A Beginner’s Guide to Using Textures in Photoshop

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A texture is something you apply over an element to give it more depth and add more realism to your design. Today, we’ll look at some sources of good quality textures and I’ll show you how to apply them to your own designs.

Finding Textures

The first trick is to find good quality, usable and appropriate textures for your project. For this tutorial, I have a simple circle on my canvas and I will be applying a texture to it using clipping masks and adjusting the opacity. Below is a convenient list of the best places to get high quality textures.

Amazing Textures

Amazing Textures

Texture Warehouse

Texture Warehouse

Texture King

Texture King

Brusheezy Textures


Texture Archive

Texture Archive

Applying a Texture

For this tutorial, I have created a circle on my canvas within Photoshop. You can apply this technique to any number of different elements in your document.

1. Open up your Photoshop project and ensure that you have something to ‘clip’ the texture to. This means that the texture will be restricted to the bounds of a shape. In our case, it would be the circle. Here’s what our circle will look like when we’re done:

Screen Shot 2012-07-15 at 12.29.42

2. Once you’ve found and downloaded a texture, drag the image to your project and scale it appropriately. Scale it so that it doesn’t look too stretched but make sure it isn’t too small.

Screen Shot 2012-07-15 at 12.28.55

3. Within the layers palette, select the texture’s layer and move it just above the layer that contains the shape that you want to clip your image to.

4. Right click the texture layer, and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’. You’ll see that the texture is constrained to shape of the layer below.

Screen Shot 2012-07-15 at 12.29.06

5. At the top of the layer palette, select the opacity slider and move it so that you can still see the texture. Adjust this so that it has a subtle effect — in our example I have made the opacity 10%.

Screen Shot 2012-07-15 at 12.29.27

Now, you can play around with the location of the texture and the opacity. You’ll find that textures add a lot to a project and can make a real difference. Enjoy!

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