Design Abstract Surreal Text Effect with Metal Texture in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this unique, Abstract Surreal Text Effect with Metal Texture in Photoshop. This is an intermediate tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try :)

The aim of this tutorial is to show how you can manipulate texture/stock image with layer masks and blending options to create special effect. Also I will show you how to use adjustment layer to add colours in the end.

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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 the following stocks:

Space Brush Pack

Metal Texture 1

Metal Texture 2

Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 1040px with black background. Create a new layer and use the space brush to paint a background pattern, compress it down and set some perspective to it as shown below:

Create a new layer and further add some space pattern, reduce the layer opacity to around 80% and use a soft eraser to erase the centre portion as shown below:

Hint: by performing the above two things, we added some depth to the image and get ready for adding the text in the following step.

Let’s add some simple light effect – create a new layer and use a big white brush to paint a dot light as shown below:

Use a soft eraser with smaller brush size than the dot light, erase the top right part of the dot as shown below:

Duplicate this layer and rotate the duplicated layer 180 degrees, you will have the following effect:

Step 2

We can now work on the letter. Type a letter on the centre of the canvas, as shown below:

Load the “metal texture 1” image into Photoshop. Then load this text layer selection and move it to the metal texture, copy and paste it back onto our text:

Turn off the original text layer, and you will have the following effect:

Open up the liquify filter, grab the forward warping tool and make sure you enable “Show Backdrop” and use the following setting: (this will make the background visible, easier to apply the liquify effect)

Go crazy with the liquify tool, add some flowing effect around the text edges as shown below:

Then erase the following area with the a soft eraser:

Step 3

We can now apply some adjustments layers on the metal texture as clipping mask:

Black and White



Then use the Lasso Tool with 30px feather, draw a selection on the following area:

Then add another Levels adjustment layer as clipping mask: (this will darken the Lasso Selection)

Render or paint some cloud (with cloud or smoke brush, plenty of them on the internet) around the text to add dramatic effect:

Step 4

We can now add some small metal particles into the image – load the “metal texture 2” image into Photoshop and use the quick selection tool to select a few small pieces on the image:

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, erase the edges to blend those small pieces into the main text:

Duplicate the selection a few times, attach them to different parts of the text, as shown below:

Merge the duplicated layers and apply the following black and white adjustments to it:

and here is the effect so far:

You can also further duplicate this metal texture layer a few more times, resize them to small scale and move them around the text, as shown below:

Step 5

To add some extra effect, I decided to use the Pen Tool to draw some red lines around the text. So let’s use the Pen Tool to draw a work path as shown below:

Prior to stroking the path, go to the brush panel and set the brush size to 3px, hardness 95%, red colour as shown below:

Then go back to select the Pen Tool, right-click and choose “Stroke Path”:

Stroke this path with the following settings:

and you will have the following effect:

Duplicate this line layer a few more times and resize each duplicated layer and rotate them, attach the lines to different part of the text:

You can also mix some yellow lines via adjusting the Colour Hue, in order to add some variety on the text:

Step 6

OK we’re almost done! For some final retouches, we can flatten the image and apply the following Smart Sharpen filter to the image to sharpen the text a bit:

To add some colour effect to image, I apply the following image adjustment layers to the image:

Selective Color


Brightness and Contrast

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

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.

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