1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects

How to Create a Colorful Explosion Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

This tutorial will show you how to use a couple of colorful texture images, with a Photoshop action and some smoke and texture overlays, to create an easy, colorful explosion text effect. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

Two of the items from today's tutorial are available for free this month via Envato Elements

Free files on Envato Elements

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

1. How to Create Background and Text Layers

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 1000 px document, click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, choose Solid Color, and set the fill color to Black.

Solid Color

Step 2

Create the text in All Caps using the font Ministry Bold, and set the Size to 500 pt and the Tracking to 50.

You can increase the Canvas Size if your text doesn't fit.

Create the Text

2. How to Fill Text With Image Textures

Step 1

Go to File > Place Linked, and open the Drop of blue paint falling in water image. Hit the Return key, and right-click the layer to choose Create Clipping Mask.

Then, press Command-T to enter the Free Transform Mode, and resize, rotate, and move the image inside the first letter you have until it is filled with the texture.

Hit the Return key to commit the changes.

Add an Image Texture

Step 2

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

Load a Selection

Step 3

Pick the Rectangular Marquee Tool, press-hold the Shit-Option keys to intersect with the selection, and draw a rectangle around the first letter you have.

Once you release all, only the first letter will be selected.

Intersect Selections

Step 4

Make sure that the image texture layer is selected, press Command-J to duplicate the selection in a new layer, and delete the original image layer.

Duplicate the Selection

Step 5

Repeat the same steps to add the other image textures to the remaining letters. Once you're done, hide the text layer.

Repeat to Fill all the Letters

3. How to Save and Load Selections

Step 1

Select all the layers you have except for the text layer, and go to Layer > Merge Layers.

Merge Layers

Step 2

Command-click the text layer to load a selection.

Load a Selection

Step 3

Go to Select > Save Selection, and type Text in the Name field.

Save Selection

Step 4

Delete the text layer.

We will use the selection to paint within the text area, so if at any time you need the selection again, you can simply go to Select > Load Selection, and choose the Text selection from the Channel menu.

Load Selection

4. How to Use the Sandstorm Photoshop Action

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool, create a new layer on top of all layers, and name it brush. The name is very important, so make sure that the spelling is correct, and that it is all in small caps.

Create the Brush Layer

Step 2

This is an optional step, but it helps create a more dynamic outcome. Open the Brush panel, and use these settings for the Brush Tips Shape and Shape Dynamics tabs.

Brush Settings

Step 3

Set the Foreground Color to any color you like, and start painting over the areas you want to break apart.

The action comes with multiple direction options (Left, Right, Up, Down, and Middle). So keep in mind the direction in which you want the parts to be shattered.

Also, keep in mind that the parts will be generated from within the painted areas, which means that the brush size also affects the outcome.

Paint Over the Text

5. How to Run an Action

Step 1

Once you're done painting, press Command-D to deselect.

Open the Actions panel, load the action if you haven't yet, and choose the direction you want.

Click the Play selection icon at the bottom of the Actions panel to run the action, and wait for it to run. This might take up to a couple of minutes.

Run the Action

Step 2

After you get the result, you can see that you still have the Background and brush layers. If you don't like the outcome, you can delete the action layers, make some changes to the brush layer, and run the action again.

There's no right or wrong in this process—it's trial and error until you get a result you like.

Action Result

Step 3

Once you get the desired outcome, you can check out all the action folders and layers, and make adjustments to any of them.

For example, here I scaled the Particle Groups group down uniformly. You can go ahead and make any other changes, erase unwanted areas using the masks, and try the different options available in the COLOR group.

Action Folders and Layers

6. How to Add Smoke and Texture Overlay Layers

Step 1

Place one of the smoke images on top of one of the letters, transform it as needed, and change its layer's Blend Mode to Screen.

Add a Smoke Image

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, check the Colorize box, and change Saturation to 50.

Then, drag the Hue slider until you get a color similar to the letter's texture color, and click OK.


Step 3

Add a mask to the smoke layer, and paint out any areas you don't like.

Mask Out Unwanted Areas

Step 4

Add other smoke images to the rest of the letters you have, with different colors based on the letter texture colors.

Put all the smoke texture layers in a group and name it Smoke.

Smoke Group

Step 5

Place the Landscape image on top of all layers, resize it to fill the document, and change its layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%

Add the Landscape Image

Congratulations! You're Done!

In this tutorial, we created text, filled it with colorful textures, and saved its selection. Then, we painted some areas and ran a Photoshop action to create a colorful explosion effect.

Finally, we added a couple of smoke texture images and a texture overlay image to finish off the effect.

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

Final Result
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