Digital Texture Screens

Keep in something my mentor Eddie Bafford told me about applying effects in the traditional wet darkroom: “If you get too carried away, you need somebody with a 2×4 to hit you up-side the head.”

zoe.beforeThe use of texture screens is nothing new and has been around for more than seventy years having been used by darkroom artistes and pictorialists such as William Mortensen in the 1930’s and 40’s.

When used in the traditional darkroom, a texture screen is a piece of film with a texture printed on it that’s placed over photographic paper or sandwiched with a negative during exposure. In my book, “Creative Digital Monochrome Effects,” I show a manual technique for accomplishing this effect using Photoshop’s Layers. It ain’t easy but it works. Now I’ll introduce you to an easier way to produce the same effect—using Topaz Texture Effects.


Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Texture Effects is not just a way to add texture effects to a photograph. Oh sure you can do that but Topaz has handed us a toolkit in which texture is just the start. zoe.texture

Texture Effects is packed with over 275 high- resolution textures, light leaks and other effects you can apply one at a time with sliders to control each effect, so you can just keep tweaking. The point of the process is that you can stop any time and unlike a lot of other imaging effects software you can keep building a total effect without having to jump in and out of the program.

And maybe I got too carried away with this boudoir image (right) I made of the beautiful Zoe but I like it and as I’ve said a thousand times: Only you can decide what you like, nobody else.

Another thing to keep in mind is one of Farace’s Laws: All special effects are subject dependent. What looks great with one subject may not look so hot with anther. So vary the subject and vary the effect to get the most out of Topaz Texture Effects.

As I write this, you can pick up a new copy of my four-star rated Creative Digital Monochrome Effects from for $9.99, you can get a used copy for three bucks. That’s less that a dollar a star and either version should make a nice Christmas gift for your favorite photographer, or maybe yourself.

Author: Joe Farace

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