View Full Version : [Award Winner] Creating old, weathered paper using the Gimp

05-04-2007, 01:16 AM
I finally got around to writing up a tutorial to show How I did the image in this thread:

Rather than starting with a stock image I changes it to start from scratch.

Attached are a sample, and the PDF of the tutorial.

Hope it is useful for folks!

-Rob A>

05-04-2007, 06:14 AM
Hmm, I'm getting a broken link for the tutorial download.


05-04-2007, 07:34 AM
Works for me.

05-04-2007, 08:49 AM
Then it might be something to do with my work puter. I'll try again when I get home tonight.

05-04-2007, 09:29 AM
Well done tutorial! I like how Gimp Crashed so we get to see two versions ;) Nice.

05-06-2007, 06:53 AM
Downloaded it at home. Great Tutorial! Thanks Rob. I liked the plasma clouds / overlay bit - it gives a useful texture.


05-07-2007, 08:13 AM
Rob, you rock! Keep 'em comin', buddy!

04-09-2008, 09:44 PM
I am getting area that says the part of the website the link connects to does not exist or some such non-sense. Help!

04-09-2008, 11:39 PM
Thanks for pointing it out. The forum was migrated a while back and the link was broken. I've fixed the link to point to the correct location of the referenced thread.

-Rob A>

04-15-2008, 12:45 AM
i was able to download and look forward to using it! i'm reinstalling gimp just to try this out. ^^

04-16-2008, 12:45 AM
RobA, everything you do just turns into awesome doesn't it? :D Although there were quite a few grunge brushes to choose from, I guess that lets people have their own style.

07-07-2008, 04:41 PM
superb tutorial, this whole forum is fantastic (especially for someone who just stupidly agreed to DM a new 4e campaign for some reprobates)

This is an image I've been playing about with this evening, the original is 1280x1024


07-08-2008, 09:57 AM
Nicely Done, stuamn!

-Rob A>

07-16-2008, 09:24 AM
Amazing ! I already feel like I rock at using GIMP.
Thanks a lot for this great tutorial!

02-17-2009, 10:11 PM
Hi, I'm just getting my feet wet with all the great tutorials here and I have a question.
In the last steps of the tutorial, you make some of the text have that "rubbed away" look. I was just wondering if there is a way to link up the texture of the map to this rubbed off process. It seems logical to me that the bright points on the texture are representing areas of more wear/less stain and thus text might be more likely to be rubbed off on these sections.
I've been playing around with layer masks (seems like this is the way to achieve this) but I can't quite figure out how to use the mask to duplicate the texture which I could then overlay on just the text and bleed the high areas away (without changing the paper look). I hope that makes sense.
Thanks in advance!

02-17-2009, 10:46 PM
@arjent -

Try taking a greyscale copy of the paper and pasting it into the layer mask of the text.

You might have to invert it and/or play with levels/curves to get it looking good, but it should definitely work.

-Rob A>

02-18-2009, 01:38 AM
Ah, ok! Thanks for the help! I'm not exactly sure how to paste something into a layer mask...
but making a second copy of the paper (with blobs and texture separate) as an overlay, then using a selection channel to cut out everything that overlapped the text. Cramming all the levels together to exaggerate the high-low (or else you can't see it) and adding heavy slur to the blobs layer to simulate spreading ink. The idea here was a handout to print, cut into 4 sections and give out as little finds all leading up to some sort of puzzle/whatnot.

This is my first ever antique scrap paper (and my first art here) and I'm pretty happy with it. Thanks for the help RobA, and also for the tutorial that inspired it! Consider this part 1 in my RobA tutorial "Thanks for helping me learn" tribute series. =)

02-18-2009, 06:54 PM
Cool symbols.

02-19-2009, 08:12 PM
The symbols are brushes from Deviant Art. Arcana..or Arcane brush...something like that.

05-24-2010, 01:47 AM
I tried this tutorial and I got good results...
The map is not mine, I got it from here: http://www.mapscroll.fi/images/maanmitta_kartta.jpg

05-28-2010, 12:22 PM
Hi everyone,

This is an interesting method for creating an "aged parchment" look. It's a little different than the one I've been using, which is based on Butch Curry's method (see my Gimp adaptation of Curry's "Fantasy Cartography with Adobe Photoshop" video tutorials, in this same forum thread).

One question though--I have Gimp 2.6.8, and I can't find the menu/dialog for changing layer modes. In the help documentation for 2.6, it lists layer modes as being available, but I can't find them where the doc says to find them. Does anyone here that's familiar with Gimp know what I'm missing here?

Thanks in advance.


05-29-2010, 08:26 AM
@wisemoon: It should be the combobox at the top of the Layers window/dialog. The label is 'Mode:'

In other news, this tutorial enabled me to take what was a rather mediocre map and turn it into something that actually looks quite cool. Presentation may not be everything, but it sure does help!


05-31-2010, 09:34 PM
Just as an example, I wanted to post a couple of pics of "aged parchment" backgrounds for maps.

The first one is from a method used by Butch Curry of Zombie Nirvana Games (this was made in the process of my ongoing adaptation of Curry's Photoshop tutorials to Gimp). [see Parchment1_Ep2.jpg]

The second one was done using RobA's excellent tutorial in this thread. Comparing the two, I like the second one just a bit better. [see Alternate_Parchment1.jpg]

I do like some of the elements from Curry's method; what I'll probably end up doing is combining the methods in some fashion, depending on the style of map I want to create.

08-26-2010, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the tutorial, I've been browsing this site for a while getting ideas and guides and thought I'd offer a little GIMP script back to the community. I pretty much automated most of the creation of the old weathered paper process. You'll have to add in any additional grunge touches to the blots layer that suites your map, but this script should take most of the grunt work out of the process. Now you just have to draw your map, go to Filters->Decor->Old Paper... then just add your grunge to the blots layer.

Enjoy :)

(copy the code and save as old-paper.scm in your gimp script directory)

;;; This GIMP script adds an old paper effect to the image.
;;; It is based off of the tutorial by RobA at
;;; http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?533-Tutorial-Creating-old-weathered-paper-using-the-Gimp
;;; Copyright (C) 2010 Mike Hogan <themikehogan@gmail.com>
;;; This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
;;; it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
;;; the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
;;; (at your option) any later version.
;;; This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
;;; but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
;;; GNU General Public License for more details.
;;; You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
;;; along with this program. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
;; Copy this script to your ~/.gimp-2.6/scripts directory as old-paper.scm
;; restart gimp or click Filters->Script-Fu->Refresh Scripts
;; load/create an image
;; click Filters->Decor->Old Paper... to start the script
;; Add your own custom grunge touch-ups to the Blots layer (kinda hard to automate this
;; as the script doesn't know what grungy looks would look good on your image) Duplicate
;; Blots layer to make it look darker
;; Play with different layer modes on your image to find what looks good, Burn, Multiply,
;; Overlay, Darken-Only and Grain-Merge modes typically are the ones that would look good
;; Make sure to Merge the layers before adding anything under the map layers or the map image
;; will be overlayed ontop of those layers underneath as well around the distressed areas
;; Enjoy your brand new^H^H^H old paper/parchment look
;; Feel free to let me know of any improvements/modifications you'd like and that you did

(define (script-fu-old-paper theImage inLayer inAddBlots inDistress inSaveDistress inDistressAmount inBorderSize inPaperColor inMergeLayers inDropShadow)
(theNewWidth (+ (car (gimp-drawable-width inLayer)) (* 2 inBorderSize)))
(theNewHeight (+ (car (gimp-drawable-height inLayer)) (* 2 inBorderSize)))
(theFuzzLayer (car (gimp-layer-new theImage theNewWidth theNewHeight RGBA-IMAGE "Old-Paper-Fuzz" 20 MULTIPLY-MODE)))
(theBlotLayer (car (gimp-layer-new theImage theNewWidth theNewHeight RGBA-IMAGE "Old-Paper-Blots" 100 OVERLAY-MODE)))
(theTextureLayer (car (gimp-layer-new theImage theNewWidth theNewHeight RGBA-IMAGE "Old-Paper-Texture" 100 OVERLAY-MODE)))
(thePaperLayer (car (gimp-layer-new theImage theNewWidth theNewHeight RGBA-IMAGE "Old-Paper-Paper" 100 NORMAL-MODE)))
(theSelection 0)
(thePaperSelection 0)
(theBrush 0)
;init (save state/selections/undo)
(gimp-image-undo-group-start theImage)
(set! theSelection (car (gimp-selection-save theImage)))
(gimp-selection-none theImage)

(if (= inDistress FALSE) ; no need to resize if we aren't distressing the border
(gimp-image-resize theImage theNewWidth theNewHeight inBorderSize inBorderSize)

;add the layers
(gimp-image-add-layer theImage theFuzzLayer -1)
(if (= inAddBlots TRUE)
(gimp-image-add-layer theImage theBlotLayer 2)
(gimp-image-add-layer theImage theTextureLayer 3)
(gimp-image-add-layer theImage thePaperLayer 4)

(gimp-layer-set-mode inLayer GRAIN-MERGE-MODE)
(gimp-selection-all theImage)
(gimp-selection-shrink theImage inBorderSize)
(if (= inDistress TRUE)
(script-fu-distress-selection theImage inLayer 197 8 4 2 TRUE TRUE)
(if (= inSaveDistress TRUE)
(set! thePaperSelection (car (gimp-selection-save theImage)))
(gimp-drawable-set-name thePaperSelection "Old Paper Selection")

