splatter me!
October 12, 2005 3:35 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a good splatter effect in Photoshop? [+]

I am thinking of something along the lines of this or these (one and two). More or less, what it would look like if you pulled a Jackson Pollock.... I'm a relative PS n00b, so instructions and/or tutorial would be much appreciated. My googlefu has turned up some potentials, but they are ridden pesky adverts and broken links.
posted by whatitis to Technology (14 answers total)
There's this blood splatter photoshop tutorial, but it may be more advanced than what you want.
posted by driveler at 3:41 PM on October 12, 2005

Response by poster: thanks for the suggestion driveler, but that's more of a glorified 'cut and paste' operation. i'm looking for a way to make it myself...
posted by whatitis at 3:47 PM on October 12, 2005

Don't try to play god. Splatter some paint and scan/retouch it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:48 PM on October 12, 2005

What StickyCarpet said. 5 mins in real life will beat a lifetime of tweaking in photoshop.
posted by fire&wings at 4:00 PM on October 12, 2005

Yes, what they said -- why spend hours doing something that will take you five minutes to do by hand in the "real world" -- plus it will look better to boot. (That's why the pros do it that way.)
posted by jca at 4:19 PM on October 12, 2005

Response by poster: can you humor me and tell me how i might do it in photoshop then if i were feeling especially masochistic?
posted by whatitis at 4:26 PM on October 12, 2005

Another one for doing it by hand. I used to have a whole folder of splatters that I made in an afternoon. Theres really no good way to fake it in photoshop unless you draw a splatter manually, which just won't look as real. Experiment with different viscocities when you splatter, for extra variety.
posted by atom128 at 4:28 PM on October 12, 2005

it's not that complicated, if you insist on making it digitally. i would start by making a sort of blobby shape at the center, like an amoeba or whatever. then in a new layer, make a small circle. copy it around, at different sizes, to positions where it intersects the amoeba shape, and to positions outside the amoeba shape. so far you have a splat with no indication of direction. now make a new shape that is not perfectly round, but a bit more tear-shaped. let's say its pointier side is on the right. this would indicate it's a splat of paint traveling towards the left. copy variations of this shape more heavily to the left side of your splatter. now make an even more directional shape and copy it to positions further to the left. now make shapes that is almost not a drop anymore, but closer to a line, and copy that around to the far left. all the while remember to vary things and position them in places that are logical according to the directional force you are imagining.

finally, you'll need to sprinkle with LOTS of really tiny dots that vary in opacity. do this by making a small brush set to something like 40% opacity, and click in dots all over the place, especially near bigger clusters of "paint". on some of the dots you draw click twice or three times. this way the drops increase in opacity and also in size to some degree. you should make these tiny drops in a separate layer so you can copy an area that you make and use it in another area, rotated/flipped to save time and hide the fact that you're reusing the same drops.
posted by edlundart at 5:47 PM on October 12, 2005

Splatter some ink on paper and scan it, it will be fun! I would be without a doubt they did something similar in the pics you listed.
but if I was humoring you -
Get lots of reference pictures of blood splatters, so you can see what sort of patterns they make.
And just paint it using the paintbrush with a hard edge. A wacom tablet will help. theres also a bunch of spray like custom brushes that may be useful. you could also make your own custom brushes using other images, but again thats sort of a cut and paste thing.
I know what you want to hear is a sort of make a circle, use this filter, then that filter, but honestly its so much easier in the long run to just learn to use elements from other sources, or learn to draw.
posted by phyle at 6:02 PM on October 12, 2005

There are a bunch of splatter brushes that I downloaded that you may be interested in. Much faster than making your own custom brushes or filtering to death. Searching searching...
Ok. I can't find it. I'll just throw it on my server for a night so you can grab them. splatter.abr . I wish I could remember where I got them so I could give the artist credit. I keep thinking it was R4di0Splatz or something. Put these in your brushes folder; Adobe Photoshop>presets>brushes.

Also, for a random brush effect in PS, select the brush tool and preferred size/shape, click a tab in the upper right called "brushes" and you can make a bunch of adjustments there including one called "scatter" that will make it look a bit splattered as well. Most of the effects in this menu are best with tablets, but you can use a mouse if you select "fade" as the option in the drop down menu.

The first two samples you have shown would be easily reproduced with the brush set I have offered. The last example, however, each butterfly was placed deliberately and not just thrown on randomly.

Happy Photoshop fun!
posted by idiotfactory at 6:39 PM on October 12, 2005

Try this:

1) Select the Paintbrush Tool. On the Options Panel, make sure the Mode is set to normal and Opacity and Flow to 100%.

2) Window > Brushes should bring up the Brushes Palette. The rest of the steps, below, will involve changing settings in that panel.

3) In the Brushes panel, click the words "Brush Tip Shape." In the Brush Tip Shape parameters, select any simple, round brush shape from the presets (in other words, don't choose one of the funky shakes, like the leaf-shaped brush -- just choose a dot). Set Diameter to 60, Angle to 0, Roundness to 100%, Hardness to 0% and Spacing to 25%.

4) Click the words "Shape Dynamics." Set Size Jitter to 100%, Minimum Diameter to 1%, Angle Jitter to 65%, Roundness Jitter to 5% and Minimum Roundness to 5%.

5) Click "Scattering." Set Setter to 194%, Count to 1 (you may want to play with this setting) and Count Jitter to 90%.

6) Click "Other Dynamics." Set Opacity Jitter to 50% and Flow Jitter to 0%.

7) Below "Other Dynamics," there are some options you can check or uncheck. Leaving the rest unchecked, check Noise, Wet Edges and Airbrush.

8) Try dragging your brush around on the canvas. Try just holding the mouse down in one position.

9) After all that hard work, make sure your brush is saved: from the flyout menu in the upper-right corner of the Brushes Palette (click the little triangle), select the "New Brush..." option. Name your brush something original like "Splatter." Your brush will now be available in the "Brush Tip Shape" options (as a preset) whenever you need it.
posted by grumblebee at 8:13 PM on October 12, 2005

Response by poster: thanks edlundart, phyle and idiotfactory! appreciate it. i promise i'll splatter some ink on paper
posted by whatitis at 8:56 PM on October 12, 2005

So what am I, chopped liver?

Seriously, try my technique. Even if you prefer one of the other (good) approaches listed here, mine will take you five minutes and you'll learn a heck of a lot about PS brushes. And you'll have fun.
posted by grumblebee at 9:02 PM on October 12, 2005

Response by poster: no, no chopped liver here.. i appreciate all responses. (=
posted by whatitis at 7:08 AM on October 13, 2005

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