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How to Make a Distressed Effect Photoshop Action

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a distressed effect Photoshop 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 to learn how to create more photo effects, check out these:

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used in the production of this tutorial:

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.

Opening the image

Step 2

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

Opening the actions panel

Step 3

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

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.

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
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
Creating a grain effect

Step 4

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

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.

Changing the blending mode of the layer

Step 6

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

  • Brightness: 70
  • Contrast: -25
Creating adjustment layer

Step 7

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

Creating hue adjustment layer

Step 8

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

Stopping the action

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

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 effect is too extreme-looking, we could easily make it softer. Let's create another action and name it "Soft Distressed Action".

Creating the second action

Step 2

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

Changing the opacity of the first texture

Step 3

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

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 action.

Finishing the recording of the second action

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

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

Final result of the manipulation

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

Vintage Sketch Photoshop Action

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 Photoshop action could be easily changed as it gives you a well-structured final PSD file.

Vintage Sketch Photoshop Action

SoVintage Photoshop Action

This 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 Photoshop Action

Antiq Guilloche Photoshop Action

This awesome pack of Photoshop effects contains actions, brushes, and patterns which could give your image a distressed look in a few simple clicks.

Antiqu Guilloche Photoshop Action

Vintage Photo Creator

"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 Photoshop effects are included in one PSD file.

Vintage Photo Creator

Vintage Photo Effects

If you want another distressed effect, take a look at "Vintage Photo Effects". Create vintage-looking photos with paper textures applied to your images using this smart Photoshop template.

Vintage Photo Effects

Want to learn how to create more similar effects? Check these awesome tutorials:

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