Quickly Add Grunge To Text

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Quickly Add Grunge To Text

Post by diamonds on Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:17 am

Quickly Add Grunge To Text

For a while, it seemed liked every client wanted
grungy graphics. This might sound familiar, “I like it, but can we
grunge it up more”. Don’t get me wrong, having some grunge can create a
great deal of depth to a design or illustration, but there can be to
much of a good thing. This is the technique I use because it is quick
and consistent, making it easy to scum up any design or illustration.


This tutorial was created with Illustrator CS3. You should be alright if you have Illustrator CS2.

I suggest having the Raster Effects at 300 dpi. This will generate the best quality in the effect. You can change this by going Effect > Document Raster Effects Settings and chose 300 dpi.

Adding Grunge

With your text selected, go Effect > Distort > Glass. In the options, use the following settings.

  • Distortion: 15
  • Smoothness: 1
  • Texture: Blocks
  • Scaling: 200%

That’s it! You can still edit the text without loosing the effect.
You can change the font, color, kerning, or whatever! Moreover, you can
edit the Effect by selecting Glass in the Appearance panel.

Tracing Image

If you want to incorporate the text with other elements, it is a good
idea to trace the image as a vector. Currently, if you place the text
over an element that isn’t white, you will see white in the text instead
negative space.

First you will have to rasterize the image. Right now, the text is
essentially vector art masking out a raster image. Both need to be
rasterized before converting to vector. With the grunge text selected,
go Object > Rasterize. Keep all the options the same, except change the Resolution to Use Document Raster Effects Resolution.

With the new image selected, the Control Panel defaults to the Live Trace options. Click the arrow beside the Live Trace Button and select Tracing Options. Or you can go Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options. You don’t have to change all the options, just the ones below.

  • Mode: Color (if you text is color)
  • Max Colors: 2 (if you text is color)
  • Path Fitting: 1px
  • Minimum Area: 1px
  • Corner Angle: 1
  • Ignore White: Check this box

It is not a bad idea to save a preset in the Tracing Options. It makes it easy to recall these setting.

Press the Expand button on your tool bar, and now you have vector art!


Try this technique on objects other that type to get more grunge
effects. You can even create your own texture and load it in the Glass effectwhere you previously chosen Blocks, pretty cool!



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