A Grungey Grunge Brush Tutorial

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I was surprised that it was difficult to find a tutorial for making a grunge brush from scratch, so I decided to make one. There are a lot of steps in this tutorial to produce the right amount of random texture and noise without making it too dark or too light and without too much obvious patterning. Don’t let that scare you, it only means there are a lot of different ways to modify this tutorial and make your own surprising variations. (please note, your results will look completely different from mine because of the randomization – Gaussian – functions in the filters I am using.)

1. Make a new document 300 pixels x 300 pixels x 72 p.p.i
2. Change your colos to the default colors (black foreground, white background) by typing D on your keyboard.
3. Go to the FILTER menu > RENDER > DIFFERENCE CLOUDS. Apply this at least 10 times and make sure the results aren’t too dark (if they are try applying the filter again or just start over). Difference clouds uses the blending mode of difference as it applies the cloud filter producing otherwordly results. After applying the filter if you go back to the FILTER menu DIFFERENCE CLOUDS will be listed at the top.
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3. Go to the FILTER menu > NOISE > ADD NOISE, set the amount to 20%, distribution to Gaussian using Monochromatic (black and white) noise.
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5. Go to the FILTER menu > BLUR > MOTION BLUR, set the angle to 0 degrees and distance to 40 pixels.
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6. Go to the FILTER menu > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR and set the radius to 2.0 pixels.
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7. Go to the IMAGE menu > ADJUSTMENTS > LEVELS and boost the contrast by moving the black and white points toward the center at the base of their respective mountain peaks.
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8. Make a new layer and go to the EDIT menu > FILL and for contents use white.
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9. Repeat steps 3 – 7
10. Go to the EDIT menu > TRANSFORM > ROTATE 90 DEGREES CLOCKWISE
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11. For Layer 1 change the blending mode to Multiply
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12. Go to the LAYER menu > MERGE DOWN
13. Go to the FILTER menu > NOISE > ADD NOISE, set the amount to 15%, distribution to Gaussian using Monochromatic noise.
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14. Go to the FILTER menu > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR and set the radius to 2.0 pixels.
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15. Make a LEVELS adjustment layer and move the Gamma (gray point) slider to the left favoring more lighter tones. In Output levels drag the black slider to anywhere between 50 and 75, this will limit the darkest areas to a mid tone gray.
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17. Make a new layer
18 . Select the Gradient tool and click on the gradient thumbnail in the options bar.
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We’ll be making a new gradient, click the left hand color stop and change it to Black and the opacity at 0%, click on the right hand color stop, change it to black and change the opacity to 100%. If there are any other stops present drag them down and away from the gradient ramp. Click on New.
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19. Next to the gradient ramp select the radial gradient and change the blending mode to dissolve, this will render areas that should have semi-transparent pixels
as single opaque pixels with different amounts of transparent pixels around them.
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Draw a radial gradient from the center of the file to the side.
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20. Go to the EDIT menu > FILL and fill with WHITE and a blending mode of Behind
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this will place white pixels behind the dissolved gradient.
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21. Go to the FILTER menu > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR and set the radius to 2.0 pixels.
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22. Go to the IMAGE menu > ADJUSTMENTS > LEVELS and boost the contrast by moving the black and white points toward the center and adjust gamma to favor white (drag towards the left)
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23. Blur the layer again to soften up the layer, FILTER menu > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR and set the radius to 2.0 pixels.
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24. Go to the EDIT menu > ADJUSTMENTS > INVERT and then change the blending mode of Layer 1 to Screen.
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25. Select one of the pixel based layers (not the adjustment layer) and go to the EDIT menu > DEFINE BRUSH PRESET, any areas that are white will not become part of the brush, but areas of any level of gray will and produce color in varying degrees. Give the brush a name if you choose.
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26. Make a new document to try out the brush – a 5in x 5in by 300 ppi will suffice.
27. Select the brush tool and then go to the WINDOW menu > BRUSH. In brush tip shape change the spacing to something between 50 and 70%.
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Click on Shape dynamics and put 50% or more in Size, Angle and Roundness Jitter.
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Click on Scattering and change Scatter to somewhere between 50 and 80%, set the count to 4 or 5 (this will render multiple instances of the brush) and then randomize the count by giving Count Jitter a percentage between 30 and 50%.
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Click on Transfer and randomize the opacity (between 20 and 50%) and flow (between 10 and 20%)
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Save the brush preset by clicking on the brush panel menu and clicking on new brush preset.
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This will allow you to save all adjustments you’ve made to the brush AND have it available for other tools such as the eraser. Brush presets can be found in the WINDOW menu > BRUSH PRESETS

NOTE: who is this Gauss guy who gaussian blur and gaussian noise is named after?

Click here to find out.

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