Incorporate that rugged, yet crumpled, effect to your next design and elevate your Photoshop project by downloading these twelve FREE paper textures.
Paper textures are an absolute must-have in every designer’s texture toolkit. They can be incorporated into any composition, instantly adding realism and depth. Ranging from subtle to extreme, these paper overlays can be applied either to the background itself, giving your design that worn-in look, or to individual shapes and paths for a ripped zine effect.
Scroll down for the download link, and continue reading to learn additional ways to use these versatile paper textures in your next composition.
How to Download Your Free Paper Textures
This free paper texture pack features twelve crumpled, ripped, and smooth paper variations that you can use to elevate your compositions. In the download, you’ll get access to twelve JPG and four PNG files.
Downloading this free paper pack is straightforward, just click on the link below. Then, double-click on the ZIP file to unpackage its contents and you’ll see the paper textures in the PNG and JPG folders. Your paper textures are now ready to use in your next design project
Incorporate a Ripped Paper Effect
Paper textures bring static images to life with the help of organic and tactile qualities. By using Adobe Photoshop’s layer and blend modes, you can inject more ruggedness to your compositions, in just a few steps.
Start off by importing your image or design into Adobe Photoshop. Make any edits to the image, as needed, by resizing with the Free Transform tool (Command + T) or adding layer adjustments.
Find the paper texture download files in your computer and peruse through the ripped paper variations. In Photoshop, it’s best to work with the JPG files over the PNG files. Once you’ve found the right texture, drag the file into the Photoshop program to place on top of the image layer.
Use the Free Transform tool, once again, to resize (as needed). Hold down the Shift key to stretch the paper texture across the canvas. Hit Enter when you’re finished transforming the paper texture.
Navigate to the top of the Layers panel to find the blend mode dropdown. The Multiply mode is the best option for this application because it allows the paper texture look to come through the image, giving it that vintage-yet-ripped appearance.
To take it a step further, I like to add a color fill to the overall image. Click on the half-shaded circle icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, then select Solid Color. This creates a new layer and opens up the Color Picker menu. Find a hue that matches the tone of your image or design. I opted for a neutral tan color (#b99b90), and hit OK to return to the main program.
Just like with the paper texture layer, apply a blend mode to the color fill layer. I applied the Hard Light blend mode, then dropped the Opacity down to eighty-seven percent for a rustic look.
That’s all there is to it! This technique is a quick way to incorporate a hint of grittiness to photographs and design compositions.
Add a Folded Halftone Look to Designs
Sometimes, a design — such as a gig poster — warrants a hint of grit and grunge for added dimension and personality. By becoming familiar with Photoshop’s layer adjustments, bitmap halftone screen effects, and blend modes, you can easily transform your composition in just a few steps.
Begin by importing any of the folded or crumpled paper JPG files in the free download. Do this by dragging the file on top of the Photoshop icon, or by double-clicking the paper file and selecting Open in Photoshop.
Find the Layers panel and click on the layer adjustments icon at the bottom of the panel. Select Levels to see the sliders pop up in the Properties tab. Drag the black slider all the way over and move the gray slider closer to the white slider. With this technique, we’re cranking up the midtones and shadows in the folded paper image.
Head up to Image > Mode > Grayscale to convert the image to black and white only. This prompts the program to merge the visible layers.
Navigate back to the Image > Mode dropdown, but click on Bitmap this time. Set the Output to 300 Pixels/Inch and the Use to Halftone Screen. Hit OK to open up the next dialog box.
In the Halftone Screen dialog box, set the Frequency to fifty-three lines per inch, the Angle to forty-five degrees, and the Shape to Round. Click OK to return back to the main program.
Now, we’re going to copy over the bitmap paper texture and paste it on top of a design. Select the entire bitmap image with Command + A, copy with Command + C, then navigate to your design document and paste the bitmap image with Command + V.
Open up the Free Transform tool with Command + T, then click and drag the corners, as needed, to resize. Hit the Enter key to set the changes. Next, duplicate the design layer by holding down the Option key and dragging downwards in the Layers panel.
Set the bitmap paper texture layer to the Lighten blend mode. You’ll see hints of the design show through the paper texture. But, we’re not done quite yet! Hold down the Shift key, then click on the top two layers and merge them together with Command + E.
Set the merged layer to the Multiply blend mode to see the halftone folded texture shine through on your design. This technique is a great way to incorporate unexpected hints of dimension and texture to any design or photograph.
Cover image via Dean Drobot.
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