I was sitting at my computer yesterday looking through the different textured backgrounds I've photographed over the past year. And, before you ask, yes I do take close up shots of rusted out metal, mossy bark and concrete walls. I periodically feel a bit daft, but it's worth it. The textured look they give an image is amazing. The liberal use of the colour replace tool and multiply offers endless possibilities for background effects. That got me looking at the different wallpapers I often use on my computer. I noticed that I tend to gravitate towards industrial/steam punkesque artwork. Lots of gears and tools, old maps and compasses etc. Then I looked at the photos I've taken. Again, lots of metal textures, closeups of gears and locks. So I decided to apply myself to making some desktop backgrounds for myself.
Here's one of my better efforts:
The gear is from a piece of clip art I had lying around, but the background is a close up of a rusted street sign from downtown. I was standing at the light, waiting for it to turn, one very cold winter day and the traffic was backed up. I amused myself by taking close ups of the section of rust on the pole. When I got home and looked at it, I was impressed. Since then, I've been madly taking photos of anything. Most of what I capture get's dumped. But I have a modest, growing selection of excellent backgrounds. This particular one is now my current wallpaper. The original is 1920x1080 px. If your interested I'm loading it up in the DOWNLOADS section (look up and to the left for more downloads in the future). Grab a copy if you like it.
Here's a variation, with different gears:
I worked on a series of city scapes on a concrete background, I'll load those up later. I'm not 100% happy with them yet. I also have a couple steampunk inspired maps/gears/dirgibles that aren't quite there yet. They are a bit hamfisted. However, for my first real efforts at designing my own backgrounds, I'm quite pleased Not a bad way to while away a soggy, chilly weekend.