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Photoshop Tutorial : Using Textures and different layers

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Here we are going to look at building up layers using a few different techniques and overlays to completely transform an average photo into something darker.  Lets start with the original image, a typical holiday photo, not the best but I like the two houses and the street lamp is gonna be great for adding some atmosphere later…..

First grab the Mystic Skies (1) free texture and put it above the photo layer, adjust the size to fit and change the layer to Hard Light, now you can take a soft eraser (opacity 40 to 50%) and gently erase parts of the mystic skies texture around the houses or you can add a vector mask.

With the Mystic Texture layer selected click on the add vector mask button at the bottom of the layer palette.

You’ll see a white box appear, from here you can erase parts (using a black brush) and restore parts (using the white brush) to your hearts content in a completely non-destructive way.

In the example above I used a small brush, set to black, to erase parts of the texture to reveal the houses below but the brush is too hard.  Change the colour to white and restore the texture back to how it was by brushing over the erased area.  Next grab a soft, medium size brush (opacity 40-50%) set to black and again erase parts of the texture from around the house,  you can repeat, adjusting the opacity and size of the brushes until you are happy….Here’s mine:

Next I used grungy-film-overlay-3, placed above the Mystic texture layer, set the grunge film texture to overlay (opacity 31%) and again using either a soft eraser or a vector mask gently erase parts around the houses…..

Now add a gradient fill by clicking on the Create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layer palette.  Choose a colour to transparent gradient and change the colour to a sea green.  Set this layer to Colour Dodge (opacity 80%)

Next create a new layer and using a soft small brush set the size to just a bit smaller than the lamp and using a mellow yellow colour create a small area of light glow. Set this layer to Hard light and reduce the opacity to 75%.  You can also add a slight blur if you feel the light is too strong.

Grab the  Mystic Skies (1) free texture again and place it above all the other layers – Blur – Gaussian Blur – 60 – 70 pixels.  Set this layer to Saturation (100% opacity)

Again go to the Create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layer palette and select Hue/Saturation, (set hue -19, Saturation -10)

Now we want to adjust the tonal range, again click on the Create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layer palette and select Curves, pull the middle point down slightly.  Now we have darkened the image slightly.

Almost there……open the grunge overlay 4 texture (note I did not re-size this to fit the photo) and place it on the top of the other layers.  Set it to Soft Light, opacity 83%.

Finally to add a warm glow open the autumn grunge tree texture and place it at the very top, set to Colour Burn, 61% opacity and….

…..finished image.  Feel free to use the original photo if you want to recreate a similar effect and also experiment with different overlays and layer styles…see what you can come up with :)

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  1. Thank you so much fot this tutorial :)
    Greetz from germany :)

  2. Amisha March says:

    Hallo Momo :) Thanks for dropping by :D

  3. Great tutorial. Very helpful. Results of my experiment as I played along: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kghia/5339600711/

  4. Amisha March says:

    Kghia I just had a look over at your Flickr stream :D Love seeing the original and then the final image, it really shows the difference playing with a few textures and overlays can make! thanks for taking the time to experiment :D

  5. Great explanation, thanks so much!

  6. Amisha March says:

    Thank you Chris

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