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Design

How to Create a Clean, Glossy Plastic Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Using multiple layer styles can help achieve a more detailed and 3D-looking effect. This tutorial will show you how to use layer styles, filters, textures, brushes, and adjustment layers to create a shiny, clean plastic text effect in Adobe Photoshop. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

In order to load the contours used, go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager, and choose Contours from the Preset Type drop‑down menu. Then click the little arrow to the right of the Preset Type drop‑down menu, and click Contours near the bottom of the pop-up menu. 

When the dialog box appears after that, just click Append, and you’ll get the contours. You'll also need to load a default Photoshop gradient set. So go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager, and choose Gradients from the Preset Type drop‑down menu. Then click the little arrow to the right of the Preset Type drop‑down menu, and click Color Harmonies 1 at the top of the pop-up menu. When the dialog box appears after that, click Append.

1. Creating the Background

Step 1

Create a new 900 x 675px document. Set the Foreground color to #2c353c and the Background color to #191919. Pick the Gradient Tool, choose the Foreground to Background gradient fill, and click the Linear Gradient icon.

Then, click and drag from the bottom left corner of the document to the top right corner to create the background gradient.

Background Gradient

Step 2

Place the texture 31 image on top of the Background layer, rename its layer to Background Texture, change its Blend Mode to Multiply, and go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

Background Texture

2. Creating the Text Layers

Step 1

Create the text in All Caps using the font Intrepid ExtraBold. The color is #e5eaec, the Size is 230 pt, the Kerning is set to Optical, and the Tracking value is set to 100.

Creating the Text

Step 2

Duplicate the text layer four times. Then, change the last three copy layers' Fill value to 0.

Duplicate the Text Layer

3. Creating the Stroke Layers

Step 1

Double-click the original text layer to apply a Stroke effect using the following settings:

  • Size: 10
  • Color: #7e7e7e
Stroke

Step 2

This will apply an outer stroke to the original text layer.

Outer Stroke

Step 3

Duplicate the original text layer, rename the copy layer to Stroke 1, right-click it and choose Rasterize Layer Style, and then change its Fill value to 0.

For versions older than CS6, you'll need to group the copy layer (Layer > Group Layers), rename the group to Stroke 1, and then go to Layer > Merge Group and change the Fill value to 0.

Duplicate the Stroke 1 layer, rename the copy to Stroke 2, and drag it below the original text layer.

Creating the Copy Stroke Layers

4. Styling the Main Stroke Layer

Double-click the original text layer again to apply some more effects.

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Style: Stroke Emboss
  • Gloss Contour: Cone - Asymmetrical
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Opacity: 100%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Half Round
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Step 3

This will style the first layer of the stroke.

Styled Main Stroke

5. Styling the Top Layer of the Stroke

Double-click the Stroke 1 layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 2
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Shadow Mode - Color: #676767
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Cone - Inverted
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Step 3

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Opacity: 51%
  • Style: Reflected
  • Use the stove pipe 150 gradient fill
Gradient Overlay

Step 4

This will style the second layer of the stroke.

Second Layer of Styled Stroke

6. Adding the Drop Shadow

Step 1

Double-click the Stroke 2 layer to apply a Drop Shadow effect using the following settings:

  • Distance: 15
  • Size: 7
Drop Shadow

Step 2

This will add the shadow to the bottom layer of the stroke.

Drop Shadow Effect

7. Styling the First Copy Text Layer

Double-click the first copy text layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Stroke with these settings:

  • Size: 1
  • Fill Type: Gradient
  • Style: Reflected
  • Angle: 90
  • Use the steel pipe 60 gradient fill
Stroke

Step 2

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Color: #2c6c99
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 18
Inner Shadow

Step 3

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Distance: 17
  • Size: 9
Drop Shadow

Step 4

This will style the first layer of the text with the inner color. You can use any other color you like by changing the Inner Shadow's Color value.

