Sunday, February 6, 2011

flypaper textures for dummies

a few months ago i started looking into the flypaper texture business. why bother? you're gonna ask. well, i know some people online who spend a lot of time on this and they seem to be making some money from it. i figured i could give it a shot, see if works out for me.

having absolutely no clue as to the process, i looked around on the internet to try to understand how it was done. a few hours into my search, i got this strange uneasy feeling: the whole flypaper texture matter reminded me of the feng shui craze a few years back. everybody talks about it but never in depth. and if you want depth, you gotta pay the piper.
(aaaahhhh, i knew there was a catch somewhere. so really, the money being made is not ultimately from the art itself but from selling the textures. so be it, business is business and people gotta make some money somehow, but i'll be damned if i ever buy a texture. i'm a graphic designer after all.)
what do i mean? well, you gotta buy the texture sets from the masters first, in order to understand and/or follow the tutorials. why? because the textures have esoteric names given to them by the texture masters, you see, names like hawaiian sunset, morning mist and daffodil blue (ok, i'm making these up, but....). so, really, the tutorials are useless without the texture sets. for example, take 'english morning fog' and apply an overlay at 63%.... WTF?

so i studied several pieces of work, different styles from random artists. hey, i'm not the smartest on the planet, but i'm not too stupid either. i figured i'd try to make my own textures in photoshop and applied them to my photos. i tried a few things, sometimes it worked, sometimes it turned out like crap, but i'm getting the hang of it now.
so here is a simple example, step by step, with one photo and 3 textures. i call it 'going dutch'... you'll see why.

here's the original photo, nothing exceptional, i took it on a sunny sunday afternoon just to try my new camera. i like taking pictures of tree reflecting in water, reminds me of the work of atget.

i don't do any color correction except changing from RGB to CMYK. i'm used to preparing images and layouts for print so i automatically work in CMYK. now, you can stay in RGB if you want, but if the finished image is going to get printed, then you'll have to flatten your layers before converting your image to CMYK. if not, BIG surprise. try it, you'll see. (yep, there is a huge difference between adding 3 colors to get black and adding 3 colors to get white).

then comes the hard part: choosing the textures to apply and mess around with the fusion modes for each layer. here, i used 3 textures, which i created in photoshop, and i only worked with one kind of fusion : linear burn.

i'm showing you the textures below so you can try to make them yourselves. no fancy names either.

fiber-like texture to which i applied a linear burn 54% plus a yellow photo filter

old paper texture with linear burn 100%

dirty pastel texture with linear burn 73% and a horizontal flip

and here is the result going dutch, like the great atget got possessed by rembrandt:

pretty simple, really. like i said, the most complicated part is to make your own textures. or you can always buy them... not from me tho.

Want to see more examples of textured photos ? Go check out my other blog. Enjoy!

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