Photoshop assistance
August 12, 2005 10:52 PM   Subscribe

What Photoshop technique is best for making rough or tattered looking borders like the one in this header or this background? How can I make 3-D organic shapes like these or these or this? As a web design newbie, help me break out of the flat, 1-dimensional, 4-cornered box -- any other good examples of scratchy organic patterns & shapes, and advice on how to achieve them?
posted by jenleigh to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You might want to look into the Photo/Graphic Edges plugin for Photoshop.
posted by Jairus at 10:54 PM on August 12, 2005

You also might want to consider The Wicked Worn Look series of tutorials, with instructions and downloadable Photoshop files.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:00 PM on August 12, 2005

Vector illustration tools are your friend for some of the websites you link to as examples. If you use Illustrator, you can draw paths and export them to Photoshop, where they can be rendered as a compound bitmap and modified with Photoshop tools, then downsized, layered or otherwise prepared for web publication.
posted by Rothko at 1:01 AM on August 13, 2005

One key to getting good tattered or rough effects like this is to ignore Photoshop for the time being.

Get dirty, get real. Buy or borrow some brushes, chalk, charcoal, whatever. Scribble. Photocopy it. Tear the paper. Have fun.

Then scan it in.

And THEN you can tweak it in Photoshop. You'll be surprised at the beauty and unexpected forms that can emerge when you don't start with a digital or otherwise synthetic source. Sure, it can be done, but this is more fun, yields a more unique result, and will guarantee that it doesn't look like the same effect the other guy has.
posted by robbie01 at 2:05 AM on August 13, 2005

Ditto on kirkaracha's suggestion. Very good site.

Complete aside from the topic but how can I make a link in post?
posted by eatcake at 8:17 AM on August 13, 2005

To hell with filters and plug-ins. robbie01 is right.

Don't forget that your scanner is a very good camera. Scan in leaves, lines scrawled in marker on rough watercolor paper, crumpled-up aluminum foil, bits of seaweed. Then take them into photoshop and distort the hell out of them -- NO FILTERS. You'll get unreproducable roughness, which is the point.

My favorite for a border used to be to tear masking tape in half lengthwise, scan that, and make a silhouette of the result. You get something with just a trace of texture to it, enough to take you away from a flat straight line.

It is important not to overdo it. You don't have to crumple the hell out of things or make them ridiculously rough. Even a straight line drawn freehand with a Sharpie on glossy paper has more life to it than the line that software generates. Practically anything with an organic origin attracts the eye in a way flat shapes don't.
posted by argybarg at 8:39 AM on August 13, 2005

You can also take the textures you scan and convert them to brushes for some interesting effects, especially if you have a tablet.
posted by Sangre Azul at 9:48 AM on August 13, 2005

the 3d shapes are usually created in 3ds max or something similar, rendered with a glass texture, and imported into photoshop.

some of the Natural brushes will also give you the effect you want... use them with the eraser tool.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:43 PM on August 13, 2005

You can also download tons of grunge brushes online that look amaxingly similar to a few of your examples. Just search for Photoshop Brushes.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:24 PM on August 13, 2005

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