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Create a Light Bulb Inspired Text Effect in Photoshop

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Layer styles are a powerful and time saving feature that can help you apply amazing effects to your designs. In this tutorial we will use layer styles to create a light bulb inspired text effect in Photoshop. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

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


Step 1

Create a new 1280 x 1024 px document, or whatever size you need depending on the text you'll be creating.

Fill the Background with Black, or any other dark color you like, just make sure it is as dark as possible.


Step 2

Create the text in white. The font used is Junegull and the size is 400 pt. This is quite a big size but it will help show the details more clearly.

Change the text layer's Fill value to 0%.

Duplicate the text layer.


Step 3

Ctrl/Cmd + Click the text layer's thumbnail (icon) to create a selection.

Create a new layer between the Background and the two text layers and call it "Back".

Go to Select > Modify > Expand, and type 5. This will expand the selection 5 pixels outwards

Fill the selection with the color #9b7e4f, then go to Select > Deselect, or press Ctrl/Cmd + D to get rid of the selection.


Loading Contours

You might need to Load the Contours used in some of the Layer Styles below. To do so, go to Edit > Preset Manager, and choose Contours from the Preset Type drop down menu.

Click the small arrow in the top right corner, and choose Contours

Click Append to add the new contours to the existing ones.


Step 4

Double click the "Back" layer to apply the following Layer Style:

Outer Glow: Just change the color to #8f6f2c.

Inner Glow: Change the Blend Mode to Multiply, the color to #e4d7b2, the Source to Center, the Size to 125, and the Range to 35%.

Bevel and Emboss: Change the Technique to Chisel Hard, the Depth to 300, the Size to 20, and check the Anti-aliased box. Also, change the Highlight Mode color to #c6a96c and the Shadow Mode color to #ddd6c1.

Contour: Choose the Cone contour, check the Anti-aliased box, and change the Range to 70%.

Texture: Use the Texturetastic Gray texture, and change the Depth to a small value, something around 8 px. This will add a subtle texture so that the back is not so soft and has some details.

Stroke: Change the Size to 1, the Fill Type to Gradient, and the Angle to 90. Use the Gradient shown below from the "Golden Metal Gradients" pack.

This is what you should get.

Decrease the Fill value to 50% to make the back look transparent.


Step 5

Set the Foreground color to #555555, and pick a 3 px hard round brush. This brush will be used to create the wires in the middle of the text.

Create a new layer on top of the "Back" layer and call it "Wire".

Pick the Pen Tool and click the Paths icon in the Options bar.


Step 6

The Pen Tool will be used to add straight lines, simple curves, and a little bit more complex curves, depending on the letter's shape. Each case will be demonstrated in a separate step using a different letter. Let's start with the straight lines as they are the easiest.

To add an anchor point you need to click once where you want the line to begin. To create a straight line press and hold the Shift key then click where you want the line to end. Just make sure that you stay away from the edges.

Keep in mind that the anchor points are added consecutively, so you can't create the whole E shape at once. We will go ahead and stroke the path then create a new one for the missing parts.

If you want to move the points you created, pick the Direct Selection Tool, and you can either click one point or click and drag to select more than one point, then move using the arrow keys.


Step 7

To stroke the path, right click it and choose Stroke Path.

Choose Brush from the Tool drop down menu, and make sure that the Simulate Pressure box is un-checked.

Hit Enter/Return to get rid of the path so that you can create a new one.

Use the Pen Tool once again to add the missing part of the E.

And stroke it just like you did for the other part.


Step 8

For the simple curves, as in the letter D, you'll need to click and drag where you want to create a curve instead of clicking and releasing. Drag parallel to the direction of the curve, in this example, vertically.

Make sure to close the path by clicking the start point when you're done.

Don't forget that you can still use the Direct Selection Tool to move the anchor points.

Once you're path is created, stroke it the same way.


Step 9

To create the more complex curves, as in the letter S, start by creating the basic shape of the curve as you did before, by clicking and dragging. Don't try to make it perfect, as we will adjust it later on.

Once you've created the curve, pick the Direct Selection Tool, and select an anchor point (by clicking it). When you do so, you'll be able to adjust the two little handles (direction lines) that control it.

Click the point at the end of the handle and move it slightly to the sides if you want to change the direction (or the orientation) of the path, and move it up and down to make the curve wider or narrower.

It does not have to look perfect, just make sure it goes with the flow of the original shape, and that it is not too close or too far in certain areas, then go ahead and stroke it.

After you stroke inside all of the letters, change the Fill value of the "Wire" layer to 50%.


Step 10

Double click the "Wire" layer to apply the following Layer Style:

Outer Glow: Change the Blend Mode to Vivid Light, the color to #ffffbe, and the Size to 13.

Inner Glow: Change the Blend Mode to Vivid Light, the color to #d5d5cd, and the Size to 1.

This will add a very subtle glow.


Step 11

Duplicate the "Wire" layer.

Double click the copy to adjust the Inner Glow, by changing the Size to 10.

This will intensify the glow effect.


Step 12

Next, we will create a very simple brush. So create a new 16 x 16 px document, with a Transparent background.

Pick the Ellipse Tool, and check the Paths icon in the Options bar, then create a circle that covers most of the document.

Pick a 1 px hard round brush, and set the Foreground color to black. Then pick the Ellipse Tool again and stroke the path.

Hit Enter/Return to get rid of the path then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, and type in a name for the brush.


Step 13

Back to the original document, create a new layer on top of the "Wire copy" layer and call it "Filament"

Right click the "Wire" layer and choose Copy Layer Style, then right click the "Filament" layer and choose Paste Layer Style.

Change the "Filament" layer's Fill value to 100%, and set the Foreground color to #d0b174.


Step 14

Open the Brush panel (Window > Brush), and change the values as shown below for the brush you've just created in Step 12.


Step 15

What we are going to do next, is create small paths along the wire to stroke them with the modified brush. So use the Pen Tool again, and start adding small straight lines or curves over the wire. Try not to make them very short though, as this will not give a nice effect.

You need to stroke one path at a time. Right click the path and choose Stroke Path.

This time, check the Simulate Pressure box.

This will make the brush fade at the ends. Add more paths along the wire, but don't add too many. We still need to add some bright light areas and leave some empty areas as well.


Step 16

Create a new layer on top of the "Filament" layer and call it "Light", then right click it and choose Paste Layer Style.

Double click the "Light" layer to modify the Outer Glow by changing the Opacity to 50%.


Step 17

Choose a soft round brush and modify its settings as shown below:


Step 18

Set the Foreground color to #fffde1, and use the Pen Tool to create small paths that cover some of the empty areas along the wire.

Make sure that the Simulate Pressure box is still checked when you stroke the small paths.

This will create some shiny areas that will make the final effect look more vivid and bright.

Add some more of those shiny areas, in different sizes and places. You can even change the brush size if you like. Again, don't forget to leave some empty areas in between.


Step 19

Keep in mind that you can always control how bright or shiny the brush is. You can lower the opacity if needed. Here, it is slightly decreased to 90%.

You can also change the "Glow" effects colors. Here, the Inner Glow color of the "Light" layer is set to #83591e.

The difference is very subtle, but you can notice it as you are changing colors, the glow will look less white and more yellow.


Step 20

Create a new layer between the "Back" and "Wire" layers and call it "Pins", then change its Fill value to 0%.

Double click the "Pins" layer to apply the following Layer Style:

Inner Glow: Change the Blend Mode to Vivid Light, the color to #e9dcbb, the Source to Center, and the Size to 7.

Bevel and Emboss: Change the Technique to Chisel Hard, the Gloss Contour to Ring Double, check the Anti-aliased box, and change the Shadow Mode color to #9a8739.

Contour: Change the Gloss Contour to Cone Inverted, and check the Anti-aliased box.


Step 21

Choose a 12 px hard round brush, and start adding dots at the ends of the wire in each letter. Place the center of the brush over the tip of the wire and click to add a pin.

This will create the illusion that the wire is not floating out of nowhere in the letters, and that it is going in and out of those pins.


Step 22

Double click the original text layer to apply the following Layer Style:

Drop Shadow: Change the color to #cbcbcb, the Distance to 0, and the Size to 10.

Inner Shadow: Change the color to #c2b394, the Opacity to 60%, the Distance to 0, the Size to 60, the Gloss Contour to Gaussian and check the Anti-aliased box.

Bevel and Emboss: Change the Depth to 300 and the Size to 16. Un-check the Use Global Light box so that we can change the Angle and Altitude values without affecting the other Layer Styles in the document, then, change the Angle to 80 and the Altitude to 50. Also, change the Gloss Contour to Rounded Slope, the Highlight Mode to Overlay, and the Shadow Mode color to #fefefe.

Contour: Just check the Anti-aliased box.

This will add simple light and depth effects, and create a base for the actual glossy effect on top of it.


Step 23

Double click the copy text layer to apply the following Layer Style:

Inner Shadow: Change the color to #d1c2a4, the Opacity to 50%, the Distance to 0, and the Size to 35.

Inner Glow: Change the color to #ebe3c8, the Technique to Precise, the Source to Center, and the Size to 70.

Bevel and Emboss: Change the Depth to 500, the Size to 20 and the Soften to 1. Un-check the Use Global Light box, then, change the Angle to 60 and the Altitude to 35. Also, change the Gloss Contour to Ring and check the Anti-aliased box, change the Highlight Mode to Vivid Light, its color to #d6d2bc, its Opacity to 60%, and change the Shadow Mode color to #fefefe.

Contour: Choose the Ring Double contour and check the Anti-aliased box.

This will create the final glass-like shiny effect.


Final Image

And this is the final result. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and found it useful. Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.

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