The letters ‘ABC’, each filled with a unique colorful design, made to look 3D with shadows

How to Mask a Texture in Adobe Photoshop

Creating eye-catching work is second nature for Austrian illustrators Birgit Palma and Daniel Triendl. In this short tutorial, see how you can achieve their bold, colorful aesthetic with a few tools in Adobe Photoshop.


Birgit Palma and Daniel Triendl are the Austrian illustration duo who express visual experimentation through bold colors and geometric shapes. The artists have enjoyed working online together remotely from Barcelona to Vienna since 1985.

The letters ‘ABC’, each filled with a unique colorful design, made to look 3D with shadows

Watch the video above for a one-minute overview of the process, which is spelled out in the steps below. 

Before You Start

We used artwork that Palma and Triendl created to apply this technique. Use these sample files or try it with your own. To prep your file, open a new Photoshop document; we created one that is 3840w x 2160h. Create a new library (Window > Libraries), then drag the texture images from the sample files.  

Step 1: Frame It

Choose the Frame tool and draw a rectangle over the blue portion of the B.

Rectangular selection of portion of letter B with a drop shadow on a khaki background, Frame tool displays at the top

Step 2: Give It Texture

Open the library you created earlier (Window > Libraries) and drag the Brush 1 texture to the selected frame.

Long part of B is filled with text from another image to fill the frame selection

Step 3:  Edit the Texture

Double-click the texture image inside the frame and use Control-T (Windows), or Command-T (macOS), to change its size and position. Or select the texture thumbnail in the Layers panel and use Control-T or Command-T.

Newly filled frame selection shows boundary of Transform tool, separate layer is highlighted in Layers panel

Step 4: Make a Custom Frame

Use the Pen tool to make any shape into a frame. Trace the part of the letter you want to use as its own frame. When your selection is complete, right-click on the new shape layer in the Layers panel and choose Convert To Frame. Then fill it with the texture you want from the Libraries panel.

Custom shape frame selection made by Pen tool, before/after of letter with custom frame and frame filled with new texture

Hang It Up

Apply fun images as textures to create unique works of art.

Letters ‘ABC’ filled with new textures from colorful images hangs in a frame on a wall in a restaurant

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.