Design inspiration can come from all kinds of sources. Dirt, stones and rust can be excellent sources of inspiration for textured and grunge-style designs. Many websites are now using textured background images to replicate these items, and these techniques can be used in a variety of ways in graphic design.
In this post, we'll look at some photographs and websites for inspiration, tutorials to show some techniques for incorporating these textures into your work, and some Photoshop brushes to make it easier.
How to Create a Copper Photoshop Text Effect
Alvaro Guzman wrote an excellent tutorial a few months ago for Psdtuts+ for creating a copper text effect. In the tutorial, Alvaro also shows how to create a grungy, rusty background. In this case, he starts with a rusty photo, but he makes some adjustments to create a drastically better background image for the text effect.
Dirty Wall Texture
This tutorial from PhotoshopPoint.com starts with an image of a rocky wall and shows to how turn it into the dirty, grungy texture that you see here. The end result is not drastically different than the stock photo, but the tutorial shows some techniques that can be used when working with these types of textures.
Create a Nature Inspired Painted Background in Photoshop
Design Reviver has an excellent tutorial for creating a nature-inspired background that features an earthy feel. The tutorial uses a few different free brushes to create the texture of the mountains and the sky, as well as other brushes for the trees.
Create a Rusty Surface Texture
This tutorial from FieryDarts.com shows how to make a rusty texture in Photoshop from scratch. There are no stock textures or brushes used, just some creativity and Photoshop goodness to get the rusty look.
Stone Face Overlay Photoshop Tutorial
The tutorial from Voidix is a bit different than the others shown here in that it teaches how to take a stone texture and apply it to a photograph. The end result is a grungy, textured photo that's not very difficult to create. This technique could be applied in many different ways with other textures and photos.
Creating a Realistic Stone Texture Using Photoshop
Andrew Houle of My Ink Blog has a nice tutorial for creating a cracked stone surface. In the tutorial Andrew starts from scratch to create the stone texture, and later he adds a photo of a cracked sidewalk as an overlay to create a more dramatic stone texture. There are also plenty of cracks brushes that could be used in this way as well.
Bird Shit, Rust and Paint
Here is another example of color and rust together in a striking photograph. Unlike the previous photo where blue was the only vibrant color, this photo includes a variety of colors (including yellow, blue and red) of peeling paint and rust.
This photo is in the gallery of deviantART user KateBlue. The rusty photo actually comes from an old lamppost. This photo is very intriguing because of the multiple colors and the peeling of the rust. In addition to just having the rusty color, there's plenty of green in the photo, and it has significant texture with the curves and the peeling of the rust and paint.
This is a very interesting photo from deviantART user TeaCupie. The photo really captures the texture of both the dirt and the hand that's holding it. You can see the dirt in the cracks of her hand and trapped under her fingernails. While the previous photos of rust showcased bright colors, this black and white photo creates a dramatic effect with black and white.
In this photo a single white flower sits on top of a dirt ground. The subject of the photo is lit, while the edges of the photo fade into darkness. The clean, bright white flower is contrasted nicely by the dark and textured ground beneath it.
This is an interesting photo of stones that are arranged to create the face of a man. Everything including the eyes, glasses, mouth, beard, ear, and hat are created by the placement, size, shape and color of the stones.
Stone Henge II
This dark photo of Stone Henge comes from deviantART user GreenEyedHarpy, who also has another excellent photo of Stone Henge here. While there are plenty of photos of Stone Henge, this does a nice job of capturing the texture of the stones.
Moroccan Rust I
When I think about photos of rust, I wouldn't normally expect to see much color. This photo, however, capture a vibrant and bright blue door. The rust and the bright color create an interesting contrast, and the result is an attention-grabbing photo. There are a few other impressive photos from the series as well.
All of the Viget blogs feature beautiful designs that have frequently been featured in design galleries. The Viget Extend design uses a background image that includes the sky, grass, and ground. While there are other designs of this style, Viget's has an authentic earthy feel that even includes a plant root extending into the dirt.
The Siena Hotel website has a large background image with a dirty, aged look. The dirty old photo style dramatically changes the look of the entire website. A similar effect could be created in Photoshop with a photo and some textures (possibly by using brushes).
Nue(me)dia's portfolio site features a dark background that includes a grungy background that resembles a stone texture or a dirty wall. While dark portfolio sites are common, this texture helps to give Nue(me)dia a more distinct look. On the sides and the bottom of the texture, the background fades into a solid dark gray color.
RockPoint's website features a rocky, textured background that fits well with the content of the site and it's target audience. Like Nu(me)dia's background, this rocky texture fades to a solid dark background lower on the page.
Giblette also uses a dark, textured background. In this case the background includes a stone brick wall. The textured background creates a much different feel than the site would have with a solid black background.
A rather unusual set of mountain brushes are available from Scully7491 on deviantART. Mountains are often very useful in backgrounds of websites and other types of graphic design. While there are plenty of ways to create mountains, these brushes present one quick and easy solution. The brushes are 1024 pixels.
Concrete Rust Brushes
This pack of brushes that is available at Brusheezy includes 9 different brushes for creating rusty effects. Each of the brushes is between 1000 pixels and 2500 pixels, with most being on the larger end of that scale. The brushes could be used separately or in combination to create your own rust textures.
Grunge Rust Brushes
Qbrushes offers this set of 13 brushes for creating various rust effects. The brushes aren't the biggest that you'll find, but the quality is good. The brushes range from 700 pixels to 1000 pixels, and there is a good bit of variety from one brush to another.
Dirty Spray Brushes
Tutorial9 created and released this popular set of dirty spray brushes, which can also be found at Qbrushes. In total, this set includes 8 brushes between 1300 and 2500 pixels (most are over 2000). These brushes are an excellent choice for adding some dirty, grungy texture to your work.
DeviantART user leboef, who also offers several other packs of brushes, has a set of 8 high resolution dirt brushes. All of the brush are 2500 (or very close to it) to give you an excellent option for easily creating a dirty, textured background.
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