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Design

How to Create a Grunge Retro 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 layer styles, noise and grunge textures, and adjustment layers to create a grungy halftone retro 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 Pattern Layer

Step 1

Create a new 512 x 512 px document with a White Background. Duplicate the Background layer, right-click the copy, and choose Convert to Smart Object.

Create the Pattern Layer

Step 2

Set the Foreground and Background Colors to Black and White, and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Render Clouds

2. How to Create a Grungy Halftone Pattern

Step 1

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Grain, and use these settings:

  • Intensity: 60
  • Contrast: 0
  • Grain Type: Sprinkles
Grain Filter

Step 2

Click the New effect layer icon at the bottom of the Filter Gallery window to add another filter.

Go to Sketch > Halftone Pattern, and use these settings:

  • Size: 2
  • Contrast: 6
  • Pattern Type: Dot
Halftone Pattern Filter

Step 3

Add another new effect layer, go to Sketch > Graphic Pen, and use these settings:

  • Stroke Length: 15
  • Light/Dark Balance: 50
  • Stroke Direction: Right Diagonal

Click OK when you're done.

Graphic Pen Filter

Step 4

Go to Edit > Define Pattern, and type Front Pattern for the Name.

Define Pattern

3. How to Create a Simple Pattern Background

Step 1

Create a new 950 x 750 px document, click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Solid Color.

Solid Color Fill Layer

Step 2

Set the fill Color to #a2563b.

Fill Color

Step 3

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

  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Pattern: Dots
Pattern Overlay

This will create the base background.

Background Pattern

4. How to Create Text Layer Smart Objects

Step 1

Create the text using the font Burford. Set the Color to White, the Size to 350 pt, and the Tracking to -75.

Create the Text

Step 2

Rename the text layer to Text, right-click its layer, and choose Convert to Smart Object.

Convert to Smart Object

Step 3

Duplicate the Text layer.

Duplicate the Text Layer

5. How to Create Extrusion Layers

Step 1

Duplicate the Text layer again, rename the new copy to Extrusion, and then put it in a group and name it Extrusion as well.

Create the Extrusion Group

Step 2

With the Extrusion layer selected, press Command-T to enter Free Transform Mode. Press each of the Left Arrow and Down Arrow keys once to nudge the Extrusion layer 1 px in each of those directions.

Hit the Return key to accept the changes.

Nudge the Extrusion Layer

Step 3

Press Shift-Command-Option-T around 21 times to create 21 copies with the same transformation.

You can actually decide how many copies you want to create based on the extrusion size you want, so feel free to go with any number of copies you like.

Create the Extrusion Copies

Step 4

Select all the Extrusion layers, and go to Layer > Arrange > Reverse to get the correct order of layers.

Reverse the Extrusion Layers

Step 5

Place the top three Extrusion layers in a Front group, the bottom three in a Back group, and the rest in a Middle group.

Group the Extrusion Layers

6. How to Create Shadow Layers

Step 1

Duplicate the last Extrusion layer (the bottom layer in the Back group), and rename the copy to Shadow.

Drag the Shadow layer out of the Extrusion group, and place it in a new group with the name Shadow as well.

Create the Shadow Group

Step 2

Use the same transform and duplicate steps to create a couple of copy layers for the Shadow, only this time, you'll need to nudge the Shadow layer 1 px to the right and 1 px downwards.

Create the Shadow Layers

Step 3

Make sure to reverse the Shadow layers' order when you're done creating the copies.

Reverse the Layer Order

Step 4

Place the Text and Text copy layers in a Text group.

Text Group

7. How to Style the Front Text Layers

Double-click the Text copy layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Stroke with these settings:

  • Size: 3
  • Position: Inside
  • Color: #fbe8d2
Stroke

Step 2

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Color: #515151
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Distance: 6
  • Choke: 50
  • Size: 5
Inner Shadow

Step 3

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Color: #f5edea
  • Blend Mode: Darker Color
  • Opacity: 50%
Color Overlay

Step 4

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Color Burn
  • Pattern: Sawtooth
  • Scale: 50%
Pattern Overlay

Step 5

Change the Text copy layer's Fill value to 0.

