Wrapping a texture around an object in Photoshop

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Now it’s time for that creative moment everybody wanted to have in Photoshop! Have you seen portraits or another kind of images with textures overlapping what could be the original image texture? Follow up this guide to learn another way of creating amazing effects inside Adobe Photoshop CC.

For wrapping a texture in Photoshop, we are going to use two main elements:

  • The object/person image file we are going to apply the texture on. Try to always work with PNG files since you are going to need the transparency feature of PNG files. If by some reason you are using a photo that has background information, erase them with your preferred method in order to have only the object/person file with transparent background surrounding it.
  • A good texture file. 1500 px minimum resolution if you plan to work with a larger project size.

For this tutorial, I am going to use a photo of an English Bulldog, and wrap a texture of the Union Jack on it.

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg English-Bulldog

Start by dragging the photo of the dog inside the Union Jack photo, this way we’ll have the dog photo as a layer. Resize and adjust the position of the image until you feel it suits your work.

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Now we are going to turn off the flag layer for working more comfortably on the dog. Go to ImageAdjustments>Desaturate.

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The point here is to have a completely desaturated image, but if we already brought in a B&W image, or an image already desaturated in Lightroom there is no need to apply this step and the next one.

To increase the B&W feel, apply some levels correction to increase the dark value of the image.

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Go to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Apply some blurry effect to the dog layer. Save the image now as a PSD file; we will use it later on for our filters adjustments. Then apply CTRL+Z to remove the Gaussian Blur effect.

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Create a duplicate (CTRL+J if you want to use shortcuts) of the flag layer and move it to the top. Now go to Filters>Distort>Displace. Set displacement values just as below, or the ones you feel more comfortable with; Displace filter will now ask for a map for sampling the effect, here is where the dog file we saved before takes part. Select the file and accept, the result will look like just as below.

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We have now one tiny problem and that is that we need to mask the flag with the dog image for being able to watch the effect take place. Mask the layer of the flag copy with our dog layer, and set the layer blending mode to Overlay.

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If by some reason you feel the image is too bright, adjust the levels on the DOG layer (not the flag).

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And we can move on to the background of this image, so turn on the flag layer. I am going to create a new layer and fill it with White. Then, using a large soft brush, apply the eraser tool just at the center of this image.

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After that, select the flag layer and under the filters we have, apply a Ripple effect, so the Union Jack will look somewhat distorted and faded into the background, giving the dog the main role on this image.

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And this is how we wrap a texture around an object in Photoshop. This effect is quite popular not only at bookcases but also for the t-shirt design. You can also add to this workflow some cool plugins if you feel the need to, or even work without a background, having the sole png file of the dog merged with the flag.

Possibilities are infinite, just have fun and keep working!

NB: If you want to know how to wrap a texture around a mug mockup for further printing, you have to work only with the image file you want to add to the mug, then apply either Transform Tool for distorting the image or work your way with 3D tools inside Photoshop, but you won’t be needing to apply as many effects unless your aim is to create a faded texture for product presentation.

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