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In this tutorial, I will show you the processes I used in creating this horror style text effect with Dirt and Splatter Texture in Photoshop. I’ve got the inspiration from the game “Prototype” title typography and decided to have a bit experiment with it myself.

Along the way, we will be using a lot of layer blending options, image adjustments, selection techniques, custom brushsets painting and filter effects. This is an intermediate level tutorial and beginners may find it a bit tricky to complete, but why not have a try :)

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


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Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:


Dirty Spray Brushset

Stroke and Splatter

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1200 * 800 px (in fact size doesn’t really matter here, choose one you feel comfortable with), use White as background colour.

In order to maxmise the effect, the choice of font is quite important here. For me I tend to use a Bold, Clean Font from at the start, simply because they are easy to manipulate and stylise. So go head and use the font we have just downloaded and type some text onto the canvas: (Hint: you can use Ctrl + T free transform tool to adjust the size of the text)

1 type

Step 2

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

General Blending

2 general

Drop Shadow

2 drop sha

Inner Shadow

2 Inner Shadow

Bevel and Emboss

2 bevel and emboss


2 contour

Gradient Overlay

2 gra overlay


2 stroke

and you will have the following effect:

2 effect

Step 3

Load the selection of the text layer by holding down the Ctrl key and left click the thumbnail image of the text layer on the layer palette:

3 load

Hit Ctrl + Alt + R and bring up the Refine Edge Tool, apply the following settings:

3 refine edge

and your selection will become like this:

3 after ref

Step 4

Maintaining the selection, create a new layer on top of the text layer and name it “Dirt Spray”, load the Dirt Spray brushset into Photoshop, and use the different brushes in this set, paint on the new layer.

You will see because we have the selection enable, the dirt appears within the selection:

4 paint

and here is the effect I have after a bit painting with the dirt brush:

4 after pai

Step 5

Now we can add some background textures to make the effect a bit richer. Load the “Stroke and Splatter” brushset into Photoshop, create a new layer called “texture” just above the background layer, select the brushes from this set to paint over the new layer: (I chose the red colour)

5 paint

Also you can use the splatter brushset for additional effect.

Now we can add some more decorations onto the text. I decided to add some curvy lines . To do this, create a new layer called “lines” and grab the Pen Tool, create the following working path on this “lines” layer:

5 path

And right0-click and choose the “Stroke Path” option, as shown below:

5 stroke path

Then select the option “Brush” and tick the “Simulate Pressure” option (Make sure set the brush size to 16px, with 100% hardness). Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) and free transform it as shown below:

5 free trans

Duplicate this “lines” layer a few times, on each duplicated layer, free tranform it to different sizes. Here is what I have after the duplication and free transformation:

5 after duplicate

Optional: You can further enhance this effect by duplicating some more layers of the “lines” layer, and drag them on top of the text layer. Here is what I have after moving them above the text layer:

5 after move

Step 6

To create some uneven light effect, we can add a new layer on top of all previous layer, grab a soft round brush (I chose 150px) and select the White colour, do some single-clicks on the spot you would like to highlight:

6 high

Change the layer blending mode to “Overlay” and you will have the following effect:

6 effect

I further added some more background textures by using the splatter brushsets and here is what I have after the paintings:

6 final

Step 7

For some final adjustments, I decided to flatten the image (make sure before you do so, save a copy of the non-flattened one first), and duplicate the background layer once and desaturate the duplicated layer, go to filter > sharpen > smart sharpen and apply the following settings:

6 sharpen

And add a new layer on top of the duplicated layer, grab a big soft brush and paint some colour onto it:

7 paint

Change the layer blending mode to “Color” and you will have the following effect


Add the following two adjustment layers on top of all previous layers by going into “Layer > Adjustment Layer >…”:


7 curves

Colour Balance

7 col bal

and you will have the following final effect: (click to enlarge)


That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it drop me a comment if you have any question, I will try my best to help you out.

Cheers and have a nice day!

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