Deke’s Techniques 011: Blending Textures Onto a Face

Today’s technique is all about mapping a couple of textures onto a portrait photograph. The textures in question happen to be a bit of alabaster and a travertine tile (the images hail from the Fotolia image library), but they could be anything. And it’s all accomplished using Photoshop’s advanced blending options.

Here’s the official description:

This week’s free Photoshop technique from instructor Deke McClelland takes an ordinary portrait shot and maps two different textures onto the subject to create an exotic effect. The process doesn’t require any masks, but rather relies solely on advanced blending techniques. (You know it’s advanced when Deke mentions the Hard Mix blend mode and the luminance exclusion slider bars.) Using blend modes and layers means your effect can be adjusted to suit your taste with no fear of underlying pixel destruction. And no fear of missing dinner either, since Deke explains it all in just over ten minutes.

If you can’t get enough of blending with faces, subscribers should be sure to check out this week’s exclusive members-only video, “Rendering a face as a cave painting.” But if jumping into a Photoshop technique that involves the words “hard” and “exclusion” makes you think you’d better get your blend mode-bearings first, take a look at Chapter 28, “Blend Modes Revealed,” from Deke’s Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery course. And we’ll see you all again next week with another free technique from Deke.

For those who may be interested, that cave painting technique is pretty fantastic, even if I do say myself. Invoked in Photoshop using a combination of masking, smart filters, and blend modes, the final effect looks like this:

Deke's Techniques 007 follow-up: Rendering a Face as a Cave Painting

That’s that same portrait shot from the free video, btw.

Now, some of you archaeology majors may look at this and think, “That’s one shockingly realistic cave painting.” But I’m confident that if our primitive ancestors had only possessed Photoshop—not to mention cameras, computers, electricity, and some form of as-yet-to-be-invented cave wall printing technology—this is precisely what they would have come up with. Check out this and other Online Training Library-exclusive Deke’s Techniques at

Next entry:I Begin Work on the First of My Four Courses on the Wealth of 3D Features in Photoshop CS5 Extended

Previous entry:Levels and Curves: Photoshop’s Left and Right Ventricles Pump Luminance


  • Peter Gabriel CD Game Cover

    Hey Deke, this technique sorta reminds of something I saw way back in 1993 and which BLEW MY MIND.

      It’s the cover of the CD-Rom game “Xplora 1” which the musician Peter Gabriel created with some game developers.  Anyways check out the cover and figure out how they did it.  It has a texture on the face, but it looks like it was “3D wrapped” onto it.  Is there a way to do this in Photoshop that doesn’t require hand-painting?


  • miss post sorry.

    miss post sorry.