1. Design & Illustration
  2. Typography

Create a Majestic Script in Photoshop

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Read Time: 5 min

Custom typography can be a lot of fun to create. In this unique tutorial we will demonstrate how to create a custom script in Photoshop in three different styles based on the same lettering layout. The result will be a clean, grungy, and distressed text effect. Let's get started!

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is create a new document (42 x 42 cm at 300 dpi, RGB color). Draw a circle using the Ellipse Tool (E) Double click on its layer to bring up the Layer Styles. Bring down the fill Opacity to 0% and add a Stroke. You can now use this as a guide for your artwork. This is a pretty large document, so you might want to keep that stroke width to about 10 px.

Step 2

Use the Line tool to create a few guides. These will define the spacing between the rows and x-height of your characters. Rotate them by -10 degrees. You'll likely play around with the proportions throughout the drawing process.

Step 3

We're now going to create the brush used to write out the text. Create a new brush and use the following settings.

Step 4

You can now start to draw the letters. I can only explain the technical aspects of this part, because the style and consistency of the letters depend on your lettering skills. Do look up terms like 'script', 'lettering', 'calligraphy alphabet' online to get an idea of how to shape each letter. Overall though, we're going for traditional calligraphy.

Step 5

Try to keep all text near the center, and swirls toward the exterior. Use the circle as a guide to keep your letters faithful to the layout.

Step 6

Deciding where to link words and rows is important. Too many ligatures can hinder legibility if used for more than letter-to-letter. Here I've made it row-to-row. Do keep this to a minimum.

Step 7

Write the final portion of the phrase. Once again, keep the circle layout intact.

Step 8

It's now time to process the handwritten text. Expand all visible layers (you might want to back up the file before you do this) by pressing Command/Ctrl + Option + E.

Step 9

Change the brush settings so that the roundness is now only 20%. Reduce the Opacity of the lettering to about 20%.

Step 10

Pick up the Pen Tool (P) and trace your first portion while keeping the original lines as a guide. Do this in Path mode. Find ways to make it more fluid and improve though. It's easier to do this with the Pen Tool, than by hand.

Step 11

Change to the brush tool and press Return. This will stroke the path with the brush you've made.

Step 12

Repeat this process for the rest of the letters. Make sure to create a new layer for each stroke. This will make things much easier when it comes to shading.

Step 13

We'll now work with clipping masks. Create a new layer, fill it with white and make it a clipping mask for the stroke.

At this point I also changed the background color to red, so that the strokes remain visible.

Step 14

to create shadows, imagine the twisting movement of the ribbon. Then trace with the Pen Tool in Path mode wherever the ribbon would be shaded.

Step 15

Right-click, select Make Selection. Press OK, create a new layer as a clipping mask, and click on the Add Layer Mask icon on the bottom of the Layers Palette.

Step 16

Draw a linear Black to White gradient as seen in the image below.

Step 17

Wherever a shadow is cast, create a gradient. Remember to imagine a single common light source throughout the illustration.

Step 18

We'll now add a highlight along the edge, to give the ribbon thickness. Trace it with the Pen Tool in Path mode.

Step 19

Choose a 10px brush and go back to the Pen Tool. Right-click, select Stroke Path. Enable Simulate Pressure and press OK. Use a white color for the stroke.

Step 20

Do this for the rest of the ribbon.

Step 21

Change the Opacity of each shadow now to a more subtle 20-30%.

Step 22

On the original black stroked path layer, add a layer style. Choose a Bevel and Emboss and use the following settings.


Apply this process to the remaining letters.

Step 24

It's now time to start the process of distressing the image. Press 'd' to reset your colors. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Step 25

Go to Filter > Render > Difference Clouds.

Step 26

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Use the following settings.

Step 27

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a 1,5 px value.

Step 28

Change the Blending Mode to Vivid Light and Opacity to 60%.

Step 29

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Use a similar gradient.

Step 30

Download this texture and place it in the scene. It's smaller, so you'll have to duplicate it a few times and soften the edges to get a large single texture as large as the document. Easy stuff! :)

Step 31

Change the Blending Mode to Difference and Opacity to 35%.

Step 32

Go to Select > Color Range. Select white from the foreground color, and change to 100.

Step 33

You should now have a similar result. Copy a merged version of the document (Command/Ctrl + Shift + C) and paste it in a new document of the same size.

Step 34

Go to Image > Mode > Grayscale. Press OK an the following dialogs. Then go to Image > Mode > Bitmap. Select Halftone Screen from the drop-down menu.

Step 35

Use the following settings for the next dialogue.

Step 36

Go back to Grayscale Mode and blur the image by 0.3 px. this will simulate a bit of antialiasing.

Final Image Preview

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