Sometimes a little pop of sparkle is just what you need right? Sure, you could go on any of the creative market sites and purchase pre made textures that you can pop in to your design but, why not create your own?
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how you can easily create a glitter texture image to use on your lettering and illustrations whenever you need that pop. While this may not be as authentic as pouring a ton of glitter out and photographing it, it does a pretty good imitation annnnd you won’t find it everywhere in your house for the next ten years.
Best of all, everything you need can be found right inside Affinity Designer. (I’m going to be using the iPad version of the app but the process is the same in the desktop version.)
The Size of Your Document Matters
While flat vectors can be created on any size canvas without loss of quality, we are going to be spending most of our time in the Pixel Persona in Designer which means we are introducing raster elements.
If you have followed any of my YouTube tutorials, you already know that whenever you create anything using pixels, you need to size your original document to the largest size you plan to print, if you’re going to print it. Otherwise, you may run in to pixelation or muddiness of texture. If you only plan to put this out on the web, size isn’t as big of a factor and you can keep your dpi pretty low but, if you want to use this in things you plan to print, size accordingly.
Creating the New Canvas
I’m going to set mine to 3500 x 3500 pixels at 300 dpi. It might be overkill but I would rather create a larger document than create too small of one and not be able to size up.
Filling the Canvas With the Glitter Color
First, drag out a rectangle using the rectangle tool, covering the entire canvas. If you have Snapping on it will make this a whole lot easier.
Go to your Color Studio and set your Fill to whatever color you want your glitter to be. I typically don’t use a Stroke color unless I need to so I have mine off. I have chosen HEX code CBAC60 for my example below.
Creating the Glitter Texture in Pixel Persona
Here’s where we are going to start adding our texture, by using a couple of the built in Paint Brushes in the Brush Studio. By using a variety of brushes, we can get different effects so play around with some of the built in brushes and see what works best for you. I find the airbrushes in the Sprays and Spatters category are perfect for this.
First, go to the Layers Studio and add a Pixel Layer above your rectangle. You don’t want this clipped to the rectangle, just sitting above it.
Then, go to the Brush Studio and select a brush. I am going to start with Airbrush 01 set to black for the color.
Next, I want to set my brush rather large as I really want to see the grain. (again, play around with this) I have mine set to 3000 px with my opacity at 100%.
Run your brush back and forth across the canvas allowing the grain to be a little more dense in some spots than others, like below. This is going to give it almost a gradient effect.
(Reminder- Unless you create separate pixel layers in Affinity Designer, everything will end up on one layer so be sure to keep that in mind as we go forward.)
On that same layer, follow the same steps but use pure white this time. This is what is going to help give you the highlights, aka the sparkle. It should look something like this:
Next, go to the Layer Studio and, with that pixel layer selected, go to the Layer Options (three dots in a circle in the top left corner of the Layer Studio) and change the Blend Mode to Overlay.
Duplicate that pixel layer by going to the Edit Menu (three dots at the top of the main screen, next to the left facing arrow) and selecting Duplicate.
Grab the Move Tool and rotate the duplicated pixel layer either left or right 90 degrees. If you hold your finger down on the canvas as you do this, it will snap in set increments making it easier.
Time to add more texture…
Go back to your Brush Studio and pick a different brush. We are going to add additional texture on to that duplicated, rotated pixel layer. I’m going to use Finest Spray Rade brush in the Sprays and Spatters category as it will give a little bit of a different shape grain than the first one.
Repeat the process we did on the first pixel layer, first running your brush across in black and then in white. You’re not going to see those exact colors because the blend mode is set to Overlay but you will see light and dark being added. Keep adding (switching between black and white) until it’s where you want it.
Go in to the Layer Studio, select that layer, head to it’s Layer Options and change it to Soft Light.
You can see on mine above where I hit spots with a little more black than white and vice versa. You can continue to add at this point if it’s not exactly where you want it but don’t go overboard as you don’t want it to be muddy.
Next, duplicate that layer, grab the move tool and rotate it. You can change the opacity of that layer if it seems too strong.
To Group or Not To Group…
At this point, you’re ready to use the texture. If it’s something you may want to tweak at a future time, I recommend saving this with the individual layers in tact. You can create a rasterized version of all four layers by simply selecting all four layers, going to the icon next to the Layer Options (it looks like a few layers with a square on top) and selecting Merge Visible.
This will create a single pixel layer that combines all four original layers in to one rasterized layer while maintaining the original four right below it. You can save that single pixel layer off as a png to use in the future.
Clipping Your Glitter Texture to Text
OK, you’re ready to clip this to some text. I’m going to use a font so I’m heading back to the Designer Persona and straight to the Text Tool.
I’m using a font called “Lunar Blossom,” from DesignCuts but you can use any font you would like, or your own lettering. (or a shape you have created)
Clip the single glitter layer to your text layer by dragging it up to the middle of the layer and releasing. (remember, keep your pencil/stylus to the right of the layer so you don’t accidentally crop it)
Because this is a separate layer, if you don’t like the exact spot of the glitter texture you can grab the Move tool, select that layer and move it where you would like. You can also duplicate the layer and play with the blend modes for different effects.
That’s it! You have created your own sparkle, can you feel the joy?
Have fun with this, try different colors, you can even use the gradient tool to add some additional effects. I would love to see what you create so, if you share on social media, please feel free to tag me on Instagram (@tracey.capone) or come join my Facebook group, “Textural Illustration for Digital Artists,” where we share our love of all things texture.
If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.
Thank you for taking the time to try out my tutorial and Happy Creating!