I’m working with this wonderful photo of meerkats that my husband took at the Los Angeles Zoo. But this technique will work with any image.
Make It Artsy
Before I apply my texture, I want the image to look a little more artsy, like maybe they were painted. Here’s what I did with my meerkats:
- Copy the image to a new layer: Ctrl+J (Mac: Cmd+J)
- Filter > Cutout
- Number of Levels: 8
- Edge Simplicity: 0
- Edge Fidelity: 3
- Click OK
- Set the blend mode of the new layer to Overlay. This allows some of the detail of the original photo back through.
- Save the file.
The Yucky Way to Apply Texture
What’s wrong with applying a texture to the image layer? It can look ugly. The texture filter applies the texture according to the lights and darks in an image. If I merge my two meerkat layers into a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E) and apply the Craquelure filter (Filter > Texture > Craquelure…), it looks pretty bad:
This may be the effect you are going for in many images. However, to get a smooth, overall texture as if the meerkats were painted on a particular surface, I like the method below.
The Better Method of Applying Texture
Now let’s see what it looks like another way:
- Add a new layer at the top of the layer stack. Click on the “Create a new layer” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (Window > Layers if you cannot see the Layers panel.)
- Edit > Fill
- From the “Use:” dropdown, select “50% Gray” and click OK.
- With the new layer still selected in the Layers panel, apply the Craquelure filter:
- Filter > Texture > Craquelure…
- Move the sliders around until you get a texture you like.
- Click OK.
- Set the blend mode for this layer to Overlay.
- Save your file. You can compare the two texture applications below.
On the next page, I’ll show each of Photoshop’s texture filters.