I love both creating and playing with textures on my images in post-processing. It’s a fun way to add a creative look that cannot be easily replicated in-camera. And, along with adding textures, I also have a lot of fun with layering more than one texture on top of the other to intensify the effect and give the image more depth. In this article, I’ll show you how to layer textures to create a similar effect in Photoshop, ON1 Photo RAW, and Luminar 4. However, any application that allows you to work with layers or texture layers should create a similar effect.

In the tutorials below, I am using the Inked Overlays pack.


Photoshop

Let’s begin using Photoshop. You’ll want to make sure that you can view the Layers panel (go to Window > Layers if you don’t see it).

Step 1: Open an image into Photoshop

Open the image you want to work on in Photoshop in whatever way you prefer. This could be from a file in Lightroom, Bridge, ACR, or by simply going to the open Photoshop application and using the menu (File > Open).

Step 2: Add a texture overlay to the open Photoshop document

I like to drag-and-drop my texture layers over the open image file in Photoshop. This brings them in as smart objects, which creates other added benefits, such as non-destructive scaling, etc. To do this, I first open a folder of images alongside my open Photoshop document. Then I drag a texture overlay over the open document and release the cursor. The texture overlay will appear within the document and will still have. (Don’t worry if it looks too small, you can easily resize smart objects without stretching the pixels!)

Step 3: Resize and position the texture so it fits the image

Now, use the resize handles on the texture layer to reposition, rotate, and resize the texture so it fits over the photo. (You might need to go to Edit > Free Transform to access the transformation handles.) And don’t be afraid to have fun with this! You might even want to try positioning it so that it is slightly larger than the original image, allowing you to give the overlay the best composition possible for your photograph. When you are finished, press the Enter or Return key to commit the change. Note: If you are using Photoshop CC 2020, you can resize the image disproportionally by holding the SHIFT key down. Resizing with the SHIFT key will keep the image proportional.

Step 4: Blend the texture layer

Now, head over to the Layers panel. With this new texture layer active, change the Blending to Overlay. You will see an instant change to your photo with the texture blended into the original image.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2–5 with a new texture

Now that you have your first texture applied, try adding another! But this time use a different overlay file. Blend the image the same way and reposition it so that it shows up on different parts of the image. Another fun tip is to play with the layer opacity settings. This is another way to add depth to the photo when layering and blending textures.


Luminar 4

Luminar is an easy way to apply any texture image to your photograph. And, using the Layers feature allows you to stack and blend textures and other tools in one document.

Step 1: Open an image into Luminar 4

Open an image in Luminar 4. If you have a catalog of photos, you can select it from your images. You can also use Luminar 4 as a plugin from other apps, such as Lightroom or Photoshop. Otherwise, go to File > Edit Single Image and choose a photo from a folder on your computer.

Step 2: Access the Texture Overlay tool and apply a texture

Now, go to the Creative section on the right and expand the Texture Overlay tool. Then, click Load Texture and choose a texture from your computer.

Step 3: Adjust the Texture Overlay settings

To make this photo blend better with the image, it’s a good idea to make changes to the tool’s settings. Here I flipped the image vertically, changed the Blend setting to Overlay, and increase the Opacity to 80%.

Step 4: Add a new layer

Now you will want to set up the document so that you can apply another texture file. To do this, first access the Layers section on the top-right. Then, click the plus icon and select Add new Adjustment Layer. Now you have a brand-new layer to add adjustments to.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2 & 3

Now, repeat the above steps (2 & 3) but with a different texture file. Play with the opacity and blend settings to help add more depth and dimension to your final results. If you would like to continue adding textures, add another layer, and repeat the steps.

 


ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 is another great tool to use for adding textures. I find that the Textures filter makes it simple to add textures and overlays, and there are so many options included so it’s easy to fully customize the look you’re going after.

Step 1: Open an image into ON1 Photo RAW

Open an image in ON1 Photo RAW and access the Edit category. If you have a catalog of photos, you can select it from your images. You can also use ON1 as a plugin from other apps, such as Lightroom or Photoshop. Otherwise, go to the Browse section, and go to File > Edit Single Image.

