How to Apply the Grunge Photo Effect

If you are looking for a grunge photo effects tutorial, you have come to the right place. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know to create your own vintage aesthetic with grunge photo effects, including how to use cool texture layers and more.

What is the grunge effect?

Grunge effects in action

Grunge is a subculture that took off in the late 1980s in Seattle, Washington. It started as a musical subgenre that had elements of punk, metal, and hard rock, and was pioneered by bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. However, it quickly moved beyond its musical origins to encompass many other aspects of life. In fact, grunge has become more of a lifestyle.

Art, as always, imitates life, and this is how the grunge photo effect was finally born. Inspired by the underground garages where grunge originated, the grunge effect in photo editing resembles the gritty, dirty, rough aesthetic of the lifestyle it takes its name from. Depending on the grunge filter you use, you will see that they add a slight blur to your photo. It may blur your photo a bit, but that’s part of the effect. Grunge filters also add a certain level of grain and noise to your photo, to perfectly represent the true grit of grunge culture. If you’re looking for a softer nostalgic touch, consider adding a sharper film grain effect to your photos.

The grunge effects will quickly transform your design into the early 1990s vintage aesthetic that the subgenre is known for. The grunge lifestyle is an underground phenomenon. It’s shameless and never clean, polished or tidy. Simply open the editor in Picsart, press Fx and scroll to find GRNG filters, to see a quick and easy representation of the variety of grunge photo effects. Effects can also be used to perfectly encapsulate the vintage feel of early 1990s photography and, when used thoughtfully, can produce a trendy aesthetic that is also very much in vogue these days.

Grunge photo effect vs other effects

Grunge photo effect before and after

With so many custom filters and presets available for photo editing, it might come as a surprise how popular the grunge effect is. So why do so many people use grunge photo effects?

It’s not that the grunge effect is better than any other filter, but it has certain characteristics that make it stand out from the rest. Here’s why:

The grunge photo effect goes beyond basic photo editing; it has a rich history behind it, as a subculture that has flourished since the late 1980s. Grunge is an alternative subculture with strong popularity spanning arts, music, and fashion. It is impossible to consider grunge as just another photo effect. Some people apply the grunge texture to their photos as a tribute to the broader lifestyle and cultural movement.

The grunge effect also has its own vibe. The grunge movement is underground at its core. Unlike vintage filters from decades past that have a funky retro vibe (like this 1970s aesthetic), the grunge effect is more gritty and moody. It adds low saturation to photos, which helps to create a melancholic mood, without polished polish or shiny style.

Although the grunge movement has a very specific aesthetic, that doesn’t stop grunge designs from being extremely versatile. The grunge effect can be easily applied to a variety of images and retain its edge. The texture of the effect consists mostly of scratches and splatters that help spice up even the simplest photos, while the moodiness of the color palette allows for more serious photo editing.

When to use the grunge effect for your photos

There are no specific rules when it comes to applying the grunge effect to photos. Some designers prefer to use it only when it matches a theme, while others apply it to almost any photo given its trendiness and moodiness, especially if they’re trying to achieve an aesthetic. consistent for an Instagram feed.

There is no right or wrong way to apply the grunge effect. However, there are common use cases where it can really enhance your graphic designs. If you’re new to the grunge photo effect, we’ve compiled seven great examples of how to use it in your photo editing.

1. Independent assembly

Example of grunge photo effect

If there is one aesthetic in which the grunge effect fits perfectly, it is the indie aesthetic. Many indie visuals are inspired by the early 2000s: bright colors, alternate outfits, and blurry photos. Freelance photo edits often have interesting color palettes and noisy layering. The best freelance photos often feel like they’re from the past, so applying a grunge effect helps them feel even more vintage.

2. Y2K Vibes
Grunge Photo Effect Example 2

Y2K edits are so trendy right now and the grunge effect helps to elevate them to another level. You’ve probably seen awesome Y2K edits in your feed by famous alternative influencers. So why not make one yourself? While the old-fashioned TV screen in the photo gives it strong Y2K vibes, the grunge effect is what ties the whole montage together.

