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Design - Photoshop

Texturizer Unchained

In part one of this tutorial we explored Photoshop’s Oil Paint filter. Today we’re going to add texture to our painting, to give it the look of oil paint on canvas. In addition, we’re going to take a look at Photoshop’s Texurizer filter, a robust and perhaps underused tool, found under Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Texturizer in Photoshop CS6+, and under Filter > Texture > Texturizer in Photoshop CS5 and earlier.

So let’s have some fun.

Photoshop Texturizer

We’ll start by adding a canvas texture to our Gull in Snow image.

As with almost all things Photoshop, there is more than one way to complete the task. The quickest way is to apply Texturizer directly to your image, adjust the settings until you’re happy and move on to the next project. Applying Texturizer directly to your image is okay. However, once you close your file, the filter can’t be modified without starting over.

If the effect is too strong, you can dial it down by using the Fade command (shift + command/ctrl + f) immediately after applying an effect. The fade dialog allows you to change the filter’s blend mode and adjust its opacity. Fade is useful, even though it’s availability id limited. We get the same power as Fade when we use Smart Filters.

Smart Filters rule. (Working with Smart Objects automatically makes your filters Smart.)

  1. Let’s start by opening the oil painted gull from part one. If you haven’t completed part one, you can go back and do it now, or grab an already oil painted copy of the image.
  2. Duplicate your painting. Image > Duplicate. In the dialog add texture to the file name and check Duplicate Merged Layers Only if your image isn’t already flattened. You may close the original file.
  3. Save your new image.
  4. Create a new empty layer by clicking on the New Layer icon located to the right of the trash can in the button bar at the bottom of the Layers panel.
  5. Fill Layer 1 with 50% Grey (shift + delete/backspace ).
  6. Under Content select 50% Grey from the drop down.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Right click on Layer 1 panel.
  9. Select Convert to Smart Object. Alternatively, go under Filter > Convert for Smart Filters. This allows us to apply filters non-destructively, and change filter settings without starting from scratch or undoing steps.
  10. Set Layer 1′s Blend Mode to Overlay.
    IMAGE: Overlay ignores middle grey values and increases dark and light values.

    Overlay ignores middle grey values and increases dark and light values.

  11. Now the fun begins. With Layer 1 active, go under Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Texturizer in Photoshop CS6+, and under Filter > Texture > Texturizer in Photoshop CS5 and earlier. (I’m using Photoshop CC, so if my screen looks a little different from yours, don’t panic, because the filters work the same way.)
    IMAGE: Texturizer allows us to simulate Brick, Burlap, Canvas and Sandstone.

    Texturizer allows us to simulate Brick, Burlap, Canvas and Sandstone.

  12. Choose Canvas from the Texture drop down.
  13. Start with the following settings: Scaling 169%; Relief 29; Lighting Top Right.
    IMAGE: Scaling affects the depth of the texture. Relief affects the texture's contrast. The higher the number the more dramatic (or drastic) the effect. Light controls the direction of the light source. The settings I've chosen are rather extreme, but show the effect at screen resolution.

    Scaling affects the depth of the texture. Relief affects the texture’s contrast. The higher the number the more dramatic (or drastic) the effect. Light controls the direction of the light source. The settings I’ve chosen are rather extreme, but show the effect at screen resolution.

  14. Play with the settings until you’re happy with the result and then click OK to commit them. Because we made the layer a Smart Object, we can go back in and change settings, even after we close our image. Smart Objects (Filters) rule.
  15. By creating our texture on its own layer, we can adjust its impact on our painting by adjusting the layer’s Opacity. Drop Layer 1′s Opacity.
    IMAGE: By dropping Layer 1's Opacity to 24%, I have created a texture blend that suggests a canvas texture, but doesn't overpower the image below.

    By dropping Layer 1′s Opacity to 24%, I have created a texture blend that suggests a canvas texture, but doesn’t overpower the image below.

