Tutorial: Create a Gold or Silver Foil Texture in Photoshop

Tutorial: Create a Gold or Silver Foil Texture in Photoshop

How do you make a texture appear reflective using Photoshop?

Gold textures can be very tricky to create. Unlike most materials, foils aren't easily photographed because of unwanted reflections, and worse still they don't create any reflections at all when scanned with a flatbed scanner. So it would seem that the best option is to artificially create them from scratch with image manipulation, but then how do you make a texture appear reflective in Photoshop?

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If you'd rather skip the tutorial and download 30 high quality pre-made gold foil textures you can download our premium pack here.

Step 1

Launch Photoshop and create a new document. Make the dimensions square and quite large, I suggest 3000 x 3000 pixels.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 2

The first step is to place our base texture for the foil effect. This can be any type of prexisting texture, such as paper, card or generic grunge. I found that the Grunge Paper Textures on Medialoot work very well. You can download the texture used in this tutorial for free here.

When you have your texture place it into your document as a Smart Object, and resize to fill the entire canvas (don't worry about quality loss).
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 3

Apply a small 5 Pixel Gaussian Blur effect to smooth out the details of the texture.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 4

Select Filter Gallery from the Filter menu and find apply an Ocean Ripple effect (under Distort). If you are using the grunge texture supplied then a Ripple Size of 6 and Magnitude of 20 should create the desired effect. If not, you may need to experiment with the settings.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
The Filter Gallery effect should be above the Gaussian Blur in the Layers Panel:
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 5

Create a new Gradient Fill layer via the Layer > New Fill Layer menu.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 6

Select the default Black to White gradient and set the Angle to -105°. This is to even out the lighting and bring out the shadows in the lower left corner of the texture.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 7

Set the Blending Mode of the gradient layer to Soft Light and the Opacity to 70%.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 8

Create another new Gradient Fill layer via the Layer > New Fill Layer menu.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 9

Create a subtle gold gradient from #DBA76C to #EDCBA1 as shown below and set the Style to Reflected, then the Angle to 120° and tick the Reverse checkbox.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 10

Set the Blending Mode of the gradient layer to Color and the Opacity to 75%. This will change the color of the texture to gold.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 11

Create a new Curves Adjustment Layer and tweak the curve slightly at the top and bottom.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 12

Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer and enter 80 for the Shadows Level and 230 for the Highlights Level.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 13

Then create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and reduce the Opacity by -20.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
The Layers panel so far should look like this:
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 14

You should now have a very nice reflective gold foil texture.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 15

To make a silver foil texture, we can simply modify the gold texture. First create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and enter +153 for Hue, -94 for Saturation and +24 for Lightness. We don't want the silver texture to be completely greyscale, it should have a slight blue-ish tint.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 16

To give the silver foil a more reflective effect, create a new Layers Adjustment Panel and set the Shadows Level to 37 and Highlights Level to 225.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
You can group these adjustments together in order to easily toggle between gold and silver by hiding and showing the 'Silver' group.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 17

In real life, silver foil has a higher tendency to catch reflections than gold. In order to make the silver foil effect more realistic we can emulate some reflections. Start by grabbing a random image from a free photo source such as Unsplash. I chose to use this photo of a bear.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 18

Convert the photo to a Smart Object and apply a Gaussian Blur with 150 Pixel Radius.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Step 19

Set the Blending Mode of the photo layer to Color and adjust the Opacity until the reflections are barely visible.
how to create a foil texture in photoshop
how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Result & Conclusion

Gold

how to create a foil texture in photoshop

Silver

how to create a foil texture in photoshop
As you can see, this technique creates a rather convincing reflective gold metallic foil effect by only using one base texture, gradients and adjustment layers. This effect can be recreated with almost any base texture for different results, however you may want to stick with subtle grunge and paper or card textures for the best results.


Metal textures can seem difficult when you're first designing them but they end up being such a nice abstract background that they are definitely worth the effort.

Skip the line: Download Gold & Silver Foil Textures


Don't want to bother with the tutorial? This pack features 30 gold and silver foil textures with a glossy, reflective finish. They make beautiful backgrounds and can also be used to mockup hot foil stamping (tip: apply them to text with a clipping mask). The pack includes 15 gold and 15 silver high resolution images.

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