Photoshop Tutorial: Creating the “Grunge/Weathered” look

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: January 4, 2011

Category: General

Well for the first official post of the year I thought I’d kick off with a Photoshop Tutorial showing a technique I used in one of the ‘Karate Kid’ images a couple of weeks ago…

The technique I’m talking about is how I added the flag onto the wall in the image above and gave it the gunge/weathered look so that it looked like it had been there for some time.

Now I did consider recording a short video to show the technique but to be honest there’s hardly anything to it so I decided on a written walkthough…

Step 1:
In Photoshop the background ‘Wall Layer’ was opened then on top of this the flag was sized and positioned …

Step 2:
The blend mode of the ‘flag’ layer is then changed to Soft Light. This allows for texture from the wall below to show through and gives the impression that the flag has been painted onto it. To increase the ‘aged’ effect the opacity of the flag layer was then reduced to around 30% …

Step 3:
The next stage is to increase the overall weathered look to the flag so first of all select a Brush by pressing ‘B’ on the keyboard and then using the menus, selecting a rough/patterned brush. When selecting a brush in the top menu one of the options is ‘Opacity’ and this will come handy in a moment…

Step 4:
A white layer mask was added to the flag layer and then using the brush tool already selected and the foreground colour set to black, paint/dab randomly over the flag. This will remove parts of the flag in patches giving the overall ‘weathered’ look where over time paint would fade and disappear. To add just a touch more realism, when using the brush vary it’s size and also lower the opacity occasionally so that there are varying degrees of ‘faded’ patches…

And that is all there is to it. Of course you don’t have to use the Soft Light blend mode; choosing ‘Overlay’ for example would give the flag a more ‘contrasty’ look but that’s the great thing about blend modes; just by playing around with them you can come up with all manner of effects.

Hope you found this useful and as always, if you have any questions/comments then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.
Enjoy 🙂

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  1. Claudio von grubens

    Hi glyn!

    nice and simple! looking forward to more of that kind!


    • Glyn

      @Claudio…Glad you like it mate and yeah lots more of that planned too.


  2. Tim Wallace

    Nice one Glyn, all Walls should have union jacks on them…lol, I know some of my industrial car shots do…!
    A great post and simple clear technique, brilliant mate.

    • Glyn

      @Tim…Cheers for the comment mate 🙂 Totally agree with the use of the flag too; I’ve seen it in some of your shots…The Morgan if I remember rightly and it so works!

      Thanks again for commenting; really appreciate it.
      All the best to you,

  3. Steve Fell

    Great stuff Glyn


    • Glyn

      @Steve…Thanks mate, glad you like it.

      Cheers, Glyn 🙂

  4. Heather Williams

    Thank you so much for sharing. From a new photog it is hard to find places to learn new things. Your stuff is absolutely amazing. Thanks again, and look forward to learning more.

    • Glyn

      @Heather…Thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment; that’s so very kind of you; it’s great to hear that you find the blog useful.

      All the very best to you,
      Glyn 🙂


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