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Icey Styles in Photoshop

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In this tutorial, we're going to create an icey-cold effect using layer styles and that you can apply to different objects. Then we'll put it on a nice background to give it some kick. You can download the PSD file at the bottom of the tutorial if you'd simply like to copy+paste the layer styles.

Step 1:

We start as always with a background gradient. I've used a Radial Gradient with two shades of a nice blue. Blues are good for this effect because they look cold...

Foreground color - #282c54
Background color - #0a0d2e

Step 2:

Now for our background effect, we're going to add a starburst. This produces a cool retro-looking effect. So go to the shapes palette and look for the shape pictured. It looks weird in the preview, but that is in fact the Starburst icon.

Step 3:

So in a new layer using white, draw out the shape. Note that you need to make it bigger than your stage because it is in fact a wheel and the edges of the wheel look dumb. So make it really large and centered and white.

Step 4:

Now change the opacity to 10% and set it to Overlay. Then grab a big soft brush and erase a bit of the center, this gives the effect that its fading in from nothing.

Step 5:

Finally I've written my text. I've used the font Kabel Bold, because it has a really fun, blocky feel. Fat fonts like this are great for doing effects on because there's lots of room to play. I've placed the text carefully so that the letters are quite close to each other and the n is bunched up in a nice little space.

Working with text is actually a hallmark of good design and is one of the key ways that designers judge how good another designer is. Although subtle, it's worth observing how other designers place text on posters, signs, and billboards around you. Look for spacing between letters, lines, sizing, and general placement. You can in fact do a lot just with typography.

Step 6:

Now the main effect in this tutorial is achieved by adding a whole bunch of layer styles. I won't bore you by detailing each one. Just download the PSDs from the link at the top right and right-click on the layer and select Copy Layer Style. Then you can just paste it around. Make sure the text is white and note that the effect works best on a dark background.

Just to describe the effect that we are trying to achieve, because you want it to look cold, we use white and shades of light blue. Blues, particularly lighter ones, look very chilly, and using a clever bevel we can make it look like the light blues are in fact shadows on these blockey ice letters.

Finally, because we're doing a kind of comic ice, I've used a block shadow. So if you look at the shadow effect you'll see it doesn't actually blur out. This makes for a non-realistic comic look, particularly when combined with this sort of font.

Step 7:

And there it is!

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