Make a Soft Grunge Product Ad Design in Photoshop


Here is the ad poster design we will create. This then can be used online for banner ads as well.

Make a Soft Grunge Product Ad Design in Photoshop

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Preparing the Product

For this tutorial, I’ve chosen the classic Nike shoe. You can use any kind of product image and create the same effects. If you want to work with a similar image, go to NikeiD and create your own pair of shoes to feature in your poster, or you could even use your own favorite sneakers.

Preparing the Product

Once you’ve decided on the poster design’s subject (i.e. what shoe or product you’ll be featuring), Use the Pen Tool (P) in Paths mode to select around the edges of the shoe.

Press Ctrl/Cmd + Enter to make a selection (or, in your canvas, right-click inside the path and then choose Make Selection in the menu that appears), invert the selection (Select > Inverse) and hit Delete to remove its background. This process should isolate and prepare our subject for our product ad.

Step 2: Create a New Photoshop Document and Place the Subject

Create a new document (Ctrl/Cmd + N) in Photoshop. Mine is 1000x800px with a white background.

Once your new PSD is created, paste in the shoe.

Create a New Photoshop Document and Place the Subject

Step 3: Add the Background Texture

The focus of our work is the product (the shoe); this is why we will create a soft, unobtrusive background with the goal of making the piece focus into the subject.

Download the Grunge Grab Bag: Texture Pack (I used Grunge Grab Bag Texture 02) and open it in Photoshop (Files > Open).

Press Ctrl/Cmd + T to activate the Free Transform command and reduce grunge texture’s image size to fit our canvas.

Place the texture’s layer between the shoe layer and the default white Photoshop Background layer.

Add the Background Texture

Step 4: Enhance the Background Texture

Desaturate the texture by selecting its layer in the Layers Panel and pressing Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + U (or choosing Image > Adjustments > Desaturate).

After desaturating the texture, switch its layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay. The background will now become completely white because it’s overlaid into the white Background layer, but don’t worry: we will fix this using blending options.

Right-click on the Background layer in the Layers Panel and select Blending Options. The Layer Styles dialog window will pop up. Here, add a grey (#b5b5b5) Color Overlay.

Enhance the Background Texture

After you have added the Color Overlay layer style, reduce texture layer’s Opacity to around 30%.

Tip: When you resize a texture, lots of small details will be lost. To enhance details on your texture, you can use the Sharpen filter (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen) if you want.

Step 5: Create the Floor

Now that we have a nice grungy background, let’s create the floor for our subject. Duplicate the texture layer by right-clicking on its layer in the Layers Panel and choosingDuplicate Layer in the menu that appears.

Since the Blend Mode of the original texture layer is set to Overlay, we need to set the Blend Mode of the duplicated layer back to Normal.

Afterwards, Press Ctrl/Cmd + T to activate Free Transform and then drag down the top-center transform control to reduce the texture’s height as if we are squashing it down — in this way, we are creating the idea of perspective.

Create the Floor

Next, grab the Burn Tool (O) from the Tools Panel to darken parts of the floor; in particular, we want to darken the bottom corners.

Create the Floor

The floor is still too prominent — we want it to be more blended with the textured background. In this way, we give depth to the image and the floor looks less distracting. Use the Eraser Tool (E) to remove the top horizon (the top edge of the floor). Choose a large, soft brush with Hardness at 0% for your Eraser Tool.

Tip: If you prefer, use a layer mask and a black brush on the floor layer to achieve the same result.

To complete the floor, create a new layer on top of it, select a black, large, soft brush and paint over the corners to darken them. Afterwards, reduce the Opacity of this layer to 10%.

The aim of this step is to drive the viewer’s attention to the center of our canvas where we’ve placed the product.

Create the Floor

Step 6: Create a Light Effect Behind the Shoe

The background is almost complete. The last touch is a light effect behind the shoe. It’s my habit to enhance subjects with light effects — it’s a way to embellish the product and draw even more attention to it. Don’t forget that the aim of an ad poster is to sell, so we have to do our best to increase the customer’s desire to buy it. Even just a few details can make the difference between them looking longer or looking away quickly.

For the light effect, start by creating a new layer that is immediately above the background layers.

Then use a big, white soft brush and click once on the canvas with the Brush Tool (B) to create the light effect.

Create a Light Effect Behind the Shoe

Step 7: Create a “Toxic Paint” Effect

We will now integrate paint effects into our composition. We will place them on the back portion of the shoe, making it look like as if paint is melting the shoe (hence, “toxic paint”).

In order to achieve this result, we need to determine what colors to use by sampling parts of the shoe with the Eye Dropper Tool (I) and we also have to play with their colors to match shoe colors.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

For this effect, you will need to download the Paint Tossing Pack from Media Militia.

