Achieving the Worn/Textured Look  E-mail
User Rating: / 0
Written by christopher lands   
You've seen it everywhere and you're probably going to be asked to do it at some point. Adding a "worn" looking texture over an image can make it more visually appealing and sometimes even breathe life into a boring image.

Here is how to do this using digital photos.

For this example we will use a simple image created on a white/clear background in illustrator.



Save your file as an .ai file.

Run Photoshop and open up a digital image from your collection. Any digital image will do, but, a higher quality digital file from your own camera would be best. I prefer to use an image with a lot of texture in it. Shots of nature, automobile parts, damaged buildings, etc seem to work best.

I chose an image I shot at an aquarium because of the varied contrasts and textures it has.




Convert your file to a GRAYSCALE document.



Open up the CURVES menu. (COMMAND + M (Mac)/CONTROL + M (PC))

Play with the sliders and blow out the CONTRAST until you feel like you may have an interesting effect on your hands.



Convert your image to a BITMAP.



It will be okay to keep the OUTPUT number the same as the number in the INPUT field. Under "METHOD" select DIFFUSION DITHER and hit "OK".



Save this file as a .tif under the SAVE-AS menu. It may help to name this file something to reference it, I prefer 'overlay".

Go back into your Illustrator file and make a NEW LAYER on the top of your LAYERS PALETTE.

Under the FILE MENU, select PLACE. Choose the image marked overlay.tif (or whatever you named the Photoshop image) and select PLACE again.

Your "overlay" layer will now show up on top of your artwork in black.



Though a bitmapped .tif file is not vector you can still color it with a fill.

For this example select the "overlay" layer and give it a White fill. (You will want to color the overlay to match the color of your background.)



You're almost there.

Now move, stretch, push, pull, flip - do basically anything you want to that overlay layer until you're satisfied with how your particular overlay looks on your image.

Here is my end result.



There is an absolutely endless spectrum of things you can do with this technique. You may not find that the overlay you made worked best for your image. You can always go back and try using different contrast levels in photoshop, you can try stretching it a different way in Illustrator, or you can go back and just use a new photo alltogether. Sometimes it takes a few tries - using this technique has so many variables that it doesn't always work right the first time. It takes some visualizing but after doing this technique for quite a while you will find it easier to choose photos and choose the options that work best for you.

christopher lands

surrender art & design

blog comments powered by Disqus

Take A Poll

What Are You Most Interested In?
What Version Of Illustrator Do You Use?