Bringing Backgrounds To Life Part 1

by Steve Tolley

OK my first tutorial for quite a while now, after successfully securing a place in university I am ready to start posting again whilst looking for a decent host for my new website design (any help appreciated) to get me back into the swing of things I am going to do a relatively easy tutorial to start with, but one I think is very useful when making any type of image that looks a bit plain and boring, the best way to make these sorts of images look better is to simply apply a texture over the top of your background or specific part of the document (e.g. Text) and it is much easier than you may think

Applying a Texture to a Background.

Step 1 - Make a Gradient

First of all below we have the plain and boring background which I made with neutral colours and a simple lighting effect (Filter > Render > Lighting Effects) in the middle of the canvas.

Step 2 - Drag And Drop Texture Onto Background

Next we simply open up the texture we want to use and drag and drop it on the background we are using (make sure the texture layer shows “Layer 0” or something similar and not “Background” if this is the case double click the layer and then click OK)

Step 3 - Desaturate The Texture

Next position the texture on the canvas so you get the desired effect and then press CTRL + SHIFT + U this combination will desaturate the selected layer / texture

Step 4 - Set Layer Style To Overlay

Now set the layer style to “Overlay” as shown below and adjust the opacity accordingly to get the effect (depth of detail) that you want.

Step 5 - Finished

And now the plain and boring background is brought to life by simply adding a texture which adds depth to the image.

This tutorial is the first part of a series that will explain how else you can bring your images/backgrounds to life, sign up to the RSS feed to receive updates when these tutorials are released,

The texture used in this tutorial is available HERE along with 3 other paper style textures,

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below, or e-mailing me at:

Depth of Field Effect

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial shows you how to make a “Depth of Field Effect” in Photoshop this is where you pick something in an image that you want to “Stand Out” and then blur the background so the focal point of the image changes, really cool effect and can be used on any image.

Step 1: First of all get the picture that you want to edit and find the thing on the image that you want to make “Stand Out” when you have done this choose the Pen Tool and draw around the outline of the chosen object that you want to stand out as shown below:

Step 2: When this is done make sure the two ends of the path are connected and you should have the line of “crawling ants” around the selection, if like me there is something in front of your selection that you do not want to include in it then simply hold ALT and draw around the outline of that to subtract it from the selection as below:

Step 3: When this is done you have your selection ready, now press CTRL + Shift + I which inverts the selection to select everything outside of the original selection, now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the blur to around 3 pixels (depends on image so adjust it so that it looks ok with your image) and press ok.

Step 4: Now we are nearly done, to finish simply choose the blur tool (raindrop shaped) and pick a decent brush size and go around the very edge of your selection so that the edges don’t seem to sharp or pointy

And there you go the simple way to make something stand out more from their background below is the comparison from the original image to the finished image:

Finished Image: