How To Choose Textures For Your Digital Art

In the digital arts, textures are used to simulate a surface that is more realistic than just plain colors. In traditional art mediums such as painting and drawing, texture happens by default. For instance, paint randomly applied on a canvas gives a textured appearance even though it does not have any effect on the nature of the paint’s other characteristics like opacity, color, and sheen.

Base On Reality

Doing Digital Arts is tricky enough as it is without worrying about how to make your Photoshop textures look more realistic. Textures are used to give digital artworks that added dimension which allows them to “relate” better with the human eye. To do this, artists must first learn what makes up a realistic texture and then use it to their advantage. Always remember that before painting any texture onto your digital arts, create a sketch of it first in its 2D form to see if it will work.

Textures can be used for any type of artwork as long as they suit the subject. However, if you plan on using texture in your digital art paintings, it may be a good idea to use textures based on real-world media first before graduating to non-realistic ones. If you are a beginner at digital arts, start out with one flat shape and build up layers upon layers to make an object look 3D.

Get Familiarized With How Textures Work

Texture is described as the tactile feel of any given surface. This means that there are two types of textures: actual and implied. Actual texture is when an artist changes a flat shape into something with dimension, such as painting fur on a 3D object to appear furry or using vertical lines instead of horizontal ones to make it look like there are grooves in a surface. Implied texture is when an artist uses one shape to create the illusion that there are two shapes. For example, shading around an object can imply another object behind it, or holding up a rectangular piece of paper for someone can seem like it has thickness.

Texture implies space and depth, which is what other media cannot provide. Texture also provides clues as to how an object would feel if it were touched or can suggest certain feelings or moods depending on its design. If you want the viewer of your artwork to relate to it, using textures makes it easier for them to do that because they will see objects that are familiar to them. When they see the object, their brains will automatically try to find it in real life, which can make your artwork more engaging.

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Ask A Few Questions

When choosing textures, ask yourself these questions:

What is the subject of your artwork? What is the feel you want to give it? If you want it to seem realistic, use actual texture because it attaches a surface characteristic to an object which cannot be portrayed by colors alone. To create the illusion of depth, use implied texture.

What is your primary goal in creating this artwork? If you want an object to look like it’s far away when viewed by the viewer, use a texture that looks like it has depth (implied texture).

How much time are you willing to spend on your piece? If you want to make a quick digital painting, use free textures because commercial ones might require you to pay for them.

What kind of texture do I need? Do you need rough or smooth texture? Do you want it to be soft and fluffy like cotton candy (the usual choice for cute and cuddly characters) or do you want it to be rough and coarse like wall textures (the usual choice for masculine characters)?

What does the texture suggest? If you want your artworks to convey certain feelings or moods, search for textures that can create that effect. For example, if you want to portray a feeling of elation, use soft and light textures. On the other hand, if you want to convey a feeling of sadness or melancholy, use rough and coarse textures and tones.

Source: Willgard/Pixabay

Use Other Works As Reference

If you are still unsure about which textures to use, take a look at other digital arts. If there is one technique that stands out in their artworks, study it and try to imitate the idea behind it. For example, if an artist uses texture to make their paintings appear like they are printed on real paper or worn down by time, try doing the same thing. There are also artists whose artworks rely heavily on textures, such as Charley Harper’s animal illustrations, where texture is used to make the animals look furry or furry-like.

In Summary

Even if you are a beginner, choosing the right textures for your digital art can be difficult. In order to make it easier on yourself there are certain things you should keep in mind when selecting a texture. If you follow these easy steps, picking the perfect texture will be quick and painless!

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