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High contrast grunge technique

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  • High contrast grunge technique

    Hi all,

    This has been racking my head for a while, there's a technique I regularly see from old punk posters (Black Flag etc), that I understand was from repeated xerox'ing and it gives a cool 1 colour threshold effect.

    However I'm seeing from the likes of the examples below, there's a layered threshold effect. Sure this could be achieved from applying threshold to the image and splitting it by tonal levels for each colour.

    But I wondered if there was a 'non-destructive' way of producing this, so that colours could be replaced easily or tweaks to the threshold levels can be made? There's quite a lot to pay attention to with it being a collage.

    Also, the images look quite noisey (close-ups included), does this look like something using stippling brushes or simply adding noise layer?

    Great for anyone to shed some light on this. Cheers
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  • #2
    Re: High contrast grunge technique

    Threshold, posterize, contrast, high pass, some or all of these combined.


    • #3
      Re: High contrast grunge technique

      There's a problem with theorizing an entire workflow. It doesn't work. There are also logical reasons why certain things don't work such as finite precision, encoding issues, and design limitations of certain tools. Here's how I would plan to approach it. I guarantee that I would make further adjustments to refine the results.

      I would clip out the images and get them on one canvas. You can discard background pixels from them if you like, but bring along the alpha channels in case you need them later.

      Make a labeled layer group for each major element. Make sure the names are meaningful. Make a separate layer group at the top of your stack labeled something like "combined" for anything that will impact multiple layer groups.

      Add threshold layers to the individual groups and use layer->create clipping mask to tie them to a specific element. Make paint or retouch or whatever layers in between those two layers, so all layers are clipped to that element.

      It's important that the threshold is at the top of each layer group, because it's the last thing that should be applied to an individual composition element in most cases. Work on the "combined" group may be partly invalidated by work on individual elements, so treat it as non-reusable. If you are still tweaking things, just roughly block in the work at that level. It's also worth mentioning that I wouldn't personally use threshold to match any of these. I only went with that because you mentioned it.

      I hope this helps.

      Another edit : Your examples are all over the place. Most of them predate photoshop, and digital retouching would have been cost prohibitive for film advertising at the time. You should drop the hangups regarding noise and stuff like that. It could be stippling. It could be grain picked up from either original film or intermediate reproductions. If it feels like that is missing once you get other things in place, you should try to find the best match. It's impossible to predict though, and if you aren't discerning about it, it will look terrible.
      Last edited by klev; 09-26-2015, 12:24 PM.


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