(gimp-context-set-foreground inPaperColor)
(gimp-edit-bucket-fill thePaperLayer FG-BUCKET-FILL NORMAL-MODE 100 255 FALSE 0 0)
(plug-in-plasma RUN-NONINTERACTIVE theImage theTextureLayer (srand (realtime)) 2.5)
(gimp-desaturate theTextureLayer)
(plug-in-bump-map RUN-NONINTERACTIVE theImage theTextureLayer theTextureLayer 135 45 5 0 0 0 0 TRUE FALSE LINEAR)
(gimp-context-set-foreground '(0 0 0))

(set! theBrush (car (gimp-brush-new "old-paper border")))
(gimp-brush-set-radius theBrush (/ inBorderSize 2))
(gimp-brush-set-shape theBrush BRUSH-GENERATED-CIRCLE)
(gimp-brush-set-hardness theBrush 1)
(gimp-context-set-brush theBrush)

(if (= inAddBlots TRUE)
(gimp-edit-stroke theBlotLayer)
(plug-in-gauss-rle RUN-NONINTERACTIVE theImage theBlotLayer inBorderSize TRUE TRUE)
(set! theBlotLayer -1)
(plug-in-plasma RUN-NONINTERACTIVE theImage theFuzzLayer (srand (realtime)) 2.5)
(gimp-desaturate theFuzzLayer)
(gimp-brush-set-hardness theBrush 0)
(gimp-context-set-opacity 60)
(gimp-edit-stroke theFuzzLayer)

(if (= inDropShadow TRUE)
(script-fu-drop-shadow theImage thePaperLayer 8 8 15 '(0 0 0) 80 TRUE)

(if (= inMergeLayers TRUE)
(theLayerName 0)
(set! theLayerName (car (gimp-drawable-get-name inLayer)))
(set! inLayer (car (gimp-image-merge-visible-layers theImage EXPAND-AS-NECESSARY)))
(gimp-drawable-set-name inLayer theLayerName)

;cleanup (restore state/selection/undo/flush display)
(gimp-brush-delete theBrush)
(gimp-selection-load theSelection)
(gimp-image-remove-channel theImage theSelection)
(gimp-image-undo-group-end theImage)

;return the image and the layers incase any other scripts want to use them too
;if merging layers, the fuzz/blot/texture/paper layers are now gone
;theBlotLayer will be -1 if it is turned off
(list theImage inLayer theFuzzLayer theBlotLayer theTextureLayer thePaperLayer)

"<Image>/Filters/Decor/Old Paper..."
"Creates an old paper effect"
"Mike Hogan"
"Copyright 2010, Mike Hogan"
"August 26, 2010"
SF-IMAGE "image" 0
SF-DRAWABLE "drawable" 0
SF-TOGGLE "Add Blot/Grunge Layer" TRUE
SF-TOGGLE "Distress Paper Edge" TRUE
SF-TOGGLE "Save Distression to Channel" TRUE
SF-ADJUSTMENT "Distress Amount" '(127 1 255 1 10 0 0)
SF-ADJUSTMENT "Distress/Border size" '(40 1 1000 1 10 0 1)
SF-COLOR "Paper Colour" '(208 193 162)
SF-TOGGLE "Merge Visible Layers" FALSE
SF-TOGGLE "Drop Shadow" TRUE

This GIMP plugin can also be found at the gimp plugin repository http://www.registry.gimp.org/node/24679

09-02-2010, 06:48 PM
Doh! I had been threatening to do a script but then went down another path and forgot all about learning how to script. I'll give your script a whirl.

02-27-2012, 12:02 PM
Polls Closed so I cant vote, so Pluss 1!
This guy made two good grunge brush sets: http://akisu-sama.deviantart.com/ His second set contains a liscense clause allowing any use of BOTH sets.

The current gimp (2.6.8) has no Distress function that I could find, but the script linked from this page (the one on the registry.gimp.org site) works fine even on a massive image!

Very well done!

06-22-2012, 12:21 AM
i've found that version of gimp i'm using, 2.8 to be precise, doesn't have the distress function either. however, using the distort function works nicely.

08-19-2012, 11:22 AM
Thanks soooooo much - for saving me a lot of time on many projects!

04-18-2015, 06:26 PM
I have used this tutorial a couple of times now and I really like how it has turned out. I've posted one of the maps on my blog and will post another within a week or two. http://jaspersrantings.wordpress.com/.

06-01-2015, 08:46 PM
uhu! very nice! Thanks for the tute ;)