Create a “Real Steel” Film Poster Inspired Text Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Create a “Real Steel” Film Poster Inspired Text Effect in Photoshop. This is an intermediate tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try :)

Along the way, we will mainly talk about how to use layer blending mode and adjustment layer to apply texture onto the text.

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

Alternative version with cooler colour:

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OK Let’s get started!

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

Paper Texture


Metal Texture

Fire Stock

Step 1

Create a new document with 1200px * 700px with black background. Let’s start by preparing the background – load the paper texture image into Photoshop, select a piece of it as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas (resize to fit if necessary), add the following 2 adjustment layers on top of it:

Black and White


Use a soft eraser (set opacity and flow to be 40%) to remove some parts of the paper texture, you will have the following effect:

Step 2

We will add some metal texture onto the background – load the metal texture into Photoshop, select a piece as shown below:

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas, then change the blending mode to “overlay”, you will have the following effect:

Add the following 3 adjustment layer as clipping mask to this metal texture layer:

Black and White



and here is the effect so far:

Step 3

We will start making the text effect – load the font and type some texts onto our canvas:

Apply the following layer blending mode to the text layer:

Drop shadow

Bevel and Emboss

Then add a layer mask to the text layer, erase the lower part of the text with a soft brush:

Then paint some shadow under the text with a black soft brush to add some depth:

Step 4

Now we will add the metal texture onto the text – go back to the metal texture and select a piece with the text layer selection:

Copy and paste the selection onto the text, you will have the following effect:

Add the following 2 adjustment layers as clipping mask to this text metal layer:

Black and White


Then, go back to the text metal texture layer, use a soft eraser to remove some part of the texture, as shown below:

Hint: make sure you set the eraser flow and opacity to be around 20%, and gently erase the texture. This will add variety and depth for the text.

Step 5

We will add some fire texture onto the text. Load the fire image into Photoshop, and use a 30px feather lasso tool to select a piece:

Copy and paste the selection on a layer below the text layer, so it appears behind the text:

Hit Ctrl + L to bring up the levels adjustment tool, apply the following setting:

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

Duplicate this fire layer a few times, resize and rotate them, scatter them around the text:

Step 6

We’re almost done! To add some more details, I flatten the image and applied some “Reduce Noise” filter effect as shown below:

Add a new layer and use a soft white brush with around 40% flow and opacity, paint some highlights for the text:

Add a curves adjustment layer on top with the following settings to bring out more contrast:

I then further added some colour and light adjustments and here is the final effect I have: (click to enlarge)

Alternative version with cooler colour:

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it 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

  • Very Good tutorial. very good to see this tuts here, it will help me to create mine posters designs!

  • Outstanding resource of tutorial. Good to learn this technique to design an excellent posters. Thanks for bringing this resource here.

  • this is seriously outstanding …

    Quite a tutorial , fine detail , great way of showing things….

  • amazing tuet,,,,,,,,,,,very very thanks

  • Wow, definitely outstanding…

  • Saifcr7

    Liked it.. and got all the textures tooo which are used in this tutorial..

  • Alexander Wagner

    Great Tut But You Cant Really See The R IN Real!

  • lemonhands

    I had a hard time following it, maybe I’m just not good at photoshop.  Your final result looks really great.

  • This is very useful blog for me, thanks a lot for the share!

  • Alan

    Lol, great tutorial, but I completely bombed step 2.. not sure what I did wrong, but it looks nothing like what it’s supposed to. Thanks though, it’s still fun to play around and see where I am

  • Hamid

    Thank you for every thing

  • i am having trouble on step four.. please walk me through that

  • Adam Saucier

    Ok, tutorial. Would have liked to know what size/res document you were working on. And throw in reminder intermediate steps every now and then.

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