In the real world, when you paint on a rough surface, such as timber, you can see the texture coming through the paint and see areas that were missed by the paint brush. To recreate this same look in the digital world, most people just use Blending modes. But this doesn’t always work — blending can make our word art titles and overlays look too dark or too light. Also, it’s still an even coverage, which doesn’t allow for the natural “holes” where the paint wouldn’t have cover properly.
In this technique, we’re going to use a set of Distressed Wood Brushes to non-destructively erase parts of our word art or overlay so it looks more realistic. This technique is also helpful when you want something to look old and weather-worn.
The products I have used for my examples are the Homespun Christmas Collection Biggie and Brush Set: Distressed Wood Biggie.
This is the effect we’re going to create:
1. Click on the Move tool, and drag the word art or overlay onto your wood background. If it’s word art, you may want to fill it with the color of your choice. (Most word art is provided in black, but you would almost always change the color to one that coordinates with your layout colors.)
2. Get the Brush tool and open the Brush Preset Picker. In the upper right corner, open the fly-out menu, and choose Load Brushes. Navigate to where you have downloaded the brush set on your hard drive, select it and click Open.
3. Press the letter D to return your color chips to the default of Black and White.
4. In the Layers panel, activate the word art layer and click on the Add Layer Mask icon. It should be filled with white, but if not, click on it and press Ctrl- Shift-Backspace (Mac: Cmd-Shift-Delete) to fill it with white.
The Distressed Wood brush set has been made from the Homespun Christmas Wood papers so they will match the paper texture perfectly. However, they will still work on any wood background. Some have the heavier lines where the palings join and some are just textured wood in between the palings, so you have lots to choose from.
1. Select the brush that best suits the area you want to stamp out. In the Tool Options, make sure that the Blend mode is Normal and Opacity and Flow are 100%. With the Layer Mask Activated and the Foreground Color Black, on your page, stamp over the word art. If applicable, try to line up the heavier lines on the areas of wood where the palings join.
With Layer masks, White reveals and Black conceals. So, although you could have just used the Eraser Tool and stamped directly on your word art to distress it, you are permanently erasing your embellishment. By using a Layer Mask, you can always change the Foreground Color to White and stamp the color back in if you feel you overdid it. If you want to start over, just activate the Layer Mask and press Ctrl Shift Backspace (Mac: Cmd Shift Backspace) to fill it with white again.
Once you have stamped in black on your white Layer Mask, it should look similar to this:
2. To view your layer mask up close, like the screenshot above, go to the Layers panel and activate it by clicking it, then press the Alt key (Mac: Opt key). Click on it again to see it fill your layout. Repeat the last step to hide it again.
In my next example, I’ll show you how you can combine Blend modes and distress stamping together to get this effect.
3. Repeat the previous steps for adding your embellishment, using a Layer Mask and the brushes to distress the overlay (but remember that you don’t recolor these overlays as they are meant to be used as is).
4. In the Layers panel, change the Blend Mode of your layer to Multiply. Now you’ll see that it’s too dark. But we’ll fix that in the next step.
5. Press Ctrl-J (Mac: Cmd-J) to duplicate the layer (including its layer mask), and now change the Blend mode to Screen. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 58%. Now it will look like the example above. If you are working with a different overlay and background paper than the ones pictured, the Opacity level of the Screen layer may need to be adjusted.
*Note: You won’t be able to merge these layers as that will upset the Blend modes combination. Once your page is completely finished, just create a JPG copy of your page and your overlay will look exactly as it does now.
I hope you enjoy experimenting further with non-destructive distressing. I can assure you that it is very addictive!
(Click the images below to be taken to their product pages)
Tutorial written by Susie Roberts