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Tutorials for Using Textures in Digital Designs

Textures connect us with visual design through our sense of touch. They add depth and character to flat shapes and forms. Textures such as wood, stone, paper, rust, leaves, fabric, water, concrete, metal, brick or glass are familiar elements that provoke varied responses and associations depending on how each is applied.

You can add textures to both bitmap and vector illustrations. The skill lies in applying texture so that it is subtle instead of distracting. Enhancing the concept instead of overpowering it.

The following tutorials contain several ideas about how to create and apply textures in different areas of graphic design:

The What, Why and How of Textures in Web Design, by Chris Brown

The What, Why and How of Textures in Web Design

The What, Why and How of Textures in Web Design

Mastering Photoshop: Noise, Textures, Gradients and Rounded Rectangles, by Marc Edwards

Mastering Photoshop: Noise, Textures, Gradients and Rounded Rectangles by Marc Edwards

Mastering Photoshop: Noise, Textures, Gradients and Rounded Rectangles by Marc Edwards

Creating Vibrant Hand-Drawn Texture in Photoshop, by Morgan Finley

Creating Vibrant Hand-Drawn Texture in Photoshop by Morgan Finley

Get to Grips with Texture Brushes, by Tom Garden

Get to Grips with Texture Brushes by Tom Garden

10 Tips For Better Photoshop Textures, by Leigh van der Byl

10 Tips For Better Photoshop Textures by Leigh van der Byl

How to Hand Paint Convincing Metal Textures, by Racer445

How to Hand Paint Convincing Metal Textures by Racer445

Texturing with InDesign, by Paul Tysall

Texturing with InDesign, by Paul Tysall

Man of Steel Symbol in Illustrator and Photoshop, by Abduzeedo

Man of Steel Symbol in Illustrator and Photoshop by Abduzeedo

How to Paint a Furry Cartoon Character in Photoshop, by Nacho Riesco

How to Paint a Furry Cartoon Character in Photoshop by Nacho Riesco

Use of Shadows and Textures to Create Beautiful Bird Artwork, by Andrew Lyon

Use of Shadows and Textures to Create Beautiful Bird Artwork, by Andrew Lyon

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation by Mixing Ice and Fire Textures

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation by Mixing Ice and Fire Textures

Beautiful Water Effect in Photoshop CC, by Abduzeedo

Beautiful Water Effect in Photoshop CC

Add Texture to Retro-Styled Artworks, by Dwayne Bell

Add Texture to Retro-Styled Artworks, by Dwayne Bell

Add Textured Ornaments to Hand-Drawn Art, by Andreas Preis

Add Textured Ornaments to Hand-Drawn Art, by Andreas Preis

Use Texture to Add Depth to Your Illustrations, by James George

Texture Makes It Better: Use Texture to Add Depth to Your Illustrations, by James George

How to Apply Textures to Uneven Surfaces, by James Davies

How to Apply Textures to Uneven Surfaces by James Davies

Use Photoshop CS6 to Create a Micro Machines Inspired Scene, by Stephen Petrany

Use Photoshop CS6 to Create a Micro Machines Inspired Scene, by Stephen Petrany

Create Facial Photo Manipulation Surrounded by Electrified Orbs in Photoshop

Create Facial Photo Manipulation Surrounded by Electrified Orbs in Photoshop

How To Apply Textures To Your Photographs, by James Brandon

How To Apply Textures To Your Photographs, by James Brandon

How to Make a Vintage-Inspired Movie Poster in Photoshop, by Ciara Panacchia

How to Make a Vintage-Inspired Movie Poster in Photoshop, by Ciara Panacchia

The Lost and Taken Poster: Case Study and Texturing Tutorial

The Lost and Taken Poster: A case study and texturing tutorial, by Simon H

How to Create a Cold Snowy Winter Scene in Photoshop, by Nathan Brown

How to Create a Cold Snowy Winter Scene in Photoshop by Nathan Brown

Handmade Textures and Shading Effects, by Dominique Byron

Handmade textures and shading effects, by Dominique Byron

Antique a Photo Using Textures in 3 Quick Steps, by Nathan Brown

Antique a Photo Using Textures in 3 Quick Steps by Nathan Brown

How to Create an Awesome Splashing Sneaker in Photoshop, by Adrian Scheff

How to Create an Awesome Splashing Sneaker in Photoshop by Adrian Scheff

Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Creating an Embedded Concrete Effect, by Nathan Brown

Creating an Embedded Concrete Effect Using Layer Styles Only, by Nathan Brown

Give Photos a Retro Distressed Look, by Tigz Rice

Give photos a retro distressed look, by Tigz Rice

Creating a Vintage Typography Layout in Adobe Illustrator, by Nathan Brown

Creating a Vintage Typography Layout in Adobe Illustrator, by Nathan Brown

Texture Tricks with Vector Artwork in Adobe Illustrator, by Jeremy Bowman

Texture Tricks with Vector Artwork in Adobe Illustrator by Jeremy Bowman

Vintage Vector Textures, by Ben Steers

Vintage Vector Textures, by Ben Steers

Add Textures to Vectors Using Smart Objects, by Amy Martino

Add Textures to Vectors Using Smart Objects, by Amy Martino

Create a Vintage Art Deco Poster with Illustrator’s Grain Effect, by Cheryl Graham

Create a Vintage Art Deco Poster with Illustrator’s Grain Effect by Cheryl Graham

Add Depth and Texture in Illustrator, by Jeffrey Bowman

Add Depth and Texture in Illustrator, by Jeffrey Bowman

Create a Light Textured Web Design in Photoshop, by Ionut Ciursa

Create a Light Textured Web Design in Photoshop, by Ionut Ciursa

Create a Fabric Textured Web Layout Using Photoshop, by Constantin Potorac

Create a Fabric Textured Web Layout Using Photoshop, by Constantin Potorac

Some textures start out as random marks or strokes. Layered objects are also made to simulate textures. Textures are also turned into brushes, applied to Smart Objects, or be made to behave as layer masks.  You may use one texture, or several in an unexpected combination. You can even apply a texture to simulate a surface entirely different from the original.

Textures can be added to Web templates and elements, borders, headers, frames; photos, digital illustrations, collages, typographic treatments, print materials. Most graphic designers built their own collection of found textures from scans of real surfaces, hi-resolution photos or close-ups of nature objects. With your digital camera, you too can find a surprising range of unique textures even while on holiday. That macro shot of an ethnic tile mosaic might just be what you need for your next design project.

Henry Has

Written by Henry Has

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