  16. Try different blend modes and different Opacity values. Which ones give a more satisfying result?
  17. Now double-click Filter Gallery and apply one of Brick, Burlap and Sandstone textures to your painting.
  18. Experiment with Blend Modes and Opacity. Which combinations are working for you? Which aren’t? Why?
  19. We can apply filters to Layer Masks, too. For this project, it requires applying a mask to a duplicate of our painting layer (command/ctrl + j).
  20. With the duplicate layer active, create a mask by clicking on the New Mask icon in the Layers button bar (the circle in a rectangle icon; third from left).
  21. Click on the mask to activate it.
  22. Fill the mask with 50% Grey (shift + delete/backspace. Use 50% Grey from the drop down.)
  23. Press command/ctrl + f to apply Texturizer with your most recent settings, or press option/alt + command/ctrl + f to apply Texturizer with new settings.
  24. Change the Layer Blend Mode to Multiply and adjust its Opacity until you’re pleased with the result.
  25. Applying Texurizer to a layer mask allows you to lessen the impact or paint out texture in places. Selectively showing or hiding a Texturizer effect gives you more control on how the finished project is shown.

IMAGE: Our finished oil painting with Texturizer's Canvas applied

Our finished oil painting with Texturizer’s Canvas applied.

Creating Custom Textures

We’ve explored Photoshop’s Texturizer presets Brick, Burlap, Canvas and Sandstone. Next, we’ll make a custom texture inside Texturizer. You can load a PSD file as a texture by selecting Load Texture … from the options menu located to the right of the Texture drop down.

You can load any PSD as a texture, however, you’ll get better results by preparing your file before using it in Texturizer. There are any number of ways to add texture to a project, including layering texture images into your project and applying various Blend Modes, using or creating patterns and applying them as Adjustment Layers or Layer Effects.

As with patterns, we’ll likely get better results from a seamless texture. We can use Photoshop patterns, load an image as a texture, or make our own. Each has its strengths. Photoshop patterns are already seamless and can be applied a number of different ways, both destructively and non-destructively.

Loading an image as a texture and blending it with your image layer works well. Image textures can alter the colours and contrast of your main image, which may or may not be a good thing. Also, if you need a seamless texture, you’ll have to make it from your image. The good thing is, once it’s done, it’s done. So, let’s do it.

  1. Open a file to use as a canvas texture. I used a canvas cloth image from Stock Exchange photographer Humusak2.
    IMAGE: I tend to work with square images when I'm making seamless patterns. The resulting texture tends to be better quality. Before using this image, I cropped it down to 1024 × 1024 pixels, removed hair and other blemishes, converted it to grey scale and made Curves and Levels adjustments to improve contrast. I saved the finished file as a PSD, so I could load it into Texturizer.

    I tend to work with square images when I’m making seamless patterns. The resulting texture tends to be better quality. Before using this image, I cropped it down to 1024 × 1024 pixels, removed hair and other blemishes, converted it to grey scale and made Curves and Levels adjustments to improve contrast. I saved the finished file as a PSD, so I could load it in Texturizer.

  2. If you’re working with a different image, choose a part of the image with similar tones and either crop it down to, or make a selection of 1024 × 1024 pixels and save it as a PSD.
  3. Clean up any spots with the Healing Brush or Clone Stamp tools.
  4. Now we’ll apply Offset Filters > Other > Offset.
  5. To make our pattern seamless, we’ll want to set our Horizontal to 512 pixels right (half image width) and Vertical 512 pixels down (half image height). We’ll make sure the Undefined Areas Wrap Around, which ensures seamless edges.
    IMAGE: Offset dialog showing filter settings

    Offset dialog showing filter settings.

  6. We need to clone out the inner edges in order to make them seamless.
  7. Click s to get your Clone Stamp tool and choose a soft brush set to about 35 pixels. Note: Choose a brush size that matches the texture you’re creating. I use a soft brush at 100% Opacity and Flow and sample many different parts of the image as you paint out the inner seams. Ensure you don’t get too close to the outer edges or they’ll lose their seamless property.
  8. Paint out the visible seams running through your image.
  9. Give your file an appropriate name and save it as a PSD.
  10. Select Edit > Define Pattern.
  11. Give your pattern an appropriate name and click OK. Note: Now that your pattern has been defined, it’s available for use in Layer Effects under Pattern Overlay, as a fill (Shift + delete/backspace and choose Pattern from Contents > Pattern, and as an Adjustment Layer (Adjustment Layer > Pattern).
    IMAGE: In the Pattern dialog click the disclosure triangle to the right of the pattern thumbnail and then scroll down to your texture. Textures are appended to the bottom of the stack, so your latest texture will always be the last one.