Colored Part of the Text

8. Styling the Second Copy Text Layer

Double-click the second copy text layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Depth: 297
  • Size: 35
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 108
  • Altitude: 42
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Opacity: 64%
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 0%
Bevel and Emboss

Click the Gloss Contour: icon to create the contour used below. What you need to do is click along the line you already have to add points. Then, for each point you add, you can enter its Input and Output values, and check the Corner box.

The values used for the two points are:

  • Point - Input - Output
  • Upper Point - 71 - 72
  • Lower Point - 42 - 34
Create the Contour

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Cove - Deep
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Step 3

Add a Stroke with these settings:

  • Size: 1
  • Fill Type: Gradient
  • Angle: 90
  • Use the stove pipe 155b gradient fill
Stroke

Step 4

This will add the first layer of shine/gloss to the effect.

First Gloss Layer

9. Styling the Third Copy Text Layer

Double-click the third copy text layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 21
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 53
  • Altitude: 64
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 24%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

For the Contour, just check the Anti-aliased box.

Contour

Step 3

This will add another layer of gloss.

Second Gloss Layer

10. Styling the Fourth Copy Text Layer

Double-click the fourth copy text layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 21
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 108
  • Altitude: 74
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 0%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Log
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Step 3

This will add the last layer of gloss.

Third Gloss Layer

11. Creating the Text Texture

Step 1

Set the Foreground and Background colors to Black and White, create a new layer on top of all layers, call it Text Texture, and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Render Clouds

Step 2

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Brush Strokes > Accented Edges, then change the Edge Width to 2, the Edge Brightness to 38, and the Smoothness to 5.

Filter Gallery

Step 3

This will create a simple texture.

Final Texture

Step 4

Change the Text Texture layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Texture Layers Blend Mode

Step 5

Command-click a text layer's thumbnail to create a selection.

Create a Selection

Step 6

With the Text Texture layer still selected, click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a mask.

Add Layer Mask

12. Changing the Texture's Color

Step 1

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Hue/Saturation.

HueSaturation Adjustment Layer

Step 2

Click the Clip to layer icon, check the Colorize box, and change the Hue value to 200.

Colorizing the Texture

Step 3

Change the adjustment layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Adjustment Layers Blend Mode

13. Adding the Water Splash Brush to the Background

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool, and choose one of the Water Splash Brushes brush tips. Set the Foreground color to #e8ecef, create a new layer on top of the Background Texture layer and call it Splash, and then resize the brush tip to a size you like and click to add it behind the text.

Add Water Splash Brush

Step 2

Double-click the Splash layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Gloss Contour: Ring
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
Bevel and Emboss

Step 3

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Half Round
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Step 4

Change the Splash layer's Blend Mode to Vivid Light and its Fill value to 35%.

Splash Layers Blend Mode and Fill Value

14. Adding the Sparkles and Adjusting the Coloring

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of all layers, call it Sparkles, and change its Blend Mode to Vivid Light. Pick one of the Stars and Flares Brush Set brushes, decrease its Size, and add a couple of sparkles at the edges of some of the letters. You can control the tip's Angle as well under the Brush Tip Shape tab in the Brush panel (Window > Brush).

Adding the Sparkles

Step 2

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Gradient Map.

Gradient Map

Step 3

Use the Orange, Blue, Magenta, Yellow gradient fill, and then change the adjustment layer's Blend Mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 3%. The effect is very subtle, but it helps enhance the coloring of the final result.

Gradient Map Settings

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created a simple backround using a linear gradient and a texture. Then we created the text, and duplicated its layer to apply different layer styles.

We added a stroke to some layers, and applied the layer styles using different effects and values in order to create layers of shine and gloss that have a 3D appearance.

Once all the text layers were styled, we used simple filters to create a basic texture that makes the effect a bit more dynamic.

Finally, we added a splash brush to the background and styled it, as well as some sparkles to the edges of some of the letters, and a gradient overlay adjustment layer to enhance a coloring of the final result.

Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.

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