Deke’s Techniques 006: Creating a Hammered Metal Background

006 Creating a hammered metal background from Deke's Techniques by Deke McClelland

Note, the text part of this project was updated for Photoshop CS6 and later in Episode 268.

Today’s installment of Deke’s Techniques shows you how to create an entirely automated background pattern using a trio of smart filters and a pattern overlay. Here’s the official (and extremely awesome) description:

It’s another week and time for another quick technique from Deke. In this week’s episode, Deke shows you how to create something heartily substantial from something virtually nonexistent. Specifically, Deke creates a hammered metal background (featured behind last week’s gold type) from insubstantial clouds and glass. Leave it to Photoshop (and Deke) to create such opportunities for irony.

Start with a field of black pixels, apply some smart filters, and top it off with a little rusty metal pattern, and you have a wall of textured metal that will support any creation you want to build on top of it. And because you’re using the Clouds and Difference Clouds filters, which are based on random fractal noise, your wall of steel won’t look exactly like anyone else’s when you put it to use in your own projects.

Stop back next week for another of Deke’s Techniques. We’ll bring you a new free video every week here on the blog. Meanwhile, subscribers should check out the entire course in the Online Training Library, where you’ll not only find all the techniques to-date collected in one place, but some special entries to the course that Deke created just for members.

And now that you’ve seen a few ideas Deke has up his sleeve, are there any effects you’d like to see him tackle in this short-and-sweet format? Leave your ideas here in the comments, and we’ll put Deke to work figuring out fun and efficient ways to take them on. See you next week!

You know, I have to say, these official descriptions are so awesome, you’d think someone with proven One-on-One skills wrote the darn things! (Which is true, actually; Colleen writes them.) All I have to add is that members can check out a follow-up technique, in which I show you how to render type in heavy metal, as pictured below.

Metal type

=“ _LEGACY/files/images/Dekes-Techniques-004-metal-type.jpg” >
If you get a chance to see it, be sure to stop back here at let me know what you think.

Next entry:Blend it Like McClelland

Previous entry:dekeSpeak January 25, 2011


  • Tutorials

    Deke, you are a genius. Keep up the good work ....... I just love your style. You can’t beat humour!


  • Sound

    Love the acoustics of your intro! Can you do this with the tutorials as well?

  • This is great! Thanks for

    This is great! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cleartype on Windows 7

    Howdy Deke,

    Great tutorial as usual. I notice that colour fringing around text makes it a bit blurry in the video. Perhaps you could experiment with turning off Microsoft’s Cleartype and see if that sharpens up the text in the captured video.

  • Thanks Deke!!!

    can’t believe that was actually the next technique. love it when a request happens SO fast!!

  • Just entered Deke’s world . . . WOW !

    Coming back to PS after several years away from acing the basic PS course, and I’m a 67-year-‘old fart’ that’s just into Deke’s CS3 one-on-one book and CD. Sorta disappointed that ‘the bridge’ is no longer available (according to my CS3 software). Deke built it up so much and now it’s not available to me. Any suggestions out there (short of buying more software)? HEY! I’m very impressed with Deke and look forward to a long tutelage with this genius. I’d love to look him up next summer when I visit my techie son, who lives just up the road from Deke in Longmont! Keep up the great work, Deke.

  • Training

    I am an Electronics Engineer who is trying to learn a whole lot of new stuff as my daughter is at LCC University London so am trying to help her.
    So have been a long time user of but for
    FC Pro my trainers of choice are Larry Jordan/Steve Martin and some of the guys over at LAFCUG.
    Motion is Mark Spencer (fantastic)
    So stumbling around and using Photoshop and importing psd files with layers in to Final Cut needed to go back to to have a look around.
    Came across…“How Smart objects work”  INSPIRATIONAL!!!
    So at last have found my trainer of choice for Photoshop and Illustrator…Thanks Deke glad I found out about you.. The way you lay out your training is very concise/easy to understand and I am getting up to speed with Photoshop very quickly now…Thanks!!!

  • Awesome

    You’re AWESOME.

  • That’s a helpful thought

    The subpixel rendering around the text is definitely getting exaggerated by the resampling and compression. I’ll ask the folks here at LDC to look into it.

  • Define Pattern

    Deke, I went over to and watched how to make the type. No matter what I do, I cannot get Define Pattern to not be grayed out. I clicked off the vector mask like you said onto a regular layer, but it won’t work. I tried rasterizing the layer; won’t work. I’ve searched all over the internet, thought I found answers, but it still won’t work. I’m stuck. Why won’t Define Pattern work? I’m using PS CS4 Ext. Thank you.

  • Discovery

    Here’s what I have discovered. If I zoom in and draw the box with the marquee tool, Define Pattern works. If I Ctrl-click, it’s grayed out. An enigma for sure.

  • Define Pattern requires a perfect rectangle

    With no antialiasing.

    This means, if you draw your square at the 100% view size (as I did in the movie), all is well. But if you zoom in any farther, you’re screwed.

    My bad for not noticing this.

    The surefire solution is when you’re specifying the size of the square (about 0:35 into the movie), turn on the Snap to Pixels check box. Then it won’t matter how far you’re zoomed in.

  • Thank you

    Snap to pixels does make the difference. Thanks. What a strange behavior.

  • Great Tutorial, one question…

    Thanks for the great tutorial. When I choose the rust overlay pattern, it appears as gray scale, no color. None of the patterns come in as colored, but grayscale. Probably a simple setting I cannot find…

    Thanks again.

  • Heavy Metal Type on

    I am having so much fun going through your Deke’s Techniques on  I started with a recent one, and then decided to start with number 1 and go up.  I’m using Photoshop CS6 to do these, but your early ones were created using CS5, I believe.  001 - 006 were okay for me to get through, although I had to sort of pause and search for new stuff.  However, I’m trying to figure out 007, it’s got me stumped.  Half the stuff you are showing me, I can’t even find on PS6, so thankful I didn’t try to pull out CC.  Have you done a newer one similar to this in PS6?  Should I reinstall PS5? Why does Adobe do this?  Particularly, I’m stuck on the shift-click of the white square’s vector mask thumbnail to turn the background white so that I can create outlines to add the effects.  There is no vector mask.  How would I do this in PS6?

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