Simon Birky Hartmann
Poster Design Tutorial: How to Get Non-corporate Results with our Office Interior Textures: Corporate Texture Packs!
Poster Design Tutorial: How to Easily Get Non-corporate Results with our Office Interior Textures: Corporate Texture Packs!
Hello all! Simon from Studio Ace of Spade here today. I’m writing to announce the release of the corporate texture packs, volume I and volume II, on the Arsenal today! I’ve written a tutorial to accompany the packs. Enjoy!
How did these packs came to be?
Well, I happened to have access to one of the millions of generic office buildings around Cleveland this past winter. I couldn’t help but notice the wide range of often cheap imitations of materials in all of that office furniture and decor.
The textures range from fake wood grain, wallpapers, soulless tiles, blend fabric patterns for office furniture, etc. There are a few gems here and there, and if you’re looking to emulate the “9 to 5 stale job atmosphere that you could believe we’re in the Office or in Office Space,” these packs are your new best friends.
Hold on your horses, where’s the DIY spirit?
It seems a bit contradictory to create resources from an atmosphere we creative people usually deem at best stale. I’ve been the first one surprised by the good surprises hidden all over. For instance, while some of the wood grains are obnoxiously fake, some of them are actually bluffing. There are beautiful noise patterns in drop-ceiling tiles. I’ve rarely seen so many different fabric options while not in a fabric store. And I haven’t talked about carpets and wallpapers yet (although the pattern creators for some of these should probably not be allowed to design anything else of their lives).
Just have a look below:
A demonstration by the example
Rather than discuss things, I decided to show you how these two packs of textures can help us to spruce up Steve Knerem’s Day of the Dead vector t-shirt design pack. Don’t know what a t-shirt design pack is? Watch this:
What are we going to create?
We’re going to take this great, flat colored vector piece, and turn it into a sweet poster with the help of the texture packs. We’ll use some wood grain textures to build a rich background, some of the noise and scratch textures to weather the art a bit, and some of the other ones to package the whole thing in a consistent ensemble. We’ll be using both Photoshop and Illustrator to accomplish this. Let’s go!
Preparing our document
First thing first, let’s create a brand new canvas in Photoshop. I’m using an 11″x17″ @ 300 dpi, RGB, document.
Once your canvas is there, create a few guides, so you have a basic grid in place. I’ve put guides to indicate the center of the frame (5.5″ and 8.5″), as well at 1″ of the edges (1″, 10″, and 1″, and 16″).
Bringing the art in
It’s time to bring the t-shirt design pack into our Photoshop document. Simply copy and paste the design as a smart object into your canvas. This will allow us to keep its scalability as we work on the piece.
Copying the piece in Illustrator
Pasting in Photoshop
I’ve scaled the piece so it’s approximately 9″ wide. Note that I haven’t copied the background along.
It’s simply easier to fill the background layer with the same gray (#454545) directly in Photoshop.
Oh, and don’t forget to do some layer house-keeping.
Adding textures to the background
Our goal was to create a rich, warm, wooden background for the piece. After looking through the packs, corporate-texture-pack-volume-02-010-sbh.jpg looks like a solid starting point.
Let’s place it into our document, right above our gray background layer. Scale it up so it fills your whole canvas.
The result is interesting, but is a overbearing compared to the piece. First, let’s rasterize the texture layer, and sharpen it a few times (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen). Once that’s taken care of, change its blending mode to Soft light @ 100% opacity.
The result is better, but still not very amazing.
To remedy the issue, start by desaturating the texture layer (CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+U).
Next, change the color of the background layer to a saturated, deep brown. I’m using #762514.
(Don’t forget the layer housekeeping since you’ve changed the color)
It’s better, but not there yet. Let’s use the levels (CTRL/CMD+L) to fine tune the contrast of the texture.
There you have it.
A quick touch to make sure that the art doesn’t fade too much in the background: let’s add a drop shadow to its layer. Well, more of a glow actually. The color of the shadow is the same brown than our background (#762514). Using the Linear dodge (add) blending mode for the drop shadow, we’re creating something along the lines of a very soft glow that visually detaches the centerpiece from the background, but without being obnoxious.
