Textured for your enjoyment: 8 Steps to More Satisfying Photoshoping

I have gotten a couple questions on how I created the texture for the grip (giggity) and the slide (giggity) for the Aliens M41A Pulse Rifle rendering. So, in an effort to share my kung-fu I’ve put together a quick tutorial: Creating a Quick Stippled Texture in 8 Steps.

Step 1: Make a new layer.

Create a new layer


Pretty straight forward – just hit the new layer button.


Step 2: Fill a selection with a neutral colour


Fill with grey

Draw a loose marquee around the area you need the texture. Go to Edit > Fill… or hit Shift+Delete to bring up the fill dialog. Choose 50% grey from the menu. Please note: *don’t* mix your own grey and fill the selection. A grey you mix will probably not be a true ‘Neutral’ colour in Photoshop’s mind. Having a non-neutral colour will effect how the layer blending behaves (more on that later).


Step 3: Let’s make some noise!

You noisy kids! Some of us need to get up in the morning!

With the marquee still active, go to Filter > Noise > Add noise… The amount is very subjective, I usually just play with the settings until I find a result that ‘feels’ right. Uniform vs. Gaussian is personal preference, but all the cool kids choose Gaussian… I’m just saying. Make sure to check ‘Monochrome’ as in the screenshot.


Step 4: Apply the Median

Median filter

Go to Filter > Noise > Median… again, subjective – just play with the settings. In my experience lower settings give better results.


Step 5: Compress the tonal range

Adjust the levels

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels… and bring your white and black points somewhat to the centre. This will increase the contrast of the texture.


Step 6: Emboss!

Magic time!

Go to Filter > Stylize > Emboss… yep, you guessed it, subjective. The texture you see at this stage will be the texture you will have in your file, so just play around.


Step 7: Blending

Jazz hands!

Much like a daiquiri, the secret is in the blending. Double click the ‘Texture’ layer to bring up the Layer Style dialogue. For this image I chose ‘Soft Light;, but most of the time in my experience, ‘Overlay’ is the way to go. Please note: 50% grey is neutral with regards to Overlay and Soft Light modes, meaning that anything which is exactly 50% will be invisible, and thus will not affect the layer beneath it. Which is why we filled the area with 50% Grey back in step 2.


Step 8: Mask the texture

The Masked Avenger!

Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask, or add a layer mask and manually mask the texture to the area you want to affect.



Congratulations! You are done 🙂

I used this technique all the time whenever I have to create a stippled or pitted texture – I used a small, tight texture for the rubberized elements of the M41A, and a shallow, loose texture for the paint application on the green case elements, just by varying the amount of noise, degree of median and depth of emboss. I also used the same technique to create the rough textures on the Miller Way DJ kit illustration.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial – please check back soon for my week 2 project. 🙂

Cbag out!

~ by Chris on December 8, 2010.

One Response to “Textured for your enjoyment: 8 Steps to More Satisfying Photoshoping”

  1. Consider yourself bookmarked. Great tutorial.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: