Thursday, August 15, 2013

Distressed Damask - GIMP Tutorial

This week I added a new free damask pattern to my gallery at openclipart - it's a remix of a cool botanical stamp, public domain, pure black & white. That gives it lots of possibilities so I figured I'd post up this quick GIMP tutorial to show how to make a really cool background out of it!

You can use this for any boring pattern that you want to make distressed and earthy looking.

Here's what we're starting with:

First I'm going to recolor it. I kinda like purple and gray this week, so with purple as my main color I use the bucket fill tool. I set the mode to "lighten only" so it only gets the black parts, and hold down shift so it fills the whole layer purple:

Next I change my color to light gray and go to Layer: New Layer and set the color to "foreground color".

Then Layer > Stack > to bottom moves it underneath the damask:

I go to Image > Flatten to get them on the same layer.

Now I want to tile it so I'll have a little variation in the distress pattern. I go to filters > map > tile, set the mode to "percent", click the "chain" to break it, and tile height 200% and width 300% - it gets a little more width since it's not as wide to start out with. Whatever you pick though make sure it's a multiple of 100% so the image will tile nicely.

Time to add some texture to it. I create a brand new layer.

On the new layer, I pick Filter > Render > Clouds > Plasma. Set turbulence to 7 and hit "new seed" a few times until you just like what you see, no big zones of darkness.

Go to filters > Map > Make seamless. Now I'm at this fine mess:

I set the layer mode to "darken only" so it brings out the damask pattern underneath
Colors > Desaturate so the layer is only gray tones
Colors > Brightness & contrast > Brightness minus 100 so it's darker
I adjust the transparency until I like what I see.

And now I have this, which is much darker in a cool vampire-y kinda way:

What do you think? A nice old wallpaper sort of background for any occasion. Playing with layer modes and brightness settings here can bring lots of interesting results, so have fun and let me know what works best for you!

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