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  • Adding textures to backgrounds is a very useful technique that can enhance a studio portrait, especially one taken against a plain background, and also help with the separation of a composite background. 

Adding a Texture to a Background

  1. Import your image.
  2. Select a texture from your texture collection and add it as a new layer above the image.
  3. Several textures can also be used together in a group for a more random effect.
  4. Free transform (CMD + T) the texture to match the size of the image.
  5. Desaturate the texture with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment to turn it into black and white if it contains the wrong colours or if you are applying it over a background who's colour you want to keep, or are going to use a colour layer underneath to give the right colour. (Alternatively SHIFT + CMD + U desaturates a layer). 
  6. Set the blending mode on the texture layer. Plain grey backgrounds work well with overlay, soft light or hard light. Black, white or coloured backgrounds will work best with other blending modes.
  7. Add a white layer mask to the texture, or to the group is you are using several textures together,.
  8. For a subject with an easy outline paint out the skin and any other areas where the texture is not required with black This does not need to be very precise.
  9. For a more complex outline select the subject and create a mask from this selection and apply it to the textures.
  10. Each texture can be adjusted with a levels adjustment to control how it affects the lightness and darkness of the background, and even the colour can be adjusted by adjusting single colour channels.
  11. To create a spotlight effect behind the subject add another Levels adjustment layer and click on the mask once with a large, hard, black brush. Shape this with Transform (CMD + T). Soften the edges using the Properties Panel for the mask, or use a Gaussian Blur.