I am using adobe illustrator and trying to capture a certain aged aesthetic in the fill of my svg shapes. Here is my inspiration below from an old tapestry. I'm only interested in the background, so we can ignore the floral pattern:

enter image description here

The closest I got to that background was by drawing a square, then:

select square >> swatches >> swatch libraries menu >> gradients >> metals

From here I was able to use the eye dropper to replicate the color palette well enough, but I seemed to have lost the "aged" component of the fill:

enter image description here

Question

I take the point that my needs are vast, because svg is working in crisp vector space and yet I want an aged tapestry fill like the inspiration. To keep things realistic, I am not looking to replicate at the pixel level, as Joonas pointed out, the SVG would be too complicated. But I still can't help but wonder, is there a way to achieve a convincing aged fill without coming across as overtly modern in terms of aesthetics? I'm trying to find a happy medium between the inspiration and my pure gradient; hopefully this kind of compromise would be palatable to the SVG format.

  • The aged look comes from grain of the underlay (or varnish) and the strokes of a brush. You can layer those effects in illustrator using brush strokes and different blend modes in the "appearance" tab. – SZCZERZO KŁY Dec 7 at 10:31
  • So you are looking to export this as svg? Why? Seems more trouble than it's worth... What I would do in Illustrator is overlay a texture (concrete perhaps) on top of a vector pattern and use a blend mode to blend it in a little. Or the other way around; texture below the vector pattern with blend mode in the vector shape. — If you want that level of detail in pure vector, you're going to have like a million points in the svg. It might end up looking worse than a bitmap would... and the svg would likely have larger filesize too. – Joonas Dec 7 at 11:03
  • @Joonas You're right, I probably don't need to replicate it at the pixel level. I'm not quite sure I follow your suggestion, I'll try to research vector pattern blends. As long as it looks more aged than my pure gradient, I'd probably be happy. I'll edit to clear things up. – Arash Howaida Dec 8 at 4:47
  • Take a look at this. The answer is textures. graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/108295/… – Rafael Dec 8 at 10:19
  • 1
    @ArashHowaida, here's what I meant: i.stack.imgur.com/v7xJI.jpg — I might just color the concrete texture in Photoshop instead of using that "red color fill" object. I might even do all of this PS and place the raster image in AI... depending on the case. There isn't a whole lot of benefit in a vector shape on top of a raster background. And actually, I might merge multiple textures instead of using just one. I might want to sort of blend the ornamental shape even more, in which case I'd definitely do it all in PS, cause I could easily softly erase parts of the shape, for instance. – Joonas Dec 11 at 10:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Your version is quite a clean gradient. Add some irregularity. Put on it another shape which has a non-repeating noisy pattern. Use a blending mode, for ex. Hard light to cause modulation and reduce the opacity to keep the effect subtle.

An example:

enter image description here

On top the grey pattern is my irregular shape. It's solid grey with noise effect in Inkscape. The lower image is the same pattern placed on a gradient (not as complex as yours) with reduced opacity. The blending mode is hard light. Subtle effect works as well with normal blending.

Trying this in Illustrator needs an imported pattern, because there's no easy way to generate a random pattern except by drawing it or by having some lucky accidents.

Illustrator users often have also Photoshop, which have plenty of tools to generate random looking patterns and you can always take a texture photo which you edit to the wanted shape in PS.

enter image description here

Here PS filter Render > Fibers is used to generate a pattern. The used colors are dark and light greys. The image has only about 200px width and height. Low resolution is handled fast later in Illustrator.

The next step is to copy and paste the image to Illustrator and vectorize it with Live Trace to greyshades. The number of colors must be high enough to get fine enough vector pattern. For the same reason have a low minimum shape area. See the settings dialog:

enter image description here

Vectorizing is not a must if you can accept raster images mixed with vectors. Someone can avoid it only to keep his vectors clean, but raster images will also cause harm if you want to scale up say 1000%. Raster image has an advantage: It does not slow down Illustrator like a 10000 path vector pattern

In the next image a gradient is made and the vectorized pattern is placed on it:

enter image description here

The blending mode is overlay and the opacity is reduced for subtle effect.

Check all available blending modes with different opacities because they all work differently!

  • that looks like a promising start, I'm having trouble to follow your steps because I never used inkscsape before. This solution is feasible with AI too right? If you don't mind, a few notes on the AI implementation would be much appreciated! – Arash Howaida Dec 9 at 17:05

How about a pattern?

Disclaimer: this is not a direct answer, more of a workaround.

To me, there are two ways to make something look aged. One is through a specific texture with dirty, smudged, falling apart, torn or sun-faded qualities. This would be a lot of work to do in vector graphics (but is probably what you are primarily looking for).

The other one, that is presumably much easier is through shapes. Victorian tapestry or wallpaper from the 50's would have used some specific motifs that we now consider outdated, which will hopefully convey the "old" feeling. Combine with bleak, desaturated colors for extra aged effect. If you have the time, you can build some marks of erosion and passage of time into the pattern – brownish spots or tears – but be carful with those, as these will be repeated everywhere, leading to overuse over larger shapes.

See e.g. here on how to create a custom pattern.

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