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Thread: Make your own Aged Paper textures

  1. #1
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    Post Make your own Aged Paper textures

    I got tired of using other people's parchment backgrounds and then trying to remember where i got them from.

    So I made my own set. Most people may know this technique, but I surprise myself every day by picking up new tricks I figure I should have known years ago, and it's possible someone else may be in the same boat when it comes to this


    Step 1: crumple and fold paper. 1 or two folds is plenty, I've also done some with map-style folding. your preference really. Leaving it crumpled gives mixed results, I find the paper falls apart when you try to unfold it after soaking. Plus if you soak it long enough for the colour to settle in, the crumples smooth themselves out for the most part. Still working on that.

    Step 2: soak them in really (REALLY) strong tea. We have this really cheap loose leaf tea, it's almost like granules. I used 5 tablespoons to 2 cups of near boiling water, I wanted it to be strong, I'm not patient for this process I also made sure that the tea got into the folded areas.

    Step 3: unfold then pat dry between 2 towels, and scan before drying. it's much easier when the paper is slightly damp, it stays very flat. I set mine to the highest setting it would go, 600 dpi (i miss my old one, 1200!) with colour setting of course. I then saved the image in a lossless format (PSD a la photoshop in my case) so I could always have a backup in case I mess things up. Then after running a few image effects (my original scan was very orange) I resaved the files to new locations. Voilà! Ready to be inserted/chopped/overlayed/further-grunged/whatevered at the artist's whim.


    Also included are 4 scans for those without scanners. These are all saved at 5000x3900 (give or take the 3900 part) so they should be plenty big for most purposes (had to move them down a bit to fit in the forum constraints). If anyone wants originals, let me know and I can make them available through my FTP, they are approx 6000x5000 and 96 megs as PSD.

    Enjoy!
    To make it official, I am releasing these textures into public domain with the Creative Karma License 1.0 -- Free to use for any purposes whatsoever without restriction as long as you do something nice for someone at some point
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    Last edited by Coyotemax; 10-20-2009 at 05:58 PM. Reason: typos

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Glad you did this. I don't drink tea but I've always wanted to try the technique. I hear coffee grounds work too, but I don't drink that either. I like 1 and 3 for maps (lighter), 2 and 4 for text (more character).
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
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    Guild Artisan Juggernaut1981's Avatar
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    If you're going to do it with coffee there are a few options...

    Option 1 (The Weak Coffee Stain in a pot on the stove)
    1tbspn into 500ml of water on a stove, boil and skim out the coffee grounds then do what CoyoteMax did.

    Option 2 (The REALLY Long Black)
    Make percolator coffee with double the water or half the coffee of usual then do what CoyoteMax did

    Option 3 (The Grinds Rubbing)
    Get a dishcloth, put a big spoon of coffee grinds into it, tie it into a ball and put it into boiling water for a little while (until you see the coffee soaking back out into the water). Wrap a dry dishcloth around it and rub it onto the paper. This is really good for adding in those "random damage" marks.


    Done these on all sorts of things before... so give them a whirl. Variations on the tea theme but they work nicely.
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    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    Oooh, I may have to try the coffee method. thanks!

    I may end up finding a use fur my espresso grounds too, I'll experiment one of these times and report back. (probably not until after mexico though)


    Incidentally, when scanning, make sure and do both sides! They will give you very similar looks, but different enough to be useable.

    The observant among you may notice that's exactly what I did with the 4 textures listed above, that's 2 sheets of paper total

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  5. #5
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    All I drink is Pepsi or milk so I wonder if either of those will work I'll report back as well.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  6. #6
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    I can picture results with pepsi, but remind me to not come visit while you're testing the milk out

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  7. #7
    Professional Artist Gracious Donor Sapiento's Avatar
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    Looks great, CM. I'm sure I can find some use for it

  8. #8
    Guild Journeyer Noon's Avatar
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    Very good idea.
    You can also buy small sheets of "natural paper" (I am not sure of the translation), and scanning.
    Some examples of natural paper: http://www.creatif.fr/papier-himalaya-1.html
    Noon
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    A project of role play (with my maps): www.rhim.fr

  9. #9
    Software Dev/Rep Gracious Donor waldronate's Avatar
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    Another option requires a heat lamp and really cheap paper. You crumple, fold, spindle, and so on. Apply the heat lamp and the paper will rapidly brown and become fragile. If you leave it folded (ideally with several other pages) then the edges will brown faster than the inside. Roasting it for a good long time will make the edges crumbly. Try not to let it catch fire too much.

    I am told that making the paper more acid with something like vinegar between the scuffing and roasting will make the browning go faster. The more acid the paper the faster it goes.

    The best paper I ever found for this was cheap white quad-rule graph paper. I drew a quick dungeon map on it. The blue lines washed out with a quick dip in water and the paper was acid enough that it browned rapidly. I applied a little extra heat to one corner of the folded map and the result was nicely asymmetric and crumbly when I opened it up again.

  10. #10
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    Nice! I've also tried doing paper in the oven way back in the day when I was making player handouts, but I don't recall much of how I did that. Never thought of the heatlamp, though. I can say that my players were altnernately amused and annoyed when I would give them handouts that would literally start crumbling as soon as they tried to handle them

    So I took my Trade challenge map original and tried an experiment. no undo, since it's not a digital effect though (but it's scanned, so I'm ok)

    There's been a few maps where I've had things like bloodstains and such being faintly visible, and they looked pretty funky, so i figured why don't I replicate that while I'm messing around. Blood/whatever stains don't look like most people make them look digitally, as it turns out. I was using photoshop brushes of thinks like paint/ink/whatever splats, and working off that. I took into account folds, and would have a slightly fainter one set symetrically across any fold lines. But even with blurring out the edges, the real stains look nothing like that - WAY more smudgy and blurred, no real definition to them at all. *notes for future reference*

    After it dries, I'll scan the other side for texture purposes.. it's a little delicate right now. I went a little nuts when messing around this one and like I said - no undo
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    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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