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Fun with Textures and Clipping Masks!
This is my first in a series of tutorials for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements on adding textures and using clipping masks on your images. Please read this great tutorial by Andrea on creating and using clipping masks if you haven’t already, it is a great introduction to the world of clipping masks and why you would want to use them.
For this tutorial I used a clipping mask frame that I made (download the free .psd file HERE). I found the beautiful texture seen on the “After” on Flickr. There are so many great free textures out there, you just have to search for them. To get started, check out Paul Grand, les brumes, irisb477, The Revamp Tramp, Boccacino, and Playingwithbrushes. Please also visit Deviantart for more great free textures. The photo above is a picture of my son last year in our bluebonnet fields. I can’t believe how much bigger he is now!
Open your texture. You can adjust the colors (hue/saturation; click colorize and then adjust the hue and saturation sliders) and contrast (levels or curves). Make sure to flatten your image if you add any adjustment layers before going to the next step.
Open your clipping mask frame, click V to get the move tool, drag the frame on top of your texture, then Ctrl-T (free transform) the frame to taste. If you can’t see your free transform bars, then Ctrl-0 (that is a zero) and your image will shrink and the background will grow and you will be able to see where you need to drag the bars. Or use this nifty trick I just discovered. Go to File, then Place. You will be prompted to open your file, and then it will be placed on top of your texture with free transform bars ready to go (as seen in the image above).
Here is another tip. To perfectly center your frame, click to select that layer, click V to get your move tool. On the top of your menu bar there are some little icons (see the top of this image). Click on the Align Vertical Centers and Align Horizontal Centers. Then your layer will be perfectly centered!
Now open your image and drag it on top of your frame and Ctrl-T it to fit. Or just use File and then Place and adjust the image size. Make sure the image completely covers the frame.
As you can see, your clipping mask frame is completely hidden. You can extend the image as big as you want because the clipping mask will keep it within the frame. You can also move it around later to get a perfect placement within the frame (but only if it is bigger than the frame!).
Now you have to group your image with your clipping mask frame. There are several ways to do this. In Photoshop, click on the image layer and then Ctrl-Alt-G and in Photoshop Elements click on the image layer and then Ctrl-G. You can also dangle your mouse on the line separating the image and the frame until you see the little hand icon turn into a little black circle, and then left click. As you can see, the image is now grouped with the clipping mask frame and has a frame. You can click on the image layer and move it around if you want to adjust its placement.
I think this image looks really nice as is, but if you want some of the texture to show or get some nice lighting effects, change the layer blending mode of the clipping mask frame layer. I used multiply on this one.
Now I tried Hard Light blending mode. Linear Burn also looked great, and it is worth trying soft light and overlay. Different blending modes look great with different images and backgrounds. After you are finished don’t forget to flatten your image! And please check out the CoffeeShop for more free clipping masks and textures, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements actions, and other goodies!