Photoshop: Washed & Worn Effects

Written by xandra lynn
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Photoshop: Washed & Worn Effects
Creating old, rusty signs can be accomplished in Photoshop using various image filter effects. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Creating washed and worn Photoshop effects can be done in a variety of ways. Making images look as though they are severely weathered or scratched and come from another era can easily be accomplished with some of Photoshop's native filters. Third party plug-in filters also offer a variety of tools to help you achieve a weathered and worn look to your image. Sometimes piling multiple filters on top of one another and experimenting will get you just the look you are seeking.

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Rusty aged effects

Rusty, aged effects can be created using Photoshop's default filters. The most common filters applied to create this effect are "Mezzotint," "Dust & Scratches" and "Grain." Go to "Filter < Pixelate < Mezzotint" and experiment with Mezzotint until you are satisfied. Applying another filter on top of Mezzotint such as "Dust & Scratches" is helpful, though this filter should be applied to the alpha channel rather than the actual layer. Apply this filter by first selecting the alpha channel in the channels palette and then going to "Filter < Noise < Dust & Scratches." Experimenting with how many times these filters are applied will help you achieve rusty, weathered effects.

Over-Sharpening for an Aged Look

Applying another one of Photoshop's default filters, "Sharpen," also will enable you to create a weathered, aged effect. This filter works best on backgrounds where you are trying to add in textures. Apply this filter several times to reach the weathered look, sliding the controller to the highest numbers each time. The Sharpen filter is located by going to "Filters < Sharpen < Smart Sharpen." Make duplicates of the sharpened layer, drop the opacity down to 70 per cent (using the layers palette opacity adjuster) and position the additional layers randomly over the top of the original for an added weathering effect.

Manually Creating Worn Effects with Eraser, Burn and Brush Tools

You may literally paint on your worn effects in Photoshop using three available tools: the brush, eraser and burn tool. Use the brush tool to control the diameter of the effects you are applying. Randomly erase edges of your image. Use the Burn tool (located in the Dodge and Burn Tool underneath) to burn the edges of the images where you have erased. This will make it appear as though your image was burnt or partially destroyed in a long-ago fire. This works well on parchment, paper or wood-like backgrounds.

Third Party Filters

Using third-party filter plug-in filters that must be paid for separately can be a shortcut to achieving realistic weathering, aged effects. Instead of spending time applying filters multiple times and painstakingly brushing in your effects by hand, simplify this process by pressing just one button. There are a number of filters on the market to create aged effects. Some of the most commonly used filters for this are Mistro Retro (machine wash filters), Filter Forge and AutoFX's Dreamsuite.

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