Here’s a closer view.
Let’s finalize our background with a slight vignette effect. After some investigation, corporate-texture-pack-volume-02-013-sbh.jpg seems like a solid candidate to accomplish the effect. Its center is brighter, and the edge of the texture is darker. We’re going to make sure these characteristics are more pronounced thanks to the levels panel.
Start by placing the texture in your document. Note that I didn’t transform it proportionally, but rather stretched it to fit the canvas.
We’re going to follow the same process than we did for the wood grain texture: rasterize, sharpen, desaturate, and enhance contrast with levels.
Desaturate and sharpen.
Levels. Note how much grain this step is bringing forward.
Conclude by changing the layer’s blending mode to Soft light at 75% opacity.
And we have ourselves a vignette.
With the background done, it’s time to move forward to the weathering of the centerpiece.
The main treatment we want to apply to the art is some kind of weathering. I’m planning on doing a regular grunge effect, and to re-apply the background’s wood grain to it, so it looks like chipping paint or something. First, some “regular” grunge. What we’ll do is paste textures in layer masks. Accomplishing such a thing is very easy:
- Open your texture.
- Copy its contents.
- ALT/OPTION+CLICK the thumbnail of the layer mask you wish to paste the texture into. This will show you the content of the layer mask, and allow you to edit it. Make sure to disable the little chain link of the layer mask so you can move the texture without moving the element along
- Make the edits you deem necessary (size, placement, sharpening, levels, etc.)
- Admire the result
After looking through the packs, I’ve spotted corporate-texture-pack-volume-02-034-sbh.jpg as a very good candidate.
Start by adding a layer mask to the art’s smart object. Make sure its association with the smart object is turned off.
Once that’s done, copy the texture and paste it into the layer mask. Make sure it covers at least the centerpiece. The whole width of the poster isn’t a bad idea.
Once that’s done, and once the obligatory sharpening has been taken care of, it’s time to play with levels.
Because the document and the texture are high-resolution, sometimes, the levels outcome will be less contrasted than its preview. Don’t hesitate to repeat the step to reach the desired result.
Click back on the layer thumbnail to admire the result.
Here’s a close-up. The art is well worn, which is what we wanted.
Now, let’s add the wood grain to the mix. Start by some layer housekeeping. Give the Art its own layer group, along with another layer mask.
Next, turn off all the layers but bg – #762514 (the background color) and corporate-texture-pack-volume-02-010-sbh (the wood grain texture).
Copy the content of both of these layers (CTRL/CMD+A to select all, CTRL+SHIFT+C to copy-merged the visible content), turn back all the layers on, and paste the result in the Art layer group layer mask.
This is obviously too dark and will fully erase the centerpiece. Let’s work some levels magic, so we only keep a faint wood grain in the mask.
The result is a bit too intense, as the layer is still a bit too dark.
Some more levels work will fix this:
Note the double levels pass, after the first one failed to produce a strong enough result.
And here’s the result! It looks like the piece is painted on that piece of wood, and is just fading away following the wood grain.
We’re going to add a texture that isn’t included in the corporate texture packs, but that is available for free on Flickr. It’s a brush stroke texture, and will help to reinforce the “painted-on-wood” effect we’re looking for. It’s called 16342_cream_over_green_detail, and it’s available on Chank Diesel’s Flickr stream. Don’t forget to grab the biggest size available! Place it into your document, at the top of your layer stack.
Repeat the whole rasterize / sharpen / desaturate / levels process…
Change the blending mode to Soft light @ 100% opacity.
The effect is what we’re looking for, but we need to localize it to the centerpiece itself rather than the whole poster. To do so, CTRL/CMD+CLICK the Art smart object’s thumbnail. This will create a selection which will include only the content of that layer. Proceed to add a layer mask to the brush stroke texture layer by highlighting it, and by clicking the Add layer mask button at the bottom of your layer palette.
