I am trying to achieve the following surface: - grainy - shiny - black tint

Pretty much like a hard mouse pad surface:

enter image description here

So I've started with 50% of uniform noise that looks promising:

enter image description here

But then,

  • inverting colors obviously has no effect as it's gray
  • tried to play with levels to darken it but then that shiny aspect is lost


How can I mimic a black, grainy and shiny surface ?

3 Answers 3


For good resolution start with large enough pixel resolution, for.ex 2000 x 2000

  • fill a layer with 50% grey
  • add 100% monochromatic noise
  • add 1...2 px gaussian blur to get larger smooth details

enter image description here

You need narrow grooves between glosses. Create them by turning dark and bright areas white and a narrow mid grey range to black:

enter image description here

Create microscopic 3D light effect to the grooves by inserting 1px 100% embossing, the light direction pointer is here downwards:

enter image description here

Flat areas became 50% grey, the grooves have adjacent black and white strokes:

enter image description here

Use this to texturize the surface which has only the large scale light effect, use blending mode Hard light. Try different opacities. Here the bottom layer is a linear gradient white to black and the texture has its maximum effect; the opacity is 100%:

enter image description here

With some perspective this can be good enough although it isn't made as 3D.

enter image description here

ADD: The dark areas of the large scale surface light layer can look too full of noise with fully bright texture. To reduce the texture brightness in dark areas insert a curves layer which has the negative of the large scale light in the layer mask, the "next layer only"-switch ON and a curve which reduces the contrast by darkening:

enter image description here

  • 1
    I'll be honest, before your edit today "that's not even close" was all I thought. But what a great edit! +1
    – Scott
    Apr 9, 2020 at 19:32

I went with this way of thinking:

  • shiny so a reflection must be present, reflection from a source of light. This can be imittated by overlaying gradient (1 layer).
  • underlying layer. The texture the mouspad have can be best, IMHO, described as "leathery". I call it brainy as it looks like brain to me, multiple hills connected with clearly visible valleys and almost vertical sides (so small amout of grey).

So step one-

  1. As User287001 - greaty 50% gray layer add noise. I used 87%, uniform distribution monochromatic, picture 1
  2. Add Median, set to 1 pixel, repeated until you are content. I prefer to apply 1 pixel median 3 times rather than 3 pixels once. It give more organic feeling. picture 2
  3. Change brightness/contrast. I put brightness almost to -100 and upped the contrast. This is a trick I learned from experience. I'm looking for "asphalt" black as then I can add extra color with overlay or by layer style. enter image description here
  4. Added final gradient. Using it on additional layer give me possibility to move it around and match better the final sceneenter image description here.

The rest is just adding additional blur to whole scene to give similar feel like in the source (that add to the perspective "realness")

enter image description here


I use a simple way out...

  1. once you have chosen the preferred gradient and blend mode

  2. convert to smart object and go to Top bar Menu ->Fliter ->Noise -> Add Noise.

  3. adjust till you are satisfied.

My Result

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.