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TRA’s Dirty Pictures: A Review

March 31st, 2010  |  Published in Featured, Shoot


One of my favorite Photoshop add-ons is Dirty Pictures from Totally Rad Actions.   I am a big fan of adding textures and overlays to my images- some are obvious, others are subtle (the average viewer would not know that there was a texture/overlay involved) and add a three dimensional feeling to a pop of color to the images.  Dirty Pictures comes with 21 custom textures, but it isn’t the textures themselves that make this one of my favorite Photoshop filters.  Frankly, it is the interface which is brilliant (and you can add your own textures to the interface, so if you are like me and you already have favorite textures that you have shot or purchased, no worries- you can add them in).

In the past, if in the course of editing you decided that your image might benefit from a texture, then you used to have to open the texture, copy it to the image, reposition it, select the layer blending mode and opacity, create a layer mask and then edit the texture to taste.  Really, the only bit that I found tedious was actually CHOOSING the texture.  I have shot a lot of textures, and I usually know which textures I will want on which images.  However, there was no easy interface to test different textures out on the image before committing to the best texture.  If you did it wrong, you would have to delete the layer and go find another texture in your personal library, repeating the above process.
Enter Dirty Pictures.  Now, if you want to add a texture to an image the interface is much easier.  Simply open Dirty Pictures (Filter>Totally Rad- Dirty Pictures).  A screen will pop up asking you to choose your texture.  This is nothing new, although you can now scroll through your photographs visually right in Photoshop through Dirty Pictures.  Where Dirty Pictures really shines, though, is in the texture selection.  Dirty Pictures will take your image (the one you have open in Photoshop), create a thumbnail of that image, and add EACH TEXTURE in your Dirty Pictures library to that thumbnail in order to give you a basic preview of what your image might look like with the texture applied.  Then, once you have selected the texture that you want, it automatically applies the texture according to the presets that you have for that particular texture.  For example, there are some textures that work best when blended in multiply mode.  Dirty Pictures saves your preferences for each texture and will automatically apply the blending mode and opacity that you like best for that texture.

Here is a screen shot of the slick interface:



And here are a few images with those textures applied:



Post by Maine Wedding Photographer Michelle Turner.

About Michelle Turner

Michelle Turner has written 19 post in this blog.

Michelle is a professional wedding photographer who splits time between Maine and Puerto Vallarta.


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