Create a grunge metallic photo frame in Photoshop

It’s my first tutorial ever so I’ll start with something pretty simple. In this post I’m going to show you how to add a cool grunge metallic frame to a photo and how to create a quick metallic text effect. In many of my designs i used this kind of photo frames and now i will show you one way to make them. So the final result will have a grunge feel but it will be pretty elegant at the same time. Check it out below (click on the image to view it full size):


Time: 45 minutes * Level: Beginner / Intermediate

What you need:

1. After you downloaded the amazing Illustrator brush pack from, you need to install it. If you don’t know how to do that, follow the steps from this article.

2. Now we will try to do the frame in Illustrator. After you installed the brushes, create a new document and draw a horizontal line using the pen tool and then open the brush palette. In the Open Brush Library, choose the brushes you just installed.


Select the line that you made with the pen tool and then click on a brush from the list. Experiment a little bit with the sizes and brushes and see which brush you like most (use thin brushes if you want to have the same result as me ).   Remove the fill and leave the stroke at 1pt. The result should be something like this:


3. Now make more strokes (both, horizontal and vertical) using different brushes and dimensions, reposition them and move them one over another until you get a rectangle shape like the one below:


4. Now save the document and leave it open in Illustrator. Open Photoshop and create a new RGB document at 72 dpi, 1000 × 800 px.


Then download the free HQ texture pack and open in photoshop the file named Press Ctrl + A and then Ctrl+C to select the entire texture and copy it, then go to the document you just created and paste it pressing Ctrl+V.  Go to edit -> free transform and shrink the texture proportionally to fit the background.


Delete the layer named “background” we don’t need it anymore, and leave just the texture layer (name it “metal:). Save the document. Now you should have something like this:


Go to image -> adjustments -> brightness/contrast, and change the brightness and contrast using these values:


5. All right, the texture is now darker and looks awesome. Now we are going to add the image. (You can use another photo if you want but pay attention to the step when we are using blending modes because they might behave different depending on the color and brightness of your image.) Download the image that we are going to use and open it in Photoshop.  Press Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+C to select the image and copy it, then go to our document and paste it pressing Ctrl+V. So we have a new layer, name it “image”. Now we’re going back to illustrator to copy our frame to our document in Photoshop. Select the frame, press Ctrl+C, then go to our document in photoshop and press Ctrl+V to paste our frame. Now Photoshop will ask you how to place your design. Choose smart object and then transform it until you reach the edges of the image, and then hit enter.


6. Rasterize the new layer (right click on the layer -> rasterize layer) and press Ctrl+J 4 times to duplicate the layer until you have 5 similar layers with the same frame, and name them frame1,  frame 2, frame 3, frame 4, frame 5.


7. Hide all the frame layers except frame 1. Right click on it and choose select pixels. Then go to Edit -> Fill. In the “Use” field select color and choose #d9a858.


Then click OK, and again, OK. Now shrink it just a little bit with right click -> free transform. Right click again and choose horizontal flip, repeat the operation choosing vertical flip this time. We have the same frame in 5 layers but we want to create the impression that the frames are different from one another. So, it is very important that the layers with the frames will not have the exact same dimension so resize them, flip them and move them 10-20 px right or left / up or down.

8. Make visible the second layer and colorize it with #8c692f. Now your layers should look like this:


9. Change the blending mode to the frame1 to overlay, and to the frame2 to color dodge:


10. Now we want our image to be more separated from the background so make visible “frame4″ leave it black and change the blending mode to “soft light”. Now you should have something like this:


11. Drag frame5 under the layer image, leave it black and change the blending mode to soft light. Don’t forget to move, flip, transform the frames so they will NOT be perfectly overlapped. You can continue experimenting with blending modes, duplicate the frames and so on, until you’re satisfied with the result.

12. Now that we’re finished with the frame, we are going to add some text. Choose the type tool and write some text (i wrote the name of the guy in the picture) under the image. I used the font AGaramond, but you can use whatever font you want.


Right click on the text layer and choose blending options. Use the following values for shadow:


Check also Gradient Overlay and use a Grey gradient with the angle of 90°. The gradient should be from color #5d5d5d to color #d3d3d3:


Now the text should have a nice metallic effect:


Add another text smaller than the previous one to create a dimensional contrast between them. But beyond the dimensional contrast when we look at those two texts, we have another contrast regarding the space between the letters (increased tracking) As you can see i used the value 800.


Now copy the Marco Hietala layer style, (right click on the layer, copy layer style), and paste it on the new one, Nightwish.

We are getting close to the end so we will just add two stylish bars and place the nightwish text between them. So make a 1 px thin white horizontal line like the one below:


Now right click on the line layer and go to blending options. Check gradient overlay and make a gradient that starts and ends with the color #181818 but in the middle the color is #9b9b9b. Make sure the gradient angle has the value of 0°. Click OK, OK, and again OK.


Duplicate the layer and move the new one below the “nightwish text”. The final result should be like this:


click on the image to view full size.

So this is how it’s done. You can use this technique if you have a nice photo and you might want to turn it into a wallpaper, or even a print.


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10 Responses to “Create a grunge metallic photo frame in Photoshop”

  1. Ionut Ciursa says:

    Awesome tutorial! I like the way you explained it.

    Glad to meet a great designer from my country who is also a Nightwish fan :D.

  2. Ionut Ciursa says:

    Awesome tutorial! I like the way you explained it.

    Glad to meet a great designer from my country who is also a Nightwish fan :D.

  3. Nice post…love 2 see more like that…Good work

  4. Very cool tutorial!

  5. davidg says:

    Really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for passing by!

  6. Andreea says:

    Hi! great tutorial! r u romanian?

  7. Andreea says:

    Hi! great tutorial! r u romanian?

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