We love the place where art and photography intersect. Photographs can be artistic by their composition or choice of subject matter, but they can also simply look more artistic by mimicking the visual aesthetics of fine art. If you print a photo on canvas, wrap it in a gold frame, and hang it on the wall it’s going to look a lot more like art than it would on an electronic screen. Traditional fine art stands out like this often because it’s printed on material that is rougher than paper. It has a textured look to its background. This texture in some ways can seem to even stimulate your sense of touch. You can easily imagine reaching out and feeling the rough canvas.
That’s what we want you to do this week. We want you to add the visual language of traditional art to your photos by adding a textured background. We want your photos to look like they’re printed on canvas or scroll-like paper or other similar materials. It’s very easy to do:
- The easiest way to do this is to simply use one of the Canvas overlays in Pixlr apps. Play with the opacity of one of these and you can easily add a textured, canvas look.
- The Paper overlays dialed down in opacity can add cools textures and make your image appear to be printed on different materials. Same with Bokeh, but be careful that you don’t add too much of these other effects and muddy up the lights and darks too much.
- Borders are very important to make your photo look like it’s mimicking art on canvas. The Ink, Ripped Paper, and White Ripped borders are good for this. There are also lots of great choices in the Default borders pack. We strongly recommend adding a border!
- You can use the Stylize features if you want, but we don’t advise using those options too much for this challenge. We’re not really focused on turning your photo into a watercolor. The goal this week is to make your photo appear to be printed on material that’s rougher than paper.
To join in, tag your photos with both hashtags #pixlr #textures on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook. As usual, we’ll feature the best on our home page, on the Made with Pixlr feed, and on Instagram and our many social media feeds. Everywhere!
A few additional ideas to get you started…
Try combinations of multiple overlays at low opacities
You can, in effect, create a new look by applying multiple Canvas or Paper or Bokeh overlays if you add each one at a low opacity. They combine to make something unique like we did in this portrait. We combined Paper > Transform at 50%; Paper > Cactus at 50%; and Canvas > Skin at 60% to make this textured look. We also added our white ink border at a 50% overlay to make this entire image look like it’s printed on something like patterned rice paper.
Still life with whatever
History Brush can be used to combine multiple textured effects
For this Pisa photo, we used two different canvas effects. We started with Weave at 80%, then wiped away the tower area with the History Brush. Then, we added Skin at 50%. Finally, some bump up in vibrance and a White Ripped border.
Sometimes subtle effects are better than laying it on thick
For this Autumnal scene, we used the Canvas > Floor option at 65% and some vignetting to darken the edges. We wanted to make it look like it was printed on something thicker than paper, but we didn’t want to overwhelm the photo too much. We used the Default > White border, which has a matte + black metal frame look to it. That’s an excellent default border for you to use for this challenge.