    In the Pattern dialog click the disclosure triangle to the right of the pattern thumbnail and then scroll down to your texture. Textures are appended to the bottom of the stack, so your latest texture will always be the last one.

  12. Your texture is also available for use in Texturizer because you saved it as a PSD.
  13. Open your oil paint image, if it’s not already open.
  14. Create a new blank layer by clicking the New layer icon in the Layers button bar at the bottom of the Layers panel (to the right of the trash can).
  15. Fill the new layer with 50% grey (shift + delete/backspace > Use 50% Grey from the drop down).
  16. Change the new layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay.
  17. In Photoshop 6+ Go Filter > Filter Gallery > Texturizer or Filter > Texturizer in earlier versions of Photoshop.
  18. Dial down the Options Menu located to the right of the Texture drop down. Your only option is to Load Texure, so let’s load a texture.
    IMAGE: Texturizer options menu with Load Texture highlighted.

    Texturizer options menu with Load Texture highlighted.

  19. Navigate to your canvas texture and select it.
  20. Adjust the settings to your taste and click OK.
  21. We can now save our file and move on to the next project. But let’s not.

Compare & Contrast Texturizer with Pattern Overlay & Pattern Fill

    Photoshop provides many ways of completing most tasks. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, some are better than others. Applying patterns is no exception. In my opinion, applying a texture or pattern via the Fill dialog almost always gives us a disappointing result. I rarely use it.

    Both Pattern Overlay, under Layer Effects and Pattern, under Adjustment Layers offer more options and are non-destructive. We’ll use each of these three methods to apply our new texture to our image and then compare them with the Texturizer layer.

    1. Click the eye to the left of your Texturized layer to hide it.
    2. Create a new blank layer and fill it with 50% Grey and change its Blend Mode to Overlay.
    3. Duplicate the new mid-grey layer and hide the duplicate by clicking on its eye icon.
    4. Click on the first mid-grey layer to activate it.
    5. Click shift + delete/backspace and choose Use Pattern from the drop down. Select your texture and click OK.
      IMAGE: Although quick, applying textures (patterns) using the Fill dialog doesn't give you any options.

      Although quick, applying textures (patterns) using the Fill dialog doesn’t give you any options.

    6. Hide the Fill > Pattern layer and activate the duplicate mid-grey layer (click it and its eye icon).
    7. Now click the New Adjustment Layer (the Yin-Yang-ish button in the middle of the Layers buttons) and choose Pattern ….
    8. In the dialog adjust Scale to your liking. You can also click and drag the pattern around the image. As this texture is fairly uniform, moving it around may have little impact on the main image. When you’re satisfied with the patterns’ look, click OK.
      IMAGE: Pattern Adjustment Layers offer more flexibility than Pattern Fills, notably Adjustment patterns are non-destructive and scalable.

      Pattern Adjustment Layers offer more flexibility than Pattern Fills, notably Adjustment patterns are non-destructive and scalable.

    9. Now hide this Adjustment layer.
    10. Click on the oil painting layer to activate it.
    11. Open the Layer Effects (fx button second from left in the Layer buttons menu) and select Pattern Overlay.
    12. In addition to scaling your pattern and moving it around on the canvas by clicking and dragging, you can set its Blend Mode and Opacity.
      IMAGE: Pattern Adjustment Layers offer more flexibility than Pattern Fills, notably Adjustment patterns are non-destructive and scalable.

      The Pattern Overlay Layer Effect is flexible and non-destructive.

    Conclusion

    Today we looked at a number of ways to apply texture/patterns to our oil painting. Aside from applying our canvas texture as a Fill, the results were flexible and potentially useful. We also learned to make seamless patterns and apply them as fills, Adjustment Layers, Layer Effects and textures with Texturizer.

    Each method can give us good results. Each method, with the exception of pattern fills can be non-destructive. The Relief slider in Texturizer allows us to add depth to our texture, making it more useful in our oil painting project. By applying Texturizer as a Smart Filter, it becomes non-destructive. Bonus!

    Can you think of other ways to use Texturizer? Share your discoveries in comments. I’d love to see them.

About the author

Gord taught the graphic design program at a private college for six years. He also wrote nineteen of the program's courses. After six years leading classes, he felt it was time to learn how to be a graphic designer again. In addition to graphic design, Gord's an accomplished writer. Digital painting and photography are two of his hobbies.

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