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How to Create a Golden Autumn-Inspired Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:

Autumn is all about the beautiful reds and golds and what's in between. This tutorial will show you how to use Photoshop's layer styles, filters, and adjustment layers, along with a couple of stock images, to create a glittering, gold, autumn-inspired text effect. Let's get started!

This text effect was inspired by the many Layer Styles available on GraphicRiver.

Tutorial Assets

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

1. How to Create a Background Layer

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 950 px document, and go to File > Place Linked to place the Wood Background image as a Smart Object on top of the Background layer.

Resize the Wood Background image as needed and hit the Return key to commit the changes.

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Vibrance, and change the Vibrance value to -20.

Step 3

Double-click the Wood Background layer to apply a Color Overlay effect with these settings:

• Color: #d2d0cb
• Blend Mode: Multiply

This will adjust the coloring.

2. How to Create Text Layers

Step 1

Create the text in All Caps using the font Big Bottom Cartoon. Change the Size to 300 pt and the Tracking to 75.

Step 2

Duplicate the text layer to create a copy.

3. How to Create a Drop Shadow Effect

Double-click the original text layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

• Opacity: 32%
• Distance: 11
• Size: 9

Step 2

Add another Drop Shadow effect instance with these settings:

• Color: #121212
• Opacity: 50%
• Distance: 36
• Size: 50

Step 3

Right-click the original text layer, choose Copy Layer Style, click the copy text layer, and choose Paste Layer Style.

Change the original text layer's Fill value to 0.

4. How to Create a Glittering Effect

Double-click the copy text layer to add the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

• Size: 3
• Check the Anti-aliased box
• Highlight Mode: Linear Light
• Shadow Mode: Color Burn
• Opacity: 15%

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

• Contour: Half Round
• Check the Anti-aliased box.

Step 3

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

• Blend Mode: Linear Burn
• Opacity: 13%
• Distance: 0
• Size: 10

Step 4

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

• Pattern: FDR Glitter Pattern 02
• Scale: 50%

Step 5

Place both text layers in a group and name it Text Layers.

Step 6

Add a Vibrance adjustment layer on top of the Text Layers group, clip it to the group, and change the Vibrance value to -70%.

5. How to Apply Color to an Image

Step 1

Open the Leaves0020 - Image 3 image, right-click the layer, choose Convert to Smart Object, and duplicate it.

Hide the copy layer and make sure that the original is selected.

Step 2

Go to Filter > Noise > Median, and change the Radius to 3.

Step 3

Double-click the layer to apply a Color Overlay effect with these settings:

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

• Color: #9c752a
• Blend Mode: Color

This will color the original leaf.

Step 4

Show the copy layer, and expand the original's Filters list.

Press-hold the Option key and click-drag the original leaf layer's Smart Filters tab to the copy layer.

6. How to Create a Gold Effect Using Filters

Step 1

Select the copy leaf layer, press Command-U, and change the Saturation value to -100.

Step 2

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic > Plastic Wrap, and use these settings:

• Highlight Strength: 20
• Detail: 10
• Smoothness: 7

Step 3

Change the copy leaf layer's Blend Mode to Linear Light.

Step 4

Double-click the copy leaf layer to adjust its Blending Options.

We are going to adjust the Underlying Layer sliders under the Blend If section.

Press-hold the Option key, and click-drag the right slider to split it. As you move the slider's ends, you'll notice how the copy leaf will not affect the lighter areas below it.

Press-hold the Option key, and click-drag the left slider to exclude some of the darker areas as well.

Step 5

This will create a golden leaf. Because we're going to significantly downsize this when we use it, the effect will look even more refined and realistic. So don't worry about the details for now.

Save this file and keep it open as we'll get back to it again.

7. How to Use Highlights and Shadows to Increase Contrast

Step 1

Open the Leaves0153 - Image 1 image, convert the layer to a Smart Object, and duplicate it.

Step 2

Go to Select > Color Range, and choose Highlights from the Select drop-down menu. Adjust the Fuzziness and Range sliders to select the highlights.

Step 3

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it Highlights.

Step 4

Fill the layer with White and press Command-D to deselect.

Step 5

Hide the Highlights layer so that it doesn't affect the Shadows selection we're going to create next.

Step 6

Go to Select > Color Range, and this time choose Shadows from the Select menu. Adjust the Fuzziness and Range sliders to select the shadows.

Step 7

Create a new layer on top of all layers, name it Shadows, fill it with Black and deselect, and show the Highlights layer.

Step 8

Change both the Highlights and Shadows layers' Blend Mode to Soft Light, and their Opacity value to 50%.

This will help create more contrast.

8. How to Duplicate and Adjust Effects and Filters

Step 1

What you need to do next is repeat the same steps to turn the leaves gold.

You can duplicate the original leaf layers into this document to copy and paste the layer styles and duplicate the filters, but remember to delete the duplicated layers when you're done.

Step 2

Double-click the original Leaves0153 - Image 1 layer to adjust its Color Overlay effect by changing the Color to #a27412.

Step 3

Double-click the copy Leaves0153 - Image 1 layer to adjust its Blending Options if needed.

You can adjust any settings needed to get a result you like.

9. How to Create Final Smart Objects for the Leaf Layers

Step 1

Go back to the first leaf layer document, duplicate the layers you have, hide the original ones, merge the copy layers, and rename the merged layer to Leaf 01.

