How to Make Vintage T-Shirt Graphics in Illustrator and Photoshop

July 31, 2019 posted by

Hey this is Ray Dombroski. Today I want to talk
about how graphic designers set up their t-shirt graphics to look vintage. And the thing that makes
t-shirt graphics look vintage is actually the properties of the
ink that’s used print them. And an ink
that’s been used since the seventies and eighties is called plastisol and over time it
gets dried out and it just cracks and flakes and that’s how
you get that vintage look so I’ve got a collection of textures that I
made from thrift store t-shirt graphics and they’re all in nice bitmap tiff, Photoshop psd, and Photoshop brush format so first I’ll show you the bitmap tiff
files and these are the best way to use
textures in Illustrator vector textures especially big ones with
a lot of vector points can get very cumbersome hard to deal with that’s why bitmap tiff’s are so awesome so I’ll go ahead and show you one and to use it I need to do is go file place and then just pick one up to 30 textures and I’ll just pick this one. It’s sort of a
medium texture so let me size this thing up. And when you’re
adding these textures to your graphics, typically you want the texture color to match the background
color and the reason is simply when you have a t-shirt and areas of ink get cracked or flaked off what you see is a t-shirt fabric below
and this is exactly how I would set up a file for screen printing. So I could send this off to a
screen printer right now let me show you another one and here
I’ve gotta super vectory looking surfer… very
glossy looking brand new graphic and I’ll just go file place and a place another want to use right on
top and you notice how it defaults to a black
color when you first place it in and all you need to do is have your texture selected and then
grab your little eyedropper tool and select the background color and now you’ve got a texture. The other
thing you notice about the bitmap textures if you haven’t used them in Illustrator before…
on the screen they’re kinda displayed sorta pixel-y but when you output them
say… save for web. or you print it out on your Epson printer or you send it off to a screen printer.
these textures actually look nice and smooth and in this case I can show you… File
Save for Web and let me zoom in here 200 percent and depending on the
resolution the video your watching right now you may or may
not be able to see this but all the sudden we have a nice textured vintage graphic it’s not so vectory and
brand new looking which is exactly what we’re going for.
So that’s illustrator let me show you a Photoshop file this is an old Ford Bronco I took a
picture of in Hawaii and I’ve got it transparent on a tan background and the best way to
use these textures in Photoshop is actually
used Photoshop brushes and these are super easy to load let me just open this this is the folder you get when you
download here’s the bitmaps here’s the Photoshop brushes and it also comes with flattenedPSD’s if you really want to go
into these files and kinda play with the levels but you know
that’s for more more advanced users or people a lot of time
on their hands If you’re looking to do this real quick if
you’re working on a fairly medium to almost high resolution file you can get
by with the 1500 pixel brushes if you’re using a really high
resolution graphic you should use 3000 pixel brushes in this example is actually fairly low
res 1500 pixel russians just double click on
it it automatically loaded in your brushes
palette and before I show you that let me show you
how I add texture to a graphic without messing anything up and it’s also a good method to
use if you tend to go back your files and change
the colors or alter things so the way I’m going add a texture to this
file is with the layer mask and I want to do that the bronco where
so I had that bronco selected and ago layer>layer mask>reveal all and that adds sort of a channel to it and it’s selected right now and what I
want to do is go to my Photoshop brushes and these are the 30 brushes that I just
loaded from the plastisol textures collection and I’ll just select one of these. let me try this one and you’ll see my cursor is now a giant brush basically
it’s a giant plastisol brush and with your bracket keys you can size this up or size it down and basically all you’re doing is you’re
painting black into this layer mask and that’s going to
create transparency on your brocco so I’ll just click in
there and voila there’s your brocco with texture. So the nice thing about using layer
masks with the textures is it doesn’t mess
anything up you’re not locked in anything you can go
back and change the color I’ll change the background here. Just to show you the transparency that comes through so image>adjustments hue/saturation and let’s just change this to like a yellow and you can see that the yellow comes
right through the bronco now so that’s it. These things are super easy
to use again with Illustrator you want to use the bitmap tiffs. With Photoshop in general the that Photoshop brushes is the easiest
and most versatile. I’ve got high-resolution images these if you
wanna see them and there’s also a link below the video.
Follow that to find out more about the Plastisol textures collection thanks for watching


10 Replies to “How to Make Vintage T-Shirt Graphics in Illustrator and Photoshop”

  1. Joshua Aldana says:


  2. Joshua Aldana says:

    Gonna try and save up to get these..

  3. Muhammd Zulhilmi says:

    Hello there .
    How can i follow the curves of the font in easier way ? Is that using a pen tools or tablets ?

  4. Zach Pardary says:

    I've got a mega brush pack to share (over 400 brushes)

  5. Enki Enki says:

    how did you make your bronco that color and how did u make it transparent like u said

  6. Sid Plimmer says:

    You have such a refreshingly unique style of designing and describing graphic design 🙂

  7. MG Boa says:

    is the distressed texture transparent ? for example if the design was on a black tshirt would the texture show the color of the shirt? sorry i am confused on a design i am working on.

  8. Wairua Takarangi says:


  9. Jeff Punz says:

    Great video! I'm wondering, for shirt graphics when using the photoshop brush texture, what is the best way to save and send the PSD file? I know vector is usually the better for screen printing, but Photoshop graphics trip me out, especially if the file has layer masks, etc. Won't' that mess up the printer?

  10. Bucky Barz says:

    You've earned a sub from me.

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