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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a Watercolor Inspired Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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

This tutorial will show you how to use a bunch of filters, brushes, and adjustment layers to create a simple, colorful, watercolor inspired text effect. Let's get started!

This text effect was inspired by the many watercolor Photoshop add-ons available on GraphicRiver.

Watercolor actions on GraphicRiver

Tutorial Assets

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

1. How to Create a Background

Step 1

Create a new 1250 x 850 px document, place the Canvas _15.jpg image on top of the Background layer, and resize it as needed.

Place the Canvas Texture

Step 2

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

Add a HueSaturation Layer

Step 3

Clip the Hue/Saturation layer to the canvas texture layer, and change the Saturation value to -25.

Saturation Value

2. How to Create a Smart Object Layer

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of all layers, and call it Watercolor Texture.

Set the Foreground Color to any color you like, and fill the Watercolor Texture layer with it.

The color used here is #d63965.

Fill with a Color

Step 2

Right-click the Watercolor Texture layer, and choose Convert to Smart Object, and then make sure to set the Background Color to White.

Convert to a Smart Object

Step 3

Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Clouds Filter

3. How to Create a Watercolor Texture Using Filters

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery to apply the following filters:

Step 1

Brush Strokes > Sprayed Strokes:

  • Stroke Length: 12
  • Spray Radius: 7
  • Stroke Direction: Right Diagonal
Sprayed Strokes

Step 2

For each filter we add next, you'll first need to click the New effect layer icon at the bottom right corner of the Filter Gallery window.

New Effect Layer

Step 3

Brush Strokes > Spatter:

  • Spray Radius: 10
  • Smoothness: 5
Spatter

Step 4

Artistic > Dry Brush:

  • Brush Size: 2
  • Brush Detail: 8
  • Texture: 1
Dry Brush

Step 5

Artistic > Underpainting:

  • Brush Size: 40
  • Texture Coverage: 40
  • Texture: Canvas
  • Scaling: 100
  • Relief: 0
  • Light: Top
Underpainting

Step 6

Artistic > Dry Brush:

  • Brush Size: 10
  • Brush Detail: 10
  • Texture: 1
Dry Brush

Step 7

Click OK to get out of the Filter Gallery, and then go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.

Change the Amount to 55, the Radius to 5, and the Threshold to 0.

Unsharp Mask

4. How to Work With Text

Step 1

Create the text using the font HucklebuckJF, and set the Size to 200 pt.

Create the Text

Step 2

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

Create a Selection

Step 3

Hide the text layer by clicking the eye icon next to it.

Then, select the Watercolor Texture layer, and click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Mask the Selection

5. How to Modify a Stroke Brush

Pick the Brush Tool (B), and open the Brush panel (Window > Brush).

Choose the Chalk 23 pixels tip, and change its settings as below:

Brush Tip Shape

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Shape Dynamics

Scattering

Scattering

Transfer

Transfer

6. How to Create and Stroke a Work Path

Step 1

Right-click the text layer and choose Create Work Path.

Create a Work Path

Step 2

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then click the Path operations icon in the Options bar, and click the Merge Shape Components command.

Select the Watercolor Texture layer's mask thumbnail to stroke the work path.

Merge Shape Components

Step 3

Pick the Brush Tool again, set the Foreground Color to White, and hit the Return key to stroke the path.

Press A then hit the Return key one more time to get rid of the work path.

Stroke the Work Path

7. How to Create a Watercolor Brush Tip

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool and open the Brush panel, and then pick a hard round tip and modify its settings as below:

Brush Tip Shape

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Shape Dynamics

Texture

Texture

Dual Brush

Use the Chalk 23 pixels tip.

Dual Brush

Transfer

Check the Noise and Wet Edges boxes.

Transfer

Step 2

With the Watercolor Texture mask's thumbnail selected, click-drag slightly to add some random spots or smeared areas.

Add Smears

8. How to Style a Watercolor Effect

Step 1

Change the Watercolor Texture layer's Blend Mode to Linear Burn.

Change the Blend Mode

Step 2

Double-click the Watercolor Texture layer to apply an Inner Glow effect with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Opacity: 90%
  • Color: #cccccc
  • Size: 5
Inner Glow

This will create more realistic looking edges.

Styled Edges

9. How to Add a Subtle Vignette

Step 1

Add a Gradient fill layer below the Watercolor Texture layer.

Create a Transparent to Fill Color gradient fill using the colors #d8d8d8 to the left and #929292 to the right, and then change the Style to Radial and the Scale to 250%.

Gradient Fill Settings

Step 2

Change the Gradient layer's Blend Mode to Color Burn.

This finishes off the main watercolor effect using only one color, which is the fill color you chose.

Change the Blend Mode

10. How to Colorize a Texture

Step 1

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, clip it to the Watercolor Texture layer, and change the Saturation value to -100.

Desaturate the Texture

Step 2

Add a new layer on top of the Hue/Saturation layer, name it Colors, and change its Blend Mode to Color Burn.

Add the Coloring Layer

Step 3

Clip the Colors layer to the Watercolor Texture layer, and then pick a big soft round brush tip.

What you need to do next is pick different colors, and paint over random areas of the texture.

You can change the Colors layer's Opacity value if needed.

Color the Texture

11. How to Apply More Filters

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of all layers, and then press the Option-Command-Shift-E keys to create a stamp.

Rename the stamp layer to High Pass, and convert it into a smart object.

Create the High Pass Layer

Step 2

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and change the Radius to 1.

High Pass Filter

Step 3

Change the High Pass layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%.

High Pass Layer Settings

Step 4

Create another stamp layer of all the layers you have, call it PC Filter, and convert it into a smart object.

Add a PC Filter Layer

Step 5

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery, and make sure to delete all the extra effect layers you have by clicking the Delete effect layer icon at the bottom right corner of the Filter Gallery window.

Select the Photocopy filter under Sketch, and use these settings:

  • Detail: 7
  • Darkness: 8
Photocopy

Step 6

Change the PC Filter layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 10%.

PC Filter Layer Settings

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created a simple canvas background and used a couple of filters to create a watercolor texture.

Then, we applied the texture to the text, styled and colored it, and modified brush tips to stroke and smear it. Finally, we added some more filters and adjustment layers to finish off the effect.

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

Final Result
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