Step 2

Add a Vibrance adjustment layer, clip it to the Leaf 01 layer, and change the Vibrance value to -35.

Step 3

Select both the Leaf 01 and the Vibrance layers and convert them to a Smart Object.

Placing the adjustment layer inside the Smart Object will help make it easily editable if you want to change its values anytime later on.

Step 4

Go back to the second leaf image document, group the layers, duplicate the group and hide it, and merge the copy.

Step 5

Pick the Lasso Tool and select one of the leaves.

Step 6

Press Shift-Command-J to cut and paste the selected leaf into a new layer

Select and cut and paste the second leaf into a new layer, and delete the original empty layer. Rename the first leaf layer to Leaf 02 and the second to Leaf 03.

Step 7

Add a clipped Vibrance layer using the same -35 Vibrance value to each of the leaf layers.

Step 8

Convert each leaf layer and its Vibrance layer to Smart Objects.

10. How to Add the Leaves to the Text

Step 1

Duplicate the Leaf 01 layer to the original document that has the text layers. Place the leaf on top of the first letter and scale it down as you like.

Step 2

Double-click the Leaf 01 layer to apply a Drop Shadow effect with these settings:

• Opacity: 32%
• Distance: 11
• Size: 9

This will add a subtle drop shadow effect.

Step 3

Press-hold the Option key, and click-drag to duplicate the Leaf 01 layer. Then, you can transform the copy to build a dynamic effect.

Step 4

Follow the same steps to add more Leaf 01 copies, as well as adding and duplicating the Leaf 02 and Leaf 03 layers, over a part of the first letter.

Place all the leaf layers in a group with the letter's name.

Step 5

Keep duplicating and transforming the leaf layers to place them over all the remaining letters.

11. How to Add More Leaves

Step 1

Open the autumn leaves image, and use the Lasso Tool to select any of the leaves you want to add to your text, and copy them to the original text document.

Step 2

Rename the copied leaf layer to Red Leaf 01, convert it to a Smart Object, and place it anywhere you like.

Double-click the Red Leaf 01 layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 3

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

• Blend Mode: Linear Dodge (Add)
• Opacity: 35
• Pattern: FDR Glitter Pattern 02
• Scale: 25%

Step 4

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

• Blend Mode: Darker Color
• Opacity: 50%
• Uncheck the Use Global Light box
• Angle: 99
• Distance: 6
• Size: 9

Step 5

Add another Drop Shadow effect instance with these settings:

• Blend Mode: Multiply
• Opacity: 50%
• Distance: 36
• Size: 50

Step 6

This will style the leaf layer. Make sure to copy and paste this layer style to any red leaf layers you add next.

Step 7

Continue adding different red leaves until you get a result you like.

12. How to Add Pins

Step 1

Open the Mirror ball png image, and go to Image > Trim. Set Based On to Transparent Pixels, and check all the Trim Away boxes.

Step 2

Double-click the layer to apply a Color Overlay with these settings:

• Color: #998051
• Blend Mode: Color

Step 3

Convert the mirror ball layer to a Smart Object.

Step 4

Duplicate the mirror ball's smart object into the original document, rename its layer to Pin, place it on top of all layers, and resize it to fit inside the center of some of the leaves you have.

Double-click the Pin layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 5

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

• Blend Mode: Lighten
• Pattern: FDR Glitter Pattern 02
• Scale: 50%

Step 6

Add an Outer Glow with these settings:

• Blend Mode: Soft Light
• Opacity: 35%
• Color: #ffffff
• Size: 50

Step 7

Add a Drop Shadow effect with these settings:

• Opacity: 32%
• Distance: 11
• Size: 9

This will style the pin.

Step 8

Duplicate the pin to add it over more parts of the text, and place all the pin layers in a group with the name Pins.

13. How to Apply Global Adjustments

Step 1

Add a Color Lookup adjustment layer and choose the 3Strip.look table from the 3DLUT File menu, and change the layer's Opacity to 50%.

Step 2

Press the Shift-Option-Command-E keys to create a stamp layer on top of all layers. Rename the stamp layer to Lighting Effects and convert it to a Smart Object.

Step 3

Go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. Choose Spot Light and adjust the rest of the settings as below:

Step 4

Create another stamp layer on top of all layers, name it High Pass, convert it to a Smart Object, and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Step 5

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

Step 6

Change the Lighting Effects layer's Opacity to 50%.

14. How to Add a Vignette

Step 1

Save the final result as an image, and open it.

Step 2

Go to Image > Image Size, and change the Width to 1000 px.

Step 3

Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to create an elliptical selection around the text.

Step 4

Add a new Solid Color fill layer and set the Color to Black. The selection will be applied to the mask.

Step 5

Select the mask's thumbnail and press Command-I to invert it.

Step 6

Change the Solid Color layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 35%.

Step 7

Select the mask's thumbnail again and open the Properties panel to increase the Feather value until you get a smooth vignette effect.

Congratulations! You're Done!

In this tutorial, we used layer styles to create some glittering text. Then, we used layer styles and filters to create gold leaves, and added them along with more red leaves over the text to create the main effect.

Finally, we added some pins, and applied a bunch of adjustment layers and filters to blend everything together.

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