photoshop, spraypaint, stencil
March 23, 2010 9:49 PM   Subscribe

How can I give an image the look of a spray painted stencil using Photoshop?

I have my image ready to go - simple text. But trying to give it a distressed look, as if it were turned into a stencil and spraypainted on a wall.

Surprisingly can't find an online tutorial that is exactly what I'm after... or at least deliver a convincing look. And I'm trying to avoid video tutorials which put me to sleep.

I can easily cheat the paint drip that sometimes results, but mainly looking to make the image itself have the grain that comes from spray, and sometime the buildup of paint around the edges.
posted by Unsomnambulist to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but why don't you just use a stencil font that has a painted-on look?
posted by hermitosis at 9:56 PM on March 23, 2010

Response by poster: I have a custom logo. So, my wording of "simple text" is a little misleading, but meant to say its already ready as a stencil - now just needs to be given the spraypainted on a wall look.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 10:12 PM on March 23, 2010

In this case I actually think the easiest thing would be to print the logo out in high contrast and create your own stencil. You'll be able to get the most natural look in probably the quickest time. It's pretty simple to create a stencil.
posted by cyphill at 10:22 PM on March 23, 2010

You're going to need several high resolution texture files, things like concrete and dirt. Start layering them, with varying opacities and overlay. Put your logo with an overlay blending, mask it up with spray textures, gradient opacity masks. Fiddle until you get the look you want. And awwhell I hope you didn't want this vector/scaleable.

Or just put a post on craigslist, and pay someone $50 to cut a stencil and spray it for you.
posted by fontophilic at 10:25 PM on March 23, 2010

Try this tutorial to create the text.

Combine this with an image of a wall - use your blending modes. For example, once you create your stencil text from this tutorial, find a good, high res wall image. Open both in different layers. Place the text file above the wall layer, and select 'overlay' in your blending modes. Try all the different blend options until something works - you can tweak the opacity to fine tune.

Surprisingly can't find an online tutorial that is exactly what I'm after... or at least deliver a convincing look.

What you're asking is totally possible in photshop, but it's somewhat complex, and you might need accept the fact that if tutorials put you to sleep, exploring other options as others have suggested - such as creating the image physically and digitizing using a camera - might be more appropriate for this particular project.
posted by archivist at 10:50 PM on March 23, 2010

Best answer: I think I know exactly what you mean.
posted by juicedigital at 11:14 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

That tutorial could be improved slightly (in my opinion) by adding a solid white rectangle the size the stencil would be behind your text layer, with the fuzzy edged airbrushing on yet another layer behind that - that will give you a nice crisp stencil edge.
posted by davey_darling at 5:15 AM on March 24, 2010

I do this all the time: In the layers palette, make a new layer on top of your text layer. Right click the 'T' icon of your text layer and click 'Select Pixels' (this will make a selection around your text. Now on the layer above your text, using the color you want, select your paintbrush tool and use a textured brush to paint in the selected area. It takes a little practice and experimentation with different brushes/settings, but you'll get it! Then your new layer will have the "text" redone in your textured or spray painted style (then turn off the visibility of your original text layer).
posted by Eicats at 7:24 AM on March 24, 2010

Juice, that looks oddly 3D.

I'd probably grow the selection of the original text, and then airbrush with diminished opacity to one side of each character.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2010

Response by poster: Okay - figured this out with a simpler way, combining techniques mentioned above.

1. Take a layer, any layer, and copy it.
2. On the lower layer, add a gausian blur (5px or so).
3. Blend the two layers.
4. Now using the erase tool at about 35% opacity, and using a rough brush, click on a couple spots of the image. Maybe use a couple different brushes, and/or different opacities on different spots.
5. Pretty much done.

As pointed out, some experimentation will go a long way. This provided a pretty organic way to make it work. Didn't quite get down how to replicate the build up of paint around some edges, but for what I need the above worked.

posted by Unsomnambulist at 5:46 PM on March 29, 2010

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