Illustration from google inbox app

I've been trying with brushes but it just doesn't get close to this. Has anybody been able to accomplish this effect? how did you do it?

I'm using photoshop cs6

  • What software are you using?? "CS6" isn't very descriptive since there are more than 20 "CS6" applications.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 2:24
  • I'm sorry. I'm using photoshop
    – mars
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 10:05

3 Answers 3


The below was done in Illustrator but could be done in Photoshop.

First create your object. For the demonstration I am using a linear gradient. You can mess around with a gradient mesh for more complex shapes. I set the right side to have the color and the left to 0% opacity.


Select your gradient and go to Effect - Texture - Grain


Mess around with the options. Depending on the color you will have to change the blending mode.

Below blending mode was multiply

grain final

Other ways: it is possible to do this with a scatter brush and layer masks.

  • 2
    Nice! I've wondered this myself. Never knew grain texture existed.
    – Ryan
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 11:57
  • There may be a style guide floating around. This must be really hard to control across illustrations and multiple illustrators without a documented preset.
    – Yorik
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 16:41
  • Well you can make this into an action or their might already be some made. There could possibly be plugins that can simplify the process.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 16:49
  • How about in GIMP. Photoshop isn't free
    – Suici Doga
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 10:51
  • @suicidoga my answer and steps also work for GIMP, the only difference would be where the menu options are. But that could easily be found in the GIMP help files online.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 12:21

Follow this! https://medium.com/google-design/salt-pepper-the-art-of-illustrating-texture-c962dc67cc35#.aa24epyn7. Finally a good method, and that by a googler!

  • 3
    Hi Osama Asif C Infinitum, could you please explain a bit more what we'll find behind the link you provide and why it answers the question? That way, your answer is still of value in case the link breaks at a later time. Link rot is the main reason we really dislike link-only answers here. Thanks for your effort and keep contributing!
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 11:38

I posted a link before for 4 different techniques at how to create those effects just like Google does, in an article by a Google designer. But the one relevant to this question the most is as follows:

  1. Create the solid shape(s) you wish to add tints and highlights to (in our case, the orange). Lock the layer.
  2. Add two layers above the first. Label one Multiply and the other Overlay.
  3. In the Multiply layer create an ellipse (circle) the same size as the orange with a linear gradient fill. The gradient fill should go from white (#ffffff) to black (#000000). Also adjust the gradient angle as you wish. In our case the light source is coming from the top left, so our shade should be opposite of the light in the bottom right of the object. For this example the angle of the gradient is -60º. Finally change the white in the gradient to 0% opacity.
  4. With the gradient object selected go to Effect > Texture > Grain. You should then see a modal with texture settings.
  5. On the right of the modal, select Stippled for Grain Type. Then adjust Intensity and Contrast to achieve the texture effect you’re looking for. Select OK.
  6. With the layer still selected, change the Blending mode to Multiply or Color Burn and drop the Transparency down to 10–15%.
  7. Align your Multiply object over the solid shape (the orange in our example).
  8. Once you’re satisfied with the results lock the Multiply layer.
  9. In the Overlay layer create an ellipse with a linear gradient that goes from white to black and adjust the angle so the white color is closest to the light source. Change the opacity of the black to 0%.
  10. Repeat steps 4 and 5.
  11. With the object still selected, change the Blending mode to Overlay and drop the Transparency to 15–20%.
  12. Align the Overlay layer over your object and that’s it. Salt and Pepper!

All of this is for illustrator and creates the asked effect. All this is an extract from the original article and not my work.

Source: Salt & Pepper — The Art of Illustrating Texture

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