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In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this really great-looking, abstract style text effect by using custom brushset (which we will be making one of our own) with dynamics, plus adding artistic effect with Photoshop filters. Have a try!

This is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps can be a bit tricky :)

Here is a preview of the final effect: (click to enlarge)


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Ok let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a new document sized  1400px * 650px, fill the background layer with the following gradients:

1 grad

Step 2

Create a new layer on top of the background called “light top”, grab a big soft round brush with a white color, do a single click on the top centre region of the canvas:

2 top

Create another create called “light bottom” and use a similar brush as mentioned above, do a single click on the centre of the canvas, resize and perspective it with free transform tool (Ctrl + T) to produce more depth for it:

2 persp

Here is the effect so far:

2 effect

Step 3

Type some texts on top of all previous layers we created. You can use any font you like but I preferred a big, bold font (download it here):

3 type

On the text layer, apply the following layer blending options:

Drop Shadow

3 drop sha

Bevel and Emboss

3 bevel

Gradient Overlay

3 grad


3 stroke

Here is the effect so far:

3 effect

Optional: to add a bit more depth to the text, make a duplicate this text layer, drop the opacity of the duplicated layer to around 20% and move it to the left of the original text layer a bit:

3 effect 2

Step 4

Now let’s start make a simple brushset. Create a new document with a size of 200px * 200px, leave the background layer as white, and grab the polygon tool and draw a shape as shown below (use the distort option from the free-transform tool to adjust the shape):

The Polygon Tool:

4 poly

Polygon Tool Settings:

4 poly set

Draw the shape:

4 draw

Tip: use the trim tool to get rid of the extra height and width of the canvas.

Important: after drawing the shape, make sure you rastersize this shape layer. and make the background layer tranparent.

4 turn off

Once you finish the aboves, go to Edit > DefineBrush Preset:

4 define

In the box popped up, type a name for this brushset and hit “OK”, you will see the newly created brush appearing in the brush list:

4 brushset

Step 5

Select this newly created brush, apply the following brush dynamics to it:

Shape dynamics

5 shape dyn


5 sca

And tick the “Airbrushing” and “Smoothing” options.

Create a new layer underneath the orginal text layer, draw some random patterns as shown below with this dynamic brush, as shown below: (try adjusting the brush size)

5 paint

Step 6

Now let’s spice up the effect a bit by adding some cloud over the text. So create a new layer called  “cloud”, render some cloud inside it with the cloud filter (set foreground color to a dark grey, and black background colour).

Before you render the cloud, you have to make a selection with the Lasso Tool around the text (with around 20px feather settting), then render the cloud inside the seletion.

You will have the following effect:

6 cloud

Change the blending mode of this cloud layer to “Screen”, you will have the following effect:

6 screen cloud

You can also duplicate, resize this cloud layer and move those duplicated layer around for more effects, as show below:


6 resize cloud


6 duplicate cloud

Step 7

To produce even more depth for the text, here is a quick way to do it: create a new layer just above the original text layer, set the blending mode of this layer to “Vivid Light”, grab a soft brush to paint some color onto it:

7 paint

Add a black and white adjustment layer on top of all layers, adjust the settings accordingly, until you see there is a shadow appearing on the bottom of the text:

7 bw

Here is the effect you’re aiming to achieve: (you can see now because we have a shadow under the text, the overall effect looks deeper and more attractive)

7 effect

Add another color layer on top of the black and white adjustment layer, set the blending mode to “color” and paint some color on it, you will have the following effect:

7 effect 2

Step 8

Now we’re on the best part of this tut – apply the filter effects! Firstly we flatten the image, then duplicate the background layer once and apply the following Reduce Noise filter to the duplicated layer:

8 reduce noise

and you will see the text look much clearer and the overall image looks sharper:

8 after redu

Duplicate this sharpened layer once, and apply the following motion blur settings to it:

8 mo blur setting

You will have the following effect:

8 mo blur

Change the blending mode of this motion blur layer to “Hard Light” and erase the portion shown blow with a big soft brush (we don’t want the whole text to be blurred)

8 erase

Step 9

Go back to the sharpened text layer and make another duplication of it, drag it to the top and apply the reticulation filter to it (Filter > Sketch > Reticulation):


You will see the following effect:

8 ret

Change the blending mode to “color dodge” and erase the edge of the layer off, you will have the following effect:

8 ret change blending mode

Optional: go to site5 such as qbrushes.net and find some grungy brushsets, and create a new layer with the blending mode set to “overlay”, paint on it with your choice of grungy brush.

Here is my effect so far:

9 effect

Step 10

We’re almost done! To add some final touches, we can create a new layer on top of all other layers, render some cloud inside it and set the blending mode to “soft light”, you will have the following effect:

10 cloud soft light

I also added a colour balance adjustment layer on top of all layer to finish the effect off:

10 col mid

10 col mid

10 col high

and here is my final effect for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)


Ok that’s it for this tutorial! Just one last word: always try out different layer blending modes and see what effect that bring you! Sometimes you will be surprised to see some real cool effects :)

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful and inspirational!

Until next time, have a nice day!

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