The “web 2.0” look has taken over the web and has given it a very clean and polished look. Nothing against this, but I wanted to throw something of the opposite into the mix.
If done right, a nice grungy look can be rather refreshing these days. By creating a rusty street sign, I’ll show you some techniques you can use to make your next design downright nasty.
Step 1: The Gradient
No Photoshop tutorial would be complete without some sort of gradient in the background. For this particular one, I used #4C4D50 and #909498. I applied this radial gradient to a 500 pixel square canvas.
Step 2: The Sign
In this step, I used the rounded rectangle and custom shape tool (U) to create a basic looking sign. Just do a Google image search for signs to get a little inspiration. The possibilities are endless.
After you are happy with your sign, flatten all the layers you used to create it. Name the layer “Sign”. You may want to copy the original layers and hide them in a folder for safe keeping in case you need to revert to it later.
Step 3: The Grime
The next step will involve 5 different filters/effects to for the specific texture that is needed.
Create a new layer and name it “Grime”.
Ctrl click the “Sign” layer to make a selection of the rounded rectangle shape. With the “Grime” layer selected go to Filter > Render > Clouds with #88733B as the foreground color and #4B3A17 and the background color.
On the same layer, go to Filter > Texture > Grain. Set the Intensity to 100 and Contrast to 50. Choose Speckle for the grain type.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and play with the levels until you get a good contrast. Use my example as a guide. There are no right or wrong values.
Go to Filter > Artistic > Dry Brush. I set the Brush Size to 5, Brush Detail to 10 and the Texture to 1.
Go to Filter > Noise> Add Noise. I set the amount to 7 and selected Gaussian as the distribution and checked Monochromatic.
Step 3 Final:
Make a backup copy of the “Grime” layer as it is now. We will use it as rust in the next step.
Set the blending mode to Screen on the “Grime” layer and give it a 50% opacity. This shows up nicely in the dark area.
So the texture shows up better in the lighter areas, duplicate the “Grime” layer and call it “Grime 2”. Set the blending mode to Hard Light and give it a 10% opacity.
The toxic icon in the middle was a little too light and showed too much texture so I used the eraser with 20% opacity to erase some of the texture in that area.
Step 4: The Rust
Now to add some rust. You don’t want to overdue this effect. You will want to take time to refine each step so that it looks good. Results will vary so don’t think that you have to use all the exact settings that I did for this particular piece.
Ctrl click the “Sign” layer to make a selection of the rounded rectangle. Go to your Channels tab and create a new channel. Then, fill the selection with white.
Deselect [ctrl + d] the selection. Go to Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint. Set the type to Medium Strokes. Take a brush with the color black and add some extra detail like the corners.
Go to Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches. Set the Radius to 3 pixels and the Threshold to 0 pixels.
Go to Filter > Brush Strokes > Spatter. I set the Spray Radius to 13 and Smoothness to 8. Again, results may vary.
Step 4 final:
Remember that backup copy of the “Grime” layer that we kept? Unhide it and move it to the top of all the layers. Name it “Rust”.
Go back to your channels and Ctrl click the channel you just made to make a selection out of it.
Hide that channel and show the standard RGB channels. Then go back to your layers. Make sure you are on the “Rust” layer, and with the selection from the channel you just made, hit Delete to erase the excess rust.
I added a couple of layer styles to the “Rust” layer.
Inner Glow with the following settings changed from the default: Blend Mode set to Multiply. Color changed to #412608. Choke set to 0% and Size at 24px.
Outer Glow with the following settings changed from the default: Blend Mode set to Darker Color. Color changed to #372107. Opacity at 50% and Noise at 10%. Spread set to 9% and Size at 21px.
Step 5: The End
To finish things off I added some extra detail like the screws, rust streaks and drop shadow. The screws were pretty easy to make, just use shapes and give them some Bevel & Emboss layer styles and use the same rust effect. Use Filter > Stylize > Wind and Filter > Blur > Motion Blur to create the rust streaks.
I would like to see what you come up with from this tutorial (some bullet holes would be a great addition). Let me know what you think.