As you can see, the texture is now confined to the centerpiece. The effect is still a hair too strong at this point.
Simply lower the texture layer’s opacity to 25% opacity, and you’ll be good to go.
In a ways, we’ve already started this process with the brush stroke texture. We are now going to add a few texture that will impact the whole piece (background + centerpiece). This will participate to visually make the ensemble consistent. We’ll follow the same routine as before.
First on the line is corporate-texture-pack-volume-01-015-sbh.jpg, a wallpaper texture.
Start by placing it in the canvas so the darkest part of the texture is at the bottom.
Put the texture’s blending mode to Soft light @ 35% opacity, and you’ll be good.
The next texture is corporate-texture-pack-volume-02-023-sbh.jpg, a scratched brushed metal texture. Our work with levels will be quite extreme, as we want to make the scratches appear in the piece as much as possible.
I placed the texture so as much as possible of the scratched are be in the canvas.
I also sharpened the texture quite a few times to make the scratches and other characteristics from the metal more visible.
Change the layer’s blending mode to Screen @ 25% opacity.
Finally, the last texture we’ll place into our piece is corporate-texture-pack-volume-02-040-sbh.jpg. It’s a concrete texture that’s been captured just outside of the building the other ones come from. It participates to add a bit of a noisy quality, and reinforces the vignette effect on the piece.
Blending mode: Soft light @ 25% opacity.
Bear with me, it’s almost the end!
First, I’d like to make the wood grain from the background a hair more visible. To accomplish this, simply duplicate the wood grain texture once.
The effect is too strong, because our layer is so dark. To bring this back to reasonable proportions, simply lower the opacity of the layer copy to 25%.
Now that that’s done, I’d like to add just a bit of noise to the piece. I’ll be using photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-001.jpg, from my photocopy noise texture pack. Scale the texture so it covers the whole canvas.
Blending mode: Screen @ 25% opacity.
Since this is the last texture, it’s the perfect time for a little bit of house keeping:
And with that done, you’re all set to admire your beautiful piece!
You could mock it up for the world to drool over.
I hope you had as much fun following this tutorial as I had writing in. I also hope that it convinced you of the potential of both volume I and volume II of the corporate texture packs. I’m looking forward to your own takes on this how-to. Don’t forget to share them in the Go Media Flickr Pool.
Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have, both about the texture packs and the tutorial itself! I’ll be watching the comments over the next couple of days. You can also find me on twitter @simonhartmann, where you should follow me.
Texture Tutorial: using metal and rust textures to destroy a design
What’s in the pack?
A little while ago, there was one of these huge metal dumpsters sitting in a parking lot. Since no texture library is complete without rust and metal textures, I got my camera out and shot as many images I could of the banged-up monster. The textures range from subtle speckles in the paint to massive rust damage. This makes this pack highly versatile, and will help you bring either subtle touches or nuclear damage to your pieces.
The textures can be used as overlays, or pasted in layer masks. There are 45 textures in the pack, sized at 3264 x 2448 pixels.
How can I use these textures?
Well, I’m glad you’re asking, because just like with my photocopy noise textures pack, I’ve taken the time to write a little tutorial. We’ll be using OKPants’ sweet Road Hog tee design pack as the base artwork for our experimentation. What’s the Road Hog tee design pack, you ask? The Go Media team wrote a very convenient blog post to answer the questions you could have.
This tutorial is rather short, and takes advantage of layer masks and blending modes. Count around an hour of playtime in both Illustrator (Ai) and Photoshop (Ps). Plug your headphones, press play on some nice music, and let’s go.
The starting point: preparing the Road Hog design to our liking
The Road Hog tee design pack includes a biker/Americana inspired design, that you could take apart and re-arrange to your liking. Or, like me, you could just leave it in one piece. Here’s a shot of the design in Ai. This is the “sea foam” color palette.
The design also comes in a black and white color palette, an “heritage” color palette (rust tones), and an “Americana” color palette. Feel free to choose the one you prefer for this tutorial.
