Stamped and Weathered Text in Photoshop


This is a really great technique for making distressed or weathered looking letters. (I can’t take full credit for designing this technique, but the original website disappeared and I wanted to preserve it for posterity.)
1. Create a new document in Photoshop 1000 pixels wide by 500 pixels high by 72 pixels per inch (for this effect to work well, it needs to start off as low res.) You can change the dimensions of the new canvas based on your needs. Make sure the background is set to White.

2. Type D on the keyboard – this sets the foreground color to Black and the background to White. Select a bold typeface – or one that does not have too many thin elements. For my example, I’m using Bebas Neue Bold. With the type tool, type a word or phrase, for my example I’m using STAMPED TEXT using 180pt height and 50pts for the Tracking (yours may be different depending on the word or phrase you use.)

3. Merge the text layer with the background by going to the LAYER menu > FLATTEN IMAGE (the will make the text uneditable, so make sure everything is set AND spelled correctly.)
4. Invert the image by going to the IMAGE menu > ADJUSTMENTS > INVERT (Cmd/Ctrl + I)
5. Select the Magic Wand tool and choose the option to have the selection be non-contiguous and select the white of the text.

6. Go to the FILTER menu > OTHER > HIGH PASS and set it to 10.0 pixels. High Pass is a filter that detects sudden changes between pixel’s brightness or color and then exaggerates them. So bright parts are brighter and dark one are darker. Apply the filter a second time.

7. Go to the FILTER menu > NOISE > ADD NOISE and add 15% Gaussian noise, make sure to check the Monochromatic box to keep the noise black and white.

Deselect the selection – SELECT menu > DESELECT (or Cmd/Ctrl + D)
8. Go to the IMAGE menu > IMAGE SIZE and change the resolution to 150 Pixels/Inch make sure Resample is checked so that you can add pixels to the image. Click OK

9. Go to the FILTER menu > STYLIZE > DIFFUSE and leave the setting to Normal – this will introduce some noise into the edges of the text. Click OK.

10. Go to the IMAGE menu > IMAGE SIZE and change the resolution to 300 Pixels/Inch make sure Resample is checked so that you can add pixels to the image. Click OK.

11. Go to the FILTER menu > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR and blur the image with a radius of 3.0 pixels. Click OK.

12. Go to the IMAGE menu > ADJUSTMENTS > BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST and set both Brightness and Contrast to 50. Click OK.

13. Go to the IMAGE menu > ADJUSTMENTS > THRESHOLD and change the level to anywhere between 80 and 180 depending on how much noise you want to retain in the middle of the text (lower numbers will have less noise.) This makes the image pure black and white with no other levels of gray. Click OK.

14. Invert the image by going to the IMAGE menu > ADJUSTMENTS > INVERT (Cmd/Ctrl + I.) Save your file as a PSD, TIF or JPG.
OPTIONAL STEPS
15. To add a little more realism to the stamped text, select individual letters with the Rectangular Marquee tool and then select the Move tool and use the arrow keys to move each letter a click or two in different directions.

16. If you save this in a Bitmap format (a format that only supports black and white – black is turned ON and white is OFF) then you can easily change the color of the text if it is placed in Illustrator. Go to the IMAGE menu > MODE > GRAYSCALE

and then go back to the IMAGE menu > MODE > BITMAP and use 50% threshold as the method.

Save the file as either a PSD, TIF or BMP.
17. Place the file in Illustrator –¬†FILE menu > PLACE, with the graphic selected, choose a color other than black as the fill.

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