Unlikely Sources - Creating Background Paper from Textures

with 1 Comment

There was a moment in my life when I realized I was hooked by digital scrapbooking, and there really was no turning back. I was outside taking photos of my children playing in our backyard, and I started taking pictures of a rusty piece of metal because the grungy texture was great, and I just knew I could use it as a brush or part of a background or something.

Then I took some photos of the cement, and the grass, and the paint peeling off of the side of the barn. On and on I went, imagining all of the cool backgrounds and textures I could create with these photos.

That night when I looked at the photos from that day, I realized I had three times as many “texture” photos than photos of my kids. Yes, I was definitely hooked.

What is the most unlikely thing you have taken a photo of and used as part of a digital scrapbooking page? I’m not talking about unusual things you scrapbook about, but things you have used as backgrounds, textures, or brushes.

I’ve been known to take photos of tablecloths, wallpaper, flooring, the exteriors of buildings, clothing, sheets, furniture, cement, and rust, just to name a few. (My husband doesn’t even roll his eyes anymore!)

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For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

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Step 1: I’ve always loved the wallpaper there, especially since I’m drawn to antique and vintage styles. But if you look closely at this photo, it has a lighting problem. It has a darker side to the left, and a bright spot in the center caused from me using my flash. I try to avoid using a flash if I can, but the room wasn’t well lit, so I had no choice.

Using the Burn tool and the Dodge tool will help me even the lighting out.

Step 2: Choose the Burn Tool in the Tools bar to the left. In the Options bar above, choose a very large Soft Round brush. I usually choose the “Soft Round 300 pixels brush” and then increase the size to around 2500px, but this is a judgment call. Set the Range to Midtones, and the Exposure to between 10% and 15%.

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Step 3: Click and drag on the lighter area of the photo to “burn” the lighter spot away. Be careful not to do too much. If you pay close attention, you may at some point want to change the Range to Shadows or Highlights.

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For instance, if it seems like I am not darkening the very lightest areas (or Highlights) I will switch the Range to Highlights and apply a few strokes.

Step 4: To lighten the darker left side, switch to the Dodge tool, which is nested with the Burn tool. Just like with the Burn tool, you will need to choose a very large soft brush, and set the Range to Midtones, and the Exposure to between 10% and 15%.

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Step 5: Click and drag on the darker area of the photo to lighten it. Experimenting with the different Ranges might be helpful as well.

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Today’s digital background papers normally have areas of dark and light. Use the Burn and Dodge tools to achieve this look as well.

Step 6: Once you are satisfied with the changes you have made, you can save the background paper as is, or change the color.

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To change colors, press Ctr U (Mac: Cmd U) to open the Hue/Saturation dialog box. Click the Colorize box in the lower right corner, then move the sliders to achieve the color you want.

2009-01-19-image08

By photographing your own textures and then transforming them into background paper, you can open up a whole new world of possibilities. It begins with a photo, but where it ends, only you can determine!

Please Note: Items you photograph may be copyrighted so please follow copyright rules. Most wallpaper designs are copyrighted and are not able to be used in digital papers. Even if the wallpaper is from a vintage pattern before 1924 (which makes it public domain), their reproduction is copyrighted at the date they created it. Using it for your own personal use is most likely fine, but re-selling or using for professional purposes is different.

2009-01-19-image01

Step 1: I’ve always loved the wallpaper there, especially since I’m drawn to antique and vintage styles. But if you look closely at this photo, it has a lighting problem. It has a darker side to the left, and a bright spot in the center caused from me using my flash. I try to avoid using a flash if I can, but the room wasn’t well lit, so I had no choice.

Using the Burn tool and the Dodge tool will help me even the lighting out.

Step 2: Choose the Burn Tool in the Tools bar to the left. In the Options bar above, choose a very large Soft Round brush. I usually choose the “Soft Round 300 pixels brush” and then increase the size to around 2500px, but this is a judgment call. Set the Range to Midtones, and the Exposure to between 10% and 15%.

2009-01-19-image04ps

Step 3: Click and drag on the lighter area of the photo to “burn” the lighter spot away. Be careful not to do too much. If you pay close attention, you may at some point want to change the Range to Shadows or Highlights.

2009-01-19-image06

For instance, if it seems like I am not darkening the very lightest areas (or Highlights) I will switch the Range to Highlights and apply a few strokes.  To lighten the darker left side, switch to the Dodge tool, which is nested with the Burn tool. Just like with the Burn tool, you will need to choose a very large soft brush, and set the Range to Midtones, and the Exposure to between 10% and 15%.

2009-01-19-image05ps

Step 4: Click and drag on the darker area of the photo to lighten it. Experimenting with the different Ranges might be helpful as well.

2009-01-19-image07

Today’s digital background papers normally have areas of dark and light. Use the Burn and Dodge tools to achieve this look as well. 6. Once you are satisfied with the changes you have made, you can save the background paper as is, or change the color.

2009-01-19-image03ps

To change colors, press Ctr U (Mac: Cmd U) to open the Hue/Saturation dialog box. Click the Colorize box in the lower right corner, then move the sliders to achieve the color you want.

2009-01-19-image08

By photographing your own textures and then transforming them into background paper, you can open up a whole new world of possibilities. It begins with a photo, but where it ends, only you can determine!

Please Note: Items you photograph may be copyrighted so please follow copyright rules. Most wallpaper designs are copyrighted and are not able to be used in digital papers.

Even if the wallpaper is from a vintage pattern before 1924 (which makes it public domain), their reproduction is copyrighted at the date they created it. Using it for your own personal use is most likely fine, but re-selling or using for professional purposes is different.

One Response

  1. Carla Jo Peterson
    |

    I am very interested in designing and I am hoping I will be able to put this to good use. Thanks.