blogs as well as podcasts.She started her career as a freelance designer to create business logo designs and worked her way to the top quickly and steadily. Currently she is the head of the design department at Logonado Company and leads a team of graphics designers to come up with works of Art that amaze and inspire people globally.

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