Part Two: Using Photoshop’s Native Filters
~ 02 June 2004 ~
“That Wicked Worn Look”
Before starting Part Two, let’s get one thing straight — anyone who tags me as “the Martha Stewart of worn styling techniques” once this series is over gets their IP banned indefinitely. </rant>
Alright, let’s begin, shall we?
I’ll be frank — this tutorial will likely not cover some of the more common Photoshop aging filters you may have been expecting, such as the Mezzotint and Dust & Scratches filters. I’ve never been fond of the canned effects they produce. I prefer a less conventional, more realistic approach. But if you’re still looking for such a tutorial, hit the checkout stand and try this one.
The technique I’ll introduce is a completely proprietary one, developed after years, er months, er, I give — it only took a few hours to produce the technique.
Yet it really is a bona fide proprietary one. I even considered some pretentious name for the technique, such as the “Moll Worn Technique.” The name “Worn Technique Filter” also crossed my mind, but the shortened acronym wasn’t all that flattering.
Alas, I settled on a blatantly descriptive, no-frills name: The Sharpened Blur.
The Sharpened Blur
Shouldn’t require a manual to explain how the technique works. It’s just that. A blur that’s been sharpened.
Here goes. Hold on tight.
Step 1 – Create artwork (wicked-style, indeed)
No instructions needed here. You know what to do. Go make something, Picasso. And come back when you’re done.
Step 2 – Apply “foundation wear”
Using the techniques from Part One, here’s where we apply foundation wear to start the aging process. Again, you could stop here and walk away a winner. But let’s roll the dice and add a few layers of flavor.
Step 3 – Brush it like random
Okay kids, this is where the Sharpened Blur thoroughbred leaves the gates. And it’s insanely simple to jockey — just add a few random strokes with the brush tool, 1–3px round brush. Random is the key.
Step 4 – Gauss it real slick, Jimmy
Next comes the blur. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter a value of 3px (or a variant for additional textures).
Step 5 – Sharpen filter. Rinse. Repeat.
Select Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen. Then do it again. And again. After repeating the process several times, a dotted pattern will begin to emerge. Stop when you’re satisfied with the pattern. You could do an Unsharp Mask filter at 100–500% to speed up the process, but I’ve found the results are better with the Sharpen filter repeated several times.
Step 6 – Done.
Finally, duplicate the layer you just created by dragging the layer over the New Layer button on the Layers palette (or Layer > Duplicate Layer). Duplicate a few more times, randomly reposition the layers over the artwork, drop the opacity to 70% or so, and you’re done. The effect it produces is something akin to stitched fabric that’s been through the wash too many times.
Open Source Download
Those of you on dial-up are likely to name your first child “Wicked” — this week’s download is a mere 52 KB.
The subject matter is the avatar used for the instruction above, complete with original and finished artwork, and even the pre-filtered brush strokes for practice.
That’s it. Come back for Part Three in just una semana, chico.
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