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Create a retro look by imitating antique labels

Added on Sunday 10th of April 2005 12:21 am EST


Adobe® Photoshop 7/CS

Operating Systems:

Macintosh®, Microsoft® Windows®


The appeal of antique labels lives on in the hearts of many modern-day artists. There’s just something about the aged imagery that casts a feeling of warmth and mystique. Using Photoshop, you can create the illusion of an old label using new imagery, as shown in Figure A. You can even make the wood panels from scratch for a finished effect.


Art: Crop to  image area. (SD)

Figure A:

Create old-fashioned labels with ease using Photoshop.


Build from the bottom up

We’ll start this article by walking you through the steps used to create a woodgrain background for our label. Then, we’ll place the label onto the wood using the Fibers filter to blend the two images together. Next, we’ll blend the edges of the label into the wood and enrich the colors of the image to finish things off.


Create a wood backdrop

Creating a panel background for an image is relatively simple. To begin, open a new 5" x 5" RGB image in Photoshop that’s at least 200 ppi. Then, select a dark brown as your Foreground color and make the Background Color swatch a lighter version of the brown you previously selected. Create a new layer on which to work by clicking on the Create A New Layer icon CREATELAYER at the base of the Layers palette. Fill this layer with your Foreground color by selecting Edit > Fill, selecting Foreground Color in the Use pop-up menu, and clicking OK.

Now, choose Filter > Render > Fibers. In the Fibers dialog box, shown in Figure B, set the Variance to 9 and the Strength to 18. Then, click the Randomize button until you’re satisfied with the look of your grain. Click OK to apply the filter. Now, we have to rotate the grain so it runs horizontally across the page. To do so, choose Edit > Transform > Rotate 90 CW.



Figure B:

Apply the Fibers filter to a new layer in order to make a woodgrain pattern.


The last step in making the wood panels is to actually make the panels. Again, make a new layer to work on in the Layers palette. We’re going to use the Pencil tool to create the lines between each panel. Select the Pencil tool Pencil from the Toolbox. Then, choose the Hard Round 5 Pixels brush from the Brush pop-up menu. While holding the [shift] key, draw a dark brown line from the left side of your canvas to right, creating your first panel. Repeat this as many times as necessary, until you’ve produced the number of panels you want.

To give the panels depth, click on the Add a Layer Style icon ADDLAYER in the Layers palette and select Bevel And Emboss. In the resulting dialog box, shown in Figure C, select Outer Bevel from the Style pop-up menu and Smooth from the Technique pop-up menu. Then, set the Depth to 241, the Direction to Down, the Size to 5, and Soften to 9.


Figure C:

Add depth to your panels using the Bevel And Emboss style.


To make the gap look even more polished, select the Satin check box in the Styles list on the left side of the Layer Style palette. Then, in the Satin options box, shown in Figure D, set the Blend Mode to Color Burn and change the color used to dark brown. Now, click OK to apply the styles. Your woodgrain should resemble ours shown in Figure E.




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