Create Abstract Text Effect with Topographic Map

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In this tutorial, I will show you the process used to make an interesting abstract text effect with a Topography Map. We will practice the use of liquify filter, layer blending options, some simple image adjustments and custom brush painting. Have a try!

Note: The Photoshop tutorial is done in Photoshop CC – therefore some screenshot may have slighting different layout as in the earlier version. Some brushes are exclusive to Photoshop CS6 or above.

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

abstract-text-topographic-map-flatten

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OK Let’s get started!

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

Topography Map

Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 1132px with black background. Load the topographic map image into Photoshop, select the whole image and copy it to our canvas. We will use it as the background of the text:

1 paste

Invert this new map layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Invert, or press Ctrl + I:

1 invert

Use a soft eraser to fade parts of the map layer as shown below:

1 erase

Apply the following image adjustments layers on top of this map layer:

Black and White

1 bw

Layer mask on the above black and white layer:

1 bw mask

Levels

1 lvs

and here is the effect so far:

1 effect

Step 2

We will work on the text in this step. Use any font you like, type a letter at the centre of the canvas:

2 type

Use the Liquify filter on this letter:

2 liq

Press “Ok” to rasterize this letter layer:

2 ok

Have fun with the liquify filter, warp and manipulate the letter as you see fit:

2 liq brush

Step 3

We will add some map texture over the letter. Go to the map image and select a piece of it:

3 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, set it as clipping mask to the letter layer:

3 clip

Change the layer blend mode to “Multiply” for this new map texture layer:

3 mul

Then create a new layer on top of the map layer and set it as clipping mask, use a hard brush with 50% opacity, 100% flow to paint some black parts over the map texture. The effect should look like this:

3 paint

Use a watercolor brush, paint some watercolor pattern on the background:

3 water

and here is the effect so far:

3 part

Step 4

We’re almost done! For final touches, I flattened the image and duplicated the background layer, go to Filter > Artistic > Cut Out and apply the following settings to the duplicated layer:

4 cut out

Hide parts of the new duplicated layer the the following layer mask:

4 mask

You will the “Cut Out” filter added some geometric shapes to our document:

4 effect

If you’re happy with the letter you created, you can stop here.

I further adjusted the colour of the text a bit with a couple of image adjustment layers (selective color, hue/saturation), and this is my final result: (click to enlarge)

abstract-text-topographic-map-flatten

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! If you have any questions about the steps, please contact me or leave a comment below. I will try my best to answer them.

Till next time, have a great day!

Tags:

  • 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.

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