The original sea foam palette is nice, but the tones are a tad too strong and saturated for my taste. After a bit of research on Colourlovers, I managed to find a more subdued version of the color palette. After using the magic wand (Y) and the Select > Same > Fill color menu a few times, our base art was recolored.
The re-coloration process is really easy since the design is simple and the vectors well constructed. Just make sure that all of your shapes are ungrouped and unlocked, and it should go smoothly. I switched the bright yellow to the faded yellow at the left of the color palette image (#f0eec1), the main blue hue to the palette’s faded blue (#b2dabf), and the black to the dark brown/purple (#5c4a4e) at the right of the palette. I created the darker blue by lowering the brightness value of the light blue, which gave me #727d71.
After recoloring the artwork, I added an outline to it. There are multiple ways to do so, but here’s how I do it:
- Make sure all of your elements are grouped together
- Duplicate the design
- Merge the bottom copy in one shape using the pathfinder’s Unite function
- Change the color of the merged shape to #f0eec1. I chose the light color because I thought at that stage that the background of my final piece would be dark (the design has been hidden in this shot.)
- Finally, turn the design back on, and use the Offset path function (Object > Path > Offset path) to create the outline. I use Offset path as opposed to a stroke, because the result looks more polished. The downside to that is that unlike a stroke, you can’t easily edit the width of the outline once it’s been created. A few things about the values I’ve used: the thickness of the offset is set at 1/8th of an inch, and the joins to round for a softer feel.
- We’ve got ourselves an outline. To make things a bit cleaner, you can run the pathfinder’s unite function on that outline group one more time. This will fuse the multiple shapes that compose it together, living us with one big, clean entity. I’ve highlighted in red the area where the most simplification will happen.
Now that we’ve got ourselves a recolored and outlined design, it’s time to move things to Photoshop.
Setting up the stage in Ps
Much like when we were playing with the Awaken design, our Ps document will be an 18″x24″ @ 300 dpi canvas. This time, it’ll be setup in a portrait orientation.
I’ve completed the setup of my document with guides. I might have created a few too many, but oh well. I have guides at the 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 16, and 17 inches marks vertically, and 1, 2, 11, 12, 13, 22, and 23 inches marks horizontally.
As I’ve said when we were preparing our vectors and adding an outline to them, my original intentions were to have a dark background on our piece. After progressing in my design, I realized that it wouldn’t work very well, so I went back and made sure that my background would be light instead of dark. For the sake of brevity, I’ll spare you that back and forth in this tutorial. So let’s skip directly to the correct layer order for a light background with a dark border.
Let’s fill the background layer with that faded yellow (#f0eec1) from our color palette.
On top of that layer, create a new one, filled with our dark brown this time (#584c4e).
We’re going to take advantage of the Arsenal’s vintage poster borders texture pack to reveal the underlying yellow layer to make it look like there’s a dark border around our design. The process is very simple, and consists of pasting one of these textures (I used the first one in the pack) in a layer mask. Jeff made a video with step by step instructions, and it’s visible here:
The result of that manipulation is the following:
Note that if you don’t own the poster border textures, you could paste any other grunge texture in the layer mask. This series of free vintage film plates textures from Lost and Taken would be an interesting alternate, although a tad too intense in this example:
Anyways. Once you’ve prepared your background, it’s time to move along and import our vector design in our Ps document.
Pasting the design from Ai
That’s probably the easiest step: simply copy your design in Ai, and paste in as a smart object in Ps. I sized mine to be around 16 inches wide.
Texturing the design itself
It’s finally time to use the metal dumpster textures. Place metal-dumpster-textures-018-sbh.jpg above the design.
The elements of the texture we’re interested in are these dark scratch marks. In order to extract them, we’ll need to desaturate the texture (CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+U), and to change its blending mode to Screen.
It’s not yet very exciting, I’ll give you that. Next, we’ll invert the texture (CTRL/CMD+I).
We’re already starting to see these scratches impact the design as if it was painted on metal and exposed to things scraping it off its support. To further the effect, we’ll play with the level palette (CTRL/CMD + L), in order to increase the contrast of the texture.
