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More-Complex Edges

Edge effects that encroach on the image give it an aged or distressed look. Here’s how to create a distressed pattern that makes an image look as if it’s painted onto an old wood surface:

  1. To create a new file the same size as your photograph, choose File>New, click Window, and select the image file to match the size of. Click OK. Fill the background with black and set the foreground color to white.
  2. Choose Filter>Texture>Texturizer, select the Canvas fill, and set Scaling to 200% and Relief to 15%. Set the light to Bottom so the pattern lines are horizontal. Click the New Effect Layer button at the foot of the Filter palette and choose Sketch>Water Paper. The pattern should resemble a series of horizontal lines with some small vertical lines. Set the Fiber Length to 15, the Brightness to 68%, and the Contrast to 80% (see Figure 4). Click OK.
    Figure 4

    Figure 4 Use filters to create a black and white texture with fine white horizontal lines and some small vertical lines.

  3. Duplicate this texture layer by selecting it and then choose Layer> Duplicate Layer. Set the blend mode of the top layer to Linear Dodge to lighten the texture.
  4. To copy the pattern, choose Select>All and then Edit>Copy Merged. Switch to the image to add the texture to.
  5. Convert the background to a regular layer by double-clicking it and then click OK. Switch to Editing in Quick Mask mode by pressing Q and then choose Edit>Paste to paste the texture image from the clipboard into the mask area (see Figure 5).
    Figure 5

    Figure 5 Pasting a grayscale image in Quick Mask mode creates a mask from the pasted image.

  6. Press Q to return to editing in Standard mode—you’ll see the mask replaced by a selection on your image. Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the foot of the Layer palette to convert the selection into a Layer mask.
  7. When using a predominantly black texture like this one, you must invert it to get a good result. To do this, click the Layer Mask icon in the Layer palette and press Control+I (Command+I on the Mac) to invert the mask colors.
  8. Add a new layer behind the image layer and fill it with black, white, or another color, depending on your preference. For this image, we chose black.

The image can be made to look more interesting still if you darken its edges and remove some of the texture from the middle of it. To do this, duplicate the image layer with its mask by clicking it and then choose Layer>Duplicate Layer>OK. Set the blend mode for the topmost layer to Multiply to darken the image. Select the Eraser tool and erase the center of the image on the top layer to leave just the lighter bottom layer visible by using a large soft paintbrush with an opacity of 50%. To lighten the texture itself, click the layer mask for the bottom image layer, reduce the Eraser brush opacity to 10%, and click a few times over the mask layer to remove some of the texture (see Figure 6).

Figure 6

Figure 6 The finished effect incorporating the homemade texture creates an image that looks as if it were painted onto aged timber.

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