Let’s start from the bottom of the shoe (the yellow area). The best option would be to find a paint effect with a simple horizontal-oriented shape. This one (which is part of the Paint Tossing Pack) is perfect for our needs:

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Prepare the Yellow Paint Shape

Open this texture in Photoshop and double-click on the default white Background layer to unlock it.

Grab the Magic Wand Tool (W), select the white area by clicking on a white area in the canvas (which should automatically select all white areas), and hit Delete to remove the background. Drag the prepared shape into the main canvas.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Activate the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to rotate and resize the paint shape. Position it on the yellow sole of the shoe.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Now we have to make the paint shape yellow; we will use two adjustment layers for this.

With the paint shape layer as the active layer in the Layers Panel, choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. In order to affect only the paint (and not all the layers that are below the Gradient Map adjustment layer), create a clipping mask (Layer > Create Clipping Mask) on the adjustment layer.

Set a color gradient going from a dark yellow (#e9c603) to a lighter one (#f3df71).

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

The paint’s color is still too light, so use a Curves adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves) to darken it a little bit so that it matches the yellow color of the sole of the shoe.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Finally, create a layer mask on the paint shape, grab a soft, black brush and then use the Brush Tool (B) to erase a small area on the right side of the paint shape so that it looks as if it belongs to the shoe.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Bottom White Paint

Other “toxic paint” effects are created using the same method, but applying different adjustment layers.

For the white paint shape, I’ve applied a Black & White adjustment layer to desaturate the shape and a Gradient Map adjustment layer going from a light grey (#d7d7d7) to white (#ffffff) to color it.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Red Paint

For the red paint, I’ve chosen a red paint shape from the Paint Tossing pack that’s rotated horizontally with Free Transform. To darken its color, I’ve applied a Curves adjustment layer.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Grey Paint

For the grey paint, I’ve increased its brightness to 70 using a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast). Secondly, I’ve added a Gradient Map adjustment layer going from a dark grey (#525252) to a lighter grey (#e6e6e6).

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Top White Paint

Finally, for the last paint effect, I’ve applied the same adjustment layer used for the Bottom White Paint.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Step 8: Refine and Enhance the Shoe with a Layer Mask

Select the shoe layer and create a layer mask on it by clicking on the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. Once the mask is created, you can use a black, soft brush for the Brush Tool (B) to erase parts of the shoe without losing any pixels (which is great if you want to modify your work, go back to its original state, or if you make a mistake — just delete the layer mask). This will create the illusion of the paints being continuously connected to the shoe.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Step 9: Add Shadows on the Shoe

Create a new layer below the shoe layer; we will add a soft shadow effect for the shoe on this layer. The best way is to grab a soft, black brush and paint at the bottom of the shoe.

Once you have painted the areas where the shadows are, decrease the layer’s Opacity to reduce the shadow’s prominence.

Create more shadows, but don’t just use a single layer to create shadows. I suggest creating different spots on different layers. In this way, you have more control, you can create depth, and you can tweak individual shadow layers to produce interesting outcomes. For example, you can reduce the Opacity of each layer at different values so that the shadow looks more realistic.

Create a "Toxic Paint" Effect

Step 10: Perform Final Refinements

The ad poster is almost complete. Colors interact in a way that I like. It’s simple but vivid at the same time. It’s also directed and focused, as a product ad design needs to be. Observing the current composition, I think there’s nothing left to change.

What we can do better, though, is increasing the poster’s color contrasts. To do this, create a new Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of all the other layers. Set a gradient going from black (#000000) to white (#ffffff) and then switch the adjustment layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay.

Finally, reduce the layer Opacity until you’re satisfied with color contrasts in your composition. I’ve entered an Opacity value of 30%, which seems to work well.

Perform Final Refinements

To style it a bit, I just added the Design Instruct logo and some cursive text for my site’s name (WeGraphics) on the bottom right part of the scene.

Perform Final Refinements

Tutorial Summary

In this Photoshop graphic design tutorial, we went over a method for creating a lightly-grunged product ad poster featuring a colorful Nike shoe (which you can replace with your own product). You saw a wat for creating a “toxic paint” effect, techniques for focusing the viewer’s eyes towards the product by modifying its surroundings, taking advantage of adjustment layers, and more. These skils will help you awe you clients as a web designer.  Although this tutorial is tailored to a shoe edit, editing images like this are a skill that is great to know.  It can be used for anything from billboards to online banner ads for businesses over a wide variety of industries, from hotels to a car parts dealer.

Make a Soft Grunge Product Ad Design in Photoshop

Download Tutorial Source Files

  • The process is way simpler than one can believe, but the final effect has got standard.

  • Chris

    Easier than I thought.