A few notes about my Levels values: the 100 on the left is the value for the dark tones. It means that I’ve made the dark pixels of the texture darker than what they originally were. The 0.75 is the value for the mid-tones. That slider is normally set at 1. Bringing it to 0.75 means that the mid-tones are also going to be darker. Finally, the 175 on the right is the value for the light pixels of the texture. It’s set to 255 by default. Bringing it down to 175 means that the light pixels are actually going to be lighter. Darker blacks and grays + lighter whites = high contrast texture.
Finally, I’ve leveraged a layer mask to allow the texture to show only on the design and not on the background.
To create such a layer mask is easy. CTRL/CMD+CLICK the thumbnail of your design layer to create a precise selection of its content, then click the new layer mask button at the bottom of your layer palette.
Following a similar process, I also added metal-dumpster-textures-022-sbh.jpg to the design. Its effects are much more subtle, but you can see them in the gear behind the skull/wings/bones element.
My levels values were a bit different:
It’s also to be noted that the texture was not inverted, and put on the Soft light blending mode at 25% opacity. I chose to do so because the results were less aggressive than when using Screen. I’ve also confined its effect to the design only by using the same layer mask process than before.
The next step was to impact the design layer even more than with its two textures. In order to do so, I gave it its own layer mask, and pasted metal-dumpster-textures-001-sbh.jpg into it. After sizing it to cover most of the design, and playing with levels to bring its contrast to new heights, this is the result:
The original texture
Playing with levels
Impacted areas details
To increase the worn feel even further, I created a layer group containing the design’s layer and my texture. I then duplicated the background dark brown layer’s layer mask (CLICK & DRAG + ALT/OPTION+SHIFT) to it. The result isn’t very visible, but some of the mask’s grain lets the dark brown show through.
If the textures at the previous step are important because they give their character to the design elements themselves, the ones we’ll apply now are just as important. They participate to tie the piece together, by giving their artifacts to the various design elements and the background in a continuous manner. You can choose to apply a lot of them, or just a few. I have three in my case.
The first one is metal-dumpster-textures-012-sbh.jpg. As you can see, it’s a fairly clean texture. The main elements I’m interested to see passed on to the design are those black, dirty marks. They look like smeared paint.
After placing the texture in the design (rotated 90° counter-clockwise), desaturating it, I’ve leveraged the levels to get the dark and mid-tones much stronger.
Once the blending mode switched to Soft light, and the opacity lowered to 50%, the result brings some subtle darker areas in the top left of the piece. It’s like some liquid slightly stained the art.
The next to last texture we’ll use is metal-dumpster-textures-037-sbh.jpg. It’s a texture that I use as a grain texture. There are only a few speckles of rust here and there, and the rest are a few light dots.
After desaturating it and playing with levels, here’s what the texture looks like:
And below is the result on the piece after switching it to Soft light @ 50% opacity. It’s very subtle, but still adds a little something.
Finally, the last texture I’ve used to add more of the same dirty stain type of finish to the poster is metal-dumpster-textures-030-sbh.jpg.
Nothing special to add to the process used before, other than because this one was a bit intense, I’ve put on Soft light @ 35% opacity only.
The last touches
We could add more textures to the piece, but it wouldn’t add much to the design. It’s better to stop there. Now, you could either leave the piece here, or add just a tiny bit more of contrast and grain. Either way is fine by me, and will equally look nice. You could also add fake folds too, but we’ll get to that in an upcoming tutorial.
The first of the finishing touches is to create a layer that contains a merged copy of all the layers of our piece. There’s a keyboard shortcut for that: CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+ALT/OPTION+E. Simply select your top layer, and press the keyboard shortcut. It will generate a new layer containing that merged copy of your piece. I renamed mine to “Comp” and placed it in its own layer group.
Next, make two copies of that layer. Name the bottom one Aged 2, and turn the top one off for now.
Download this Aged 2 action created by the good peeps at Go Media for an old tutorial, and run it on the Aged 2 layer. Put the layer on Soft light @ 25% opacity. The action created a photocopy type of effect, with something looking like old ink and grain. Below is a close up shot before and after switching the blending mode.
