Adobe Photoshop is one of the most effective tools for graphic designers or the average user to alter photos and create original pieces of art. With tools that can do anything from smudge to replicate, Photoshop can be helpful in touching up not-so perfect images and in creating "special effects," using its myriad of available filters, including the textures filter. These filters can do anything from making an image look aged to making it look like mosaic tiles. To use Photoshop filters, including textures, decide first whether you want the whole image to be affected or just a certain section.
- If you want the whole image to be affected, open your photo in Photoshop and select Filter from the top selection bar.
- Decide from the list of filter options which one will produce your desired effect. Most of the filter names describe the resultant effect (i.e., "blur," "pixelate," and "sketch"), but you can try out each one until you find the one you want. The Textures option is in this menu toward the bottom. Keep in mind that Photoshop only allows you to "undo" once, so don't save the photo until you're completely happy with the result.
- If you only want to use the filter on a certain portion of the image, use one of the selection tools from the Tools window. (If the window isn't open, go to Window>Tools at the top menu bar.) There are three different options: lasso, polygonal lasso, and magnetic lasso. The lasso gives you more freedom in making a selection area; the polygonal lasso creates angular selections; and the magnetic lasso selects the pixels nearest to your cursor and "sticks" to those pixels. Remember not to double-click when you close your selection. Drag the cursor around the selection that you want to make and close it by ending at the starting pixel.
- When you have made a selection, you can then follow steps 2 through 3 above to apply the filter to that area.
- You may also cut sections from your photo, paste them to a different layer, and apply filters to make special backgrounds. For example, if you wanted to make a studio-quality background for a photo of a friend or loved one, you can select the person in the image with one of the lasso tools. Choose Edit>Cut from the top menu bar. Then go to Window>Layers. On the Layers tab, choose the arrow in the right side of the window. Choose New Layer and select OK. Make sure that layer is selected; then choose Edit>Paste from the top menu bar. The image of the person should appear on that layer. Still on the Layers tab, select the layer where your background is now isolated. In the Tools window, select a dark blue as the foreground color and a lighter blue as the background color. Then choose the Render>Clouds filter option from the Filter selections in the top menu bar.
- To complete the image and create a smaller file size, you can then choose Layer>Flatten Image. Once you do this and save, you will not be able to work on the background layer separately from the image layer. When you first try to save the file after layers have been added, the computer will most likely default to saving the image as a Photoshop (.psd) file. You can override this by pulling down the menu under the Format option in the Save window. Choose the image type that is best for your needs (.tiff images are larger files and are good for print media; .jpg images are good for digital media like websites) and then select Save.
There are so many more things that Photoshop can be used for, but applying filters like textures is one of the most fun and dramatic. Once you become comfortable with that aspect, it will be much easier to explore all the other options that Photoshop offers.