Distressed Text Effect and Grunge Graphics with Adobe Illustrator CC


In this Illustrator tutorial, we’ll cover using Image Trace with grouped layers to create really good vector textures and then move those into our artwork and resize them for use in a mask to create real and detailed grunge texture masked effects in Adobe Illustrator. Make sure you download the 9 free vector textures I’ve provided with this tutorial!


Creating a Mask and Pasting a Texture

To get all the details about how to create these textures in deeper detail, be sure to watch the video above. Drag any image you like into Illustrator and click on the “Image Trace” button and use any one of the presets that will give you only black and white shapes. Tweak and play with the Image Trace settings until you get a texture that you like. Go Object>Expand to open up the image trace and then grab the magic wand tool and click on the white area of the image trace and hit your delete key to get rid of everything except the black bits of texture left.

Filling the Texture Mask with a Rich Black

Copy those bits of black grunge that are left behind to your clipboard. Go to the document that you want to add the grunge effect to and select the piece of artwork specifically and open the Transparency panel and double click on the new layer mask thumbnail and then uncheck the “Clip” box. Now simply paste in the vector texture that you copied to your clipboard earlier and stretch the texture over your artwork you want to grunge up. Next, open the Color panel and choose CMYK from the tooltip menu in the top right corner of the panel. Set each of these sliders to 100% to fill the texture with full, rich black and punch a ton of little holes in your artwork.

Adding Multiple Textures and Resizing the Texture

You can paste that texture into the mask several times and stretch it out, rotate it, or size it any which way to build a more complex grunge effect. Make sure you watch the full video at the top of this post to see all the details about how to build this effect.

Tags: Distressed Text Effect, Grunge Text Effect, Make Grunge Text, Make Distressed Text, How to, Illustrator, Illustrator Tutorial, Adobe Illustrator, Vector Artwork, Graphic Design, Text Effect, Special Effect

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