Texture is a major element of all art. But there is a special significance with both digital art and photography, where detail is established and maintained through such means. That is why it is no surprise that Flickr, a place dedicated to those two mediums, is full of groups dedicated to textures.

Of course, these photo pools are in two different categories. One is a place where pictures that have been heavily textured can be seen by others who enjoy that kind of overlaid detail in their photos. The second is where people with a need or desire for textures to be used in Photoshop and other editing software can get patches to use in their own work.

These 10 groups are the best of both.

Textures for Use

1. Free Textures

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

If you are looking for flat, plain textures that can be used in pieces of art or photo manipulations and collages, you will be happy with this group. Its photo pool is full of images that have been published under an attribution license, which means they are free to use. All that is required is that you give proper credit to the original poster. They all have to be solid textures, so if there is more than one object it will be rejected. Instead, it will have things like blue sky, brick walls, stones, rivers, etc.

2. Textures for All

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

This group has other Creative Commons textures that have been created specifically for layers, overlays, displacement maps, embellishments and other enhancements through editing software like Photoshop or GIMP. Since everything is public domain, they are once again free for both use and adaption, with the proper attribution.

3. Textures 4 Layers

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

Specifically for use in layers, these are also licensed as Creative Commons with attribution required. But you cannot use them to produce derivatives, and if you make changes you cannot imply that the original was your own work. You have to specify the layer was created using the original source. There are some nice tips here on how to best use the huge number of textures, which have been donated by more than 15,000 members.

4. Textures Only

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

This is a competition group, and so the textures there are not for sharing. But you can sometimes find some listed as Creative Commons that have been entered and, so, can be used. You can also contact members for permission to use textures, which they may or may not give or sell. The group has monthly contests to enter.

Texture Inspiration

5. FloraBella Textures and Actions

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

This is a group for anyone who makes photos using Florabella Textures and Actions in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. It is one of the few niche texture groups on Flickr. It has a decent number of conversations along with a nice-sizedphoto pool. There are just fewer than 30,000 images listed. If you are searching for inspiration and a look into what can be done with Florabella, this is the best place to look. Take it as a kind of living review to the product.

6. Texturing the World

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

A joint English/Spanish texture group, this one shows off heavily manipulated photos made by people all over Flickr. There is only a five-per-day limit, and some of the photos are truly gorgeous. It only asks that if you have received an award for a photo in its pool, be sure to display that award in the description so others can see. You are also supposed to use a “comment one, add one” process every time you submit a picture. So, if you add in five images one day, you make at least five comments on other photographers’ work.

7. Texture Squared

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

Another of the niche variety, this group features photographs that have been both focused on texture, usually through manipulation or enhancement, and then edited using a square crop. There are more than 15,000 images are gorgeous, and many have been placed in the pool through invite rather than submission. All photos should be 500-by-500 pixels.

8. Textures

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

Its slogan is “Surfaces, rough and smooth,” which basically explains the group. It has no real rules, other than the basic ones that must be followed on Flickr. The photos are all heavily textured in different ways, and there are more here than almost anywhere else. In fact, there are now more than 106,000 photos in the pool. One of the best parts about this group is that many of the photos are barely enhanced, and the textures are natural rather than layered.

9. In the Memories Book

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

This is an invite images only group that specializes in heavily textured, edited pictures that have used layers or other enhancements to create the effect. The group is careful about what is allowed to stay, and if it doesn’t think the quality is high enough it will remove any images invited, even if they were initially added. There are different levels of the pool, and the main one requires all members to check, comment and award. All pictures should be tagged with the group name for inclusion. Otherwise, the only rules relate to quality. One photo per day limit.

10. Textured Trésors

10 Best Flickr Groups for Texture Inspiration

Another enhancement group, this photo pool is not for natural textures but rather those that have been created via an editing software. If you do want to showcase natural textures in addition, you can as long as the main focus has been attributed to the editing process. The group has an active community with a lot of conversations, tutorials and answered questions that can help anyone improve or impart their knowledge. It has a comment-per-post rule, so any time you add a photo you have to reply to someone else’s.

These are only 10 of hundreds of groups dedicated to textures on Flickr. Some are large, and some are very small, but all have a great selection of work that will be sure to inspire you. You can also find many more free textures to use on your own work – just make sure you check all requirements before taking them.

Tom Chu works at PsPrint.com, an online printing company specializing in brochure and poster printing among other popular services. Follow PsPrint on Twitter as @PsPrint