Sunday, May 15

CoffeeShop Portrait Give It Texture: Action and UnWrapped Tutorial

I love using textures in portraits, and I get so many questions about how I remove the texture from skin yet leave some of the texture color. There are so many ways to do this, but I want to share one of my favorite methods.  Many people simply erase or mask out the texture on skin, but if you are adding a colored texture to a portrait you often want to retain some of the texture's color so the skin doesn't look too washed out or discolored.

This is actually pretty easy and I am going to show you how to do it on your own in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and I even wrote a nifty action that does some of the work for you.  I will tell you when you start using the action in the tutorial.

CoffeeShop Portrait Give It Texture Tutorial:

1.  Open your image. Then open your texture.  For this tutorial I used a beautiful texture called Renoir from the Chasing Dreams France set.  Colleen has gorgeous textures and I love her new Summertime collection.

2.  Select your move tool (V) and left click on your texture and hold down the button and drag the texture on top of your image.  Ctrl-T (free transform) it to fit over your entire image . Unclick "Constrain Proportions" in PSE or unselect maintain aspect ratio (top menubar, looks like a little link) in Photoshop if it is not the same shape as your image. 

3.  Put the texture layer in multipy blending mode and adjust opacity to taste.  You can always tweak it later.  I love using textures in multiply mode in portraits, especially when the image has areas that are very light, so the texture is more obvious.  If you add textures only in soft light or overlay blending mode, light areas usually don't show any texture and the image can have too much contrast. I love the combination of multiply and soft light/overlay with textures.

4.  Add a layer mask to the texture layer.  If you have PSE8 or older, download my free Layer Mask ActionDo not forget this step or the action will not work!!!

5.  Select your lasso tool (L) and adjust the feather to taste (I used 10 on this high resolution image).  Make sure you added the layer mask BEFORE doing this step!   If you aren't familiar with this selection tool, you will see a few boxes on the top menubar that look like this:

First click on new selection and zoom in some and start selecting the area you want to remove the texture (skin and shirt in this case).  Once you have the selection, you can click on add to selection to add areas you missed, and click on subtract from selection to remove areas. Try to take your time and do an accurate job, especially if you are printing a large image.

 6.  Once you have finished selecting areas where you need to remove the texture, start the CoffeeShop Portrait Give It Texture action and it will finish the edit for you (see image below).  Adjust the two texture layers blending modes/opacities to taste.  If you don't want to use the action or are curious what is happening, read on!

7.  To get the results in the image above without using the action, click to select the texture (not the texture layer mask) and Filter, Gaussian blur the selection.  Adjust the Gaussian blur slider until you don't see any texture on the skin.  Then click on the layer mask and edit, fill with 50% gray.  This removes 50% of the texture color from your selection.  This way your skin will have some of the texture color but still retain some original skin color.

Ctrl-J (copy) this layer and put this layer in overlay or soft light blending mode.  Then adjust both texture layer's opacities to taste.  Now your skin will be texture-free yet still retain some of the color from the texture.

Here are some examples using the action/tutorial.  I used textures from Chasing Dreams, FlyPaper, and Florabella.   I don't think it is possible to have too many textures. My favorite place to go for free textures is ShadowHouse.
I love the Fly Edges from FlyPaper, but I don't always want the spotty texture on my portrait, so I used the action/tutorial on this after.

I hope you enjoy playing with textures. I have many other CoffeeShop texture tutorials, so please check them out. 

Download the free  CoffeeShop Portrait Give It Texture action.

Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions in one simple download AND help support this blog? Just click here for more information! For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. Thank you Rita, you have always been my "go to" blog for info and freebies, ever since I found you a while ago.

    Love your work.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  2. Rita! I can always find the answers to all my questions on your Blog! What would I do with out you. Thank you!

  3. Hi Rita, amazing action and tutorial as always. Have you ever tried creating your own textures? If you have I'd be interested in your technique. I've tried creating some of my own and needless to say, I've got some tweaking to do to get it right...

    Thanks for your awesomeness!

  4. This is my first time visiting your blog. I love your photos!I do not have the full version of photo shop. I use PSE and Lightroom. But I'm certain that I can learn lots from you. Your tutorials are wonderful.


  5. thank you so much for the shout out sweet your action and tutorial. xoxo

  6. This is a great tutorial, Rita! Thank you so much!

    And I really love all of your examples. The textured effect is perfect. I especially love the image that uses the Florabella texture. Nice!

    Thanks again!

    ScrappyDigits - digital scrapbooking for the fun of it!

  7. Thank you for sharing! I haven't used an action but I think that I might be able to with your tut! Wish me luck! :-)

  8. First of all thank you so much you are amazing and wonderful and I love all that you do!! Just for a future texture action cause I saw how it was done but don't really know what they did, lol was similar to what you did but they painted out the part they didn't want it on and were also able to lower the opacity and then paint around the person so it flowed into the picture. Just a thought for you cause you have so much time on your hands ... lol!! Again thanks your hard work is very appreciated!!

  9. Help please! I can't get the "Give it Texture" tutorial to download in printable form. Is there a secret? I have a MacBook Pro.

  10. Krista, I don't know how to do it in Macs... Could you just screenshot the tutorial if nothing else? I am sorry that the printing button is not working for you...

  11. Rita, Love, love, love, your actions! I have downloaded almost all of your actions with no problem and use them all of the time, but have run into a problem this time! Tried to use Give It Texture and was loving it until I found out that for some reason the Layer Mask action isn't working for me in PSE8. Is anyone else having problems?

  12. I love this action! You're so talented!

  13. Thanks so so much Rita, I used a few of your actions and this tutorial here


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