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How to Make a Distressed Effect Photoshop Action

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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make a distressed effect in Photoshop with actions using smart filters, adjustment layers, and overlay textures.

If you want to learn these photo effects via video, check out our lesson on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

If you want a distressed texture effect Photoshop action that's ready to go, then head to Envato Elements. You can find premium options to download like this one that are included with your subscription:

Vintage Sketch Distressed Texture Photoshop Action
This vintage distressed effect Photoshop action is available with your Envato Elements subscription.

Tutorial Assets

This distressed effect Photoshop tutorial uses a photo that's no longer available, but you can download the textures you need here.

1. How to Start Recording the Photoshop Action

Step 1

First of all, we need to open the image. Press Control-O and select the image you want to use.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Opening the image

Step 2

Now we can start to create our distressed effect Photoshop action. So hit Alt-F9, or go to Windows > Actions to open the Actions panel.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Opening the actions panel

Step 3

Hit the New Action button to create a new action, and then hit Record. Now our distressed texture Photoshop action will start recording.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Creating an action

2. How to Create a Hard Distressed Photo Effect 

Step 1

Select the background layer and then Right-Click on the layer and select Convert to Smart Object.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Converting image to the smart object

Step 2

Select the smart object and then go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the following settings:

  • Amount: 5%
  • Distribution: Gaussian
  • Monochromatic: On
How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Creating a noise effect

Step 3

After that, go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Grain. Use the following settings:

  • Intensity: 15
  • Contrast: 50
  • Grain Type: Regular
How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Creating a grain effect

Step 4

Place "Distressed Texture 01.png" above the smart object.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Placing the first overlay texture

Step 5

After that, place "Distressed Texture 02.jpg" and change the Blending Mode of this new layer to Multiply.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Changing the blending mode of the layer

Step 6

Now we need to create color correction layers for our distressed texture Photoshop effects. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast and create a new layer with the following settings: 

  • Brightness: 70
  • Contrast: -25
How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Creating adjustment layer

Step 7

After that, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and create a new layer with Saturation of -35.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Creating hue adjustment layer

Step 8

Our rustic Photoshop action is ready now. Click Stop in the Actions panel.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Stopping the action

This is how our distressed texture image should look like after the manipulations listed above:

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Soft distressed effect applied to the picture

3. How to Create a Soft Distressed Photo Effect Action

Step 1

In case this type of distressed texture effect is too extreme-looking, we could easily make it softer. Let's create another action and name it "Soft Distressed Action".

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Creating the second action

Step 2

Select the first overlay distressed texture and change the Opacity of the layer to 25%.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Changing the opacity of the first texture

Step 3

After that, we need to change the Opacity of the second distressed texture to 80%

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Changing the opacity of the second texture

Step 4

After that, hit the Stop button to finish the recording of the action. Now you can easily change the effect to a softer version just by playing this additional distressed effect Photoshop action.

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Finishing the recording of the second action

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

Congratulations! You've created distressed photo effects using overlay textures and Photoshop effects. Here is our final result:

How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop Tutorial Final result of the manipulation

Now that you've created this distressed effect as an action, you can apply this Photoshop weathered look to just about any of your photos.

Awesome Distressed Texture Photoshop Actions From Envato Elements

Looking for some more distressed photo effect Photoshop actions? Сheck these Photoshop actions from Envato Elements:

Vintage Sketch Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT)

This item adds a realistic distressed effect and turns your image into an old sketch with pencils, paints elements, and ten color effects. The final effect of this distressed texture Photoshop action could be easily changed as it gives you a well-structured final PSD file.

Vintage Sketch Distressed Texture Photoshop Action

SoVintage Photoshop Action (ATN)

This rustic Photoshop action gives you not only 80s styles but also 15 light leaks, 10 distressed textures, and noise vignette layers. It could be applied to any image, and it works in a few simple clicks.

SoVintage Rustic Photoshop Action

Antiq Guilloche Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT)

This awesome pack of distressed effects for Photoshop contains actions, brushes, and patterns which could give your image a distressed feel in a few simple clicks. It's great if you want to use Photoshop to create a weathered look.

Antiqu Guilloche Distressed Effect Photoshop Action

Vintage Photo Creator (PSD)

"Vintage Photo Creator" is an excellent tool that could help you to create Facebook covers, posters, or T-shirt designs. It includes a great number of textures, backgrounds, and 12 main effects. All rustic Photoshop effects are included in one PSD file.

Vintage Photo Creator Rustic Photoshop Effects

Vintage Photo Effects (PSD)

If you want another distressed texture effect for Photoshop, take a look at "Vintage Photo Effects". Create vintage-looking photos with paper textures applied to your images using this smart template. You'll have a cool Photoshop weathered look in no time with this download.

Vintage Distressed Photo Effects Photoshop

More Distressed and Vintage Effect Resources

You just learned how to make a distressed effect in Photoshop and saw some cool vintage downloads. Want to learn how to create more similar effects? Check these awesome tutorials:

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