Before and After: Creating Dreamy Light with Textures

I am fascinated with the way some people are so good at using textures to change their images.  I’m more of a ‘recreational user’ when it comes to textures, but I wanted to share this one I was playing around with because the textures really changed the feel of the image!  It’s fun to play!


Here is the Before:



And here is where we are going with it:



Let’s get started!  The first thing I did was to soften the undereye circles with the patch tool.  Here is the result:



Next, I ran my free Sparkling Eyes action and painted it onto the eyes with a 20% brush:



Then I warmed up the highlights with a color balance layer (to warm especially the skin):



Next, I did a small curves bump to brighten the midtones.



Now that I feel like my image is nice and ‘cleaned up’, I added my first texture.  This first texture was free from Shadowhouse Creations.  It is “Blur-11” from the free October 2012 Blurred Texture Set.



I placed the texture over my image, set it to the ‘Screen’ blending mode, and lowered the opacity to 44%.  Then I added a mask to the blur layer.



I removed some of the lightness/texture from her eyes and mouth so they weren’t so ‘washed out’.  I just painted on the mask with a soft black brush at about 20% opacity.  Here is what my mask looks like up close, you can see where I painted lightly over the eyes and mouth:


And here is the image with the first texture applied (again, on Screen mode at 44%, eyes and mouth lightly masked out):



Next I really wanted to infuse some warmth into the image, so I used a Gradient Map Adjustment layer (after my Happy Accident, I love using Gradient Map adjustment layers on different blending modes to really change the colors/tones in an image!).  I chose a bright pink and a bright orange for the colors.



I put the pink/orange Gradient Map layer on the Soft Light blending mode, and turned the opacity down just a bit to 93%.  Here is where we are now:



Finally, for some extra dreamy light, I added a bokeh texture.  This particular texture was, again, free from Shadowhouse Creations.  It is called “Bokeh-1” and is from the October 2012 Bokeh Texture Set.



I placed it on top of my image, set it to the ‘Hard Light’ blending mode, and reduced the opacity to 85%.  Then again I added a mask and painted over the subject with a soft black brush set at 90%.  The red shows where I removed the bokeh texture:



And that’s it!  Here is the After (If you’re on a computer, you can hover to see the Before/After comparison):



I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial!!  Do you play around with textures a lot?  Any good tips to share?

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16 Responses to Before and After: Creating Dreamy Light with Textures

  1. skye says:

    I love textures! I used to use them a lot but then got away from them… and now I want to get back to it – thanks for the tutorial and the links to the free downloads. I have gotten a ton of textures from Kim Klassen’s blog – If you sign up for her free textures, she sends a anew one weekly – they are magnificent too! :)
    I can’t wait to try the new blur & bokeh textures- seems really cool!!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Amazing tutorial; I really can’t wait to try this out!

  3. abril says:

    Thanks a lot for the tutorial. I love it.

  4. Ruby says:


    How do we apply your actions? I downloaded a few of yours, but I am not sure how to open them onto photoshop on my Mac.


  5. Michelle says:

    Thanks for your tutorials! I was wondering if your actions work in PS2?

    • Angie says:

      Hi Michelle! Unfortunately I’m not familiar with PS2, so you’ll just have to try and see! Thank you so much for visiting the site, I appreciate it. ;)

  6. Katie says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!! I’ve seen this look many times before, but never could figure out how to do it!

  7. Stacie says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am that I’ve found your site!!! I’m a newbie when it comes to editing using Photoshop. I’ve been using free editing sites (ipiccy & picmonkey)online for years until my husband surprised me this Christmas with Photoshop. I am a stay at home mom of 3 with a dream to one day start my own photography service. I can’t wait to try out your free actions & use your tutorials to help me edit. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!! God Bless :)

    • Angie says:

      You are so welcome, Stacie! How awesome your husband surprised you with Photoshop!! :) I started my photography business while I was a stay-at-home mommy too :) Thank you so much for visiting, I’m so glad you found something helpful here!

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