How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

by Irma Olguin Jr -
How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look
There's vector artwork, and then there's raster artwork. They are completely different and there's no way to make them work together. Or is there? In this tutorial, you'll learn how to add texture and depth to a vector shape in Photoshop using images, layer masks, and blend modes. This is a great way to mock up a design, or just make your work more tangible. Let's get started. This tutorial uses items from our Vintage Logos and Textures Mega Bundle deal.

What We'll Be Creating

How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Step 1

Create a new document at 1920 x 1280 pixels. Drag a texture into your document, and resize it to cover the entire canvas. We're using "background-28" from the Texture Armoury pack in the Vintage Logos and Textures Mega Bundle, by Vintage Supply Co. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Step 2

Add a Levels adjustment layer, and apply the following settings to brighten the background and add a little bit more contrast. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Step 3

Insert your vector shape as a new layer, and give it the color #2F392B. It doesn't actually have to be a vector shape, but this effect works great when you're using clean vector lines. Again, we're using one of the logos from the Great Outdoors pack in the Vintage Logos and Textures Mega Bundle. Of course, you can customize the logo with your own information before pasting it into your document. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Step 4

Open up a desaturated texture with very strong contrast, so that it's almost completely made up of black and white. Again, we're using a texture from the Hand Drawn Vintage Logos Pack in the Vintage Logos and Textures Mega Bundle. Press CTRL + A to select the entire canvas, then CTRL + C to copy the texture. Back in your working file, add a Layer Mask to your logo layer, and with the layer mask still selected, open the Channels palette. Click the eye icon to make the Layer Mask alpha channel visible, and press CTRL + V to paste in your texture. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look You'll see a selection and a red mask of your texture similar to the image below. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look Resize the texture mask you pasted in and hit enter to finish placing it in your document. Finally, click the eye icon for your mask channel to hide the red preview, and you'll see that your texture is now being applied as a mask to your logo layer. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Step 5

Set the Blend Mode of your logo layer to Color Burn. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Step 6

Create a Curves adjustment layer on top of all the other layers. Move the center of the curve down and to the right to darken the entire image. Add a Layer Mask to the Curves adjustment layer if it isn't already there, and fill it with white. Then, using black, paint in the center of the Layer Mask with a soft black brush so the Curves adjustment only affects the corners of the image, giving you a subtle vignette. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Final Design

It may seem like a lot of steps, but it's really as easy as copying and pasting a black and white texture as a layer mask, then adjusting the layer Blend Mode. Once you've used this technique a couple times, you can quickly apply it in less than 30 seconds. Click the image below to view it full size. How to Apply Textures to Vector Artwork for a Realistic Look

Show Us What You Got!

Did you make the same thing or something a little different? Share your version in the comments below.