Photoshop skills: Beginner
Compatibility: Photoshop CC & CS6

Adding a nice texture to the background can definitely make your images stand out. I'll show you how to use a free Photoshop panel from Adobe, to create beautiful combinations of textures and use them with my actions.

The panel is called "Adobe Paper Textures Pro" by Russell Brown. It lets you choose from an array of textures and add them to your Photoshop document. The panel will scale the texture so that it fits the document dimensions. You can add more than one textures. Each texture is actually an individual layer.

The CC version is available for download on the Adobe Add-ons site, on this page: while the CS6 version is available here:

Download and install it using the Extension Manager for your PS version. To load the panel in your work area select Window > Extensions > Adobe Paper Texture Pro from the menu.
Let's move on to the first example. At first I used my "Photo corners - Slits" effects to create this nice composition:

photoshop textures
The action creates a gray background by default, which you can replace with your own.
With the "background" layer selected, I clicked on the panel icon (it looks like a blue bee or something): panel icon


paper texture pro panel

The panel shows up. At the top you can set the blending mode of the new texture layer that will be created.  Below you can see the available textures. Hover your mouse over the icons to view their names. Double click on any of them to add it to your document.
In my example I first set the panel's blending mode to "Multiply" and then I double clicked on the "Pro Creme_anglaise" texture. A new layer called "Adobe Paper Texture Pro Creme_anglaise" was created above the background layer.
I changed the panel's blending mode to "Soft light" and this time I added the "Pro Elysium" texture. A new texture layer called "Adobe Paper Texture Pro Elysium" was added to the layers panel. I changed its opacity to 60%.

It took me just a few seconds to create this beautiful background:
slits texture

Let's move on to the second example.
At first I used my "Retro" effects to turn a color photo into a vintage item. Then I used the panel to create a beautiful retro background:

retro texture

 Here's how I created the texture:

  • I selected the "background" layer.
  • I set the panel's default blending mode to Normal and I double clicked on the "2014_Ezekiel_Plum" texture.
  • I set the panel's default blending mode to Multiply and I added the "2014_Verdigris_Scratch" texture. I lowered the layer's opacity to 60%
  • I set the panel's default blending mode to Soft Light and I added the "Colosseum_Sienna" texture.
  • I added an "Exposure" adjustment layer; I set Exposure, Offset, and Gamma Correction to: 0.00, +0.04, and 1.00 respectively.
  • I added a "Hue/Saturation" adjustment layer; I activated the "Colorize" option and set Hue, Saturation, and Lightness to: 25, 30, and 0 respectively.
 This is the layers panel for the image above:

retro textures layers


You can combine the various textures to create impressive backgrounds. Change the opacity and the blending modes of the individual texture layers to create a unique blend; Use a couple of adjustment layers. And if you come up with an impressive texture, don't forget to save the Photoshop document, so that you can review the settings and apply them to another photo.

The images used in the examples were kindly provided by Shutterstock. The Shutterstock image IDs are as follows: 126161399.jpg, 160939997.jpg
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