Create a Grungy Looking, Blood-Stained Text Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the process I took to create this Blood Stained Text Effect in Photoshop. Along the way, we will be using some custom brushes, layer blending effects for the text, cloud rendering + blending mode, and image adjustments. The overall process is quite simple and would be good for PS beginners. Have a try!

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

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OK let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need to the following stock:

Font (optional), you can use any font you like.

Crack Brush

Smoke Brush

Splatter Brush

Step 1

Create a new document (size doesn’t matter) with a white background, use the crack brush you downloaded and paint some light grey, cracked texture on it:

Create a new layer, set the layer opacity to around 30%, again use the crack brush to paint some dark red pattern on it:

Step 2

Use the font you downloaded, or you own font, type some texts on the canvas:

Apply the following layer blending options to this text layer:

Drop Shadow

Inner Shadow

Inner Glow

Bevel and Emboss

Gradient Overlay

and here is the effect so far:

Step 3

Create a new layer under the text layer, use some splatter brush you download, reduce the brush tip to a very small size, choose a dark red color and paint some blood behind the text:

Use the Lasso Tool with around 40-50px feather, draw a selection around the text, and render some clouds inside it:

Compress it down as shown below with free transform tool:

Change the layer blending mode of this cloud layer to be “color burn”:

Duplicate this layer a few times, you will see it darkens the bottom of the text as shown below:

You can also resize the cloud layer around make it vertically, attach it to the left side of the text: (keep blending mode as “color burn”)

Add some vertical cloud to the right side of the text as well:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 4

Create a new layer on top of all layers, and use the smoke brush you downloaded to paint some random patterns around the canvas: (optionally you can add some bokeh around the text as well)

Add the following image adjustment layers to fine-tune the image a bit:


Mask on Levels adjustment layer: (use Gradient Fill tool to achieve this)


Color Balance

and here is the effect so far:

Step 5

We’re almost done! Now we can have a play with the image with some filter effect.

Flatten the image, duplicate the background layer once and apply the following Unsharp Mask Filter on the duplicated layer: (Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Maks)

Duplicate the background layer once more and drag it to the top, apply the following Cutout filter settings: (Filter > Artistic > Cutout)

and you will have the following effect: (to make the blood stain more realistic)

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

and here is the final effect: (click to enlarge)

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful! Till next time, have a great day!


  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

  • Show Comments

  • ali

    Tutorial = Awesome + Epic;
    Nice work!

  • Ddd

    I wish you would say which brush to use…. instead of just “cracked” brush.

  • Tabitha

    This is a great tutorial! But I’m a beginner and having trouble with this step: Use the Lasso Tool with around 40-50px feather, draw a selection around the text, and render some clouds inside it. Can you explain how to render clouds inside the selection? I’ve searched, but cannot find a tutorial on how to do it. Hope to get a response soon!

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