Using Grunge Brushes In Layer Masks

Vintage Coffee Pot

As I mentioned in the post earlier this week, Using Vintage French Brushes and Overlays, use layer masks to break up french script brushes and overlays to best suit your image. Think of the text as a visual enhancement that evokes a vintage feel rather than as an actual message.

In the image above, I’ve used this overlay and Photoshop brush.

Vintage French Overlay and Brush

The Overlay and Photoshop brush used in the image.


Below is the image with the overlay and brush without using layer masks.

Steps not shown: For the Overlay, I have already changed the blend mode to multiply, changed the color to a soft warm gray with a solid color layer with a clipping mask and lowered the opacity. See this tutorial. For the bush, I used roughly the same color, but the blend mode is Normal.
Vintage Coffee Pot no mask

The image with the overlay and brush without using layer masks.


Here’s how the newsprint brush layers looked after I used layer masks. It suddenly becomes less about actually reading the words and now is a visual interest instead. It’s as if I burned the edges with the newsprint rather than a tone!

Vintage French News brushes

The newsprint layers with layer masks made with a grunge brush


My favorite way to break up overlays is to use grunge brushes in the layer mask. I have a set of Free Photoshop Grunge Brushes on the site and I always keep these loaded in Photoshop for this purpose. Below shows what my layer masks looked like on the newsprint layers and the grunge brush that I used. I’m showing 2 layer masks together – see the layer panel to see how it actually looked.

Layer Mask using grunge brushes

The 2 layer masks and the brush used on the newsprint layers.


This was the layer mask for the Overlay layer. On this layer mask, I used both a gradient fill and the Free Photoshop Grunge Brushes.

Overlay layer mask

The layer mask for the Market Overlay


Finally, here is the Photoshop layer panel for the image.

Photoshop Layer Panel

The Photoshop Layer Panel for the Image.


Additional notes on the image.

  • I used Topaz Labs* Adjust 4 with the Clarity preset.
  • The Texture was Northern Skies from the Artiste Collection. Blend Mode: Overlay, Opacity: 65%.
  • I’ve also used the Free Grunge Overlay for a very subtle edge enhancement. (Taking out all the text in the middle)

* Topaz Labs Filters is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from any sales resulting from a click from this site (at no extra cost to you.) I really do love these filters. Nearly all of my own images use one of these filters. Thank you for supporting the site!

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4 Responses to Using Grunge Brushes In Layer Masks

  1. Dori October 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Thanks for the very educational post. I am learning so much from you about organically integrating so many different options on a layer mask. I would never have thought of using grunge brushes in combination with the gradient fill. Brilliant!
    Dori recently posted..Standard Image Post

  2. Abhishek Galshar June 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi, I am very happy to visit your site . Realy you have done mind-blowing work . i am much interested in digital oil paint look like painting can you guide me through your video tutorial? where can i find tutorial link of youtube

    I hope your posetive reply

    With best regard

    Abhishek Galshar

    • Leslie Nicole July 4, 2014 at 8:36 am #

      Hello Abhishek, Thank you for your comment. I’m not sure I understand your question. You can find the link to my YouTube channel in the sidebar and choose the tutorials from the category menu. You’ll see a selection for video. I hope that helps!

  3. Judy Howle July 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks very much for the tutorial! I never thought about using grunge brushes like this! And for the freebies. I have several of your textures etc. that I need to start using. I don’t do still life photography but I have a lot of vintage family photos.

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