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Create a Denim Jean Texture in Photoshop

Denise has been mastering photography and Photoshop for many years and sells some of her work. She hires out her skills to help people.


Adobe Photoshop Tutorial

This is a super simple, easy to follow tutorial on creating a Denim Jean effect for headings and images in Adobe Photoshop. I have Adobe Photoshop CS6 but you can also use this technique with older versions. I’m using the Artistic Filters and the Dodge and Burn Tool to get the worn look and coloring of jeans. I also added shadows and stitches to add to the effect. Once you have created one of these effects, you can use the technique for a number of other projects in the future.

There are many avenues to the same function in Photoshop. I found after months of going the long direction (up to the tool bar, click an option, wait for the drop down menu, choose one, get another drop down menu, choose one, etc.) that there are shortcuts to almost all the functions. I will try to give some of these short cuts because the more you use them the easier they are to remember. However if you can’t remember a shortcut, you can always go the long direction to get to the same place. I like to call the short cut functions, the Backdoor. It gets you there faster.


Step 1. New Document

Create a new document, sized 6 x 10 inches in RBG mode at 150 DPI. Change the background color to #1E497E in the colors pallet (I ended up making a new layer, making a shape with that color and making that my background layer).

Step 2. 50% Gray Fill

Create a new layer, hit Shift + Backspace (Shift + Delete on a MAC), which opens the Fill dialogue box. Under the Use menu, select “50% gray” and hit OK. Hit the D key to reset the background/foreground colors.

Mezzotint Fine Dots


Step 3. Fine Dots

Next, go to Filter > Sketch > Halftone pattern and put in these values in the dialogue box: Size, 1; Contrast, 0; Pattern type, line. Click OK. Then go to Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint and select the fine dots option. Click OK.


Step 4. 45% Angle

Duplicate this layer and hit Control T to put the layer in free transformation mode. Type in 45 degrees in the angle box and hold down the shift key so the selection completely covers up the entire image.

Step 5. Blur

Hit control A, then go to Image > Crop and Control D (Command D on a Mac) to deselect the selection. Next, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur > and select 1.0 for the radius.

Step 6. Soft Light

Change the blend mode on “Layer 1” to Soft Light, and change the blend mode on “Layer 1 copy” to multiply. This will create the denim jean texture!

Now go on to do the side seam of the jeans and even the stitching for the seam to give it a more realistic appearance.

Step 7. New Layer 50% Gray

Create a new layer and use the Lasso tool to draw a selection so that the line looks natural. Hit Shift > Backspace (Shift > Delete) to bring up the Fill dialogue and select 50% gray. Select Hard Light as the layer blend mode.

Drop Shadow


Step 8. Layer Styles

Right click on the layer to open Layer Styles. Click on the Drop Shadow box and input these options: Blend mode: Multiply, Opacity: 100, angle: 180, Distance: 5, spread: 20, Size: 100, and Noise: 0. Next, click on the Bevel and Emboss box and select the following settings: Depth: 300%, size: 9 px, Soften: 4 px, Angle: -8 degrees, Altitude: 53 degrees, Highlight Mode: 47% (at the bottom of the dialogue box). Then hit Control/Command+T to increase the size of the selection a little.

Step 9. Dodge and Burn Tools

Select the Dodge tool and input these options: brush size: 50px, range: midtones, Exposure: 15%. “Dab” along the edge of the seam with the Dodge tool, which will lighten the area up a bit. Then select the Burn tool and use these options: brush size: 60 px, range: Shadow, and Exposure: 20%. Make broader strokes over the same area but just behind the light area so it creates the crease.

Create a Stitch Brush


Step 10. Stitching

To make the stitching: Make a new document, size 1 x 1 inch, 100 DPI. Make a new layer, select the rounded rectangle tool and create a slim, horizontal shape. Control + Click on the Layer thumbnail icon, which will load the selection and go to Edit > Define Brush Preset to name the brush and hit OK. Close this document without saving.


Step 11. Paint Stitching

On the denim texture, select the brush tool and open the brush pallet option and select the new brush from the previous step. Open Brush tip shape and input 63px for the tip diameter, and increase the spacing so that there are actual spaces between the shapes. Under “Shape Dynamics” in the brush dialogue box, chose these options: Size Jitter: 10% and Control: off, Angle Jitter 1% and control: Direction. Make a new layer and make two columns of yellow lines along the seam f7efad. Next, go to Blending Options and hit the Bevel and Emboss and hit OK without any further adjustments.

Paint The Stitching On



This technique can be used to create not just denim, but other fabrics and textures. The various techniques used in making the denim can be applied to other effects too, such as the Dodge and Burn tools. They are used to lighten (dodge) or darken (burn) parts of an image in Photoshop to only particular parts of the image as opposed to the whole thing. These tools create subtle changes in values throughout an image and can redirect viewer’s eyes to a particular part of an image if done correctly.

