Earthy Background Wall Tutorial

Tutorial by Orion Williams


The goal here is to end up with an earthy background image which can be used as a template, wallpaper, or background for another design even.  It's not that difficult!

Starting with a regular new document size for web..


I'm picking a taupe yellow color, pressing OK and then alt backspace to fill the background layer.

And since I'm thinking 'nature'..I've got a collection of insects

So I'll open this moth (or butterfly?) and get a fast magic wand (W) selection of the white background, right click and 'select inverse'

With the moVe tool, I'll drag it into our working document.

Now I'm wanting to get something darker so I'll grab the eyedropper tool

 and just sample a color from the moth (thanks guy)

Let's create a new layer

And press B and in the brush palette flyout menu load the rons_scratches (large) brush set

Let's choose a darker brown

And click once to apply the brush to this new layer

To mix it up some more and get more texture going on I'm picking a different earthy scratch brush

Create another new layer

And go with a lighter foreground color

Ok, now we can see the scratch effect going on

Let's drag the background layer to new layer icon to duplicate it

Fill the original background layer with black and then add a layer mask to the 2nd background layer as shown

Let's change the angle of the brush and start doing some brushmasking

Here I've added a layer mask to the brush layer itself and am just hiding the pixels of each of these layers to let more of the black background be evident.  This darkens the overall appearance (best to be seen on video)

Now let's grab the gradient tool on foreground to transparent as shown with black as the foreground color to help mask.  Using the radial gradient gives an advantage in certain work scenarios (as seen on video)

Lower the opacity if it's just hiding the pixels too quickly and you don't want as strong of an effect

Here I'm just darkening one of the layers by swiping with the gradient tool (making sure a layer mask is what's active on that layer) to allow the darker background layer through

I'm changing the moth blend mode to Multiply

Duplicating it by dragging it to the new layer icon

And then Ctrl/Cmd 'T' transforming it down by holding the Shift key to scale it and then rotating it and repositioning it within the image.  Helps give it more of a jurassic feel but to help it even more let's cover it up

I'm loading the rons_scratches (small) brushset (usually I'll press OK to replace instead of append)

Pick a scatching scratchy brush

Then add a layer mask and just use the brush to hide the pixels on this layer in the appearance of weathered scratches.

And here's the final result.  Now you should have a good idea of how to create this kind of effect and your own backgrounds or wallpapers; with the right tools your creativity can abound the the options are limitless in variation!

There are endless variations especially when you start doing it with different brushes, colors and angles - just for 'weathered' backgrounds! 

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