Old parchment texture
I thought I’d post up a tutorial for the method I use to make old stained parchment for use as a base on maps and other projects. I work with Photoshop though I’m sure the techniques used here can be used on other software like Gimp.
So to start, pick a size for the image. I tend to work in 300 dpi as I often print the resultant images and that’s the best resolution to go with for print. If you’re only going to use them on-screen you can go down to 100 dpi. For this example I’m using a standard A4 size, though can use anything.
Add a second layer, call it ‘Base’ and fill it with a good parchment colour. You can use anything though I used ede0c6 or mine.
Add three layers on top of this, naming them (from top-down), ‘light’, ‘medium’ and ‘dark’, respectively. Fill them with progressively darker colours, like khaki, tan to dark brown. For mine I used e9c78a, b99c5e, and 372b24 respectively.
Add a layer mask (reveal all) to the three layers as well as clipping masks to the ‘Base’ layer.
Apply a Filter -> Render -> Clouds to the ‘light’, ‘medium’, and ‘dark’ layers. Now here comes the interesting part. Make sure the mask on the ‘light’ layer is selected (rather than the layer itself) and go to Image -> Adjustments -> Levels. The captured dialog will appear:
Moving the black slider (on the left) to the right increases the black in the image. Moving the white slider (on the right) to the left increases the white. Since we’re doing this on a reveal all mask layer, the black will hide the layers colour. Chose an amount you’re comfortable with. Went with values of 98 and112 for black and white, respectively.
Do the same for the other two layers, choosing more black for the ‘medium’ layer, and again more for the ‘dark’ layer, respectively. You should end up with something like this:
Now, use Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur on each of the layer masks. I used 5.0 on mine, though can use whatever looks right to you, even changing the amounts on each of the three layers. The masks are looking a bit too prominent, so I changed the opacity of the layers, decreasing as I got darker. I went for 60%, 50%, 40%, respectively on mine.
Now it’s time to add some detail. I added a rock texture (using a default photoshop rock texture) and two layers above it, ‘Noise’ and ‘Burn’. Both layers were filled with 50% grey with the layer mode set to soft light (which makes 50% grey ‘invisible’, making it great for adding subtle effects). The texture layer mode was set to Linear burn with an opacity of 25%.
Make sure the ‘Burn’ layer is selected and, use the burn tool to make the edges darker, as you’d expect with old paper. Now select the ‘Noise’ layer and add use Filter -> Noise -> Add Noise and use a monochromatic Gaussian noise. I set mine to around 10%.
Looking at the paper, the layer masks are still somewhat prominent, so I played around with the opacities> I also grabbed a large soft-edged eraser, and erased parts of the centre of the ‘light’, ‘medium’, and ‘dark’ layers, making sure the layers and not the masks were selected. The great thing about this is that you can turn it into an action to make textured pages very quickly. Add some nice grunge brushes to this (which you can use in black/white on a 50% grey soft light layer) and you’ll end up with something like this:
Hope this helps