A denim effect like this would be an interesting background to use for a book cover design, a fashion article, stationary (if used as a watermark by turning down the opacity levels), or in text to create a different look for a particular fashion design piece. I could use it as a backdrop on a website or even on a personal art project. If I wanted to create different effects, I could use most of these same steps and make other kinds of textures, such as a burlap sack or something coarse, like wool by playing around with the different filters, layer styles, and blending modes. Changing the color of the image would also give it a different appearance, as well as playing with the color adjustment levels.

Another way to get the denim look (or any other texture for that matter) would be to go to the Edit menu options, click on Fill and under the Use option, scroll down to Pattern in the drop down box, and from there, choose from several different textures that are already preloaded into Photoshop. Add different effects through filters and changing the Layer Style options. Add a pocket or zipper. The possibilities are endless.


Step 1. Jeans Lettering

You can also use this as a photo cut out. To do this I grouped the layers together and renamed the group Jeans. You have to unlock the background layer or it won’t allow you to group them. Just click on the little lock and it will disappear. Make a duplicate of this group by pressing Command/Control+J. This group should be merged by pressing Command/Control+E.

Add Text


Step 2. New Background

Next I made a new layer and dumped black into it so I could use it as the new background layer. Drag it under the Jeans group.

Step 3. Type Tool

Make a new layer above the Jeans layers. With any color you prefer, click on the Type Tool and choose a font with large chunky letters. I used ChunkFive Ex Regular. Type anything you like. Size the text and move it over the jeans any way you like.

Marching Ants Selection


Step 4. Create Text Selection

With the text layer highlighted, press Command/Control and click onto the text icon in the layers panel. This creates a selection around the text. You can now eliminate the text layer by dragging the layer to the trashcan. There should still be a selection showing up on your image.

Cut Out The Letters


Step 5. Cut Text

To make it easier to see what you are doing, click on the eyeball of the bottom Jeans group. With the top merged jeans highlighted, go to Select>Inverse. This puts the marching ant selections on the outside of the lettering instead of the inside. Then go to Edit>Cut. This cuts out the outside of the lettering and leaves the jean pattern inside.

Bevel and Emboss


Step 5. Bevel and Emboss

To make the lettering stand out more I like to give it a Bevel and Emboss. Double click onto the layer to bring up the Layer Styles box and choose Bevel and Emboss. Change the Style to Outer Bevel and the Technique to Chisel Hard. The Angle is 153 degrees and Altitude is 42 degrees. The Gloss contour I set at Cove Deep. I left the rest of the settings the default setting. From here you can add an Outer Glow if you like and a Drop Shadow.

Outer Glow and Drop Shadow


Jeans on Jeans

Turn the eyeball back on and you will have jean letters on top of your jean pattern. This is very cool looking so I kept it. Or you could delete your jeans group and put any photo you like in its place. Save this for all sorts of uses.


Jean Textured Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 16, 2021:


I do love to do these digital artistic creations. They make me grow as an artist when I use all the tools available to me, including Photoshop and the computer. Thanks for commenting.



Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 25, 2021:

Denise you shared an interesting and creative experience. Well done on you.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 24, 2021:


I would be very interested in seeing your project when you finish. I'm glad you found this helpful. Thanks for commenting.



Peter from Australia on June 02, 2019:

Thank you Denise and you are quite accurate in you assessment of PSe ! I am a serious amateur photography and use the program just about solely for editing my images.

However I will have a go at your project in a little while and let you know how i get on.



Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 01, 2019:

By the way, I believe Photoshop Elements is a stripped down Photoshop program made specifically for editing photos and very little else. Some creativity can be done but not a lot. You are extremely limited to the scope of creativity because they wanted to make it more affordable.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 01, 2019:

Hi Peter, I'm not absolutely sure about Photoshop Elements since I don't have it, but I don't think it has the same extras that the full program of Photoshop has. For instance, it may not carry the Half Tone Pattern needed for the denim texture or even the Bevel and Emboss for the lettering. You would have to check for yourself. Also, these particulars would not be in the same place as the ones I've photographed and shown here. You can look for each by typing into the help area to see where it may be nested if it is available in Elements. Thanks for asking. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.



Peter from Australia on May 31, 2019:

HI Denise I love working in Photoshop and find this project very interesting. Can you tell me if the steps would be the same using Photoshop Elements?

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 31, 2019:

This was fun and I should do more of these kinds of things.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 08, 2015:


Well, thank you. I'm so glad you like it and I hope you can use it for something soon. Thanks for visiting and commenting.



poetryman6969 on August 08, 2015:

I actually like the denim on denim style. I think it looks cool.

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