Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Photoshop: Distressed Type


To learn how to use Photoshop's filter effects creatively. To practice Photoshop production techniques by recreating this wordmark:


Raster type effects are resolution dependent. This means planning ahead and anticipating the largest application of the artwork before production. In this exercise, we will be working in 72 PPI in anticipation of publishing only on the web. If this art were to be used for print, we would have to start with 300 PPI instead.


prepping for the exercise

  1. launch Photoshop
  2. file > new: 640x480, 72 ppi, RGB, bg=white
  3. file > save as "evil.psd"
  4. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window
  5. choose default colors (d)
  6. type tool: type "EVIL DEAD"; spec Impact; scale (cmd+T)
  7. duplicate layer (for safe keeping), hide duplicated layer
  8. layer > rasterize > type (RMB)
  9. merge with background layer: merge down (cmd+E)
  10. marquee tool: draw rectangle for rules, fill with black

distressing the type

  1. filter > convert for smart filter
  2. filter > filter gallery (add 3 new effect layers, order is important):
    • sketch > torn edges: image balance=50, smoothness=14, contrast=13
    • sketch > stamp: light/dark=18, smoothness=2
    • brush strokes > sprayed strokes: length=12, radius=0, dir=horizontal
  3. new layer "grain", fill with black (opt+DELETE)
  4. filter > filter gallery:
    • texture > grain: horizontal, intensity=100, contrast=100
  5. layer mode=screen
  6. zoom out
  7. edit > transform > distort: make lines diagonal
  8. duplicate "grain" layer
  9. repeat distortion with "grain" layer but angle lines differently
  10. view > 100% (cmd+1)
  11. layer > new adjustment layer > levels: increase contrast

finishing the art

  1. new layer "final"
  2. window > channels: cmd+click on RGB thumbnail
  3. return to layers, hide other layers
  4. select > inverse (cmd+shift+I)
  5. choose a color, fill selection (opt+DELETE)
  6. select > de-select (cmd+D)
  7. fill with a different color (opt+shift+DELETE)
  8. save
  9. file > export > save for web: PNG 24


  1. add your name and the exercise number to the file
  2. clean-up your printable area and add credit.
    In 9pt Helvetica, 1/2" from bottom and right side of the page add:
    Exercise #: Exercise Name
    Your Name
  3. print a proof for grading
  4. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/2/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young