textured background

Last updated: 2020-07-20

Up close, paper made by hand from corn husks. It is used to make paper lamp shades. Translucent and lovely texture to the touch, but not quite what I was looking for...


For my website I specify a background color and a text color for dark and for light theme, but when there is a background image I should really specify alternate image, or override the text color. For this page however you can see the effect by clicking the theme icon to to toggle between dark and light text, but without changing the background image.

Repeating Pattern

To make my "framed" theme, I was inspired by a website that was still using dated Frameset technology. One of that site's features was a tiled textured background image as was fashionable in the day. It's intention is to suggest one is reading from luxury textured paper, but without transferring huge background images to cover the whole page.

As an amateur photographer I had often wondered how they make the tiles blend together so well that you don't see seams or pattern repeat. For me the best way to explore is to dive in at the deep end and see how I would tackle issues thus to get an understanding of what is involved.

Superimposing flipped images to make the edges blend is going to produce the appearance of a repeating pattern. Patterns are fine if that's what you want, but it wasn't what I was trying to do. To demonstrate the effect of large structures in the image I've done it here anyway with the above corn paper photo.

One can argue over esthetics, but a busy background pattern makes text tiring to decipher. With that said, on this page I'm delibetrately inserting gaps so the text doesn't detract too much from the background that I'm talk about.

Back of an Evelope

I had a depressing experience trying to get some nice textured paper, and I will blog about that in my blog section rather than here. The result was that in a somber mood I set about photographing the back of an old envelope. Fairly uninspiring run-of-the-mill material to be sure, but it's not the quality of materials that define the quality of the art.

Adjacent you see my setup: LAOA 25mm macro lens on a Sony QX-1 camera with a flash-light as illumination: The macro lens lets me get right in close almost like a microscope and with the light just glancing the surface the tiniest relief casts more than enough shadow for whatever texture is there to really stand out. Note: It's the background image I'm using in this section. I can't stop it still looking like a lumpy pap ... because that's precisely what that type of paper is made of.

tiled images
tiled images

I plan on getting some more-interesting materials to work with. I have heard there are some that have fibres that light up in black light, and others incorporate materials that sparkle in the sun. Using time exposure with a moving light source I am planning to make some better samples than my first attempts you see here. I will be adding them to the download zip file in due course.

Gimp Tutorial

I made a little tutorial to show my technique using Gimp. It also highlights some limitaions that the photofrapher needs to consider as they will be hard to correct in processing.

Creating Background Image Tiles