worn & weathered photoshop tutorial

10 steps to add worn, weathered, distressed effects to artwork in Adobe Photoshop. See the home page for examples of what
can be done with this technique.

Step 1 - start

Start with two layers, one with your artwork the other with a background. In this example I used a wall texture but any flat colour will be fine, you can always experiment with different backgrounds at the end. This tutorial can be used to give an existing logo or even a small photograph a weathered look.

Step 2 - texture

Add some texture to your artwork by going to Filter> Noise> Add Noise. In this example I used an amount of 1.3%, with Gaussian & Monochromatic both selected. The noise filter gives the artwork a subtle grain.

Step 3 - lasso tool

Use the lasso tool to draw random shapes around the edges of your artwork. This is easier if zoomed in. Think of these shapes as being the rips and tears and try to draw the shapes freely. After you have drawn the first shape either proceed to step 4 or hold down shift to draw multiple shapes.

Step 4 - cutting

Cut away or delete the shapes drawn in step 3 to allow parts of the background to show through. Keep cutting away around the artwork (combining steps 3 & 4) until you are happy with the overall look. In this example I have also cut away a thin strip diagonally across the top of the 'h' to make the artwork look like it has been slashed or scratched.

Step 5 - erasing

Using the eraser tool set to a size of one pixel delete small amounts around the edges and corners of the artwork. Be careful not to overdo it, erasing single pixels at a time rather than drawing with the eraser will produce the best results.

Step 6 - brushing

Select a one pixel sized brush with the colour set to the same as the background of your artwork, (in this example blue) and randomly brush over small amounts of the text/logo. This gives the effect that the text/logo is weathered and the background colour is showing through.

Step 7 - diffuse the artwork

Go to Filter> Stylise> Diffuse, in this example I selected 'Darken Only'. Then go to Edit > Fade Diffuse to reduce the effect to around 20% or whatever looks the best. Without the fade the filter will be too strong and will not look natural. Diffusing helps to give the artwork a printed look and also softens slightly the cuts done in step 4.

Step 8 - add two new layers

At this stage you could stop, but I like to add couple of final touches. Ctrl+click (command+click on a Mac) on the layer name of your artwork in the layers palette. This creates a selection from the shape of the artwork, now create 2 new layers from the selection shape. Fill or copy one using the same colour as your background (gray in this example) and fill the other layer black. Remove the selection ready for the next steps.

Step 9 - subtle shadow

You should now have 4 layers, these should be in this order - artwork top, layer created from background second, black shape third and finally the background. Select the black filled shape and go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur, in this example I used an amount of 1.5 pixels. Next reduce the opacity of the layer to around 20% and move the layer one or two pixels down. This creates a very subtle shadow between the artwork and background.

Step 10 - rotate

The final step, in the layers palette select the main artwork layer, then excluding the background layer link the other 3 layers together. Next go to Edit> Transform> Rotate and rotate the layer between 0.1-1.0 degrees. This helps to give the effect that the artwork has been placed randomly, and completes your worn and weathered artwork.

See the home page for more examples of what can be done with this technique.

There are other techniques that can be used to enhance the steps above, the best way is to experiment with the various filters and effects to
create the desired look and feel.

Here are some external links to other weathering, grunge and antique effect tutorials -

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