Change the Fill Value

Step 6

Double-click the original Text layer to apply a Pattern Overlay effect with these settings:

  • Opacity: 95%
  • Pattern: Front Pattern
  • Scale: 50%
Pattern Overlay

This will style the front part of the text.

Styled Text Front

8. How to Style the Extrusion

Step 1

Double-click the Front group to apply a Color Overlay effect using the Color #3c3b3b.

Color Overlay

Step 2

Right-click the Front layer, choose Copy Layer Style, right-click the Back layer, and choose Paste Layer Style.

Expand the Middle group, select all the layers inside it, right-click any of them, and choose Paste Layer Style again.

Copy and Paste the Layer Style

Step 3

Double-click the Middle group to apply a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Divide
  • Opacity: 35%
  • Pattern: Diagonal line medium
Pattern Overlay

This will style the extrusion.

Styled Extrusion

9. How to Style the Shadow

Step 1

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

  • Color: #a89a96
  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 75%
Color Overlay

Step 2

Change the Shadow group's Fill value to 0%.

Change the Fill Value

10. How to Add Texture Overlays

Before adding the textures, put the Text, Extrusion, and Shadow groups in a group and call it Text Effect, to keep things organized.

Step 1

It is better to add the textures as smart objects by going to File > Place Linked.

Start by adding the UNRESTRICTED - Digital Grunge Texture 11 image on top of the Solid Color layer, and resize it as needed.

Rename the layer to BG Texture, and change its Blend Mode to Color Dodge and its Opacity to 30%.

Add the Background Texture Overlay

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and change the Saturation value to -100.

If you are using older versions of Photoshop or can't apply the adjustments directly to the smart object layer for some reason, you can either rasterize the texture's layer or use adjustment layers instead.

HueSaturation

Step 3

Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.

Check the Use Legacy box, and change the Contrast to -50.

The legacy option helps adjust the contrast of full black and white, which creates much less contrast.

BrightnessContrast

Step 4

Place the Film Grain image on top of all layers and resize it as needed.

Rename the texture's layer to Texture Overlay 1, and change its Blend Mode to Overlay.

Texture Overlay 1

Step 5

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, and change the Gamma value to 0.70.

Levels Gamma

Step 6

Place the UNRESTRICTED - Digital Grunge Texture 16 image on top of all layers, and resize it as needed.

Rename the texture's layer to Texture Overlay 2, and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 20%.

Texture Overlay 2

Step 7

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and change the Saturation value to -100.

HueSaturation

11. How to Add Global Adjustment Layers

Step 1

Add a Gradient layer on top of all layers.

Create a Transparent to Fill Color gradient fill using the colors #6f6f6f to the left and #000000 to the right.

Change the Style to Radial and the Scale to 200, and then change the layer's Blend Mode to Overlay.

Gradient Fill

Step 2

Add a Brightness/Contrast layer, and change the Contrast to 25.

BrightnessContrast

Step 3

Add a Photo Filter layer, and use the Color #ec9600.

Photo Filter

Step 4

Add a Color Balance layer, and use these settings:

Midtones

  • Cyan/Red: 20
  • Magenta/Green: 12
  • Yellow/Blue: 12
Color Balance

12. How to Create a Grungy Effect

Step 1

Select the Text Effect group, and click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to it.

Add a Layer Mask

Step 2

Pick the Paint Bucket Tool, choose Pattern in the Options bar, and select the pattern fill 15 from the Light Grunge Seamless Patterns Vol. 3 pack.

Make sure that the Text Effect mask is selected, and click to fill it with the pattern.

Fill the Mask with Pattern

Step 3

To intensify the grungy effect, you can press Command-L to get the Levels box, and increase the Shadows value to darken the pattern fill inside the mask, which will intensify the areas erased by it, resulting in a more grungy effect.

Intensify the Pattern

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created a simple halftone pattern using a couple of filters.

Then, we created the text, converted it into a smart object, and duplicated it to create the extrusion and shadow layers. After that, we styled each of the text, extrusion, and shadow layers and groups to achieve the halftone retro effect.

Finally, we used texture overlays, adjustment layers, and pattern fills to finish off the effect.

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

Final Result
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