How to Use Textures in Scrapbook Layouts

Wildheart’s Texture Tuesday series has been running on Scrap of Mind for 5 months now.

In that time she has brought us many beautiful and interesting textures. And I thought it might be a good idea to talk about how I like to use them in my own scrapbooking.

Regular readers of Scraps of Mind will know that I’m a user of Photoshop Elements 5. My understanding of the mechanics of other software programs is limited so I’m writing this from a PSE perspective.

What is a Texture?

Textures change the surface of your photo or element to look like it is made from another material

In PSE they are found in the Filters menu. And by activating a layer and applying a texture filter you can change the appearance of your photo by making it look like it is made out of another substance: canvas or brickwork for instance.

In scrapbooking textures are probably more widely used to help create interesting background papers for digital scrapbook layouts.

Unlike with brushes and gradients, PSE doesn’t allow you to load and save your own textures in the textures filter. At least I can’t find a way. If anyone knows of one I would be very grateful to hear it.

So my favorite way to use texture files is to blend them with backgrounds.

Now the beaut thing about blending textures is that it doesn’t matter if you have a low resolution texture file. It will still give a great result when you drag it out to cover your background paper and apply a blending mode.  I’ll show you what I mean.

The above image shows you a 300 pixel per inch background paper. I have dragged onto it a tiny texture image that I saved from one of Wildheart’s previous texture posts. It’s just a little 72 pixel per inch image and you can see how tiny it is. Now let’s look at what it looks like when I drag it out to the full size of the background paper.

The texture layer is now covering the background paper and although there will obviously be a degradation in quality, it will not be apparent when we complete the next step, which is to blend the two layers together.

You can blend the layers together in a variety of ways.

In this example I have used the Overlay blending mode (found in the drop down blending mode menu in the Layers Pallet). You can see the different the texture has made to the paper. It really gives it dimension and substance. And yet the paper doesn’t not look anything like the raw texture. I love doing this to customize my background papers.

You might pick a different blending mode. I recommend you select one in the blending menu. This will highlight the field in the menu box and then you can use your mouse scroll wheel to scroll through them all and pick the one you like.

Alternatively, you can reduce the opacity of the texture layer in the layers pallet to blend it softly into the layer below.

Different textures will work best with different blending options.

Have you tried using textures in this way?

Or maybe you have other favorite ways of using them. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

How do you use textures in scrapbooking?


4 Responses to How to Use Textures in Scrapbook Layouts

  1. Antoinette November 14, 2008 at 7:19 am #

    Gotta love textures! Im sure you’re aware that you can also apply the texture immediately to the background (and play with those settings for different results). But I agree that experimenting with the blending and opacity gives you more possibilities.

    Antoinettes last blog post..The Pink Sisterhood Meme

  2. Melissa November 14, 2008 at 7:51 am #

    Thank you, this is very helpful. I think I will finally be able to figure out how to use textures in The Gimp, based on your explanation.

  3. Joe Cheray aka wildheart4vr November 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    With paint shop pro you can still achieve a similar effect by creating two layers and choosing which layer you want to lower the opacity on then merg>flatten layers as an alternative to going into effects>texture effects>and looking for a texture to use.

  4. karooch November 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    So glad to hear that you found this article helpful Melissa. I’m not sure how things work in The Gimp but I’m happy that this will help you to find the way.

    Thanks for the tip on Paintshop Pro, Joe.