Step 2: Add a Textures Filter

Now, go to the Effects section and click Add Filter. Select the Textures filter from the list. A default texture will automatically be applied to your photo (you can change this in the next few steps).

Step 3: Import your textures (if necessary)

If you don’t have your textures imported, you can do this quickly using the Textures filter. Click Import within this filter and a window will pop up. Navigate to the folder of images you wish to import and select the texture files you want to add. Click Open, create a category (or add them to an existing one), and when finished, click Close. Your textures will now be accessible from within the Textures filter for all other images.

Step 4: Add texture and change the settings

Choose the Category you want to work with, and select a Texture from the list. I also like to play with settings here, such as rotating, scaling the texture, changing the Mode (I prefer “Normal”), and I also adjust the Opacity.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2 and 4 until you have achieved your desired results

Continue adding new Textures filters and applying different textures until you get a look you really like. Play with the Transform and Opacity settings to get a unique look.

 


Learn more about Inked Overlays

If you are interested in the Inked Overlays, you can learn more with the link below.

Learn more about Inked Overlays

I love both creating and playing with textures on my images in post-processing. It’s a fun way to add a creative look that cannot be easily replicated in-camera. And, along with adding textures, I also have a lot of fun with layering more than one texture on top of the other to intensify the effect and give the image more depth. In this article, I’ll show you how to layer textures to create a similar effect in Photoshop, ON1 Photo RAW, and Luminar 4. However, any application that allows you to work with layers or texture layers should create a similar effect.

In the tutorials below, I am using the Inked Overlays pack.


Photoshop

Let’s begin using Photoshop. You’ll want to make sure that you can view the Layers panel (go to Window > Layers if you don’t see it).

Step 1: Open an image into Photoshop

Open the image you want to work on in Photoshop in whatever way you prefer. This could be from a file in Lightroom, Bridge, ACR, or by simply going to the open Photoshop application and using the menu (File > Open).

Step 2: Add a texture overlay to the open Photoshop document

I like to drag-and-drop my texture layers over the open image file in Photoshop. This brings them in as smart objects, which creates other added benefits, such as non-destructive scaling, etc. To do this, I first open a folder of images alongside my open Photoshop document. Then I drag a texture overlay over the open document and release the cursor. The texture overlay will appear within the document and will still have. (Don’t worry if it looks too small, you can easily resize smart objects without stretching the pixels!)

Step 3: Resize and position the texture so it fits the image

Now, use the resize handles on the texture layer to reposition, rotate, and resize the texture so it fits over the photo. (You might need to go to Edit > Free Transform to access the transformation handles.) And don’t be afraid to have fun with this! You might even want to try positioning it so that it is slightly larger than the original image, allowing you to give the overlay the best composition possible for your photograph. When you are finished, press the Enter or Return key to commit the change. Note: If you are using Photoshop CC 2020, you can resize the image disproportionally by holding the SHIFT key down. Resizing with the SHIFT key will keep the image proportional.

Step 4: Blend the texture layer

Now, head over to the Layers panel. With this new texture layer active, change the Blending to Overlay. You will see an instant change to your photo with the texture blended into the original image.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2–5 with a new texture

Now that you have your first texture applied, try adding another! But this time use a different overlay file. Blend the image the same way and reposition it so that it shows up on different parts of the image. Another fun tip is to play with the layer opacity settings. This is another way to add depth to the photo when layering and blending textures.


Luminar 4

Luminar is an easy way to apply any texture image to your photograph. And, using the Layers feature allows you to stack and blend textures and other tools in one document.

Step 1: Open an image into Luminar 4

Open an image in Luminar 4. If you have a catalog of photos, you can select it from your images. You can also use Luminar 4 as a plugin from other apps, such as Lightroom or Photoshop. Otherwise, go to File > Edit Single Image and choose a photo from a folder on your computer.

Step 2: Access the Texture Overlay tool and apply a texture

Now, go to the Creative section on the right and expand the Texture Overlay tool. Then, click Load Texture and choose a texture from your computer.