  • Great tut, when i get rid of this hangover i’ll give it ago. Thanks

  • Try it with a hangover, you never know what you’ll end up with. 😀

  • Bryan

    Great! ill have to try this as soon as possible it looks great.

  • Oooh wow! This is brilliant and so easy, can’t wait to give it a go! Thanks for this awesome tut!

  • Max

    I agree, this is cool and so easy… I’ve since tried it in other ways too…Thanks a lot!

  • I like the way you broke it down. Very easy to do. Great tut, thanks!

  • MarkT

    That’s an inspired effect and you’ve shown us a wonderfully simple way to do it, too. Hero! :o)

  • I love the design. It’s not just about using lots of fancy colors and shapes, this works well because the effects are very dynamic and match with a sporty theme.

  • Hi guys,
    I’m glad you find the tutorial easy to follow. The aim was exactly to create something beautiful and simple to do at the same time.

  • Thanks for stopping by Sneh, are we going to see elements of this in your Project 365 at LBOI? 😀

  • Completely agree with you. I think the piece was well-composed. The background has textures, but Sebastiano worked with it to make sure it doesn’t take away from the foreground, and the paint adds dynamism to the product and matches its vibrant colors.

  • hotmac

    One of the rare examples of good design. Sometimes the most simple things are the best. Simple idea, great design. Thanks for this tut.

  • great looking tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  • beautiful and easy to follow tutorial. and the outcome is awesome.
    thanks Sebastiano!

  • vivek bishnoi

    Really great work. Keep the good work, and cheers.

  • Really easy to do… But it looks amazing! That’s what counts right 😛

  • waw. Great. thanks. i’m student from indonesian.

  • Itay

    great stuff..just finished my shoe and I absolutly LOVE it
    thanks for sharing

  • Nice one man… I love it

  • Nice one man… I love it

  • No 3D required!

  • Xek

    Great work, I’ll do my outcome following the tutorial thanks ;D

  • Esteban

    What’s is the name of the font !! please

  • The script font is “Monika”

  • San Son

    …….easy tutorial but great result…really like it!!!

  • Nice Tutorial!! Really easy to follow with an awesome final piece!!
    Thanks, keep up the good work!!

  • Rikki Lynn Rogers

    Thank you, Sebastiano! What an awesome tutorial… thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more tutorials by you!

  • cliffbuck

    Great tutorial. Nice and precise and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing, I am new to photoshop and this is a big help in understanding the balance and level layers. Cheers matey.

  • le

    i’m not sure why the photos does not load 🙁

  • Od

    This is great and nice. I wasn’t expecting it to be so easy.

  • Poonam

    Very Nice tutorial…easier than i thought, will find out more after i give it a go…

  • Your blog site is simply indicating complications on my Opera internet browser.

  • Yahia

    here’s my final design: [Facebook link]

    thanks for the tutorial – very helpful and easy to follow

  • Thank you very good

  • Sawyer

    It’s a beautiful design, well-written tut, and best of all – it’s so simple! Perfect for me, I enjoyed this a lot. Thanks. =)

  • mark

    Learning slightly! @

  • OMG!! wish i can do that!!

  • That’s the beauty of Design Instruct! Now you can!

  • ulices

    Sebastiano Hello, I would like to know how to download the image of the page that I could download nike.

    I hope you can help me.

  • raja

    I’ve seen and followed your trick and done. This is the result: Facebook link

    Comment please 🙂 And the others too…

  • Hahaha good advice!

  • jay

    Impressed me! Thanks for sharing.

  • Dev Sablania

    Very nice tut easier then thought.

  • xreds

    what is the brushes did you use for the water effect?

  • art

    thanks for this tutorial, it´s very cool 😀

  • sina

    it s very nice tanck for your tutrial

  • Now that’s putting our freebies to a great use!

    Thank you for using our paint tossing pack in this awesome tutorial. Keep up the great work.

  • Thanks for putting out awesome freebies Jeya and Media Militia team.

  • very nice tut! Thanks for sharing!


    Muchisimas gracias por el tutorial, es una ayuda estupenda.
    Un saludo

  • romulo

    sensacional, gostei muito.

  • linny

    thanks for sharing

  • Daniela

    Bravo! Thanks a lot.

  • beginer

    Awsome just finished great man…

  • Wow awesome content! Impressive tutorial man. It?s ridiculous how many exceptional tutes you guys post. Really like your work. Regards!

  • it s very nice tutorial, amazing 😀

  • This is so easy, love it!

  • Nicolai

    I can’t even see the photos here. Why are they all white?

  • Wow! Amazing and not too difficult either. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  • thanks for this excellent tutorial

  • Linda Rodgers

    The tutorial is good. I am sure people would enjoy more. Since these articles are about advertising, the final image is confusing. Are you talking about how well the shoe does when stepping in a puddle of paint? How well it will survive abuse. OH! I forget this is for youngsters they don’t care about those things. When they grow up they might see this ad differently. This is a fun image, but could it do more? The text may do the selling, but I think the image should shoulder more of the job.

