Although I have used Lightroom for some years I am not an experienced Photoshop user by any means having only moved 18 months ago from Elements to CS5 and as such am not that confident in my manipulation skills . However working through the exercises in section 4 has been enjoyable and I am slowly building up the confidence to do more post processing than I normally undertake.
I have started to build up my own collection of Textures and have been photographing things that I find visually appealing that might make useful alternative backgrounds. Its amazing when you take the time to stop and look how much colour and texture can be found in the most mundane object. The inside of a wooden blue and yellow boat, peeling paint on a front door , mossy rocks etc. I shoot my chosen texture subject in Raw and process it ready for me to use.
The textures can be used to make understated or quite significant changes to an image and I have been using layer masks and experimenting with the different blend modes available .
The image below has been touched up to smooth the skin and brighten the eyes using the tools available in LR and then processed further in PS using a blue and yellow texture as the new background. I made a layer mask , inverted the texture , and adjusted the hue and saturation until I was happy with the result. I also used the dodge and burn tool on the eyes.
Texture + image
For the next image I used a close up of old white peeling paint on a wooden front door as my texture and used the Divide blending mode which has created the deep crackled effect. I have left some of the texture visible in the hair but painted it out from the face. I also used the dodge tool to brighten the eyes.
Texture + image