Smashing Textures Contest


Take a shot, send us the image and win a Canon Digital Rebel camera. In web design textures are needed in background-images and header graphics. Graphic designers use textures to transport some concrete aspects of real-life into the digital presentation. Textures are also used to create an atmosphere which fits to the main topic or idea of the site.

Such textures are usually extracted from photos. In fact, everybody can create them — apart from a camera no special devices or tools are necessary. You just need to find a texture and you make a shot of it. And here is where our readers come in. With this contest we want to encourage you to go out, take a camera with you, shot textures and send them to us.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for original, manually taken shots of textures. This contest is all about creativity. So take your camera, go out and shoot. Basically, almost everything can be a texture. Of course, walls, paper, ceramics, textile, wood, fabrics, metal, sand, plastic, wallpaper, stone and million of other motifs. Abstract or concrete, beautiful and strange — it’s completely up to you.

A good texture doesn’t have to be clean — on contrary, some beautiful textures can be found there where nobody actually looks at. Besides, some texture convey their beauty once you closely observe them. Just be curious and take a closer look around you. You may want to have a look at this article to get some more ideas: Where can I find textures and background images?1

Clean fabric textures can be found everywhere — this shot is taken by Lucy Nieto

Water drops build a nice, irregular texture

Texture Screenshot4
This is glass fibre from a boat. Photo: Flickr5



“Natural” texture photographed in a wood

Texture made out of bricks in a wall

A knot texture

Texture Screenshot11
Stone Texture from Ben Cloward

Texture Screenshot12
This one is from a burned down hut

Stones texture which can be found in many sidewalks…

…or buildings.

Sand texture photographed by Kydroon

Wallpaper texture

Vintage fabric found by Stephanie Cake


Contest Details

So what is required to participate? And which rules should you consider before sending us your textures?

Is there a reward?
Yes. The camera presented below can be yours. One of participants of Smashing Texture contest will win the Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Lens. The winner will be determined randomly.


Send us your textures until the 21st of May 2008. The winner will be announced few days after the deadline.


  • PNG or JPG
  • The size of textures is not that important, however they should have at least the width of 1000px.
  • All images should be packed in one single .zip-archive; the archive should have a specific file name, particularly your name – e.g.
  • Every participant can send at most 5 textures (pls send only 1, we’ve got so many entries…). Text-files with copyright information, your URL, country and a brief description of your texture should be placed in the .zip-file as well. Please don’t include any advertisement in the archives.

Copyright, labels, watermarks
Copyright information, water marks and URLs are usual for wallpapers, but they would disturb the texture. After all, designers should be able to work with textures after they are presented. Therefore please avoid everything which isn’t really a part of a texture. The participants should own the copyright for the textures they are sending. Textures should be photographed, therefore they shouldn’t be already available somewhere in the Web.

Winner announcement
All interesting textures will be presented as screenshots here, on Smashing Magazine and offered for free download to Smashing Magazine readers. The name and URL of participants will be presented, of course. If there will be enough participants, textures will be sorted and categorized.

Where should the textures be sent to?
The contest ist closed now.

Get creative, folks!


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Co-Founder of Smashing Magazine. Former writer, web designer, freelancer and webworker. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories.


Note: Our rating-system has caused errors, so it's disabled at the moment. It will be back the moment the problem has been resolved. We're very sorry. Happy Holidays!

  1. 1

    Interesting contest. Textures are very limited as they only have one specific theme.

    Looking forward to the winner basically and see on what basis you judge as I couldn’t judge textures to be honest. Looking at the above examples, every one of those would be a winner for me as they come from totally different backgrounds and all have some beauty aspect.

  2. 2

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 9, 2008 5:32 am

    @Dennis: there will be no “best” texture if that’s what you mean. There is just no way to somehow rank textures. You are absolutely right. Probably what you mean is the winner of the camera – a “winner” will be chosen randomly.

  3. 3

    @dennis … textures are not limiting at all …
    that.s the beauty of textures .not only are they EVERYWHERE, but you can use them for EVERYTHING … so not sure why you think textures have only one theme …

    good luck if you plan on entering .