Step 3: Adjust the Texture Overlay settings

To make this photo blend better with the image, it’s a good idea to make changes to the tool’s settings. Here I flipped the image vertically, changed the Blend setting to Overlay, and increase the Opacity to 80%.

Step 4: Add a new layer

Now you will want to set up the document so that you can apply another texture file. To do this, first access the Layers section on the top-right. Then, click the plus icon and select Add new Adjustment Layer. Now you have a brand-new layer to add adjustments to.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2 & 3

Now, repeat the above steps (2 & 3) but with a different texture file. Play with the opacity and blend settings to help add more depth and dimension to your final results. If you would like to continue adding textures, add another layer, and repeat the steps.

 


ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 is another great tool to use for adding textures. I find that the Textures filter makes it simple to add textures and overlays, and there are so many options included so it’s easy to fully customize the look you’re going after.

Step 1: Open an image into ON1 Photo RAW

Open an image in ON1 Photo RAW and access the Edit category. If you have a catalog of photos, you can select it from your images. You can also use ON1 as a plugin from other apps, such as Lightroom or Photoshop. Otherwise, go to the Browse section, and go to File > Edit Single Image.

Step 2: Add a Textures Filter

Now, go to the Effects section and click Add Filter. Select the Textures filter from the list. A default texture will automatically be applied to your photo (you can change this in the next few steps).

Step 3: Import your textures (if necessary)

If you don’t have your textures imported, you can do this quickly using the Textures filter. Click Import within this filter and a window will pop up. Navigate to the folder of images you wish to import and select the texture files you want to add. Click Open, create a category (or add them to an existing one), and when finished, click Close. Your textures will now be accessible from within the Textures filter for all other images.

Step 4: Add texture and change the settings

Choose the Category you want to work with, and select a Texture from the list. I also like to play with settings here, such as rotating, scaling the texture, changing the Mode (I prefer “Normal”), and I also adjust the Opacity.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2 and 4 until you have achieved your desired results

Continue adding new Textures filters and applying different textures until you get a look you really like. Play with the Transform and Opacity settings to get a unique look.

 


Learn more about Inked Overlays

If you are interested in the Inked Overlays, you can learn more with the link below.

Learn more about Inked Overlays

Nicole S. Young is a photographer, published author, and educator specializing in Lightroom, Photoshop, and photography. She is best known for her books on food photography but is widely versed in various photographic genres, including landscape, nature, stock, travel, and lifestyle.

9 Comments

  1. Allen Shifrin October 17, 2020 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Please clarify…you said “Note: If you are using Photoshop CC 2020, you can resize the image disproportionally by holding the SHIFT key down. Resizing with the SHIFT key will keep the image proportional”. Did you mean using or not using the SHIFT key. The sentence seems to have an internal contradiction?
    PS I typed in my website but it was not recognized as a URL. A bug in the form?

    • Nicole S. Young October 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Sorry about that … I updated the article to clarify. I meant to say that with earlier versions of Photoshop, holding the Shift key down keeps it proportional. The most current version of CC does not require you to hold the Shift key to do that, and instead, it makes the transformation disproportional.

  2. Al Woodcock October 17, 2020 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    As usual, very clear directions.

    I think you need to add to the end of the first line in the On1 section. It now reads “ON1 is another great tool to use for adding textures. I find that the Textures”

    • Nicole S. Young October 17, 2020 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Haha, just fixed it. I think my brain is turning to mush :)

  3. Guido October 18, 2020 at 1:22 am - Reply

    Great article. Clerly showing how to get a pleasing result. Still, what pleases is a personal choice.

    If you have a feeling for what you want to get, this article is a great roadmap. Clear. concise.

    Thanks.

  4. Csimon October 18, 2020 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Excellent post! (Got the deal and your overlays)

  5. James Lewis November 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Nicole, thank you. Do you know if the directions for Photoshop apply equally to Affinity Photo?

    • Nicole S. Young November 12, 2020 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      Hi James, I’m pretty sure that it’s similar if not identical. I don’t have Affinity to confirm but you should be good to go.

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