Thursday, March 3, 2011

Free Tutorial: Adding Interest to a Background with Texture and Depth

I'm going to show you one way to add interest to your background papers. If you want the resources, you can download them here. This is what we're going to be making:

First, open a new 12"x12", 300ppi Photoshop document and fill the background layer with a medium-dark color. I like teal, so I chose #5595c.

Next, open an image you will want to use as a pattern. I've chosen this little Mayan-looking bird-thing. Damasks work very well, too. Command+A (Control+A on a PC) to choose the entire layer and then go to Edit>Define Pattern. Now you can close the image; you won't need it for the rest of this tutorial.

Create a new layer above your background layer and fill it with white (actually, any color will do). Double click on the layer to open up the Styles dialog box and Select Pattern. Click on the little flyout menu and scroll down to your new pattern (it should be the last one). Adjust the scale to your liking and click okay.

Now we will add our first of two textures. Open a grunge texture of your choice. You are welcome to use the ones I've provided. Choose a fairly dark grunge (Grunge texture #5 works nicely). Command+A to choose the entire layer and paste it into your document above the pattern layer. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay and choose an Opacity factor of about 45%.

It's starting to look good now, isn't it? Let's add another grunge texture now, only this time a light one. (Grunge texture #3 is what I've used.) Command+A to choose the entire layer and paste it into your document above the previous texture. Change the Blending Mode to Linear Burn and choose an Opacity factor of about 20%. Looking better!

Here's where the real magic comes in! Go to Layer>New>Layer and select Overlay for the Blending Mode and check the box that asks you if you want to fill it with neutral-gray. Then click okay. Note that in your layer panel, you can see the overlay, but it isn't visible on your layer. That's what we want.

Go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects and make the opening panel look something like mine.

Finally, save your new Background paper to your stash! Congratulations, you're done!


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Mar. 03, 2011. Thanks again.

  2. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave in the DigiFree category today [04 Mar 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria