Add Texture and Depth of Field to Illustrations | Joshua Butts | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Add Texture and Depth of Field to Illustrations

teacher avatar Joshua Butts, Graphic Designer and Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to Texture and Depth of Field


    • 2.

      Preparing Illustrator File


    • 3.

      Adding the Texture and Depth of Field


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this course, I will be teaching you one of my favorite workflows for adding custom textures and depth of field to your flat illustrations. I will teach you how to start in adobe illustrator with your vector illustration, separate your layers so they will be easy to work with when texturing, and save a compatible file from Adobe illustrator to photoshop.

Using texture and depth of field has done wonders for my illustration. It really can make the difference between bored and excited reactions to any illustration, no matter how detailed. I love this process that I will be teaching you and it is one of the easiest and most customizable workflows I have ever used.


Course Materials:

Texture Resources:


Photoshop Brush Resources:


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joshua Butts

Graphic Designer and Photographer


Josh Butts is a Graphic Designer and Photographer. He currently works for a creative agency in Provo, Utah. He's worked with many people doing creative work usually involving illustration, logo, and web design. The classes on this channel cover mostly vector illustration but there are also many other valuable skills that can be learned from the other classes on the channel. Join some of his classes to gain from valuable experience and get better at design and photography yourself!

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction to Texture and Depth of Field: I love vector illustrations, and one of the ways to really get them to stand out and come to life is with textures and adding depth of field. It is easy to separate illustrations on different layers and add texture to them. When doing this, it can sometimes feel like you're actually there in the illustration. Adding Sembler to different layers is also a great way to finalize the design. I have a few different work flows that I will be teaching you in this course, and I'm excited to share them with you. I will also be showing you a few different resource is that I use to find high quality textures that I use for Photoshopped brushes or adding as complete textures to the illustrations that I create. I hope you'll join me in this course and hope that you like the skills that you will gain during the course. And if you like the course, please give it a review so others can enjoy it, too. 2. Preparing Illustrator File: Hello. So to start out prepping your file to add texture and some depth to it, you're gonna want to make sure that you're separating all your different objects in your illustration from layers from the background to the foreground. And so, as you can see, all these layers there have a tree separated onto a layer. But if I want these trees for their back to be a little bit more blurry toe look like they're further back, then I'm gonna want those on separate layers also. And so the easiest way to do this is to just have all your objects and groups. So, as you can see, have grouped each one of my trees individually. I've group to this building. I've groups the entire ground layer. I've grouped the minds, the clouds and the sky in the background. And so these are all the separate layers from back all the way to forward that I wanna have textured individually in my final illustration. So I'll just hit control or command X to cut that, create a new layer, call that layer sky and make sure that is on the very bottom, and then I will just go at it and paste in place, or Aiken use the keyboard shortcut, shift, command or control of the and then I'll just go through each layer and do that same thing right here. Created new layer clouds paste that in my next layer up would be these mountains. I'll cut those out, create a new layer, call it mountains, paste that in, and the building is next. Make sure I have that layer above mountains building paste that in. Now, if these trees I'm not gonna worry too much about having each tree individually on a separate later. I'm just gonna make sure these trees are about the same area. And so I'm gonna cut those out and name it. Trees that and paste those in and then same thing with these ones. Cut those out and then create this. Call it. Trees can then paste that in. But now you can see that this floor ground layer is on top of those trees. Well, I need to cut that out and make sure that is underneath the building because the ground should be under the building. And so I will, at that end, ground glare and then pay seven and now it's exactly where it belongs, although these trees should be in front of that. And that's because I have this great bar right here that I forgot to cut out. And so I will control Xer Command X to cut it again, click on the ground layer and shift commander control via to pace that beckon. Now everything should be all on its correct layer. Now I have these two layers that I started with the beginning, and I'm just going to delete those so that I don't have to worry about that later. Now, once you're to this point with all the different objects on their own individual layers, you can get this ready to send in a photo shop. Now there's two ways that you can send this to photo shop. One is to send it in vectors, which will make it scalable as much as you want. And that's a little bit more tricky because you'd have to actually copy each individual object or each layer and then paste it individually into photo shop. And the nice thing about that is, you can texture it in this workflow. I'm going to show you or you can do it this other way that I'm going to show you first, which is go to export. And then I'm going to go to say desktop call it my illustration seen, and I'm gonna set it as a Photoshopped file. How I'm going to export the file and I'll hit use art boards so that it cuts off all these other areas that don't export. And I want to set this toe rgb because I'm planning on using it on the web. Although you can you seem like a if you're planning on using imprint, I'm gonna set my resolution to I'm gonna go 500 just to make sure I have a lot of working area. One of the things that this does is this is going to flatten your image. And so, as I mentioned, if you copy all these and then pace him in a photo shop, then that's going to give you an unlimited size. But if I export it this way, it's going to flatten all these different layers. Although I'll show you once we get in a photo shop, how it flattens them. And so I'm gonna hit right layers and do maximum edit ability and one thing just to make sure of this color model right here RGB to see him like a you have to make sure if you want to export this correctly, that this right here is the same as your file. So my file is RGB So I need to export this toe rgb and then I can hit right layers and make it maximum edit ability. If I have this set to seem like, Hey, you can see these are great. It won't let me have this different than my file type. So I'm gonna make sure these air consistent Then I had okay, and it shows this little notification that says some of the containers or the objects are going to be flattened, and I already know that. So I'm just gonna hit ok, and now it's going to save this as a Photoshopped file. And now, in the next video, I'll show you how you can texture all these different objects and add depth to it. 3. Adding the Texture and Depth of Field: Alright, guys. So once you've opened a photo shop, now you can open up your file and get started, so I'm gonna go to file open. And here's the illustration that I exported. And since I clicked on export art boards, I checked the art boards in the export tab. An illustrator. This is all Croft, right to the edge of that. Our board that I had an illustrator. Now obviously one of the most important things that this is having textures toe add to this . And so I'm going to go to the Internet and these air few websites that I've used Teoh find textures that I really like and I use a lot in photo shop. This one if you goto design cuts dot com and follow the or L. And these also are in the description for the course, so you can just find the links and go to these websites. The this one has some nice paper textures. You can buy it, or it also has a free sample pack, including some free textures. And those are the ones that I'm going to use for this project. You can also go to texture, mate. There's some really nice textures here, and you can sort them through all kinds of different categories, like grunge. And there's some really nice grunge textures. And if you skip through some of them all, I'll goto Page six and you can find some really nice grunge textures. In fact, I think I'll actually use a texture from this website. And so this one looks really good and saw just hit right click and copy image to make sure you have that. And just to go back to this and this is textures dot com. If you create an account, you get a free account and you can download a few different images every week and you get extra credits each week. And so this is textures dot com is really nice website that I like Teoh and you can also soar through all their different categories and have a lot of really high quality textures there. So I'll just go back in the photo shop and now, with that text read copied, I'll make sure I'm on the top of all these layers and then I'll just paste it on the top right here and so you can see that doesn't look great right now, but all size that out. Make sure it covers everything. And the first thing I like to do is make sure it's de saturated. So go to image adjustments and de saturate, and that's gonna keep the color consistent through the blend mode that I said it, Teoh. And in fact, that's what I'm going to do right now is go up to the blend mode right here. And you could just, like, scroll through these Fuze Ah, command shift, plus or shift mine us. Then you can actually sort through these pretty fast and look at the different effects. The ones that I use the most are overlay or soft light because they give me the closest to the original color. And so this is looking pretty cool right now. I'm not really liking this texture, so I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna find a different one. Let that doesn't have this ugly pattern on it. I'm gonna look at this one, and this looks a little bit nicer, so I'll click on that one, and I'll just copy that and do it this later. Okay, Said on the front and then I'll go to image adjustments and de saturate that. And then I'll go through some different blend militating shift plus or shift mine. Us and overlay is looking really good on this soft light so I can put this on on softly right here. And if you just do that, this is one method that I use to texture. If I have to get the whole image textured really fast, then that's just really fast way of doing it. But I often like to go on texture things individually, and so I'm just gonna turn that off for a second and go to each one of these layers. Now you can see I still have my layer separated and they're all on their different areas. And so I'm going to turn this back on, and I'm gonna drag it down here. And if I hold down Ault on the windows or option than I can clip that right here and that's gonna clip that to the cloud layer, and now I can add a different blend mode for each one of these. And then I'm again scrolling through the blend mode by hitting shift plus or shift minus. And so let's say I like that texture. And not if I hold down off her option and then dragged this layer up. I can add a copy of that Teoh, each one of these right here. And then I'll just hold all their option again and then clip each one of these and drag one on top. And now I have an individual texture for each area so I can manually decide which blend mode and which texture is on each one of these. So I'm gonna set them all too soft light on that one. Overlay stuff like so some of these like the background. May I add another one to the background that sky. Let's say I want that sky to be a little bit more texture than the rest of us, but the building. I want you to be able to see a little better, so I'll click on this layer above the building and then all change the opacity. I'll drop that down quite a lot, and so that's a really quick way that you can also go in and really customize where you have textures on different objects. Now to get go even further. Sometimes what I I Dio is I will go in and I'll paint my own texture onto each individual object so I can get my own really custom feel. So I'm going to go in and delete the contents on every layer and add my own layer and clip it a blank layer to each one of these layers by hitting new option around click to clip that teach layer. And this is where you can really start adding some fun and expressive textures to bees. What I'm gonna do is use the brush tool, so I'm gonna go down to the sky first, and then I'm gonna go to brush presets and I have went and got some dirt brushes. And you can go here too, to brush easy dot com. And this has free photo shop brushes that I use a lot. They've got all kinds of different ones. I just go and find, like a street or grunge or some sort of textured brush. I actually like water color textures a lot to that looks really nice, and so find some sort of ah, brush, and once you download it from here, if you go back into photo show, you can go to window and go to your brush presets. And then so you write brush presets and then you can hit in this menu button, you can goto load brushes, and the file you'll download from that website is an A B R file, and so you can find any brushes that you've downloaded. So here's some dirt brushes. I'm just gonna love that. And then if I use my breast tool right here, I can start painting in some texture. But by default, if I go to brush settings, appear to brush right there. And I've got my breast panel here. I'm going to add some shape dynamics. And so this is gonna change the size a little bit, have it randomized and randomize a scattering, maybe just a little bit and then increases spacing. And this is going to make it look a little bit more natural. So you don't have a NUG Lee repeating pattern, so it's a little bit more random then, once I have that, I can go in and start brushing in on each one of these layers. So this is on my my sky layer. And since I know it's gonna be a texture. I'm gonna already set the blend mode too soft light, and then I can just start brushing in some this texture and it looks really nice. It's almost water calorie on the background, but I'm thinking that this is going too much year, Ari losing some of texture up there. And so one thing that I like to dio, although that real quick and I like to sample colors. I'll go back up to this and then I'll go color dynamics and I'll have the foreground and background jittery a little bit, and then I'm gonna select a color for the foreground. So I'm gonna use the pain, select a color up there and then I'll make it a little bit darker and then all sample of color from the lighter area on this, and I'll make that a little bit lighter, too. And now, when I go in and paint color on this, then it's gonna add even more color on there, and I'm gonna set this blood moon back to normal because I'm not blending in a more. I'm actually using those colors, and so now you can really see that it adds some really nice texture on that and then for each layer. So, for example, this is a cloud layer that's that light blue. In fact, what you can do to quickly do this is hold down all their option and use the eyedropper, and then you can quickly change the color from there. So I'm gonna do that all the option switch that look right here and at a darker blue. And now I'll add Cem paint into these clouds to make sure I said that to normal. And I'm gonna paint with that lighter color and you can resize this brush. We're gonna go right here, brush to shape, size, size that down a little bit. And then you can add a little bit more texture in there like that. And so I'm going to go through and add some of these colors right here. It was a darker one for this and go darker for that and then add some color into these mountains texture. Now say, I only want to this for a few these layers maybe, maybe just the trees now have the green and then get a darker green. Let's say I wanna pay start out with a darker green. Maybe we'll even go darker than and I mean, is this and hit multiply so that I am keeping the the lines in my trees. And then you've got some really fun, nice texture in these trees. I'm gonna do the same thing on this other layer and make that sure that's multiply. And that's very quickly going to give me some really fun, nice texture when these trees really quickly. And now let's say that's good enough for now, but I want to just add an overall texture for everything else. I have that same texture I had before copied and soldiers hit control V to paste that and all size it up again. I'm extra a remove the saturation, all right, that overlay yourself like. But now I just want this on the there is that didn't already have a texture. So I believe that layer here. You know that that and now very quickly, I've added a lot of different textures on this illustration. And now if the next step I'm looking for is to add some depth of field, I can start going into these different layers. For example, of these clouds. Let's say I'm on those two Pieri a little further away, and so I'll just click on that cloud layer and then I'll just right click it and hit Convert to Smart Object. And now I can go in to filter and add a blur to it all, hit a ga Schindler and let's make these look pretty far back. And then we'll do the same thing to the mountains. Convert that to a smart object and filter blur got similar, but not quite as far. And then we on these trees. We want to make sure that this building is what's mostly and focus. And so we're gonna leave the building alone and we're just gonna start messing with the trees, Convert those so smart, object and filter blur, and then I'll do the same thing to the front trees. Convert to smart object filter, blur. And now the last area to do is the ground. And so I'm gonna go to my ground layer. I mean, click on both of these, and so I've got these both converted to a smart object. And then if I if I had a blur to that, I can actually adjust what areas air blurred with a mask on it. So I have my a smart filter mask. And if I had my great aunt Tool right here, G, then I can click on the mask and drag that and make sure that Onley the areas that I want blurred or give me blurry. And so there we have it. These are a few different ways that I add depth of field and blur to my illustrations to really bring them to life and add a lot of color to them. Well, I hope you've enjoyed this course, and the these techniques are useful to you. I really love them. They really help me bring a lot of life and depth into my own work. And I'm sure that they will for you too. And if you did like the course and please give it a review so the other people confined it and enjoy these skills to