Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From New to Distressed in 10 Steps :: A Photoshop Tutorial

From brand spakin' new to vintage and distressed in 10 easy steps, well, at least that's the goal of this tutorial.

Our previous tutorials (check out the sidebar to the right >>) have used free software, in this tutorial we will be working with Adobe's Photoshop Elements program. Although we do not mention saving our work after each step in the tutorial we do and highly recommend that you save your work regularly as well. As usual, just click on the photos to make them bigger :)

Let's jump right in:

1. Open a new file 640px x 480px, background color is not really important in this tutorial so we left our default setting.

create a new file

2. Find a texture.

In our opinion, one of the key components of achieving a distressed or vintage look for our images is to give them some texture. Many old photos are cracked and grainy so the first thing we're looking to do is find a texture. There are many online resources for textures, we found the one that we are using here courtesy of Jade at morguefile. If you would like to use the same image just click here.

open a texture

3. Once the texture is open, we dragged the texture into our 640x480 file, resize your texture accordingly (we rotated the texture as well).

4. This texture layer is going to act as the background for our image. Let's set the layer style to multiply and lower the layer’s saturation (Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Hue/Saturation) to give it more of a black and white look. Even though this layer is on top, since it is set to multiply it will still act as our image background.

5. Now let's choose an image we would like to work with and open it. We went with an image of our coasters, if you would like to use this image just click here. Drag this image on to the texture background image.

choose main image

Place this main image layer below the textured background layer and change the layer style > Darker color.

set main image

6. Let's add a new layer as it's time to start giving our image a distressed look. We’ll work with the Dry Brush on Towel Brush (Brushes > Wet Media Brushes > Dry Brush on Towel). Paint wherever you like on this layer, the goal is to give a worn/distressed feel to our image. We went with black but feel free to paint in whatever color you like.

7. Repeat step 6 by adding new layers and experimenting with different brushes, paint colors, and opacity settings. We like the Wet Media Brushes and Dry Media Brushes for this task. After a little experimenting on a couple more layers this is what we came up with:

distressed look with scatter brushes

8. We now want to give our main image a bit of texture. This can be done many different ways, we chose to do it by simply adding a new layer and making a solid colored rectangle that covers our whole work area. We chose a medium grey for our rectangle.

placing rectangle

Once our rectangle is in place we can simplify the layer (Right Click Rectangle > Simplify Layer) and then add some texture. Filter > Texture > Texturizer, we went with the canvas texture, play with the settings until the image is to your liking. We then dropped the opacity of our rectangle layer down to 20% and our main image now has a bit of texture.

texturized rectangle

9. Our image is starting to come together nicely. When looking at vintage photos they sometimes have a yellowish tint to them, we want to give our image the same look. To do this we’re going to add an Adjustment Layer to our rectangle. The adjustment layer icon is the second from the left on the layers palette and kinda looks like a black and white cookie ;) Click on Create Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. We chose a deep yellow for our filter and left the default settings. Lastly, we will create a border.

10. These days the trend seems to be to show distressed images with a black grunge style border. As with the rest of the steps in this tutorial there are many ways to accomplish this, we chose to go back to our trusty friend the Dry Brush on Towel. Create a new layer (make sure this layer is on top) and starting at one corner of your image hold down the shift key and paint across to the opposite corner. Holding down the shift key while painting across will give you a straight line.

adding border

Do this 3 more times and your image now has a border!

smile you're all done

Save, sit back, and smile ;)

A quick before and after just to recap:

before and after

We can now tape up our distressed image :)

There you have it, from new to distressed in 10 steps :) We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions or would like to see something else covered in a step by step tutorial just let us know.

Garrick @ Senioritis


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