  4. 4

    David Dashifen Kees

    May 9, 2008 5:44 am

    I must admit to being reasonably mystified by textures in general. Coming from a programming background rather than an artistic one, I’ve never really understood what they’re for, when to apply them, and in general, the stock textures with Fireworks, for example, are reasonably simplistic. I look forward to these contest results and, hopefully, learning more about textures between now and then.

  5. 5

    Rogerio Caetano

    May 9, 2008 5:46 am

    The contest is it allowed to foreigners? Or only US-residents?

  6. 6

    Solaris Von Gäzebo

    May 9, 2008 5:47 am

    How Exciting….!

    Having a hard time choosing the good ones to send.


  7. 7

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 9, 2008 5:49 am

    @Rogerio Caetano: it is allowed for everybody.

  8. 8

    So when sending in more than one texture, each texture should be zipped separately….Does this mean that each zip contains exactly one image, or that each zip can contain more images of the same texture (eg different angles, etc) (my understanding is that each zip contains 1 image, but I just want to be sure :) )?

  9. 9

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 9, 2008 5:56 am

    @Sylvia: each .zip-archive can contain several images of the same texture.

  10. 10

    Great Post….

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    Benedict Aluan

    May 9, 2008 6:24 am

    Exciting contest! :-)

  12. 12

    Great contest! Two quick questions: 1) In the text file, you ask for copyright information. Do you have a preference to what to put in here? Creative Commons, etc? 2) I went out and took some pictures just for this contest … Then, I read that we should zip more than pic of the textures. Is just one picutre okay, or does there need to be more than one?

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    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 9, 2008 7:12 am

    @Nicholas: 1) the pictures should be avaiable for download, deviations, free and commercial projects. So you may write nothing or just some information about the person who has actually shot the texture. 2) You can zip more than one picture, but you don’t have to. One picture is OK.

  14. 14

    hey! Why you use use Canon camera image in post?

    i hate Canon (I love nikon), and i think You should use canon or nikon image.. it;s provocation!

    Please, it’s detail, but important for me.

    I like smashing magazine, and don’t want stop.

  15. 15

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 9, 2008 7:22 am

    @nbb: can you be more specific? What do you mean?

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    So the winner will be randomly determined? So, you’re saying that it’s basically pulling a name out of a hat?

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    I’m with you, nikon are waaay better (it’s preference really)…

    but read the prize…. it explains why…

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    Thanks for this beatiful textures!

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    I am so excited seeing this fabulous contest by SM… I am also participating ‘Only for that fantastic gift’ …

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    I’m getting to work!

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    Now then, as for camera preferences.
    I work with Canon and like the camera.
    I don’t hate Nikon or any other brand. I just prefer Canon.
    It is a matter of choice.
    The Camera is a tool. So no matter what brand I prefer, it is still a tool !
    So please…this is a great contest no matter what.

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    shannon palmer

    May 9, 2008 9:59 am

    this will be fun! i give away free textures on my blog all the time (along with tutorials on creating your own), so I’m looking foward to participating.

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    armando fontes

    May 9, 2008 10:18 am

    Some expecific subject for submition?

  24. 24

    great contest, maybe ’cause i’ve shot the perfect picture for this contest one month ago :>
    already submitted it gladfully :)

  25. 25

    Question: by “texture” you mean a tile-able image? (to be used with background-repeat: repeat)?

  26. 26

    I’ve just mailed mine. Great idea.

  27. 27

    It seems to be great thing

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    Wow, very nice. I will definetly try and enter something.

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    @nbb it is not imperative to use a canon, the canon camera in the picture is the prize

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    Mike different from the other one

    May 10, 2008 1:52 am

    @gGus – I see no reason textures should have to be tileable. The images can fade out, or be used for specific-side headers.

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    Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!! I LOVE IT!

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    cool !

    Will send mine next week

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    Very interesting. Cool thing. I like this site

    p.s offtopic:
    Why you dont have a forum?

    Hey, I’ have a design site for webmaster:
    There a lot of icons i.t.p How is he?

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    Hi, great idea for a competition!

    I have a number of textures on my Flickr account that are all under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license. Would you accept them for entry into the competition if I waved this licence, or does the fact that they already are on my account mean that you still wouldn’t allow them?

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    Yay. Free camera. ^^_
    Will send soon.

