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How to Create a Cloud Effect in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Use the Cloud Shapes Photoshop Creator to make cloud shapes, cloud text, and cloud brushes, really quickly and easily! Make realistic cloud shapes using your own images. 

You can also write with clouds with any font you like. Create awesome photo effects using this cloud effect Photoshop action.

Cloud Effect Photoshop
Cloud Effect Photoshop Action

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of the cloud effect Photoshop tutorial:

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.

Clouds Background

Step 2

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

Color Overlay in Photoshop

Step 3

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

Levels Adjustment 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. 

Brush Settings in Photoshop

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.

Brush Scattering in Photoshop

Step 3

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

Save Brushes in Photoshop

Give your brush the name Clouds brush.

Name a Brush in Photoshop

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 will see from the next steps.

Step 1

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

Add Text in Photoshop

Step 2

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

Rasterize Text in Photoshop

Step 3

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

Gaussian Blur Filter

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.

Ripple Filter in Photoshop

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.

Clouds Effect with Clouds Brush

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

Step 6

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

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

Drop Shadow
Inner Shadow
Outer Glow

Inner Glow

Bevel and Emboss

Satin Layer Style

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 will not get an identical effect twice. 

Clouds Effect

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.

Clouds Filter in Photoshop

Step 2

Duplicate the Clouds Texture layer and call it Clouds Overlay.

Clouds Texture

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

Clipping Mask in Photoshop

Step 4

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

Levels Adjustment in Photoshop

Step 5

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

Clouds Texture

Step 6

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

Levels Adjustment in Photoshop

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.

Flying 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%.

Color Fill Adjustment

Step 2

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

HueSaturation Adjustment

Step 3

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

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.

High Pass Filter

Step 5

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

Sharpen Image in Photoshop

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. 

Edit Smart Object in Photoshop

Step 2

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

Bird Shape

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.

Bird Shape

Step 4

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

Clouds Shape in Photoshop

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.

High Pass Filter

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. 

Cloud Effect Photoshop

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

The cloud effect Photoshop action works with any font type, or with shapes and photos.

Cloud Effect Photoshop Action
Cloud Effect Photoshop Action

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