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Create a Stitched Denim Text Effect in Photoshop

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In this tutorial, we will explain how to combine Photoshop filters, brushes, and vector shapes to create a stitched denim text effect using Photoshop CS6. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

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

Step 1

Create a new 1250 x 768 px document.

Set the Foreground color to #83b7ca and the Background color to #22576b, then, fill the "Background" layer with the Foreground color.

Next, we are going to apply some filters to create the denim texture. The same texture will be used for both the Background and the text. Start by going to Filter > Filter Gallery > Sketch > Halftone Pattern. Change the Size to 1, the Contrast to 0, and choose "Dot" from the Pattern Type drop down menu.

This will create the base for the denim texture.

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic > Smudge Stick. Change the Stroke Length to 2, the Highlight Area to 12, and the Intensity to 10.

This will create the main denim texture.

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Grain. Change the Intensity to 11, the Contrast to 50, and choose "Regular" from the Grain Type drop down menu.

This will add subtle noise to the denim texture making it look more realistic.

Step 2

Duplicate the Background layer then make the copy layer invisible by clicking the eye icon next to it.

Select the "Background" layer once again. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and change the Hue to 20, the Saturation to -50, and the Lightness to -50 as well.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, and change the Shadows value to 35 to darken the texture a bit more.

Step 3

Create the text in white using the font Grobold. In the Character panel (Window > Character), change the Size to 300pt and the Tracking value to 75 to avoid overlapping.

Notice that the letter "D" is still a bit close to the letter "e", which will cause an undesired overlapping of the edges later on. To fix that, place the Type Tool cursor between the letters "D" and "e", then change the Kerning value to 68.

Step 4

Make the "Background copy" layer visible again by clicking the empty box next to it, and drag it on top of the text layer. Then, Ctrl/Cmd + Click the text layer's thumbnail to create a selection.

Go to Select > Modify > Expand, and type in 6. Larger values will cause the selection to merge on some parts and we don't want that. So make sure to adjust the value accordingly if you are using a different font size.

Select the "Background copy" layer, then press Ctrl/Cmd + J. This will copy and paste the selected area in a new layer. Make the "Background layer" invisible as we don't need it anymore.

Duplicate the layer called "Layer 1", then change the copy's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%. This will intensify the colors and the details of the texture.

Double click "Layer 1" to apply a simple Inner Shadow effect, by changing the Opacity to 50%, the Distance to 0, and the Size to 2.

This will add a very subtle definition to the edges, and it will help blend them with the stroke brush that will be added later on.

Step 5

Duplicate the text layer, then make the original one invisible. Move the copy on top of all layers.

Right click the duplicated text layer then choose Convert to Shape. The text is no longer editable now.

Pick any Shape Tool and take a look at the Options bar at the top. There are some new interesting features introduced in Photoshop CS6 that will help us create the stitches easily and quickly.

Start by getting rid of the inner part of the shape by choosing the "No Color" option under the Fill icon. This value is not the same as the layer's Fill value. The first one will get rid of the color inside the shape but won't affect the stroke, while the other will affect both the fill color and the stroke.

Step 6

Now we need to add the stroke to the shape. So click the Stroke icon, and choose "Solid Color". Then, click the Color Picker icon, and get the color #c0b384.

Type 3 in the stroke width field, then click the shape stroke type icon and choose the Dashed line preset. To modify some more stroke settings, click the More Options button down the box.

In the Stroke window, set the Align to Inside, the Caps to Butt, and the Corners to Miter. Then, change the first Dash value to 2.5, and the first Gap value to 1. As you can notice, the Dash value determines the dash length, and the Gap value determines the distance between the dashes.

Step 7

Double click the stitches (text shape) layer to apply the following Layer Style:

Bevel and Emboss: Since the stitches are so small, change the Size to 0, the effect will still add a subtle dimension to the stitches even with the 0 value. Also, change the Highlight Mode color to #bea85a.

Contour: Use the default values.

Inner Shadow: Change the Distance to 0 and the Size to 1.

Gradient Overlay: Change the Blend Mode to Multiply, the Opacity to 50%, and use the "Gold Rail G2" gradient from the "Tracks.grd" file in the gradients pack, then change the Style to Reflected.

Outer Glow: Change the Blend Mode to Multiply, the color to #444425, and the Size to 0. This will intensify the shadow effect.

Drop Shadow: Change the Blend Mode color to #112d37, the Opacity to 80%, the Distance to 0, the Size to 7, and the Contour to Cove Deep.

This should add a 3D feel to the stitches.

If you think the stitches are a bit harsh you can decrease their layer's Opacity to a value around 85%.

Step 8

Ctrl/Cmd + Click a denim texture layer's thumbnail to create a selection.

Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon down the Layers panel and choose Hue/Saturation. The selection will create a mask for the adjustment layer so that it only affects the texture.

Change the Hue value to 10, and the Saturation value to -25.

Create a selection again, then click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon and choose Levels.

Change the Shadows value to 30 to darken the texture.

Step 9

Open the Brush panel (Window > Brush) and choose the "Dune Grass" brush then modify its settings as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape:

Shape Dynamics:


Dual Brush: Choose the "Chalk 36 pixels" brush.

Color Dynamics:

Step 10

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

Set the Foreground color to #597f91 and the Background color #081f30. Create a new layer below the two denim texture layers and call it "Stroke".

Pick the Direct Selection Tool, then right click the Work Path and choose Stroke Path.

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

This will stroke the path with some frayed edges, but they seem thin and scattered. To make them more dense, stroke the path two more times.

You should get better and more realistic looking edges now. Hit Enter/Return to get rid of the work path.

Step 11

Double click the "Stroke" layer to apply a simple Drop Shadow, by changing the color to #222222, the Distance to 10, the Spread to 15, and the Size to 10.

The shadow will add depth to the flat texture.

Step 12

Create a new layer on top of all layers and call it "Dirt", then change its Blend Mode to Darker Color. Set the Foreground color to #8c6239.

Ctrl + Click a denim texture layer's thumbnail, then Shift + Ctrl + Click the "Stroke" layer's thumbnail to add it to the selection.

Use any of the "Rust 'n Grunge" pack's brushes to add some dirt to the text. It might not be so noticeable, but it will add a nice touch after the final adjustment layer is added.

Step 13

With the selection still active, create a new layer on top of all layers and call it "Clouds". Set the Foreground and Background colors back to Black and White, then go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Go to Select > Deselect (or press Ctrl/Cmd + D) to get rid of the selection.

Change the "Clouds" layer's Blend Mode to Overlay, and its Opacity to 20%, or whatever other value you like. This will add brightness variations to the texture.

Step 14

Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon and choose Gradient Map.

Make sure that the adjustment layer is on top of all layers then change its Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%. This will enhance the coloring.

The gradient is created using the colors #504d44 to the left and #aba277 to the right.

Step 15

Create a new layer between the "Clouds" and "Dirt" layers and call it "Rivets". Double click the new layer to apply the following Layer Style to it:

Bevel and Emboss: Change the Gloss Contour to Half Round, the Highlight Mode to Vivid Light and its Opacity to 65%, and check the Anti-aliased box.

Contour: Choose the Cone contour, and check the Anti-aliased box.

Drop Shadow: Just change the Distance to 0.

Set the Foreground color to #564a2e, choose a hard round 13 px brush, and start adding rivets on the corners of the letters.

Final Image

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