Using texture for background has become a common and popular practice in web design. Texture makes any website more alive realistic. It is recommend to have experience in both Photography and Design to create textures. The reason is that, when photographing outdoors texture lot of people seems to be confused about what is texture and what are they suppose photograph. Also, by having experience in web/graphic design experience you can visualize how the texture will be used. In this post we will go into details about textures and how to create a beautiful texture.
What is a Texture?
You see this word been thrown around in many web design blogs. No one seems actually define or set a standard for it. We will try our best to describe a texture. What makes an image a background texture?
- A texture should be is an image of flat surface of an object. You can also scan these images such as paper texture, fabric texture.
- It should be at least or over 1300x900px for web use and 3000x200px for print use. The reason is that because average screen size is over 1200px and many users has large monitors. If you use any low res texture it will look pixtelated and unprofessional. This also applies for any texture you use for poster, brochure. You want to photograph texture as much as high resolution as you can.
- Shot it RAW or JPG.
- Obviously do not include any subject in the texture such as human, bird because then it becomes a photograph.
- When taking close up shot of any surface make sure it is not blurry. If you do not have macro lens you can use extension tube or macro filters.
- Remember, just because you have a camera and you can shoot, it does not mean anything you shoot is a texture !
Let’s look at what kind backgrounds are used when crafting website, banner, business card and more. There is usually four types of background are used in any web design :
- Solid Color
As you can see from image above, texture is absolutely different from an image or pattern. Texture can be created two ways: all digitally in Photoshop and by photographing them. We are just focusing on photographing the right texture.
Tips for Creating Textures
Creating a texture is not that hard. It just takes good observation, common sense and will to create something useable and beautiful.
Pick a good camera : Do not use your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or 5 megapixel digital camera to Photograph texture. You can shoot texture with a really good point and shoot camera but we would advise against it just because with DSLR camera you will have much more control as far as focusing and getting the right resolution.
Get close : Try to get as much close you can to the surface of your texture. That way you will get more detailed line and depth of your texture. Try to picture a frame around your texture to see if it would be a good fit to use in a website or poster. If your camera has a Macro setting turn it on when shooting for texture.
Choose the right surface: All surface do not make good textures. Wood, jeans, cracked walls, grunge metal, leathers usually popular texture among designer. Therefore, keep that in mind when photographing texture. An image of Macaronis or slanted coke bottle top are not textures, they are photos! Flat surfaces make the best texture but you can also capture uneven surface that can used as overlay.
Post Process : Use Photoshop or Gimp to correct the color, crop the photo and so on. If you captured a really good texture but is does not fit in entire frame use Photoshop to correct it. So the surface material fits in your entire frame. If the texture is little dark or bright use color correction in Lightroom or Photoshop to fix it
Experiment : This is fun part of creating textures. After you have photographed and processed the texture, you can design your own kind of texture mixing, overlaying multiple texture. There are plenty of tutorials online that shows how create textures using photoshop.
Here are some examples of texture use in web design.
In conclusion, please keep in mind that a texture is not a photograph with theme or story. It is an image of a material’s surface or skin. For example : If you visit CG textures they seem to have more stock photos then texture. On other hand TextureKing has actual textures that can used in your design. We will follow up with a post on how to use texture in your design project. Meantime, do you have any advice for photographing textures?