I give away a LOT of stuff here on BittBox, mainly textures and brushes. The truth is, many of the textures are manufactured using recycled images I already have hanging around on my hard drive. I want to share one of my favorite ways to quickly add a little extra to a rather uninteresting texture, without using Photoshop brushes.
Step 1: Starting Image
A good example would be a paper texture, so let's start with something like the image below.
Step 2: Secondary Image
My favorite genre of images for this technique would be nebulas. I like to use nebulas because they are very diverse, unique, and colorful. So pick out a nebula image from around the web and lets get started. This won't take long at all.
Step 3: Invert the secondary image.
Open your starting image in Photoshop an put the secondary image on the layer above it. Then invert the secondary image by hitting Command/Control + I. You should now have something like this:
Step 4: Layer Mode
In the Layers panel, change the layer mode of your secondary (inverted) image to “Linear Burn.” Note: this doesn't have to be the layer mode you use, sometimes I go with screen, overlay, or soft light for the most part.
Now you should have something like this:
Step 5: Opacity
I would say about 99% of the time, I like to adjust the opacity of the secondary image layer to let a little more of the starting (background) texture shine through.
And there you have it, a much more interesting texture from 2 simple images, in less than a minute, without using brushes at all. This is one of my favorite, yet simple ways to add a little something extra to mundane textures. I hope you enjoyed the tutorials, and don't forget to play around with the layer modes. It really depends on the secondary image.