I might be utilising the wrong terms, for I was unable to find any relevant images on both Pinterest and Google Images.

I am looking for an illustration with transparent background and here and there spots to cover the content and make the picture beneath it look as if at an abandoned place. For the text, I might be able to find a font.

Here's the effect aspired: enter image description here

Any recommendations/conceptions how can I accomplish this? Appreciations in advance!


So far I could only do this: enter image description here

  • Do you have an image you want to apply it to, or are you just looking for an image like that?
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 20:38
  • @WELZ, I am looking for an image or an effect. I mixed up a few (in my latest edit) and now I may say I'm in a bigger need of a font.
    – undefined
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 20:41
  • 1
    Can you add what programs you are using (or have available to use)?
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 20:44
  • I am utilising the free version of befunky.com (I'd probably laugh at myself if observed from aside). I also have something like Microsoft Paint, except it is called Graphics Editor (a system app from my OS)
    – undefined
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 20:50
  • I think I found exactly the same font from the photo: fontspace.com/billy-argel/tosca-zero
    – undefined
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


I see you have found some plausible images of detoriated painted surfaces. Also the knackered black text is quite plausible except its paint is not at all washed out during the years. If that's wanted, washing the colors by painting over is already presented in another answer.

Obviously you have still not tried to erode text RESTRICTED AREA, which is a hole in the red paint.

Your problem: Your texts are razor sharp, but the surface textures are not. They should have also some sharp details. Otherwise the texts seem inserted afterwards.

One possiblity to add the sharpness is to make a black and white copy of the image, posterize it to few greyshades and adjust the contrast with levels or curves tool. Increasing the contrast is useful to do before posterization. I have done them in Paint.NET (= freeware, quite capable photo end bitmap image editor):

enter image description here

With reduced opacity the BW layer appears as sharp details. NOTE: Your image had a large red area which is quite dark. Its contrast and brightness is adjusted separately to prevent it to become black in posterization.

The result, when the opacity is reduced:

enter image description here

It's useful to add a layer which adds some grain (=noise) and washes the colors. I painted some white, blurred it with gaussian blur, inserted greyscale noise and added another layer with blurred white without noise. Against solid black the added layers are these:

enter image description here

With reduced opacity(and the black layer removed) the result is:

enter image description here

NOTE: The difference between this and the original is obvious only when zoomed in.

The washing effect can be reduced in black areas by moving the posterized BW layer on top:

enter image description here

How to make synthetic eroded textures

These need something random. Paint.NET has noise and texture synthesizing filters. It hasnt layer masks, adjustment layers, smart objects, smart filters, layer styles, vector shapes nor vector texts, which in Photoshop make non-destructive work possible. If you make an error, you cannot readjust like in Photoshop, you must go back. For it make spare duplicate layers and intermediate savings. Paint.NET has still a good set of basic tools and filters, plenty of them as standard and much more as downloads.

1. Detoriated text hole in a colored layer

At first we make a white text on a solid black layer. We have not vector texts, so we need good contrast. We use the text for making selections in other layers to keep it available in case of errors and other reasons to make multiple selections.

enter image description here

We add a new layer "Grey+noise". We fill the layer with 50% grey. Then

  • make a selection in the text layer. Select with magic wand the black part with low selection tolerance in the tool options panel, say =1% for sharp result
  • inset to "Grey+noise" layer colorless noise with max intensity and coverage. The text should stay solid grey.

enter image description here

Remove the selection (hit Ctrl+D). Insert Gaussian blur:

enter image description here

Insert a new bottom layer and fill it with a solid color. We added dark red.

Now in Grey+noise layer select the grey letters with the magic wand. See the tool options panel: The Magic Wand is in union mode with 3% tolerance. The letters are selected by clicking them one by one:

enter image description here

Goto the solid color layer and hit DEL. To see the hole, shut other layers:

enter image description here

2. Surface textures

Paint.NET has cloud synthesizer filter like Photoshop or GIMP. We misuse it. With no softness it makes something which resembles worn surfaces. We have black foreground color, but other colors work, too:

enter image description here

If we put the "Cloud" over a solid color layer and use reduced opacity + some blending mode other than normal, we can modulate the underlying color. Here we add the brightness with blending mode ADD:

enter image description here

Black affects nothing and white makes the color washed. Test also other blending modes. Weird effects result if the Cloud isn't black and white.

3rd party filters such as Recolour Choice and TR's ColorizerHMS can make the BW cloud colored. TR's Alpha mapper can help the lack of layer masks. It turns the brightness to transparency:

enter image description here

Surface erosion is often 3D. Embossing is the effect which creates an illusion of depth. It simulates microscopic shadows. It's demonstrated here:

enter image description here

The lower part has the cloud with emboss (Effects > Stylize > Emboss) and some contrast boost. The upper part uses the embossed cloud to add the brightness. Blending mode=ADD.

3. Random holes

You can start from maximum strength grey noise, which is blurred. Then convert it to BW with the levels tool. The levels tool is used as treshold effect. In the left there's the noise, in the middle it's blurred and in the right it's tresholded. You see the tresholding dialog:

enter image description here

A solid green and a solid white layer were added. The green got the holes and the white layer is the background that makes the holes well visible.

With the magic wand all black were selected, the selection was inverted and in the green layer DEL was pressed. The result:

enter image description here

4. Winding down:

One 100 % synthetic Paint.NET image, where all presented is in use:

enter image description here

  • Interesting that you made a procedural rust. You probably should put the rust over the text.
    – Rafael
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 21:17
  • Ok. Some holes in the black paint had got rust. I added more.
    – user82991
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 14:43

My attempts playing with this.

Start with a clean image.

enter image description here

A. Get a nice texture https://www.texturepalace.com/gallery/metal/0405/8metal_texture_big_100405.jpg and saturate it a bit.

B. Extract the green channel, because it has more contrast between the rust and the non-rusted areas. This file will be used in different moments.

C. I inverted it and contrasted it to have a cracked texture.

D. Use it inside the text.

enter image description here

This part answers the specific question.

enter image description here

But let us continue on the "abandoned" look.

E. Thake the base file B and contrast it to be used as a mask on the original file.

F. Put it on top of the clean image. In this case Normal blend mode.

enter image description here

Ready. You added some years to that sign.

enter image description here

You can add some more layers.

H. The same green channel, in the same position but contrasted a bit, 50% opacity and blend mode Multiply.

enter image description here

And placed over the rust.

enter image description here

Dam, that is old.

Offtopic. I would not use STAMP font on a real sign, this was only to play a bit.

enter image description here

Oftopic 2

Yes, something suspicious was there.

enter image description here

Probably this is too much...

Aditional Images:



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