I was asked how I created the speckled paper I included in my part of the “Sweet Things” collaboration earlier this month, so I am sharing my templates and a few tips on how you might make use of them.
I have included a grayscale JPG template that can easily be colored by adding a color overlay with the layer style effects palette in Photoshop. Experiment within the color overlay dialog with the different layer blend modes for various results. Also, if you want a nice intense color, you might try duplicating the template layer and trying different combinations of layer blending options. The sample paper I have included was done with this technique. The bottom layer was set to “normal” mode and the top layer was set to “multiply,” but there are lots of different combinations you can try. Experimentation is FUN! Set up the two layers and then cycle through the different layer blending options, until you hit a combination that you like. I also added a subtle texture overlay on the sample to finish it off, but that is totally optional.
Don’t forget that you can further tweak paper colors by adjusting the levels, color balance, selective color, brightness/contrast, saturation, etc. This is especially helpful if you are trying to match a color swatch for a blog train or collaboration. I usually make a layer containing all layers of the paper at the top of my stack by hitting Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E. That’s the shortcut for “stamp visible” and it is very handy when you aren’t quite ready to flatten your layers permanently, but want everything combined on one layer, like you have. I then open up a new layer above my newly combined paper layer, and make a splotch of the color I am trying to match on it. Then I can adjust the paper layer underneath until I see the color splotch blending or almost disappearing–if I am real lucky! When you get that perfect match, turn your color-splotch layer off, and save your newly created, awesome paper as a JPG.
I have also included a PNG of just the grayscale speckles for even more versatility. Now you can color the speckles layer independently and layer them over any paper or element you happen to have in your stash. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it might be fun to use a colorful gradient on the speckle overlay and then put it over a patterned paper, or even a photograph. There are lots of possibilities for using both of these templates and nothing would make me happier than seeing what YOU create with them.