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I was looking at these beautiful artworks by Karolis Strauniekas and I'm wondering how he creates the textures on the images.

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It looks like a mixed combination between a "noise" effect with a "grain" something and a "je ne sais quoi" of multiple textures. I currently working in Photoshop and I'm curious to know how he goes about achieving this look.

I'm not looking to steal his "look" but I find this style very inspirational regarding the texture.

His website: http://strautniekas.com/

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There's different textures in differently colored areas. As the questioner told, there's noise, which can be generated in Photoshop's effect. Noise is colored. There's several variations of it combined in a complex way. There can also be used texture photos for more richness.

Example 1:

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On the top there's a grey rectangle which has got all-color (=not monochrome) noise with max. intensity. Red channel is just turned to zero with the curves.

In the next image noise opacity is reduced and it has got blending mode overlay.

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It adds nothing to light yellow, but blue colors get some noise.

Example 2.

Blending mode dissolve affects like there's noisy layer mask:

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On the top there's a solid blue rectangle with blending mode dissolve. A layer mask is inserted. White in the mask keeps the blue color solid. In the top right corner black is sprayed to the mask with a soft brush. The darker is the mask, the more sparse splinters the blue color is

Example 3

There's again a grey, but this time a big rectangle, which has got as intense as possible monochromatic noise. The result is blurred.

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Applying tresholding to blurred noise makes irregular bigger shapes than normal noise:

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When dragged to smaller size, it is more like dirt:

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It can be used like noise. Here it's used as layer mask of a solid brown color layer:

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Painting white to the mask the color gets more solid (left) and painting black fades it (right)

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Example 4: Noise gradient

have two colors in 2 layers:

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Insert a gradient layer mask to the top layer:

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Add a slight amount of noise, do it in the layer mask:

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That can already be useful, but now treshold the layer mask to make the transition more grainy:

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It's quite same as applying Photoshop's Mezzotint filter to the gradient in the mask.

Try also other Photoshop's grainy texture filters in the layer mask. Photoshop has many of them. You can use also a photo of some dirt. One is easy to make. Rub your hair over scanners's glass and scan a dark paper, adjust the contrast.

Gradient layer mask can make a fade between two different grain textures. In the YouTube theater image example it seems to be used between a texture and its negation.

Example 5 combination

There's no limit here. For example have a grey color layer over the background, add the max amount of noise to it, duplicate the noisified gray and blur the top layer. Let it have blending mode hard light.

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Merge the noise layers, colorize it with Hue&Saturation

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With or without reduced opacity and varying the blending mode there's again a wide set of new noisy textures.

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Hopefully you got some ideas altough there's still a lightyear from these to enjoyable art.

  • Illustrator can also apply noise ;) – joojaa Aug 15 '18 at 17:23
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For myself, working in Affinity Designer, I would approach that using noise in a colour stop in a gradient were it me - as in the following screen shot:

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If you zoom in on the gradient editor palette, you can see I am able to add a specific amount of noise into each colour stop directly, within a sheer vector fill.

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This is not a secondary effect, not an overlay, and as such stays with the given geometry when translated or warped; when exported to to SVG, it is parsed as a vector effect.

This then has the concomitant disadvantage (in comparison to some of the multi-step methods show in other, far better answers) that it's not manually edge shaped, isn't using blending modes for further subtle effects and so on - the approaches shown in the multi-step answers are far more potentially flexible and can achieve a range of effects which may make them worth the extra effort to manage registration of these overlays through the course of the design process.

Note: I am unaffiliated with Affinity - merely a happy user; I do also use Illustrator and Photoshop, but in this case, to approach the effect the OP has asked about, I would preferentially use the tool I've described herein.

Here is a standard Affinity Designer sample piece from the splash screen designed by Terry Elkins which is the reason I thought of my answer as soon as seeing the OP's examples:

enter image description here

And here is a detail from the side of the canoe showing the same approach being used to wonderful effect:

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Here is an illustration I did (from photo reference) using the same technique to decrease the over-glossy appearance of the left corner of the large format printer:

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I think you can see why I'd consider this approach a good, simple answer to the OP's query.

Closing thought: back when I was primarily working in Adobe Illustrator, I would have approached this graphic language using the Appearance Palette, setting multiple fills to the same geometry (instead of separate manually-synched overlays) with the higher-in-the-stack fills having the mezzotint effect applied, suing a Multiply blending mode set to less than 50%, and possibly layering more of these with alterations to the initial fill gradient to build up some natural qualities to the noise. Once I had a look I liked, I'd save it as a Graphic Style, and be able to easily apply and remaster it to alter the look of many elements in the illustration at the same time.

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    this doesn't tell much about how to produce the effect except use X software – Luciano Aug 15 '18 at 1:31
  • These kind of effects can easily be produced in software such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Corel Draw, GIMP, Inkscape, and a whole range of graphics software. There's nothing I see in those examples that would require a specific brand of software. This answer reads like an advertisement for Affinity Designer. – Billy Kerr Aug 15 '18 at 8:12
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    I think we have already given some free advertising for Adobe. Let Serif also get a little for balance. – user287001 Aug 15 '18 at 9:09
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    @GerardFalla Graphic design is adobe centric because they had been allowed to buy up the competition in 2005 and its taken this far for even rudimentary new competition to arrive on the scene. – joojaa Aug 15 '18 at 17:31
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    Now the answer is fixed and contains useful data. Well worth upvotes! – user287001 Aug 15 '18 at 18:57

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