Monday, September 23, 2013

Velveteen Digital Paper Pack

Velveteen Digital Paper Pack on TpT
Velveteen is the new digital paper pack now available in my TeacherspayTeachers store.  This features 8 richly textured 12x12 papers.  Each are 300dpi, suitable for printing or digital layouts.  These papers have a gothic/steampunk influence.  The textures come from my own stock, combined to make a unique texture.

Creating Seamless Textures 

I used 4 stock textures I've made to create a layered effect.  First, I made each texture into a seamless pattern in PhotoShop.  There's two ways I generally do this, usually I can get away with the easier method.  I open my file in PS and create a copy from the background layer so I have my original to work from.  I make a second copy.  On the top layer copy I go to filters and choose Offset.

I go 50% on both axis or one at a time is easier, since I may repeat these steps several times to get a smooth texture.

So easy no hassle method...  I use this for textures that the lines are not precise and can easily blend.  We just need to get rid of the edges.  I click on my layer, which now has a sharp line (or two) visible in the center.  I use a rectangle selection tool to select that area, then invert my selection.  You can feather the selection at this point, however the gradient isn't very smooth.  Then click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel (or go to the Layer menu to add a mask).  This will make a big gap in the middle where the line once was, and you will see the layer below.  Now we will need to smoothly make a gradient.

Use the gradient tool with the gradient set to solid to transparent.  Select 'reflective' to do just the edge, and shift+drag your tool across the edges of the masked area.  Use white to reveal and black to hide.  Blending should be smooth so you cannot see any sharp edges.  You can now merge copy 2 and copy 1.  If you did horizontal and vertical separately, then duplicate your layer again and offset and mask and blend.  Otherwise, your layer should be completely seamless.  You can run the offset again to test this.

To set it as a pattern, simply go to the Edit menu and select "define pattern".  Name your pattern something easy to remember.  You can go into the preset manager later to remove or save your patterns.  I no longer need this work file and do not save any changes, I just close it and go to my digital scrapbook page instead.
Create a new file, 12"x12" at 300 dpi for printing.  I like to work on a transparent bg, but it really doesn't matter for our purposes.  I create a new layer for each texture and name them accordingly.  Simply fill each layer with the patterns I created and it will fill to the size of the document.


Preparing the Digital Paper

I've desaturated each layer so I won't have any strange coloration effects when I add my colors.  As you see by the names of each layer, you can find some wonderful textures on everyday household items, so long as you have either a good camera or a decent scanner to pick up all your bumps and patterns.

Tiling patterns work best with a large image to avoid repetitive patterns.  The dryer sheet was a small file, so zoomed out, it's pattern is discernible.  Ideally, you will not be able to notice any patterns.

I adjust the layer blending style for each layer as I see fit to get the effect I want.  Adjusting opacity and layer orders.  I have them all i n a group so I can duplicate the entire group, hiding the originals.  I always do this to avoid mistakes.  Also, save often.  Now is a good time to.

Adding Color Effects

Now, here comes the fun part.  Adding color and effects.  I do this via the fill or adjustment layer button beside the layer mask button.  It looks like a half white, half black circle.  This pops up a huge menu of choices, but we'll just go with a solid color.  It gives you a color picker, or you can input the hex code for your color.  The whole screen will turn that color.  Choose color blend from the blending options to make the bottom layers your new color.  You may need to adjust opacity or switch to a different blend mode if the effect is not what you are looking for.  Repeat this with any other colors, toggling the visibility off of previous color layers.  In my example below, I added a brightness adjustment layer to lighten up some of my dark greys.  I also made some gradient color splash layers for an added effect.  You'll see the layer mask for these have white to black gradients.

Finishing Touches

Now, go ahead and save again for good measure.  And make a duplicate of all your visible layers used for each paper and merge the duplicates.  Repeat for each version.  I have 8 versions in my example.  I wanted to add a vignette to the edges, which I did a very simple one.  I added a new adjustment layer above all the layers, set to exposure.  I added the gamma and subtracted the exposure.  Then I selected my entire document and shrunk the selection a bit for a nice border.  I feathered the selection and filled it with black to clear out the center, leaving only the edges.  I came in with a brush to add/subtract as I wanted, then blurred it for a smoother effect.  Once finished, save your PSD again.

Saving the Papers

Toggle on the paper you wish to save and hide the rest.  Choose "Save for web" instead of regular saving.  This gives you an optimized file size that is still high quality.  If you were printing enlargements, you could just save each as a jpg, but I prefer to optimize.  Choose jpeg, quality should be the minimal 'high' setting and optimized.  You'll see the file size in the preview window.  Click save and name your file.  Repeat for each paper.