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often times we are called to create imagery that reflects a specified tone or incorporates certain imagery to coincide with other marketing efforts for our clients. adding a sense of realism to a logo on a wall, or aging a icon on a t-shirt adds that sense of believability that makes your digital work stand out from the rest of the crowd.

this is another technique to add some more life in your digital composites using some good free textures available through a quick google; mayang’s offers some great shots for free (limited to 20 downloads a day or you can purchase them all for $45) and where i got this background.

let’s add a bit of retro type to a brick wall. fire up photoshop and create a new image; i am using 1024×768 pixels. establish your brick wall and crop accordingly.

duplicate this background image to a new document. convert that document to grayscale and save it; we’ll use it as a displacement map and a layer mask later in the process.

now in your original document, add your text to the image. i am working with a great font that really evokes the old time baseball era and as such will use my favorite team as the subject.

now duplicate this text layer and place it under the original text item. on this duplicate layer, go to filters > distort > displace and adjust your settings to match mine.

after you click ok, a dialogue will come up asking you to locate the displacement file we had created earlier.

navigate to the file and click open. the resulting layer should look like this:

the grayscale image has been used to distort you flat graphic, conforming it to the bricks in the image. using that same grayscale brick image, we will add a layer mask to this text layer and change the blend mode to multiply changing the image to resemble this.

selecting this new layer mask we created, hold the option key + drag the mask to the initial text layer. change the original text’s blend mode to multiply as well which will result in the image below:

as you can see, this clearly looks better than simply adding a logo to the background image. the text looks weathered and worn and appears to belong in the shot. we can further tweak out the blend modes of the layers as well as add some lighting effects if needed to further enhance the image.

the great thing about photoshop is the ability to customize every aspect of the image. you could continue to enhance this image to suit any purpose, but this is where this tut will end. i hope these steps are clear and this may help you on a project. as always, however, i am happy to discuss any of your design needs and develop a custom solution for your next design challenge.