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    Picking the winner at random seems a bit pointless to me. You may have someone who created some stunning textures only for someone else to win who didn’t create anywhere near as nice textures. I think the owner of the most impressive textures should be given merit for their work.

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    I agree with Ryan, there should be certain criteria. A Poll would be also a nice thing ;D
    Picking just randomly isn’t the answer I guess.

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    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 11, 2008 2:20 pm

    @Ryan, BORA: someone who didn’t create something anywhere near as nice textures won’t be featured and, consequently, won’t have a chance to get a prize.

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    Hi, is there any gallery of contest n3s?

    Nice idea as well as this magazine :) thanx..

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    THanks for the reply Vitaly. Totally overread the point of randomly picking a winner. Kinda renders my point useless, so thanks for clarifying that bit!

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    When textures will be published?

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    So when do we publish/link and announce the winner(s)??

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    Do i get an answer that the mail has been recieved?
    I have sent one mail, with a zipmap as im supposed to, but i have noe yet gotten a respond..?

    Admins; please mail me =)

  44. 44

    Interesting competition. I look forward to seeing (and using!) the results.

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    I’ve just sent my textures, looking forward to the winner announcment.
    Thanks for the competition, SM!

  46. 46

    Great contest. Keep up the great work.

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    i love the ideea of this contest!
    not bad at all and also usefull for all of ass.
    more free resources! :)

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    oh, dang …. “at random”

    take a chance, make a decision, go for it…. the coolest texture will be chosen as winner, then i would have some incentive, to sendx my unbelievably cool textures from indian back alleys, but, at random? too boring

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    ready! i sent my textures but its a download link cause they were in very good quality, hope SM people can download them…

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    gregory is right, with the winner picked at random there’s little incentive. I’ll be entering some texture shots but it would be nice if there was a chance of winning through skill and not just luck.

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    mmm how do i know if my textures are ok? cause i sent a download link cause the textures where in a very good resolution.. thanx :)

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    Sweet – I’m in!

    Now I just need to be on the look-out for some kind of texture that no-one would ever think of – or one that others might not be able to find where they live…

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    I’m having trouble sending mine! I think it’s because it’s such a big message. I’ve never used zip before, maybe I am doing it wrong? any help apreciated… please

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    Hey, just create a folder and put all your patterns in that folder. Then right click on that folder and select send to and click on Compressed (zipped) folder. Thats it!

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    Great, just sent mine

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    Did that… didn’t work… I eventually sent them in 3 lots… I hope it was ok to do that…?

    Thanks for your help :)

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    May 20, 2008 2:11 am

    Interesting post, it is so nice to see real textures of the world than the one we find in photoshop! :)

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    Just sent in my zip archive with 5 Textures :-)

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    Is there a specific time deadline on the 21st.

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    Is the deadline today or was it yesterday?

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    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 21, 2008 1:51 pm

    Send us your textures until the 21st of May 2008. 22nd the contest will be closed.

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    Eduardo Loureiro

    May 21, 2008 2:37 pm

    Hello, the result leaves when?


  63. 63

    Awesome contest! I can’t wait to see what everyone’s submitted, & especially how people see things!

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    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 21, 2008 11:14 pm

    The contest is closed now. We will back next week.

  65. 65

    interesting contest!!

    good luck to everyone!!

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    Paulo Neto (Brazil)

    June 9, 2008 4:01 pm

    Vitaly and Sven;
    I would like to be participatting in this contest.
    Is it possible? Can I send you, my pictures?

  67. 67

    the result leaves when?

    tanks YOU !!!

  68. 68

    Hello. has the winner been announced? Are the entries viewable?

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    Hi. You already show my picture, The ““Natural” texture photographed in a wood” by mrhyde_br (flickr). I´m participatting of the contest ?


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    please let me know the winner for this contest.I know its very old post still i wanna know the wiiner and his/ her work..


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    Would you accept them for entry into the competition if I waved this licence, or does the fact that they already are on my account mean that you still wouldn’t allow them?aion kinah

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    Hola soy Argentina y me dijeron que en esta pagina sortean esa camara, no se donde colocar la foto que saque ni cuales son las bases y condiciones. gracias!

  73. 73

    Grunge Textures

    June 24, 2013 4:30 pm

    hi there are a lots of good grunge textures

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