Thursday, October 25, 2012

Eastbourne Pier at Night

Photoshop is not something I consider a strong skill of mine in my photographic toolbox. I work mainly in Lightroom, but I normally use Photoshop for basic editing that it handles better such as sharpening, noise reduction (via plugins), spot-healing, clone-stamping etc. Of course I also use it a fair bit for layer masking with HDR and the RAW files, but I really don't consider myself knowledgeable on any unique skills within Photoshop. One thing I do like to work with now and then though is textures. In the same way I like HDR for it's ability to give a photo an artistic or painterly feel, the use of blending in a texture can have the same effect.

Today's picture was taken a couple of weeks ago at Eastbourene pier. It was a long exposure (30 seconds) that I originally wanted to keep just as that. However, despite the sea looking nice and smooth, and the lights from the pier having a nice glow to them, I still felt that the picture was a bit empty (especially the blank sky) and needed more to make it interesting. So I started to see how it would look with a texture blended in and I began trying a few out. In the end I have used 2 here. First of all, I have used a sea texture (from a photo I took at Durdle Door last year) for the sea itself. Mixing the smooth sea with the sea texture gave it this impressionist kind of look that I really like. I was going to use the sea texture for the whole picture but I felt it didn't work so well with the sky, so I used a second texture, a rock from the czech republic (I also used it in my Torcello picture), that made it look a bit more appropriate for the night sky.

It really isn't that difficult to blend textures in, you simply have your main picture as 1 layer and the texture as another and then reduce the opacity to about 50% (or however much you like) and then change the blend mode to Overlay, which I feel works the best for textures. You can then use the Eraser tool, again at whatever opacity you feel works best, to eliminate parts of the texture where you do not feel it is necessary (for instance in this picture I kept the sand in the lit foreground largely texture-free). I don't do many tutorials, but I hope that small one helps!


  1. Cool image and very nice work, Pete.I like what you have done with this. Good stuff!

  2. I think this texture blend treatment works really well on this image, Pete, especially the sea.

  3. Thanks Jimi and Mark for the comments, I really appreciate them!