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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Add a Texture Overlay in Photoshop

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

Do you want to learn how to create photo overlays in Adobe Photoshop? In this tutorial, I will show you how to add a texture overlay in Photoshop. 

This complete texture overlay Photoshop tutorial will guide you step by step. You'll create a realistic paper texture overlay on your images. But what if you want to save time and still achieve professional results? What if you don't have time to create your own textures?

This paper texture Photoshop pack will save you some time and give you professional results.This paper texture Photoshop pack will save you some time and give you professional results.This paper texture Photoshop pack will save you some time and give you professional results.
This paper texture Photoshop pack will save you some time and give you professional results.

Here's where Photoshop background textures come in handy. If you want some ready-to-use paper texture Photoshop sets, scroll down after this tutorial. You'll find a selection of texture overlay Photoshop packs from Envato Elements and Envato Market.

Watch How to Add Texture in Photoshop

Do you prefer to learn how to add a texture overlay in Photoshop via video? You can check out our lesson on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You Will Learn in This Paper Texture Photoshop Tutorial

  • How to add texture in Photoshop
  • How to create a photo overlay
  • How to use textures in Photoshop with different blending options

Tutorial Assets

You will need the following in order to complete this texture overlay Photoshop tutorial:

1. How to Prepare the Document

Step 1

Let's start this Photoshop paper texture overlay tutorial with the basics. Press Control-O and then select the image you want to use.

opening the image in photoshopopening the image in photoshopopening the image in photoshop

Step 2

Hit Alt-Control-I and resize the image to 3000 x 2000 px.

resizing the imageresizing the imageresizing the image

Step 3

After that, go to File > Place and put the overlay texture above the background layer.

placing the overlay textureplacing the overlay textureplacing the overlay texture

Step 4

Create four duplicates of the texture and the background by pressing Control-J.

creating duplicates of the layerscreating duplicates of the layerscreating duplicates of the layers

Step 5

Sequentially place each texture over each image layer.

placing the textures above the photosplacing the textures above the photosplacing the textures above the photos

2. How to Create a Photo Overlay

Step 1

Now that you have all the necessary files and layers, let's learn how to add a texture overlay in Photoshop. Make all the layers except the first two Invisible, and then change the Blending Mode of the texture to Multiply.

changing the blending mode of the first texturechanging the blending mode of the first texturechanging the blending mode of the first texture

Step 2

After that, press Alt-Shift-Control-B and then hit OK to convert the texture to black and white.

convert the texture to black and whiteconvert the texture to black and whiteconvert the texture to black and white

Step 3

Press Alt-Shift-Control-L to add auto-contrast to the texture.

adding auto contrast to the imageadding auto contrast to the imageadding auto contrast to the image

Step 4

To make the image look brighter, let's go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast and choose the following settings: 

  • Brightness: 65
  • Contrast: 20
creating brightness contrast adjustment layercreating brightness contrast adjustment layercreating brightness contrast adjustment layer

This is how our image will look after all the manipulations listed above:

First texture overlaying resultFirst texture overlaying resultFirst texture overlaying result

Step 5

Now, let's try another blending mode. Make a second pair of layers visible, and change the Blending Mode of the texture to Screen.

changing the blending mode of the texturechanging the blending mode of the texturechanging the blending mode of the texture

Step 6

Convert the image to black and white by pressing Alt-Shift-Control-B, as we did before.

adding black and white filteradding black and white filteradding black and white filter

Step 7

Hit Control-I to invert the texture, and then add auto-contrast by pressing Alt-Shift-Control-L.

inverting the imageinverting the imageinverting the image

Step 8

Let's create another style of photo overlay. Make the next pair of layers visible, and then select the texture layer and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

changing the blending mode of the texturechanging the blending mode of the texturechanging the blending mode of the texture

Step 9

Convert the texture to black and white, and then add auto-contrast to the texture, as we did before.

adding black and white and auto contrast filtersadding black and white and auto contrast filtersadding black and white and auto contrast filters

Step 10

And for the last couple of layers, let's make the grunge texture overlay more obvious. Select the image layer, and then go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and create a new layer with Saturation of -25.

