Textures Tutorial

A few years ago I became interested in using textures on selected images as a post processing technique. Obviously this is nothing new, many have been doing it for a long time. I don’t attempt to be different than others, I simply craft my images towards my vision. My approach is to apply the textures thoughtfully and carefully. My Something New Portfolio was my first foray into textures. I use a variety of sources for textures.  Adobe Texture Pro that comes with CC 2015 is great, Brooke Shaden offers some free textures, Jen Kiaba offers a free texture pack if you sign up for her newsletter and some I’ve created a few of my own.  The reality is that they are all over the Internet and easy to find.  The challenge lies in your choice of which one to use for which image, how to apply it and even if it makes sense to use one.  I use textures in both color and black and white, however I tend to lean towards color since much of the texture effect can be lost on black and white.  Again it’s personal choice and what fits your vision.  There are no rules or right or wrong. Below is a general narrative of my process. All adjustments in Photoshop are done on separate layers.  I’m a firm believer in this as it’s much easier to go back in and tweak if needed.  I always allow my work to brew for a day or two before showing it, i.e. I go back in on different days and look at it multiple times usually discovering a few things I didn’t see the previous time.  It’s a process that I highly recommend as it will subtly improve the quality of your work.  These subtle tweaks may not seam important but they are critical and add up to significant improvements.

  1. I always shoot RAW and import my images into Lightroom.
  2. Begin with a properly calibrated display.
  3. Exposure adjustment if needed in Lightroom.
  4. White balance adjustment if needed in Lightroom.
  5. Open the image in Photoshop as a PSD or TIF file.
  6. Color correction if needed
  7. Lens correction if needed.
  8. Straighten horizontal and vertical lines using the transform tool.  Not always necessary depending on the subject and overall image.  It was necessary for this image as it was shot using a fairly wide angle lens (35mm).
  9. Crop if needed.  I always work hard to get my crop and composition in camera, however there are times when a post crop is necessary.
  10. Touch up as needed.
  11. Add the texture layer. In this case I used the Necropolis texture from the Adobe Paper Texture Pro tool. Set the blend mode to Overlay.
  12. Create a layer mask on the texture layer completely blocking the texture on the subject.  In most cases my subject is a person.
    I don’t use the selection tool, I manually brush in the mask taking great care to get the edges precise.  Precise edges are critical for this technique.  The selection tool can be used and then you can go in and clean up the edges.  I spend most of the editing time here refining the edges.
  13. Highlight the mask on the texture layer and double click on it displaying the properties dialog.
  14. Reduce the density to somewhere around 80%, this will vary depending on the image, texture used and your vision.
  15. Feather the edges by about 1.2px.  The intent of this coupled with a proper mask is to render the edges undetectable in the final image.
  16. Add a Hue/Saturation layer and desaturate the color to taste. The level of desaturation will vary depending on your vision. In this image I landed on -59.
  17. Add a Levels layer and adjust the contrast to taste.  Sometimes I’ll add a Curves layer on top of the Levels layer to further fine tune the contrast.  Once again these are all subtle adjustments.

The images below illustrate the various steps in the process. My hope is that you pick up something that may help you in achieving your vision.

OriginalImage

Original Image

Cropped

Cropped

Touchup Lens Correction and Transform

Touchup, Lens Correction and Transform

Texture Applied

Texture Applied

Texture Layer Mask Applied

Texture Layer Mask Applied

Hue Saturation Layer Applied

Hue Saturation Layer Applied

Levels Contrast Layer Added

Levels Contrast Layer Added

Final Image

Final Image

Playing in the Sandbox of Textures

I liked the form and lines in this image a lot when I shot it but felt that it was very plain and needed something to give it some life. I’m always experimenting with different things and textures is one of them.  I hit this with a few before I was satisfied. Stay tuned, I’m working on a tutorial describing my texture process.

