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!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. How to Create a Background
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.
Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Hue/Saturation.
Clip the Hue/Saturation layer to the canvas texture layer, and change the Saturation value to -25.
2. How to Create a Smart Object Layer
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
Right-click the Watercolor Texture layer, and choose Convert to Smart Object, and then make sure to set the Background Color to
Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.
3. How to Create a Watercolor Texture Using Filters
Go to Filter > Filter Gallery to apply the following filters:
Brush Strokes > Sprayed Strokes:
- Stroke Length: 12
- Spray Radius: 7
- Stroke Direction: Right Diagonal
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.
Brush Strokes > Spatter:
- Spray Radius: 10
- Smoothness: 5
Artistic > Dry Brush:
- Brush Size: 2
- Brush Detail: 8
- Texture: 1
Artistic > Underpainting:
- Brush Size: 40
- Texture Coverage: 40
- Texture: Canvas
- Scaling: 100
- Relief: 0
- Light: Top
Artistic > Dry Brush:
- Brush Size: 10
- Brush Detail: 10
- Texture: 1
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.
4. How to Work With Text
Create the text using the font HucklebuckJF, and set the Size to 200 pt.
Command-click the text layer's thumbnail to create a selection.
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.
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
6. How to Create and Stroke a Work Path
Right-click the text layer and choose Create Work Path.
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.
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.
7. How to Create a Watercolor Brush Tip
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
Use the Chalk 23 pixels tip.
Check the Noise and Wet Edges boxes.
With the Watercolor Texture mask's thumbnail selected, click-drag slightly to add some random spots or smeared areas.
8. How to Style a Watercolor Effect
Change the Watercolor Texture layer's Blend Mode to Linear Burn.
Double-click the Watercolor Texture layer to apply an Inner Glow effect with these settings:
- Blend Mode: Linear Burn
- Opacity: 90%
- Size: 5
This will create more realistic looking edges.
9. How to Add a Subtle Vignette
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%.
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.
10. How to Colorize a Texture
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, clip it to the Watercolor Texture layer, and change the Saturation value to -100.
Add a new layer on top of the Hue/Saturation layer, name it Colors, and change its Blend Mode to Color Burn.
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.
11. How to Apply More Filters
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.
Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and change the Radius to 1.
Change the High Pass layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%.
Create another stamp layer of all the layers you have, call it PC Filter, and convert it into a smart object.
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
Change the PC Filter layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 10%.
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.