creating hue saturation adjustment layercreating hue saturation adjustment layercreating hue saturation adjustment layer

Step 11

After that, change the Blending Mode of the texture to Multiply and the Opacity to 85%.

changing the blending mode and opacity of the last texturechanging the blending mode and opacity of the last texturechanging the blending mode and opacity of the last texture

Step 12

Add auto-contrast to the layer, and then go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast and choose the following settings: 

  • Brightness: 110
  • Contrast: 20
adding auto contrast and brightness contrast filtersadding auto contrast and brightness contrast filtersadding auto contrast and brightness contrast filters

As you can see, in this case our texture works as a vintage photo overlay and gives our photo an old, grungy look:

the last result of the overlayingthe last result of the overlayingthe last result of the overlaying

Awesome Work, Your Paper Texture Photoshop Overlay Is Done!

Here is our final result! Now you know how to create a photo overlay in Photoshop. Using this simple technique, we can add texture to any image in Adobe Photoshop and create cool photo overlays using blending modes and adjustment layers.

final resultfinal resultfinal result

5+ Photoshop Background Textures From Envato Elements and Envato Market

Looking for some more professional texture overlays? Envato Elements offers unlimited Photoshop paper texture overlays with a subscription. You'll also have access to add-ons, graphic templates and more digital assets.

If you don't like subscriptions, you can get professional Photoshop background textures from GraphicRiver, part of Envato Market. Just browse the huge library of texture overlays and get the one you need for your project. 

Here's a hand-picked selection of the Photoshop paper texture overlays you can find in these premium marketplaces:

1. 30 Dust & Scratch Overlay Textures (JPG)

30 Dust  Scratch Overlay Textures30 Dust  Scratch Overlay Textures30 Dust  Scratch Overlay Textures

Grunge texture overlay packs are an essential tool for creating vintage effects. This pack of 30 dust and scratch textures could be a handy tool for creating a faded or old look for your photos. Besides the textures, you will find a Photoshop action that helps you work with the texture layers.

2. Textured Geometric Masks (PSD, PNG)

Textured Geometric MasksTextured Geometric MasksTextured Geometric Masks

If you're looking for something more creative and unusual, then check out this pack of cool photo overlays with geometric and grunge elements. In this pack, you will find 15 high-quality transparent PNG files in A3 (297 x 420mm) size.

3. Paper & Card Mask Effects (PSD)

Paper Card Mask EffectsPaper Card Mask EffectsPaper Card Mask Effects

This paper texture overlay Photoshop bundle contains 30 textures in one PSD template, so the process of selecting textures becomes easier than ever. The PSD file is 18 x 24 inches, with high resolution and RGB color mode.

4. Vintage Letterpress Texture Effects (PSD)

Vintage Letterpress Texture EffectsVintage Letterpress Texture EffectsVintage Letterpress Texture Effects

If you want to add overlay textures not only to your photo, but also to your text and vectors, check out this grunge texture overlay pack with ten smart PSD templates. It's very easy to use and has fully editable effects.

5. 10 Soft Grunge Gray Textures (JPG) (Envato Market)

10 soft grunge gray textures10 soft grunge gray textures10 soft grunge gray textures

Now that you know how to overlay photos in Photoshop, this pack of ten soft grunge textures could be a great tool for creating a vintage photo overlay. All of the textures come in 3000x2000 px, with 300 dpi high-quality resolution.

6. Vintage Nostalgia Photo Overlay Textures (JPG) (Envato Market)

Vintage Nostalgia  Photo Overlay TexturesVintage Nostalgia  Photo Overlay TexturesVintage Nostalgia  Photo Overlay Textures

If you're looking for a paper texture overlay Photoshop pack, this collection of photo overlays is a great choice. It contains 18 complex paper textures with different vintage elements such as letters, notes, and illustrations.

Discover More Photoshop Overlay Tutorials and Resources

You've learned how to add texture in Photoshop and where to find top Photoshop paper texture overlays. Do you want to learn more about how to overlay photos in Photoshop? Check out these awesome tutorials:

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Maria Villanueva. Maria is a staff writer with Envato Tuts+.

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