Create a Seamless Marble Texture in Affinity Photo

Why do I love making my own textures? Let me count the ways…

While there are tons of sources out there for all sorts of textures, knowing how to make your own means your work will always be unique. 

With a few filters, and a pinch of adjustments, you can create your own marble texture, and make it seamless, in Affinity Photo. While I’ll be using the iPad version of the app in this tutorial, the desktop version works exactly the same. So, without further adieu, let’s create some seamless marble texture.

Creating the Marble Texture

In the first part of this tutorial, we’re going to create the marble texture. Once you’re done, you can use it as is, or read on, and learn how to create a seamless texture from it. 

Setting up Your Canvas

This will be a raster texture, so, if you plan on using your texture in something that might be printed, you’ll need to set your canvas up accordingly.

To avoid issues, make sure your dpi is at least 300, and set the size of the document to the largest size you might print. I’ve set mine to 3000 pixels square, but set yours to whatever size works best for your needs. I’m leaving my transparent background off because it doesn’t really matter in this instance.

Using Perlin Noise

Before we can begin, we need an empty pixel layer to work with. In your Layers Studio, tap the plus sign and choose “Pixel Layer.”

This process begins with creating clouds, or as they’re known in Affinity Photo, Perlin Noise. If you’re coming from Photoshop, this is Affinity’s equivalent of the filters Clouds and Difference Clouds.

In the Filters Studio (see magnified icon above) go to the heading, “Noise,” and choose Perlin Noise.

Using the contextual sliders on the side, play with settings until you have something that has larger, billowy “clouds,” and is a bit softer. At the top of the screen, change the blend mode to, “Difference.”

Finally, use the checkmark at the top to accept the filter. We’re going to be adding it a second time so it’s important that you accept the first one before moving on.

Once you’ve accepted the first filter, go ahead and add another Perlin Noise filter. Because of the Difference blend mode, it’s going to turn black. Use the contextual sliders to bring back the highlights, and pull in some string like texture. This, along with some adjustments, is what’s going to ultimately give us the marble feel.

Adding Layer Adjustments

Now that we have our base noise in place, let’s use some adjustments to get that marble feel. We’ll start with a Levels adjustment.

Keeping the Black at 0%, adjust the White setting down until you begin to really see the “strings” from the cloud filter. 

Next use the gamma slider to adjust the “strings,” until you see some of the lines break up a little and bring the Output Black setting up to soften it a bit. I’ve shared my settings below. Yours may be a bit different, depending on the settings you chose when adding the Perlin Noise but play around with the Levels until you like how it looks.

Once you’ve got your settings where you want them, choose Merge (the top left icon at the bottom right of the settings box). 

To add a little more depth to the marble texture, we’re going to add a third Perlin Noise filter. I’ll adjust my settings until I have more background texture, but I don’t lose the original veins or strings created with the first Perlin Noise filters. 

This filter is going to darken the texture up a bit, however we’ll add another Levels adjustment to correct that.

Just follow the same process to add the Levels adjustment as we did above, adjusting the Gamma and White sliders until you lighten up your texture but still have enough depth with the darker areas.

If you feel like you need to give it a bit more of a punch but Levels is taking it too far, you can also add a Brightness and Contrast adjustment, once you’ve adjusted it to bring out some more of the lovely marbling. 

Below, I’ve brought down the Brightness slightly and brought the Contrast up. It ends up adding a bit of a shimmer to the darker areas, much like you’ll see in real stone.

Finalizing the Texture

One last step I’m going to take, and this is totally optional, is to bring in some more midtone greys, to fill in some of the white areas, using the layer I already have in place. 

I’ll duplicate the layer and then, with my Move tool, I’ll head up to the top of the screen and under the Transform menu (two triangles) I’ll choose “Rotate” (the direction is up to you).

From there, I need to change the blend mode and opacity as this layer is completely blocking out the one below it. In my Layer Studio, I’ll go to Layer Options (three dots) and change the blend mode to Multiply, and drop the opacity until I have just a touch of additional texture coming in but not too much.,

That’s it! The texture itself is done. From here, you could certainly export it and use it as a background or as an overlay for a shape. You could also change it’s color by adding a Gradient Map in the Adjustments menu. 

