If you’re here only for the freebies: here it is, you cheap bastard (click to download zip file).
If you follow my posts on Reddit, you’ll probably recognise my series of posters NSFW Expectations.
The success and popularity of the posters spawned the subreddits /r/NSFWexpectations and /r/CreationGifs where I share my process. It also encouraged me to refine the portrait technique and share the tutorial for the hand-painted effect, which is still the most-visited page on this site.
The one technique that I’ve yet to share in full is how I got the textures to look so authentic.
I don’t always reply to comments asking about how I made the folded textures on my posters — not because of selfish reasons, but because I don’t want to post links to commercial products on a default subreddit.
Most of my folded textures belong to this volume of stock images: Folded Paper Textures Vol 2 on CreativeMarket.
I can’t speak highly enough of this set of textures. I bought it as part of a bundle deal that included the web template upon which this site was built — it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It has paid for itself several times over, considering the amount of commercial work I’ve been offered as a result of NSFW Expectations going viral.
(If you intend to purchase the textures from CreativeMarket, it’d make me really happy if you could purchase it from the referral link above. I’ll get a small tip for every sale I send their way, and that helps pay for this website <3 )
HOW TO USE TEXTURE FILES
The zip file you downloaded at the top of this page contains 5 items:
- 3 textures with transparent background (2400 x 3600 .png images)
- 1 custom Photoshop brush (.abr file)
- 1 read me txt file — just pinky promise not to hotlink the file or share it without crediting me
METHOD 1: AS A NEW LAYER
There’s not much else to add; this is the easiest and most direct way to add your texture to your artwork. You may copy and paste the texture, place it as a smart object via the top menu (File > Place > Select the file), import it via Adobe Bridge or just drag the file directly onto your artwork from the folder.
METHOD 2: BRUSHY BRUSHY
Custom brushes (often in .abr format) can be loaded from the Brush panel in Photoshop. A faster way to do it is to double click on “oneksy-textures.abr” after you’ve unzipped the folder. You’ll find the 3 new brushes in your Brush panel once it’s loaded.
Like any other brush in your library, you can resize and rotate it. Select the texture you want, make sure the “Opacity” and “Flow” is set at 100%, then align the brush with your artwork and click once (preferably on a new layer so that you can control and make further edits if needed).
METHOD 3: LAYER MASK
To use the custom brush on a layer mask, you must first unlock your artwork by double-clicking on the layers panel. Rename the layer (or leave it as Layer 0 by default), then click “OK”. If your artwork consists of multiple layers, you can group them into a folder by selecting all layers and clicking CMD+G (or CTL + G for Windows).
With your layer or group folder selected, click on the mask icon on the bottom of the layers panel. Select the mask (the white box beside the thumbnail) and use the brush as you would in the previous method — click on the image with the brush in black. Add an off-white base colour as a new layer below your artwork and it will be revealed by the masked area.
CREATING THE TEXTURE FROM SCRATCH
Now that you know how to use layers with blend mode to make realistic looking textures, you may also want to know how you can create your own textures from scratch. I started off with a high resolution scan of a sheet of craft paper:
1. With the burn tool set to a soft brush at 1200px, burn the corners of the page slightly.
2. Increase the contrast of the image until you see the pulpy texture appear as grains (I used curves adjustment, but levels would also work).
3. Convert the image to grayscale (Image > Mode > Grayscale), then increase the contrast further.
4. Use the burn tool again if there’s not enough details. You’ll want the grains to be almost completely black for the next step.
5. Zoom in and use the eye dropper from colour range (Select > Colour Range) to sample the deepest black point in the image.
6. Create a new layer (CMD+Shift+N) and use the paint bucket tool to fill the selection with the colour you want for your texture. Save it as a .png file to preserve the transparency, or add it to your brush library if it’s something you’ll use frequently (Edit > Define Brush Preset).
With the right image files, it is not difficult to take your artwork to the next level with realistic textures. If you found this tutorial useful, you can show your appreciation by following me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook — I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year!