Create your own brushes in Photoshop: Scratches

Creating your own brushes in Adobe Photoshop is an incredibly rewarding experience. Move away from the computer and do something yourself, then to create your digital effect, which will make you look at the world around us differently. You will begin to see textures and patterns that you have not previously paid attention to. Finding source images for use in your work is one thing; and creating something with your own hands is another.

When depicting the realism of the metal, material wear is always present. Metal is the most durable among other materials, but this does not mean that metal is not exposed to everyday exposure. Metal items that are often used tend to have small dents, serifs and scratches. In this tutorial, I will show you the whole process of creating scratch brushes, which you can use in your projects in Photoshop.

1. Create effect in practice

Step 1

The materials for this lesson are simple and easy to find. There are many alternative materials. The materials that I will show you are those that I used, but in no case, the materials do not have strict requirements. In fact, I would advise you to use a variety of materials that you can use to recreate this effect.

When choosing a metal on which you will create scratches, try to choose a softer metal on which you can easily apply scratches, and also so that the metal surface does not already contain any texture. Small aluminum sheets are not very expensive, easily accessible, easy to damage, making them ideal for this lesson.

Note: Metal edges may be too sharp! Please be careful while practicing!

Materials that I recommend for this lesson:

  • Small aluminum sheets (I bought aluminum sheets at a local hardware store for less than a dollar a sheet!)
  • a block of rough sandpaper so you can scratch the metal surface
  • metal brush
  • nails
  • A pair of screwdrivers of different diameters

Step 2

The type of effect is determined and mainly depends on the sequence of application of the tools. I decided to start with tools without sharp edges – in particular, a bar with sandpaper. Recreate the effect near the center of the aluminum sheet, avoiding the edges as much as possible.

Step 3

The metal brush creates very small scratches. Use straight, lateral brushing to create scratches in one direction. Avoid circular motions, since this type of scratch usually looks unnatural and deliberate.

Step 4

Screwdrivers can be used to create deeper scratches. Use different screwdrivers at different angles to create scratches of various shapes and depths. Do not forget that a change in the sequence of application of tools will lead to the creation of a different effect. For example, using sandpaper after screwdrivers, I will make rough scratches smaller and more delicate.

Step 5

Scratches created by a screwdriver can sometimes appear “painted” or deliberately applied. To give scratches a random and random nature, use three or four nails at the same time to create several scratches at once that will be similar, but at the same time slightly different from each other.

2. Digitization

When creating the effect of scratches, do not limit yourself to just one piece of metal, use several metal sheets and various tools, application, pressure, etc. The best solution is to create a whole set of various scratches, because easy to reproduce! However, as soon as you create scratches, then you need to digitize it all.

Step 1

Make sure the metal is attached to the scanner. You may need to put a heavy book on top so that the metal fits evenly. Scan scratches at high resolution, at least 600 dots per inch (dpi).

Step 2

Open the scanned file in Photoshop. Add adjustment layer Black and white (Black White), reduce the value Blue channel (Blue Channel) up to -200%. In this way, we darken the natural blue of the metal and make the scratches more distinct.

Step 3

Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves). Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below to greatly enhance the contrast.

Step 4

It can be seen that the grit of the metal is visible. Create a new layer and with a soft black brush paint over the edges to hide the extra grain.

Step 5

Photoshop brushes are defined by black pixels on a white background. The current image is represented by white scratches on a black background, so add an adjustment layer. Inversion (Invert) for color inversion.

Step 6

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to enhance the contrast. This step is for the most part a matter of taste. If you want to create a large area with light scratches, do not increase the contrast too much. But if you intend to create deep and dramatic scratches, then greatly enhance the contrast.

Step 7

Now make sure the adjustment layer is active. Curves (Curves), not a layer mask. Next, go Editing – Identify brush (Edit> Define Brush Preset). Photoshop will ask you to name the brush, then when you click the OK button, you will add a new brush to your standard brush set.

3. You can use my brushes

I strongly recommend that you complete this lesson and create your own brushes. This is not a very difficult task, and it will be incredibly useful for you. Enhancing your skills in creating visual effects, from practical classes to subsequent digitization, you will discover new opportunities for your digital work. But if you do not have the time or opportunity to create your own brushes, then you can use my brushes in your works!

Download the Scratch Brushes link at the beginning of this tutorial. Next, go Editing – Manage Sets (Edit> Presets> Preset Manager), in the drop-down box Type of set (Preset Type), select the option Brushes (Brushes). Next, click Download (Load) and in the appeared window select the installation file ScratchedMetalBrushes.abr.

So you add 9 brushes to your standard brush set.

Thank you for being with me. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Show your imagination using these brushes, add a scratch effect to any metal surface.

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