Updated: Jan 9, 2021
Chris and I have been working on a Unity package called "Decal King" that lets you project materials onto other surfaces in Unity. As Chris explained the package, I immediately thought of Jet Set Radio. Even though I haven't actually played it very much it's style has stuck with me for 2+ decades (It was back in the days when I was relegated to watching my friends play games at their house). So we included in the example scene a working spray paint can with some graffiti stamps included like the one below.
Being the poser that I am, I looked for how to recreate this style in Photoshop. However, I found that tutorials on YouTube were not super helpful in breaking down the process. I ended up finding much more helpful stuff from people using spray paint in the real world *gasp*. I thought it be nice to write a step by step break down for how to create a simple graffiti tag like the one I posted. Read ahead and you too can pretend to be cool from the comfort of your swivel desk chair! If reading is not really your thing I will post a video version of this tutorial soon. Become a follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when it is uploaded.
1. Download a Spray Paint Brush for Your Drawing Program of Choice
There are a ton of these out there some I'm not going to recommend a specific one. Google is your friend. Mainly I just look for one that has the paint drip effect as below. I don't think it needs to be very sophisticated to produce something decent.
2. Choose an interesting Stroke
You want to choose one line stroke that you will use constantly when drawing your letters. It will ensure that your design is cohesive. For the "Tag" design, I used a straight line with a point jetting out at the end.
3. Plan Out Your Letters
Use your spray paint brush to outline your letters. You'll want to incorporate the stroke you chose as much as possible. Personally I tried to avoid using any of the tools Photoshop has to help you draw things perfectly. Remember it should look like you were holding a spray can. Spray cans don't have erasers. They don't draw perfectly straight lines, etc.
4. Fill In The Color
Pick one or two colors that you think will fit with your design. Personally I like anything bright and flashy. Don't worry too much about filling it in neatly. If you feel like throwing in some other shapes go for it.
5. Re - Outline Your Design
Go over the border of your letters and shapes again. This is when your design will start looking kind of clean
6. Add Drop Shadow And Highlights
Time to go crazy with the black spray paint! I'd outline the shape of the shadow and fill it in around the exterior of the letter. Next you can block in some highlights with a brighter shade of whatever color you letters are. You should make sure to preserve the spirit of your letters. Both the shadow and the highlights for this one I made sure to keep very angular.
7. Add in the Colored Border
Last step is to just paint in an outer border color as the finishing touch. Then you should have a fairly decent graffiti tag to impress your friends with. I wouldn't worry about being filled in perfectly or evenly via photoshop tools. I think if you do that ti will not look very authentic in my opinion.
Thanks For Reading!
I'm not going to pretend like I know what I'm talking about anymore. If you actually want to get deep into graffiti art, I'd advise you to look at people who actually do it in the real world. I pulled a lot from a video I saw on the "Graffiti Tutorials" channel, so go ahead and check that out if your are interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=875EUfMYQEU.
Now for you cool kids interested on making your own spin on a Jet Set Radio game, come check out "Decal King" on the Unity Asset Store. Any purchase helps support what we do here at Fun Freighter Games.