This post was originally published in 2009
The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.
A great looking design can be easily created by combining various textures and brushes. In this tutorial we’ll look at creating a cool grungy design based around some abstract 3D type, then apply a few finishing touches to really bring the design to life.
To start, we’ll create the type by hand using Illustrator. Create a new document, then turn on the Grid, and adjust the snap settings to snap to the grid.
Draw a square onto the artboard. Notice how the points will automatically snap to each grid intersection. This will come in handy when creating our abstract geometric type style.
For this tutorial, we’ll base the design around the word ‘Create’, so manipulate this first shape into a letter C by chopping out a section using the Pathfinder tool. Use a temporary shape to overlap the appropriate area, then select both shapes and click the Subtract from Shape Area icon.
Continue onto the next letter, in this case an R. Use the Pen tool to create triangular shapes to sculpt the box into a vague R shape.
Once all the letters have been created, space them equally alongside each other. Basing each letter on the same rectangle gives a boxy, geometric and generally cool style.
Copy and paste the wording from Illustrator into Photoshop. Fill the letters with a colour sample of a nice grey-blue.
Duplicate the text layer, then press CMD+T to Transform. Hold Shift and Alt to scale down the letters proportionally. Dropping the opacity on the top layer can help visualise the transformation.
Fill the smaller text with a darker shade. This is the base of the three dimensional effect.
Zoom right in and use the Polygonal Lasso tool to connect the corners of each letter. Fill the selection to give the appearance of perspective.
Once all the connections have been made between the two text layers, the illusion of a third dimension is created.
Add a Drop Shadow to the top text layer. Use a large value for the size and keep the opacity fairly high.
CMD-Click the first text layer, then CMD+Shift-Click the second text layer to load the outline as a selection. Then, add a Layer Mask to the splatters layer to hide any excess spray paint. Change the Blending Mode to Vivid Light at 50%.
Press CMD+A to select all, then CMD+Shift+C to copy all layers. Paste the selection on a new layer then add a 3.6px Gaussian Blur.
Add a layer mask to the layer and fill with black, then dab large spots of white with a soft round brush to bring back subtle touches of the blurred effect in select places. This little touch adds a cool lens blur kind of effect.
Create a new layer below the text layers, then use the spray paint brushes to draw in various splattered elements. Change this layer to Vivid Light.
Draw in more splatters on a new layer, but this time change the blending mode to Color Dodge and adjust the opacity to 55%.
Add a new layer to the top of the layers stack. Use a large soft brush to dab a bright purple and blue spots onto the design. Change the blending mode to Color Burn at 25% to add a subtle cast of colour and contrast to the design.
There we have the finished design, complete with 3D type, grungy splatters and detailed textures. The subtle colour casts and lens blurs really help add an extra finishing touch.