Design a Realistic Frosty Text Effect with Moss/Lichen Texture in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design a Realistic Frosty Text Effect with Moss/Lichen Texture in Photoshop. This is a beginner level tutorial with lots of tips and tricks about texturing, image adjustment and selection techniques, have a try :)

Towards the end of this tutorial, I would like to introduce you the tool I use frequently to fine-tune the colours – which is the Selective Color adjustment tool.

If brochure printing is in your future, this tutorial may help your design efforts.

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

PSD File Download

You can download the PSD File for this tutorial via the VIP Members Area for only $6.95/Month (or less)! You will not only get this PSD File, but also 70+ other PSD Files + Extra Goodies + Exclusive Photoshop tutorials there. Signup now and get exclusive :) Find out more about the VIP Members Areas

Ok Let’s get started!

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

Concrete Texture

Frost Ground Texture

Dirt Brush

Step 1

Create a new document (size doesn’t really matter for this tutorial) with black background. Firstly I would like to get into a bit of details about cloud render techniques in Photoshop.

Create a new layer on top and use the Lasso Tool with 40px feather, draw a selection as shown below:

Then go to Filter > Render > Clouds:

Set the foreground/background colour to be white and black, render some cloud inside the selection:

As you can see, because we added a 40px feather, the edge of the cloud becomes softer:

Bring up the Levels adjustment tool: (Ctrl + L)

Apply the following Levels adjustment settings:

Then use a soft eraser tool to gently erase the edge of the cloud so it fades into the background, you will have the following effect:

Then you can free-transform this piece of cloud into any shape you want, without having to worry about the edges:

You can duplicate this compressed cloud layer a few times and move them around the canvas for more effect:

Step 2

Use any font you like, type a letter into the centre of the canvas:

Apply the following layer blending option on the letter layer:

Bevel and Emboss

Gradient Overlay

Attach a layer mask onto this letter layer, use the dirt brush we downloaded + the chalk brush, erase parts of the letter:

As you can see, because of this layer mask, we now have cracked top and a icy effect for the letter:

and here is the overall effect so far:

Step 3

Now let’s a bit of texture for the text. Load the concrete texture into Photoshop. Select the letter and drag the selection onto the concrete texture:

Copy and paste the texture back to our document, make sure it covers the letter as shown below:

Change the blending mode of this concrete layer to “overlay”:

Use a hard eraser tool, carefully erase parts of the concrete texture so more frosty texture can be revealed:

Add the following two adjustment layer as clipping mask to this concrete texture layer:


Black and White (set layer opacity to around 50%)

and you will have the following effect:

Step 4

Let’s add some frozen ground texture onto the letter. Load the frozen ground image into Photoshop, again we copy and paste a piece of it onto our document, covering the letter as shown below:

Change the blending mode of this frost texture to “overlay”:

Add the following two adjustment layer as clipping mask to the frozen texture layer:

Black and white (set layer opacity to around 60%)


Optional: You can then add some particles (You can find lots of different particle brushes on the web) and more cloud effect around text.

Here is the effect I have so far:

Step 5

We’re almost done. For final retouches, I decided to sharpen the image a bit with the Reduce Noise filter: (Flatten the image first)

As you can see, the texture becomes more crispy:

I also used the Selective Color image adjustment tool to fine-tune the colour a bit:

With Selective Color tool, you can alter individual colour without affecting the rest of the image.

For instance, my image so far has cyan and neutral colour, so I choose “Cyans” and “Neutral” colours on the selective color tool for adjustment:

As you can see, the cyan/blue part of the image becomes more vibrant as a result:

For the neutral part of the image, I give them more yellowish/earth kind of the feeling:

Selective color can be quite powerful when it comes to adjusting colour separately, so use it wisely :)

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

That’s it for this tutorial! 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