The French passport background (and maybe other country one's) is a map with a very subtle red-grey centered linear color gradient. It's also crossed by many wave-formed lines.

I'm looking for tips in order to create a similar background with my city map.

Above a detail of what I'm talking about, but it's not exactly that: passport are made for not being photocopied. Maybe you can have a look of yours.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Note that the passport effects are engraved microprinting. You are not likely to get the same level of fine-ness. If it is purely the effect you are after, try the artistic filters in photoshop. This post might be helpful: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/26875/…
    – benteh
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 10:11
  • @boblet I don't need finest effect. The screenshot I post is too precise, I don't need microprinting but just the waved line. Thanks for the link, I'm going to have a look on it. Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 10:24
  • Oh, ok. Then I would guess playing with filters and gradients would be the way to go. I am no PS expert, so someone else will probably come along and help.
    – benteh
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 10:25
  • Shooting a passport photo and using it as texture would be more realistic imho. Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


The name of the patterning you're looking for is Guilloche. Originally created by engravers of banknotes and stock certificates and such.

If you search online for Photoshop Guilloche filter or plugin you'll find a number of them. Some good, some bad, some free, some not.

You might also look for Mezzotint filters or plugins. (The mezzotint filter in PS is not very good for this.

Or you could search for Illustrator Guilloche vectors. Those are very nice, and being just vector lines you can change them easily.

  • There's a very nice tutorial and a couple pieces of software for round guilloche patterns listed here: design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/create-a-security-seal-in-illustrator-using-guilloche-patterns--vector-4828. And the online software www.subblue.com/projects/guilloche lets you create your own. If you then print to PDF instead of a printer from this software you have an vector editable PDF.
    – Yokel
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 11:17

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