  • fenas girl

    didnt realize how easy these milk splash type designs are, i will have to try this, i’d thought it would take a long process but your tutorial is very quick

  • Taylor
  • sandeep

    wow was tough for me

  • john mark

    wow nice work..

  • Aditya

    Hello am not able to open the brushes in PS CS 5 plz help.

  • Toby

    I gave up in the end, there isnt enough screenshots to show us what to do. The instructions given sometimes made the whole picture go wrong and not just the paint which i was trying to change. I couldnt find the gradient tool box that you were using in the screenshot.

  • Mehrnaz

    Thanks for taking the time for making this helpful tutorial!

  • Zak

    I never normally comment but I thought this was great! Looks amazing and is so simple keep the tuts coming!

  • zeeshan

    this is just a superb technique…. 🙂

  • simple, effective, what else can someone want? really nice tutorial.

  • christopher

    sweet 🙂 this is awesome !!!!!!!

  • The final refinement just made this whole design Perfect n more catchy Thanks for sharing!!

  • Very nice and simple tut. Thankyou!

  • edgardo

    o man….why did i decide to learn this…lol.. so i got the shoe, i got the splatter,, but have no clue as to how to change the individual splashes… :)…
    i got it 2 change once just by clicking away…

    plz help

  • Desi

    Easy. I decided to use a Stiletto instead of a normal shoe. And use paint splatters instead of doing the liquid effect. I did use it but I think both are cooler.

  • Brilliant tutorial that produces an amazing effect. I have found this very interesting and very inspiring. I am always looking to expand my photoshop skills and this kind of tutorial is what I have been looking for. The effect that is produced is brilliant and I will be trying this one out to see what I can create. I will be looking for more tutorials like this.

  • Very cool final image and a great tutorial! I always wondered how these super liquid effects were created.. This will definitely be a valuable arsenal in my kitty and will boost future images I regularly post in

    Thanks very much!!

  • Tanishq Indoriya

    this effect is very nice and i also try it.

  • Ethen Fenix

    where can i find that identic shoe? I really like it , what model is?

  • Ashley

    Which paint splash was used for the gray paint (like #2 or 4 or what)??? Can’t figure it out!!!

  • Ryan

    Does This work with CS3?

  • Raff

    Thanks for this tutorial !

  • yhiel mapilisan

    i liked this 🙂

  • Joele


  • Hossam

    Good tutorial. I have an idea incorporating the same technique with shoe but instead of a shoe I am using a car. I have a project to create a concept about branding and I found this great defination about branding which is ” the picture of me in your head” it has a lot of meaning. I dont know does that consider cheating. Any way easy to follow and brilliant tutorial.

  • K.

    Are there any other links on how to do this with people? I have seen several images in the past where people have done this with models.

    I am working with an image I shot of a model jumping in front of a graffiti wall and think this would be an interesting effect to test out. If anyone knows feel free to message me directly….

    [Editor’s note: Email address was removed for privacy]

  • nicolas deddie

    simple but best think, we’ll wait next advise. thank bro

  • Lucia

    This is a soooo good tutorial ! Here’s my result :


  • Lucia
  • Good tutorial, thanks

  • hi
    i am iranian
    i like your learn!

  • Vaibhav


  • Danjela

    Thx makes so much fun and looks very nice 😀

  • Orane

    This was syuch a good tut though. I learned some new stuff and created a wonderful thing in the process.

  • i enjoyed very much

  • percy

    pure genius. explanations made it sooooo easy. thx

  • Sanz

    Grunge style of design never gets old, thanks for the tips!


  • dolceca

    really thanks you for sharing your knowledge
    i did a new logo with your tutorial
    thanks 🙂

  • Catalin

    Gorgeous tutorial! Thank you!
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    That’s for the comment above and the long-no-hyphen-facebook-link. It shouldn’t break your layout.

  • Robert Johnson

    Thanks for this. Used parts of it for some promo work for my clothing line I’m starting.

    Used it in Photoshop CS6.

  • Kealia Law

    Thanks a lot for this awesome tutorial !
    Here is my creation :

  • Emeka Anyamwu

    Nice one thanks for sharing your idea

  • R. srinivasa rao

    very nice, thanks you…

  • wale

    i luv will learn how to turn your photo into a comic book effect effortlessly. There’s numerous ways to create this, I personally found this .

  • Robert

    such much AWESOMEZZ!!

  • kushi

    its really simpl nd yt amazing..ur way to show all step r really vry easy..thnq

  • ryan telfer

    you guys are nerds

  • big weiner god

    boy if you dont get yo