May 12, 2012

Distressed and Textured Type Tutorial

If you look at my Deviant Art gallery, you'll see that I enjoy experimenting with Photoshop collages. Recently, I discovered Scottish collage artist Astrid Maclean, whose creations I can only aspire to imitate.

A collage I made in Photoshop. Note the text in the background.

While trying to make something in Astrid's style, I discovered a nifty technique for distressing type. Here are examples using both script and serif fonts. In my example, I'm keeping the text in black and white because step 6 doesn't work well with colors. You can always color the text after you're done messing with it. On the other hand, if you want to stop at step 4, use any color you like.
  1. Type your text.
  2. Copy text layer to create a new layer.
  3. Create a white background layer and merge it with the copied text layer. Note: this will rasterize the text and make it non-editable! 
  4. Select Filter > Ocean Ripple. Set both Ripple Size and Ripple Magnitude to 1.

    You can stop here, or continue:
  5. Filter > Gaussian Blur. I used 1.8 for the top text, 2.2 for the bottom. In general, the thinner the ligatures, the less blur you want.
  6. Image > Adjustments > Levels. Drag the white slider and the black slider both closer to the middle. Adjust the sliders until you're satisfied with the way it looks. You can also use Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen to do this.
If you make something using this tutorial, please post a link in the comments. I'd love to see your creations!

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