What if you need it to be seamless though? If so… read on!

Creating the Seamless Texture

In order to create a seamless texture, we’re going to use the Affine filter and need to work with a single pixel layer.

In the Layer Studio, I’ll select the two layers, and choose Merge Visible from the menu at the top. This is going to allow me to keep my two original layers, in case I need to adjust anything, but give me a single layer to work with.

Once I’ve created the third layer, I’ll turn off the other two beneath it, as I don’t need them at this point.

The Affine Filter

The Affine filter is Affinity Photo’s version of “Offset,” in Photoshop. This is going to allow us to offset our X and Y values so that we can begin to create our seamless texture.

You can find Affine in the Filters Studio under the “Distortions,” category. With the top layer selected, add an Affine Filter. At first, nothing will happen; we need to manually change the settings to create the offset.

Using the second contextual slider, change the X offset to 50%, then tap the label (X on top of an arrow) below the slider to change to the Y offset, and do the same. Set this to 50% as well. You can either use the slider, or tap the top of the slider and key in a value like I do below.

Make sure Wrap is selected at the top then choose Apply to set the filter. This is going to create a seam through the middle of the canvas. Don’t worry about it, we’re going to take care of that next.

Cleaning Up the Texture

At this point, we have a seamless texture. If we were to tile this, it would repeat with no issue, however, we need to get rid of the visible seam in the middle of the canvas first. We’ll do that by using the Clone Brush.

Because we’re working with a texture with a lot of variation, using the Clone Brush will be rather easy, however, we still want to take care when using it. 

Using the Clone Brush

Here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly:

  • Make sure you are using a relatively soft brush. The harder the brush, the more visible the cloning will be. Using the second slider, adjust the Hardness of your brush so it’s somewhere between 20 and 30%.
  • Use a medium size brush but be ready to adjust as you go. A medium size brush will give you a nice diffused clone, however, there will be times you might need to adjust down, like at the edges. I always start with a brush about 750 px or so and change as I go. 
  • In order to make the texture look natural, continuously sample different areas of your canvas to clone away the seams. 
  • Be very careful at the edges of the canvas. Remember this needs to be seamless so you don’t want to disrupt what’s at the edge too much. This is one of those spots where decreasing the size of the brush can help.
  • When you sample spots on the canvas, make sure they’re a good distance from the spot you want to clone, or you will end up with repetition.

To use the Clone Brush, hold your finger down on a spot you want to sample from. Then, with your Apple Pencil, or finger, clone the area you want to correct. Remember, only do a little bit and keep picking new spots.

Remember to use a soft brush of medium size for the best results.

Continuously sample different points on the canvas to avoid repetition.

Testing the Seamless Pattern

There are two ways to test whether your pattern is truly seamless and make sure that there are no additional marks that need to be cloned away.

The first is to add another Affine filter, offset to 50% on both the X and Y axis. If you don’t see any seams when you do this, you’re all set. (this is also a great way to get another version of your texture)

The second, and my go to, is to use the Pattern Layer built in to Affinity Photo. Simply select the layer and, in the Layer Studio, tap the plus sign and choose, “Pattern Layer from Selection.” Turn off your bottom layer then, using the Move or Transform Tools, size your canvas down to make the pattern smaller. If you see it tiling perfectly, you’re all set! 

You can also use Pattern Layer, to save various sizes of your texture.

If you’d like to see the Affine filter in action, and see a video on how to make seamless texture out of any photograph, check out my YouTube tutorial below.

Thank you for joining me!

That’s it for this tutorial! Thanks so much for joining me here. If you’d like to learn more about the Affinity suite, Adobe, or Procreate, check out my full length classes on Skillshare, and my short form tutorials on my YouTube channel.

Have a topic you would like to see covered as a tutorial, here? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for joining me here, and happy creating!

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