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Hollywood Grunge Effect

I originally saw a great tutorial that showed me the basis of how to do this effect on the Web site www.dreaminfinity.com. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of creating these trendy “neo” grunge effects that are so popular in movie titles, CD covers, and ads targeting young consumers. Here's my take on how to create this popular effect.

Step ONE. Open a new blank document in RGB mode. Press the letter “t” to get the Type tool and create some type. (In the example shown here, I used the font Trajan from Adobe.)
Step TWO. The grunge effect is created using a photo. Any photo with well-defined lines seems to work well, including photos of buildings, cities, walls, and stairs. So, choose a photo with lots of objects that have straight or angled lines (rather than curves).
Step THREE. Press “v” to get the Move tool, hold the Shift key, and drag this photo over to your Type document (the photo should appear above your Type layer in the Layers stack, and it should be centered because you held the Shift key). Press Shift-Command-U (PC: Shift-Control-U) to remove the color from your photo (as shown here).
Step FOUR. Go under the Image menu, under Adjustments, and choose Threshold. When the Threshold dialog appears, drag the Threshold slider (under the Histogram) to the left until the Threshold Level (at the top of the dialog) reads 26 (as shown here). This increases the contrast of the photo, and gives it a noisy, dirty look. Click OK.
Step FIVE. Duplicate this layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J). Then, in the Layers palette, hide this duplicate layer (by clicking on the Eye icon beside it) and click on the original photo layer (as shown). Then, change the Blend Mode of this layer from Normal to Multiply in the Layers palette, so you can see through to your text on the layer beneath it (as shown here).
Step SIX. Press the letter “m” to get the Rectangular Marquee tool and drag a rectangular selection around your type (like the one shown here). Remember, you're still on the photo layer—you're just seeing the type layer beneath it.
Step SEVEN. Go under the Select menu and choose Inverse (this selects everything except the area you just selected) and press Delete (PC: Backspace) to erase the top and bottom chunks of your photo layer (as shown here). Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D).
Step EIGHT. Press “e” to get the Eraser tool. In the Option Bar, click on the down-facing arrow next to the Brush thumbnail to get the Brush Picker. Choose a Spatter brush (any Spatter brush will do: 24, 27, 39, etc.). Use the Master Diameter slider in the Picker to increase your brush size to 65.
Step NINE. Take the Eraser tool (with this Spatter brush) and starting clicking your way across the word, erasing as you click. Basically, you're erasing away the grunge that obscures the type. This will take hundreds of clicks as you work your way from left to right (don't worry, it only takes a minute or so). Then start clicking over other areas, erasing away (remember—no paint strokes—only clicks).
Step TEN. Spend another minute or two erasing other areas until you basically have a mess (like the one shown here). Yours won't necessarily look just like the one shown here, and that's perfectly fine—just erase the areas that annoy you, and leave some grunge around your type area. How much grunge is enough? It's your call.
Step ELEVEN. Now make the duplicate photo layer visible and active by clicking on it in the Layers palette. In the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode of this layer from Normal to Multiply (so you can see through it). Switch to the Move tool and drag this layer around (down, left, etc.) to find an area of this layer that looks cool over your existing type and grunge. Again, where you stop is up to you (I went down a little and to the left in this example).
Step TWELVE. Once your duplicate photo layer is in place, get the Rectangular Marquee tool, drag a large rectangular selection around the top half of your image area, and press Delete (PC: Backspace). Then do the same for the bottom, starting fi inch or so under your type (like the one shown here) and press Delete (PC: Backspace) to delete this excess area. Get the Eraser tool again, and click away over any areas that look too distracting or cover up your type too much.
Step THIRTEEN. Here's the finished effect, with a line of text added underneath it (I used the standard font Helvetica). This technique is fun to experiment with, either using different photos, or using the same photo and trying different Blend Modes (other than Multiply) and erasing different parts of your photo.
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