3. Portraits/Selfies
Grunge Photo Effect Example 7

Not all grunge photo editing has to be complicated. The grunge effect is pretty universal, elevating complicated photo edits and the occasional selfie. You don’t need to add anything more than a simple grunge filter, but your selfie will stand out boldly in people’s feeds. The dark color scheme as well as the noise of the effect add an extra touch to the simplest photo.

4. Aesthetics
Grunge Photo Effect Example 6

Achieve a specific aesthetic by playing with a wide variety of design elements like texture layers, fonts, stickers, and more. You can spend a lot of time looking for photos that match the tone, aesthetic, and color palette, but they always end up looking out of place in the final image. The trick is to apply a filter to the final photo to make everything look cohesive. The grunge effect is perfect for this.

5. Cyberpunk/Fantasy
Grunge photo effect example 5

While the cyberpunk fantasy is set in the future and the grunge aesthetic is set in the past, the two go together surprisingly well. Grunge visuals often have a dark and brooding tone, which pairs well with the dystopian futuristic setting that the cyberpunk aesthetic is trying to portray. Consider using a variety of smart overlays and the grunge effect to achieve that cyber grunge aesthetic.

6. Super Vintage
Example of grunge photo effect 4

You can easily capture a vintage aesthetic with smart edits, vintage stickers, frames, and filters. The grunge effect helps tie all of these elements together, making your photo look like a page straight out of your creative scrapbook.

7. Film photography effect
Example of grunge photo effect 3

With the new popularity of film photography, many have invested thousands of dollars in purchasing new photographic equipment. However, photo effects and filters don’t just make photos look better, they can also help give them new context. With the use of the grunge effect, you can add a classic film photography look to your modern photos.

How to Apply the Grunge Effect in Picsart

Whether you’re looking to use the grunge effect to create photo edits that are perfect representations of the grunge subculture, or you’re looking to design trendy vintage looks to bring the early 1990s to the present day, we we have what you need. Picsart GRNG effects.

You can easily apply a variety of GRNG filters in Picsart. Remember that you can manually adjust each of the effects by long-pressing the filter to adjust its parameters manually. That means GRNG effects are perfect whether you’re a newbie looking for a quick and moody fix for your selfies, or a veteran photo editor looking to create a vintage look that’s completely unique to you.

On the Web

To apply the grunge effect to your photo using web tools:

1. Open the Picsart web editor and click New project begin.

2. In the left panel, select Provision and choose your canvas.

3. Now choose the image you want to edit. Click on the Downloads button and confirm your selection.

4. To select Effects in the toolbar above the canvas and scroll through the options on the left until you find GRNG effects.

5. Adjust the effect by clicking the To adjust button at the top and play with the sliders on the left.

6. Click on Export to upload your design.

On the app

1. Open the Picsart app and tap the purple plus symbol to get started.
2. Upload the image you want to modify.
3. To select Effects from the toolbar at the bottom.

4. Scroll until you find GRNG effects.
5. Adjust the levels of the effect you want to apply and tap Apply to confirm.
6. Want to go even more grunge? Tap the Stickers tool.


7. Search “dust overlay” and find a sticker that suits your aesthetic.
8. Play with the opacity to decide the visibility of the sticker, by pressing Apply to confirm your changes.
9. Save to your device or publish your creation to the Picsart community.

Create at the speed of culture

Picsart is a complete ecosystem of free content, powerful tools, and creator inspiration. With one billion downloads and over 150 million monthly active creators, Picsart is the largest creative platform in the world. Picsart has collaborated with major artists and brands like BLACKPINK, Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, Sanrio: Hello Kitty, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app or start editing on the web today to enhance your photos and videos with thousands of quick and easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers and shiny backgrounds. Unleash your creativity and go gold for premium benefits!

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