It’s good practice to take quite a few images, as some textures will work while other just won’t look good at all. Many times you’ll think something is going to fit perfectly, only to have it fall flat later in After Effects.
It’s also important to take images at the proper resolution. If I want versatile and customizable texture elements, then I need to capture high enough resolution images. This is especially true if I’m editing in 4k. That way I’ll be able to scale my images up and down, reposition them, and even animate them. You’ll also want to take the power of your editing system into consideration. High resolution images can be render intensive, so it’s really a matter of striking a balance.
Texture with Luma Mattes
Once I have all of my images captured, I’ll bring them into my After Effects project. To apply an image as a texture, I’ll first drag one above my stamp precomp in the timeline. Next, I’ll go to the Track Matte (TrkMat) column and change the precomp to Luma Matte “my image.” Now the visibility of my image layer is switched off, and I can begin to see some texture in my stamp graphic. But it still doesn’t look quite right.
To fine tune the look of my texture I’ll need to bump up the contrast of the image. For this, I’ll go to Window > Effect and Presets and search for the Levels effect. After I apply this to my image, I’ll bring the Input White and Gamma levels to zero. Now when I bring the Input White level back up the texture will begin to fade. I can hold Cmd/Ctrl as I drag the levels for more precise control.