Photoshop 101: How to Create Unique Texture Without Using Brushes

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We've given away lots 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.

Photoshop 101: How to Create Unique Texture Without Using Brushes

Step 1: Starting Image

A good example would be a paper texture, so let's start with something like the image below.

Paper texture

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.

Nebulae image

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:

Inverting the secondary image

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.

Changing the blend mode

Now you should have something like this:

Image with the two textures combined

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.

Changing the opacity


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.

Finished custom texture