Finally, we’ll use the stamp effect action Jeff released a little while back. Run the action on that last copy of the Comp layer we have remaining. The action will create two layers, one with just the black pixels of the stamp effect, and another one (usually turned off) with some more details. Turn both of the layers on, merge them together, and call the result Stamp. Place that last layer on Soft light @ 25% opacity and you’re done!
If you want more info about the action before buying it, you can read this quick blog post written for its release.
And the piece is done! Using the metal dumpster texture pack, we were successfully able to age and destroy the design. You should totally mock-up your piece to impress your clients:
That’s it for me today. If you have any questions or suggestion about the tutorial or the textures, don’t hesitate to use the comments, or to tweet at me.
Hello there! Simon from Studio Ace of Spade here. Long time no see. I’m here to introduce you today to a texture pack I’ve created, called the photocopy noise texture pack. I’m delighted to announce that it’s finally on sale at the Arsenal!
What is the pack about?
What’s so special about this texture pack? First of all, these are hand-made textures. They were made using an old photocopier that had a toner on its last leg. The result is a pack of six fantastic noise textures. The process was simple: I created a black document in Ai, and printed it as many times as I could before the toner gave up. Because it was almost ready to throw away, it wouldn’t print a perfectly black sheet. I got these black rectangles, speckled with white spots and stripes. Once scanned in, cleaned up, and inverted, these make up for perfect noise textures.
A closer look at the content
Some technical data: you get six textures, that are around 4760×6400 @ 600 dpi. Here are what they look like:
How can I use these?
I thought you’d never ask! In order to demonstrate the possibilities of the textures, I’ve put a quick little tutorial/demo together, using Jeff’s Awakened t-shirt design pack as the base. We’ll use both Ai and Ps for this. Here’s a preview of what we’ll be doing:
Basically, we’ll use these to age Jeff’s design, along with a few other tricks here and there. Here’s a 100% crop, to get a better sense of what these textures are able to do:
Note that if you haven’t purchased the Awakened t-shirt pack, or have no idea of what I’m talking about, you should go read and watch more info: over here.
Let’s get started
Step 1: document setup
Jeff’s illustration is quite neat, and would look quite awesome on a print. So, let’s go ahead and create a new 24 inches wide by 18 inches tall Ps document @ 300 dpi.
Once you have that new document setup, fill its background with dark gray (#231f20), and setup guides for the center and margins. I might have gone a tad overboard with mine. My vertical guides are at the one, two, 11, 12, 13, 22, and 23 inch marks. My horizontal guides are at the one, two, eight, nine, 10, 16, and 17 inch marks.
Oh, and if you’ve read some of my other tutorials before, you’ll probably remember that I’m a stickler for proper layer naming and other Ps etiquette stuff. My background layer is named bg – #231f20, which gives me both its functionality and its color.
Step 2: importing the design
Let’s have a look at Jeff’s design:
As you can see, there are quite a few elements that compose it (feathers, purple circular element, red circles, white circle, blue geometrical element, silhouette, and off white stars). I could simply select everything, and copy and paste it in Ps. The only issue with doing that is that it won’t allow us to individually texture the elements. Since I want to do something refined and individualized, I won’t go that route. We’re going to copy and paste each element one by one. It’ll be a bit long, but worth it in the end.
Use the main image as a reference point to position your elements, and make sure that they’re always sized at 100%. Also, don’t forget to paste the elements as smart objects, so they retain their vector characteristics. It’ll be crucial for later.
Note: you may have to center or nudge elements manually.
The purple circular pattern.
The red circles.
The blue geometrical element.
The white circles.
The black silhouette.
Aligning the stars back in place (the top star is at the intersection of the top red circles).
Nudging the wings back in place.
Here’s a view of how the design elements are placed compared to my initial guides. If you want your design or some of its elements to be bigger or smaller within the finished print, now is the time to adjust the sizes. For instance, I’ve decided to size my design so it reaches the smaller rectangles inside of my guides.
