Textured HDR

Textures & Rust

I spotted this old truck in Smithville, TX last year. It's kind of sad that it now sits as a rusting lawn ornament! At least it does have a fairly prominent place by an old Mobil station near the center of town. I am glad that it is out there on display rather than condemned to a junk yard. It seemed a fitting subject for an HDR image, so I decided to grab some bracketed exposures of this old relic.

When I checked out my images later, I just didn't like the sky. There were some really bright clouds and I didn't get enough exposures to preserve enough highlight detail. There were also a couple of trees poking up in weird places from my angle and there were a number of power lines overhead. I decided to scrap the sky and pop in a replacement from another shot I took. The problem was that the image just looked too plain. I didn't have an appropriate sky to create the mood I was after.

Textures proved to be the answer. I was inspired to try this technique by my buddy Theaterwiz, a very talented photog with some amazing HDR skills. I really liked his textured treatment of some rusty old heaps that he came across. So, I searched around online and found some quick tutorials. The technique is easy enough. Basically, you just copy the texture image in as a new layer and change the layer mode and opacity to your liking. There are, of course, more advanced techniques you can utilize. For this image, I only needed the basics.

The textures I used were created byJerry Jones (aka skeletalmess). He does some amazing work and he generously shares his great texture images on his site. He has nice tutorials out there as well, so be sure and check out his stuff. I was going for a sort of vignetted look with more pronounced dark texture in the empty sky and grass areas. I found just what I needed in Jerry's collection.

I processed my bracketed shots with my normal HDR workflow. More detail on that can be found in the post for this shot in my Flickr photostream. Two different textures were layered over this image. One was blended in as an overlay layer and the other was blended in with a multiply layer. It took just a little experimentation to get the look I was after. I processed the truck in a surreal style that accentuated its color and texture. The textures add an additional visual element that seems to reinforce the artistic portrayal of the subject. I'm happy with my first experiment with textures!