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Epson Computer Tip: Adding Textures to your Photos or Papers
By Barbara Kotsos

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Like salt on popcorn, texture adds dimension and depth to paper designs. The addition of texture can give your project panache. You can take your project to the next level by adding a layer (or two, or five!) of textural effects. There is no limit to the number of layers you can add – it is just a matter of personal style.

One way to add interesting depth is with scanned and photographed textures. Objects like crumpled paper, fabric, stucco walls, cork, and rusted metals make fantastic texturizing images. Save your scanned or photographed image at a high resolution. The internet is a treasure trove for texture photographs. A Google search for “copyright-free stock photos” yields a huge list of websites devoted to providing photos, including textures and backgrounds. Two of our favorite sites are Stock.Xchng ( and MorgueFiles ( Pay close attention to copyright rules if you are creating paper to sell or distribute. While a scan of gift wrap, for example, may be fine for your own one-time personal use, distributing it would be a violation of the copyright.

To use texture photographs or scans, open your texture graphic in PSE and resize (or crop) it to the size of your paper. Remember to change the resolution to 300 ppi to retain print quality. Select the paper layer you would like to texturize. Create a new blank layer over the top, then paste your texture graphic into the new layer. Change the Blending mode. Experiment with blending modes such as Overlay, Soft Light, Multiply or anything you like. Each mode gives a different style to your paper. Adjust the opacity of your texture by using the opacity slider. Consider desaturating the image by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U. Repeat the process with another texture to create even more depth and interest.

Let’s add fabric texture to our Harlequin design paper. In this example, a pair of blue jeans was scanned. We want to keep the texture without affecting the color of our finished paper, so we changed the 12”x12” fabric scan to black and white by removing the color (Enhance | Adjust Color | Remove Color.) Next, we dragged the fabric image on top of the harlequin paper.

By changing the blending mode to “Overlay” the harlequin paper looks just like fabric.

For our Harlequin paper, we wanted to create an aged appearance. We began by choosing a texture image (12” square, 300 ppi) and removing the color. Next we inverted the image (Filter | Adjustments | Invert) and increased the contrast (Enhance | Adjust Lighting Brightness/Contrast) to reduce the grey areas. At this point, you can select an area and define a brush or continue with the overlay. To complete the overlay, create a new (transparent) layer in your layers palette. Now copy your texture and place it on top of the new transparent layer. Delete the original background. At this point, you should have a texture layer over a transparent layer. Select the texture layer.
Using the magic wand, select the white areas of your texture and click backspace. This will delete all of the white areas, leaving only the black texture lines. For our paper, we want the lines to be white, so with the top layer selected, go to Enhance | Adjust Color Adjust Hue/Saturation and move the Lightness slider all the way to the right. You should now have white marks on a transparent background.

Save this file as a .png file to maintain the transparency, then move it over the top of the Harlequin paper. Adjust the opacity to your liking. Almost-instant texture!


Sponsor: Epson America, Inc.

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