Below I have posted a poster created by Malwin Béla Hürkey in which a grainy/noisy gradient was used to create 3dimensional shapes. Can someone point me towards a method to create such gradients?

Poster by Malwin Béla Hürkey:


What I have done so far is simply using the Effect -> Texture -> Grain option inside Illustrator, which yields some interesting first results going into the right direction. See the .jpeg below, a snapshot of the result I am getting with this method:

Screenshot of current result

However, the issue with this method is the fact that the grain effect applied in Illustrator appears to be very pixilated, i.e. pixel-based. This is an issue since I intend to create a screen print from this file. Pixilated/non-vector shapes will be difficult to reproduce via screen print, since I need edges as sharp as possible for the exposure process.


Here's another result I was able to work out (now the resolution remains as the only thing worrying me as I am unsure whether this will be printable via screen print):

enter image description here

I am looking for a method allowing me to create the same type of grainy gradient but in a fashion that is not pixel-based or sharp enough for screen print.

I came across a related problem while working on this issue, I outlined it here: Unable to apply Grain-Effect to Gradient

Here are some more examples of images similar to the effect I'd like to achieve:

Example1 Example4 Example2 Example3

(No stealing of intellectual property intended, all credit goes of course to the original designer, I'm merely interested in broadening my horizon in regards to visual techniques)

  • 1
    One approach in Illustrator here
    – Cai
    Dec 22, 2016 at 22:32
  • @Cai The answer you linked to works very well for screen purposes, but does not provide a high enough resolution for for screen printing. Do you think/know whether there is another method for grainy/texturized/noise-gradients?
    – JoSch
    Dec 23, 2016 at 18:15
  • @JoSch as long as the noise "pixels" are large enough for the mesh size of your screen then there shouldn't be a problem. You're completely in control of the resolution of the effect anyway so there's no issue. All the examples you posted are certainly just using noise anyway.
    – Cai
    Dec 23, 2016 at 18:19
  • I'll post an answer with some possible other solution later on anyway, I'm a bit busy with family at the minute.
    – Cai
    Dec 23, 2016 at 18:21
  • @Cai Thanks, looking forward to it! The resolution has me worried, I'll wait for your answer and then ultimately proceed with doing an exposure test in order to see how the file translates onto the mesh. Enjoy the time with the family and as always: many thanks for all the support.
    – JoSch
    Dec 23, 2016 at 18:24

4 Answers 4


I use different method in photoshop to achieve similar results. It all boils down to getting more details in the noise (by creating it on a bigger image/layer) and blowing up the contrast.

Here is a short description of the process:

1. Create a new project at least twice in size of your original image

If you want to add the effect on the whole image, choose at least twice the size of your artboard.Twice usually fits well for me as you might run into problems with your computer performance really fast if you create huge images. Make sure the DPI of the new image matches up with your original image.

2. Apply noise on the new, bigger project (filter>noise>add noise)

Make sure the noise is on full strength and monochromatic.

3. Copy the layer back onto your original file, scale it down and set it to overlay

Other Blend Modes will work too but I most often use that one.

4. Increase the contrast of your project/gradient by a very strong margin.

And there you have your effect!

If you need more details or other techniques I described it in more detail here: Photoshop Tutorial on how to create noisy/grainy gradients

  • 2
    Hi Stefan, please give a bigger summary of how to do it on here. If you don't maintain your website in a year from now this answer would be fairly useless.
    – Ryan
    Jun 26, 2017 at 11:59
  • Hey Ryan, you are right! Will do now. Jun 26, 2017 at 15:57

To get more granular control over textures, I would suggest using a placed PhotoShop file as a mask, rather than using AI’s raster system (which, as you have pointed out, does lead to resolution problems)

  • PS - make a texture file, save it as a .psd
  • AI - Place file above desired object
  • AI - In the Transparency tab, click Make Mask

You can edit the texture live and the changes will pull through.


Other option to make noise could be some fractal based function (which I am unaware of), buy you could end with moire problems when translated into the silk positive.

This is called an error difusion dither. In my opinion, this "needs" to be pixel based, so you have real control on what is really happening.

But you need to define the exact lineature of your positive output, so every pixel prints correctly.

This exact lineature depends on what silk are you using, which eventually depends on what ink is it. But also as it is heavely dependant on printing each individual dot, probably you need to go with a lower resolution than normally recomended for solid shapes, probably 2 times smaller.

If you normally print with 90lpi in this case you could go for a 45ppi file at 100%. Do not use the "normal" formula to send a file at double the lpi output, we need exactly the opposite.

Also the file should be in 1 bit, not RGB, not CMYK which will tend to be converted into a halftone.

  • One can use a grayscale texture as a rasterisation kernel. If the intensity of the kernel is below the color emit black/color otherwise enit bg color.
    – joojaa
    Jan 3, 2017 at 16:13
  • But in this case I would not let the output process decide my gradient dither. Is an intrinsec part of the look.
    – Rafael
    Jan 3, 2017 at 16:15
  • You dont have to, you can do this process inside Photoshop with layer modes. So not only can you design the pattern you can also do this live.
    – joojaa
    Jan 3, 2017 at 16:23
  • because there are multiple passes, there is no reason for all the color passes to be lower resolution, right? In the first example, one might print the blue at "normal line screen" and then overlay with a low-res white spatter/dither as you suggest?
    – Yorik
    Jan 3, 2017 at 17:34

[INDEX COLOR] you can do this process inside Photoshop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95VISxEEHlk

  • please do not post just a link. The idea here is to explain things. Besides, links die all the time, then your answer will not be useful anymore. Check How to Answer and take a look at the tour to learn a bit more about the site.
    – Luciano
    Dec 3, 2020 at 10:45

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