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How to Create a Cloud Effect in Photoshop

Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:

Learn how to create a cloud effect in Photoshop using a simple cloud brush and a sky texture with fluffy clouds.

You can also write with clouds with any font you like. Create awesome cloud text using this cloud effect Photoshop action from Envato Elements.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial on how to add clouds in Photoshop:

1. How to Add the Cloud Background

Step 1

Create a new 1000 x 600 px document. Make a new layer and add the Blue Sky with Clouds stock image.

Use the large image and make sure the center of the blue sky has fewer clouds. Call this layer Clouds Background.

Step 2

Add a Color Overlay to the Clouds Background layer, using the color #3dacfa.

Step 3

Add a Levels adjustment layer to make the Clouds Background lighter in Photoshop.

2. How to Make a Cloud Brush

Step 1

To make this cloud effect, we need to use a cloud brush. We will make a simple cloud brush using a Soft Round Brush

So pick the Brush Tool and choose a Soft Round Brush from the list of brushes. Toggle the Brush panel and click on the Brush Tip Shape to set the Spacing.

Click on the Shape Dynamics and set the Size Jitter, Angle Jitter, Roundness Jitter, and Minimum Roundness.

Step 2

Click on the Scattering and set the Scatter on Both Axes and the Count Jitter to 40%. You might have to adjust these settings if you use a larger brush.

Step 3

To save the brush, click on the New Brush Preset option.

Give your brush the name Clouds brush.

3. How to Make Cloud Text

This cloud text effect is one of my favorite Photoshop text effects, and it's not very difficult to make, as you'll see from the next steps.

Step 1

Add your text on a new layer. Use the color #000000.

Step 2

Right-click on the Clouds Text layer and choose Rasterize Type

Step 3

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 3.6 pixels.

Step 4

Go to Filter > Distort > Ripple and set the Amount to around 55%. You can apply the Gaussian blur filter and the Ripple filter again, to create a cloudy text effect.

Step 5

Press Shift-Control-N to make a new layer. Name this layer Clouds Effect

Pick the Brush Tool and use the Clouds brush to add a cloud effect around the text. Choose the color #000000 for the brush.

To make the cloud effect, use different Opacity levels (around 30%) and paint over the same area multiple times.

Don't worry about the result—you'll get the chance to adjust the cloud text effect in the next steps.

Step 6

Select the Clouds text and the Clouds effect layers, and then right-click and choose Convert to Smart Object

Step 7

Set the blend mode of the Clouds effect smart object to Overlay and the Opacity to 90%.

Also, add these layer styles to the Clouds effect smart object: Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, Inner Glow, Bevel and Emboss, and Satin. The colors that I used for the layer style are #ffffff and #000000

You can adjust the layer style to your liking. It also depends on the size of your text. Because this is an effect where we use hand-painted details, we won't get an identical effect twice.

4. How to Make a Cloud Texture

Step 1

Make a new layer and call it Clouds Texture. Fill this layer with the color #ffffff.

Set the Foreground Color to #ffffff and the Background Color to #000000. To make a cloud texture, go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Step 2

Duplicate the Clouds Texture layer and call it Clouds Overlay.

Step 3

Hide the Clouds Overlay layer for now. Right-click on the Clouds Texture layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. Set the blend mode of the Clouds Texture to Lighter Color

Step 4

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and choose the settings you like.

Step 5

Make the Clouds Overlay layer visible again and set the blend mode to Screen

Step 6

To adjust the contrast of the clouds texture, add a Levels adjustment just for the Clouds Overlay layer.

You can also resize and move the Clouds Overlay layer to your liking.

5. How to Add Flying Birds

Make a new layer and add the Flying Birds stock image. Press Control-I to invert the color of the birds from black to white. Set the blend mode to Screen, opacity 90%.

Then use the Eraser Tool to keep only a few birds.

6. How to Add Color, Contrast, and Sharpen Effects

Step 1

Add a Color Fill adjustment layer using the color #0096ec. Set the blend mode to Color and the Opacity to 48%.

Step 2

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer if you want to change the blue color tones, reduce the color saturation, etc.

Step 3

To increase the contrast of the cloud effect, add a Levels adjustment.

Step 4

To complete the image, you can add a sharpen effect. Press Shift-Control-Alt-E to make a copy of all the visible layers merged. Call this layer High Pass.

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 pixels.

Step 5

Set the blend mode of the High Pass layer to Overlay.

7. How to Make Cloud Shapes in Photoshop

Step 1

To make a cloud shape, go to the Clouds Effect smart object. Double-click on its thumbnail to open it.

Step 2

Hide the text layers and add the Hummingbird image inside the smart object.

Step 3

For the bird shape, make the same steps that you did for the Clouds Text. First, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 3.6 pixels.

Second, add a Ripple effect. Go to Filter > Distort > Ripple and set the Amount to around 55%. These settings may differ depending on your shape size and look.

Finally, paint over the shape using the Clouds brush.

Step 4

To see the cloud shape result, save the smart object and close it.

Step 5

For every change you make to the content of the smart object or to the other layers like the background, you have to replace the High Pass layer.

So delete the High Pass layer and create a new one. Press Shift-Control-Alt-E to make a copy of all the visible layers merged together. Call this layer High Pass.

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 pixels. Set the blend mode of this layer to Overlay to make a sharpen effect.

Congratulations! You're Done!

In this tutorial, you've learned how to create cloud text and cloud shapes in Photoshop. The cloud effect is one of my favorite Photoshop effects, and you can use it in so many graphic design projects.

I hope you've enjoyed this cloud effect Photoshop tutorial.

For quick results, try the Cloud Shapes Photoshop Creator and make cloud shapes, cloud text effects, and cloud brushes really easily!

And don't forget this cloud effect Photoshop action. It works with any font type.

Cool Cloud Effect Photoshop From Envato Elements

Learning how to make clouds in Photoshop is a great skill to have. But if you're crunched for time, an action can help you reach the same result. That's why I've grabbed five cool premium add-ons you can use to add the cloud effect in Photoshop.

1. 30 Realistic Cloud Photoshop Brushes (ABR)

This set of brushes is useful if you want HD clouds for Photoshop projects. There are 30 unique effects for different styles of clouds. Each brush is quick to use. If you think you're missing clouds in your Photoshop project, try out this download.

2. Smoke Clouds Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PDF)

This is the perfect action if you like the look of the smoke cloud effect in Photoshop. It has 19 color options, including for the smoke and particle effects. All you need to do is brush your photo, play the action, and watch the smoke cloud effect take shape.

3. Cloud Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, TXT)

Here's another smoke cloud Photoshop effect to add to your arsenal. This action creates photorealistic results with a click. It works in Photoshop CS6 and above. If you're looking to add smoke clouds in Photoshop, you'll like this action.

4. Vanquish Photoshop Action (ATN)

Vanquish adds a magical quality if you want to make clouds in Photoshop. Using this action works easily. Just brush over where you want to apply the effect in your photo. Then play the action. It's a fast way to add HD clouds for Photoshop.

5. Cloud Text Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PSD, PDF)

Who doesn't like a nice skywriting font in Photoshop? This cloud text effect gets to work quickly with text layers. It includes ready-made PSD files. The action also comes with planes to complete the skywriting font look.

More Helpful Photoshop Resources From Envato Tuts+

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to create clouds in Photoshop. If you want to learn even more skills, check out these amazing resources from the Envato Tuts+ team!