How to create scratchy textures in Photoshop tutorial

How to create amazing scratchy textures / designs / overlays using Photoshop gradients in CC 2018 2017 2015 etc.

Create scratchy textures

how to create scratchy texture create using Photoshop gradients
  1. Select the GRD Photoshop gradient tool

  2. Double click on the current gradient in the top option bar

  3. Set the type for the gradient to noise and set the roughness to 100%. If you want to make the lines a little less intense then set the roughness to less than 100%. This is great for a scratchy texture

  4. Set the color model to HSB and then set the S (saturation) to 0 and check the restrict colors.

  5. Click OK

  6. To create streaks or lines or scratches coming from a central point (for the scratchy effect) set the style to "angle" via the top option bar) and set the opacity to 25% so you will be able to see the underlying gradients after repeat applications.

The start point for this tutorial is the noise gradient and that can be set in the preset editor (accessible when you select one of the related tools such as the GRD tool). You can set the gradient to grayscale by setting the gradient model to HSB and saturation to 0. You can apply the gradient noise effects / streaks multiple times using angle mode


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You can create all kind of Photoshop Noise gradients. Select the gradient tool in Photoshop toolbar. Click the gradient dropdown / presets picker. Set to gradient type noise. Set color model to HSB. Set Saturation 0. Set to angle gradient style and apply and then image menu and autotone


noise scratchy gradient


You can create many different types of gradient noise gradients by using different color models. Another wonderful feature of the noise is that you can randomize the noise (unlike the solid gradient model) and so can create a vast range of noise effects




Set the opacity to 25% and apply the preset in different positions of origin throughout the document. You can re-apply the preset over and over to build up more fine lines to the artwork.


You can also combine this with additional effects such as adding gaussian blurs in between applying the presets over and over to give interesting depth effects to the scratches


color burn


Apply a difference cloud via the filter menu render and difference cloud - adds a nice randomness to the already random line design.


The steps to create the difference effects are set color of foreground and background to black and white (or use adjustments later) and then Filter menu and then render and apply the difference cloud. The difference cloud returns some color back to the design so to remove the color, use the image menu adjustments and black and white filter.




I generally always use the presets with the black and white adjustments - going through all the presets you can then choose which result works best for you.


Before applying the difference cloud, you can also continue to apply more scratchy lines via the gradient tool but instead of using lighten or normal to apply the gradients, use the 'color burn' mode. This creates some truly intense dark lines in repeat applications of the tool


Again, apply the difference cloud filter and then also use the black and white tool to return the design to a standard black and white texture (a step you don't need to apply if you have the foreground and background color set to black and white). Many variations can be created for the artwork just by using different black and white adjustments.


For example, set colors to black and white and apply more noise gradients in different locations over the image. Set the blending mode to color burn and then continue to add more gradients and then go to the filter menu and render and difference cloud


Use the result as pattern source. Generate the effect as above and then define it as a pattern source via the edit menu define command. Once saved as a preset, you can use it as a layer in fill content and then blend that with any image


If you are going to use it as a pattern source then it is probably best that you create a very large image for the tile and that is then defined as a pattern - if you create your preset and then apply it only to a 100 x 100 document and then define that, you will get broken seams. The GRD presets are great as they can be used to create a pattern as larger as possible


brushes to image


Another possibe use of the effect is as a brush stroke and you can capture that via the edit menu define brush command. Apply the effect as a stroke using black as well as using an opacity of 50% (as you don't want to totally wipe out the underlying image). You can apply the stroke multiple times and in different locations and with different opacity. You can go to the settings and tweak the spacing and scattering and opacity to be controlled by pressure if using a pen and save that as a new preset for use in all your projects


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