Traces of a cup of coffee in Photoshop

Coffee marks are a special type of grunge effect that can turn an annoying event into an element of digital art. It is very difficult to reflect the nature of the fluid reproduced effect in a digital form so that it looks realistic. Fortunately, the effect is easy to recreate almost, almost in the same form! In this tutorial, I will show you how to recreate the effect, select, digitize, and create your own ‘Cup of coffee’ brushes.

Final result

Materials for the lesson:

Brushes ‘Traces of a Cup of Coffee’

1. Practical lesson

To reproduce the traces of coffee, you can simply tip a cup of coffee on the paper on your desk. But I prefer a more controlled and thoughtful approach.

Step one

Prepare materials to create an effect. Pick up a thick sheet of paper or any other type of paper so that the paper does not wrinkle from spilled coffee. We will also need a small brush or sponge that will help us pour out the coffee. Further, the most important element is a cup of coffee: the darker the coffee, the better.

Step 2

Put a cup of coffee on a sheet of paper, and then, having dipped the brush in the cup of coffee, gently press the brush to the edge of the cup. This is the most controlled method, rather than trying to pour coffee from a cup.

Step 3

Move the cup of coffee to add more coffee stains, different saturation depending on the amount of spilled coffee.

Step four

Think of different patterns from the traces of the cup: the traces overlap each other, partially overlap, half rings, with drops of coffee and without drops of coffee. Patterns are easy and quick to recreate, so do not limit yourself to a simple single classic trace of a cup of coffee. Add variety!

Step five

Use a napkin to soak up the coffee. Do not use a hair dryer or heat gun, as the coffee will spread and the natural pattern will be broken. You can speed up the drying process by gently dipping the tip of the napkin into spilled coffee. The napkin will absorb excess liquid, not allowing further spread over the entire surface of the paper.

2. Digitize traces of coffee

As soon as the traces of coffee are dry, then proceed to their digitization! A good quality flatbed scanner is the best option for this task.

Step 1

If the sheet of paper you are working with does not fit on the surface of your scanner, cut the sheet of paper into separate pieces to scan the traces of coffee separately. Otherwise, the uneven surface of the paper will create a light distortion during scanning. When scanning coffee marks, select a minimum resolution of 600 dpi to get good quality images.

Step 2

Open the scanned image in Photoshop. Next, with the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), select the area around the coffee track from the cup.

Step 3

Let’s go Layer- New – Copy to New Layer (Layer> New> Layer Via Copy (Ctrl + J) to copy the coffee trail to a new layer. Next, go Image – Correction – Discolor (Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (Ctrl + Shift + U). Photoshop reads only the information in a neutral gray scale to create a brush, so the best solution would be to discolor the image.

Step four

Next, go Image – Correction – Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels (Ctrl + L) to activate the correction Levels (Levels). Shift the white slider and then the black slider, as shown in the screenshot below. This should significantly enhance the contrast of the coffee stain.

Step 5

Turn off layer visibility with Background (Background) by clicking on the eye next to the layer thumbnail in the layers palette. Next, see if there are random blots / dots near the coffee stain that may have accidentally hit the sheet of paper when scanning. Using tool Brush (Brush Tool (B), brush color is white, paint over any blots and dots.

Step 6

Next, we need to load the active selection to define the brush, to do this, hold down (Ctrl) + click on the thumbnail of the coffee spot to load the active selection. Next, go Editing – Define a brush (Edit> Define Brush) and in the window that appears, give the name of your brush.

Step 7

If you have a tool Brush The Brush Tool is still active, then the brush will switch to the newly created brush. If not, you can find the created brush through the settings of the brush in the tab Brushes (Brush), for this we go Window – Brushes (Window> Brush Presets). The newly created brushes will be located at the very bottom of the brush set list.

Step eight

It will be the same brush as other Photoshop brushes, in the sense that you can also change the brush size, opacity, angle, blend mode, color, etc. This brush can be used as a brush tip for other standard tools, for example, Clarifier (Dodge), Dimmer (Burn), Stamp (Clone Stamp), Blur (Blur), etc. The only thing, do not forget that the created brushes, like the ones we created, they are not intended for drawing. They look more like stamps, so we only use one flick of the brush to apply them.

3. Apply created brushes

I suggest you create your own set of brushes and then use them in your digital projects. Understanding that recreating the effect in practice, it will help you expand your understanding of what is possible to realize in your digital projects. In order to help you along the way, I added a link to the free download of brushes ‘Traces of cups of coffee’, which you can use in your works! The range of brushes is different, from a rich to a delicate pattern, all brushes of clear quality and high resolution.

Step one

Download ‘Footprints from a cup of coffee’ to your computer by clicking the link at the end of this lesson. Next, go to the bookmark Brushes (Brush Presets), click the icon in the upper right corner to display a menu. In the window that appears, select the option Download brushes (Load Brushes), and then select the file you just downloaded.

Step 2

Next, scroll down the brush menu to find your set of downloaded brushes ‘Traces of cups of coffee’!

So, choose a brush, and go! Be boldly leave coffee marks wherever you want to offend anyone without fear! Have you already created your brush set? Have you applied them in your work? Leave your work in the comments to the lesson, I want to see them!

Final result

Author: Kirk Nelson

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