photoshop creative

Use brushes for grunge artwork (part 1)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 1, 2014

Grab a dancer and choreograph a grunge-tastic composition combining textures, custom brushes and blend modes

1. Outline the subject

Open your subject and outline with the Pen tool. Refine path with the Direct Selection tool. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Return/Enter to make selection. Open a cool background, preferably with some grunge detail already – there are plenty on the web! – and place the subject onto it.

2. Position your figure

Ctrl/right-click the transplanted layer, and Convert to Smart Object. Cmd/Ctrl+T, Shift+drag a corner outward to scale up. Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate. Select the lower subject and go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur.

3. Set the Radial Blur

Set Amount to 50, Blur Method to Spin, Quality to Good. Click OK. Offset with the Move tool. Add a layer mask with the icon in the Layers palette. Use a soft, round brush at 50% Opacity to paint black into the mask to fade out areas.

4. Use Accented Edges

Select he upper subject, hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate. Go to Filter>Brush Strokes>Accented Edges. Set Width to 1, Edge Brightness to 9, Smoothness to 3. Add a layer mask, fill with black. Paint white with 90% Opacity to add to the effect.

5. Paint in some shadows

Create a a layer below the radial blur. Set foreground to black. Then use a soft, round brush at 80% Opacity to paint in some shadows around the dancer. Next, create a new layer above the radial blur, drop the brush’s Opacity to 40% and paint in some more shadows.

6. Bring on the grunge

Select the Brush tool. You can download free brushes from all over the internet, including our own File Silo if you’re bought an issue of Photoshop Creative. Pick a grunge brush and set Opacity to 100%, foreground colour to #6B1218. On a new layer below the subject, paint a spurting of colour.

7. Create scribbly streaks

Switch to another brush and then change the foreground colour to #9FE840. Create a new layer and paint several scribbly streaks. These will serve as dynamic accents with zing.

8. Whiter streaks

Change the foreground to #FFFFFF, drop the brush Opacity to 40%, and create a new layer. Using the first two grunge brushes, click some texture instead of clicking and dragging.

9. Muck it up

The brushwork for Steps 9-11 will be placed above the dancer. Create a new layer. Set brush Opacity to 100% and choose the first brush. Using a variety of colours, build up more texture.

10. Add illustrative accents

Switch to the second brush, drop Size to 10% and create a new layer. Using #FF1E57 and #FFFFFF, create illustrative accents to add fresh, vibrant energy that’ll stand out against the dark atmosphere. For variety, lower the Opacity on some strokes.

11. Draw crumbly lines

Switch to a third brush. Keep the colour at #FFFFFF, set 100% brush Opacity. On a new layer, paint on the subject’s body and make a few trailing lines emanating from her. We’re done with the brushes: let’s add some textures and adjustments now…

Take me to part 2!