And here’s a view of my layer stack so far.
Step 3: let’s roughen these vectors up
The next step will involve the use of Illustrator’s roughen filter (Effect > Distort and transform > Roughen). I learned about the effect through that 2011 Method and Craft article by Simon Walker. Basically, the effect distorts your paths and adds more or less subtle variations to them.
We’ll be applying the effect on all of the elements of the design, minus the wings. This is where retaining the smart object quality of the elements pasted in Ps comes handy. You simply have to double click on the layer thumbnails of the smart object in order to be brought back to Ai, and to be able to edit the vector element.
Let’s start with the purple circular pattern element. I’ve turned off the other elements of the design for better legibility, but you don’t have to.
Once you’ll double click on the layer thumbnail, Ai will open and you’ll be able to edit just that element.
Let’s select our element, and bring up the roughen filter (Effect > Distort and transform > Roughen). I suggest zooming in a little bit, in order to fully appreciate what the effect does to your paths. Oh, and tick that “Preview” box to see what’s happening.
Obviously, the default values are a bit extreme in terms of result. After a little bit of tinkering, the values I’ve settled on are the following:
- Size: 0.1%, relative
- Detail: 50/inch
- Points: smooth
Note that you can come up with your own values. These should be considered as a starting point for your own exploration. Also, you could decide to expand the various elements from strokes to paths, or to leave them as is. Once you’re happy with the filter’s values, validate them. The next step: save your work (CTRL/CMD+S), close the file in Ai, and head back to Ps for a little surprise…
The effect is applied! Isn’t that neat? Now, you’ll simply have to go through the same process for the other design elements (minus the wings, once again: the halftone effect they have is enough). I personally used the same values for the roughen filter for all the elements, as it gives consistency to the final piece, but you could spend the time to find the perfect values that works the best for each specific part of the design. Below, a few shots of the process, up close:
Note the special values I’ve ended up using for the white circles: the effect wasn’t visible enough with the other ones I settled on earlier, so I upped the ante a bit. I did return to my previous values for the other elements though.
And done with that part.
Step 4: textures!
Finally, we can play with textures here. The photocopy noise texture pack is made of black and white textures, which will somewhat dictate the workflow we’ll have with them. First, we need a bit of a refresher about blending modes. This wonderful article by PhotoBlogStop will give you every detail you ever wanted to know about them, including math (!), but we’ll focus on Screen:
Screen: Similar to the Lighten blend mode, but brighter and removes more of the dark pixels, and results in smoother transitions. Works somewhat like the Multiply blend mode, in that it multiplies the light pixels (instead of the dark pixels like the Multiply blend mode does). As an analogy, imagine the selected layer and each of the underlying layers as being 35mm slides, and each slide being placed in a separate projector (one slide for each projector), then all of the projectors are turned on and pointed at the same projector screen…this is the effect of the Screen blend mode. This is a great mode for making blacks disappear while keeping the whites, and for making glow effects.
The most interesting part of this quote is the emphasized sentence: “this is a great mode for making blacks disappear while keeping the whites, and for making glow effects.” It just happens that the noise effects in the textures from our pack ARE white speckles and stripes. So we simply have to put the textures on screen to retain just their noisy part, and the rest shows up as transparent. After that, if the effect is too strong, you simply play with the opacity slider of the texture layer. Let’s put this into practice by adding some noise to our background layer.
Go ahead and place photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-001.jpg in your design. It should be just above the background layer, and sized to cover the whole background.
Give it a quick sharpening (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen), and simply change the layer’s blending mode to Screen. As you can see, the effect is quite strong.
We’re simply going to lower the opacity of the layer to 25% for something a bit more subtle.
Also, I’ve given the background elements their own layer group.
It’s time to start adding our subtle noise to the rest of the design. We could simply use the texture clipped over each element, and tinker with the opacity sliders to create some subtle overlays. But this would show the noise as white or light gray speckles over each design elements. Most of these being line art, we wouldn’t see much of an effect.