Model credit:  Floofie

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Dissapointment

 

Floofie – Recent Works

Our paths finally crossed and we had a wonderful time working together.  Floofie is an incredibly talented model and a joy to work with.  She brings so much to a shoot that she left me wanting more. We worked on a variety of concepts which is usually the case the first time I work with a model.  Subsequent session are generally more focused on specific ideas and concepts. Tried a few new things and added a few images to the Something New portfolio. I’m always looking for new concepts as fuel for future shoots.  I love the lamp concept and will likely work on it in the future.  The shapes created in the three images of Floofie sitting on the black fabric I find visually pleasing and will likely work on them in the future as well.

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Lamp concept

 

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Something New

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Something New

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unnamed concept

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unnamed concept

 

Portraiture, Light and Shadow

I’m always searching for light, shadow and the beauty they bring to photographs. This past Saturday as I was waiting for Floofie to arrive for our first shoot together, I sat looking at the window light as it cast its magic on a chair.

Some may find it a surprise that over the years Floofie and I have not crossed paths until this past Saturday.  We’ve both been in this game for some time and it was a real pleasure to finally work with her.  She is professional and incredibly talented. I look forward to working with her again.

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Floofie 1

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Floofie 2

Naked in New Hope

I’m honored and excited that three of my images were selected for inclusion in this year’s Naked in New Hope Exhibition at Sidetracks Art in New Hope, PA. The exhibit opens on September 12th and runs through October 31st. I’m especially happy that one of my 16×20 encaustic panels (Formed in Steel) will be in the show.

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Erica – Model credit: Erica J

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Formed in Steel – Model credit: Tendu

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Carey – Model credit: Carey Chrome

 

 

Texture

Whenever my camera is in hand I’m always looking everywhere around me for subject, light, shadow and texture. I was extremely fortunate to shoot at an abandon farm recently and the textures, patterns and shapes were everywhere.  With weather and age having developed incredible character at this location, these subjects along with their patterns, textures and nature staking its place, spoke loudly and begged to be photographed.  As I was photographing these I kept thinking about the people who used to live and work on this farm and the animals that lived there.  Deeper than simply weathered wood and vines, these hold the history of the farm and countless stories.

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Sound Wave

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Foggy Memories

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Open Door

SE Center for Photography – Black, White and Everything in Between

This has been a tremendously rewarding week for me and my photography. I submit to many galleries and exhibitions and receive many rejections, however this week I’ve been accepted into two exhibitions.

The exhibit at SE Center for Photography is especially significant because it’s the inaugural exhibit for this new gallery and it was juried by Jennifer Schlesinger, Director of VERVE Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, NM. And five of my images were selected for exhibition with one, Release Me, being choosen for use in the advertising and promotion of the show. Needless to say I’m honored and incredibly excited for this opportunity.

My collaborators: Rhus, Evie, Kaitlin Dessa Fell, DeSalle, Arielita

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Release Me – Model Credit: Rhus

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Evie – Model Credit: Evie

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Dessa – Model Credit: Kaitlin Dessa Fell

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DeSalle – Model Credit: DeSalle

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Butterflies are Free – Model Credit: Arielita

 

Darkroom Gallery – Reveal Exhibit

I’m honored to have one of my images selected for the Darkroom Gallery Reveal Exhibit.

Model credit: Laina Vandekieft

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Abandoned Farm – Recent Works

I was extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to shoot at an abandoned farm a few weeks ago.  The opportunities at this location are endless and the natural light was beautiful.  Thanks to Vinny Kim for sharing this great location.

Model credits: VDB Nudes and Alex Adair

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VDB Nudes – Recent Works

I often shoot with a specific vision in mind, i.e. a target for the finished image.  This particular location and its beautiful light and textures were new to me so I really was not sure what the end vision was. Call it exploring, call it experimentation, call it whatever.  I enjoy it and not having the end result in mind I think opens up possibilities that may not have surfaced otherwise.

Model credit: VDB Nudes

 

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