We’re going to use another trick from our bag, and paste the textures in layer masks. Remember that whatever part of a layer mask that’s white shows the art, and whatever part of it that’s black hides it. Armed with knowledge, we can deduce that pasting the textures as is will simply obliterate the designs. Nothing subtle here. What we can do however is to invert the textures once they’ve been pasted in the layer masks. From there, playing with levels to increase or decrease the intensity of the effect is child’s play.
The process to paste a texture in a layer mask is easy:
- Add a layer mask to the design element you’re interested in impacting (with the layer highlighted, go to Layer > Layer mask > Reveal all). Make sure to click the little chain link between the layer and the layer mask to make it disappear. This will allow you to move or resize the content of the layer mask without changing the design element itself
- Open your texture file, copy its content (CTRL/CMD+C)
- Go back to your design, and ALT/OPTION + CLICK your layer mask. This will allow you to get access to and edit the content of the layer mask itself, rather than your design
- Paste your texture (CTRL/CMD+V)
- Resize and edit the content of the layer mask at will
- Click back on the design element and admire the result of your work
Here are some images of the process with the wings. I’ve used photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-001.jpg again.
Layer mask added and unlinked.
Pasting the texture in the layer mask.
Resizing the texture to cover the whole canvas. You have access to the same transform controls that outside of the layer mask (CTRL/CMD+T or CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+T for proportional transformations).
Inverting the texture (CTRL/CMD+I).
Using the levels palette (CTRL/CMD+L) to increase the contrast.
Admiring the result.
Comparison with the layer mask turned off.
Some of impacted areas highlighted.
As you can see, it’s quite a simple process, and the result with the photocopy noise texture pack are just the right amount of subtle.
Following a similar workflow, I worked my way through the other elements of the design, using textures #1 to #5 of the pack (#6 will used for the final finishing touch).
Below, some before and after pictures for each element:
Purple circular pattern, before
Purple circular pattern, after (background turned off for better effect appreciation)
Layer mask details
Red circles, before
Red circles, after
Layer mask details
It can seem that the effect is too subtle. Here’s a 100% crop to convince you otherwise:
Blue geometrical element, before
Blue geometrical element, after
Layer mask detail
White circles, before
White circles, after
Layer mask detail
Layer mask detail
Layer mask detail. Note that I’ve used the same textures than for the silhouette. I’ve simply moved it to the top right a little bit.
And here’s the full design after all that process:
We’re almost done. It’s time for the finishing touches.
Step 5: let’s wrap this up
Now that all of our design elements got their individual weathering treatment, it’s time to tie everything up together. In order to do so, we’ll first add a layer mask to the whole design layer group, and paste one of our textures in there. This will unite the elements together visually, by giving them a consistent weathering. I used photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-004.jpg for that (the one with the heavy striping).
Once that’s done, we’ll add two more textures at the top of our layer stack. The aim is the same: to tie all the elements visually together, by impacting them all with the same element. First, let’s add photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-005.jpg to our design. Make sure it fills the whole canvas.
Let’s make it significantly darker, so its effect will be much more intense.
After that, change its blending mode to Screen.
Since the effect was a tad overbearing, I lowered the opacity to 25%.
We could stay there, but I’d like a effect similar to a vignette, that would detach the center piece from the background a bit. I’ll be using photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-006.jpg to accomplish this. Let’s place it into our document, in a way similar to the image below (it’s been rotated upside down, and scaled up so it covers the whole design). I’ve also given the two top textures their own Global textures layer group.
Once it’s in place, simply change the blending mode to Soft light, and lover the layer opacity to 25%. This gives a much softer result than Screen, and still let’s the background’s subtle noise show through.
And we’re done! You could take the time to mock this up on a poster mockup template if you wanted to:
I hope you liked going through this tutorial as much as I liked writing it. I also hope it convinced you to get the photocopy noise texture pack, as well as Jeff’s Awakened tee design pack if it isn’t already done. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet at me (@simonhartmann)! I’ll also be watching the comments in the next few days. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, cheers!