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# How to Write in the Sand in Adobe Photoshop

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Adobe Photoshop's Layer Styles are one of the quickest, yet most effective ways of achieving many different effects. This tutorial will show you how to combine the power of Layer Styles along with a couple of textures, brushes, and selection options to create a realistic-looking sand writing text effect.

If you're looking for more effects to go with your text effect, try the awesome SandDust Photoshop Action on Envato Elements. With just a few clicks, you can create a photorealistic sandstorm on your landscape.

## Tutorial Assets

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

## 1. Load the Nature Patterns Set

Go to Edit > Preset Manager, and choose Patterns from the Preset Type drop down menu. Then, click the little arrow to the right of the Preset Type drop down menu, and click Nature Patterns in the middle of the pop-up menu. When the dialog box appears after that, just click Append.

## 2. Create the Background

### Step 1

Open the SoilSand0204 image, then go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance. With the Midtones option under Tone Balance selected, change the Color Levels' values to 8, -1, and -26.

### Step 2

Click the Highlights option, and change its Color Levels' values to 5, -1, and -5. This will adjust the coloring of the sand texture.

### Step 3

Duplicate the Background layer.

### Step 4

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, and change the Gamma value to 0.80 to darken up the texture a little bit.

## 3. Create the Text

### Step 1

Create the text in All Caps using the font GelPen Medium. The font Size is 350 pt, the Tracking value is 100, the color is #6c6760, and if you're creating more than one line of text, make sure to adjust the Leading value as needed. Here, it is set to 300 pt.

### Step 2

Change the text layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light then duplicate it.

## 4. Style the Text Layers

### Step 1

Double-click the original text layer to apply an Inner Shadow effect using the following values:

• Uncheck the Use Global Light box
• Angle: -180
• Distance: 20
• Size: 20

### Step 2

Double-click the copy text layer to apply the following Layer Style:

### Step 3

• Technique: Chisel Hard
• Direction: Down
• Size: 70
• Check the Anti-aliased box
• Shadow Mode - Opacity: 100%

### Step 4

• Contour : Log
• Check the Anti-aliased box.

### Step 5

This will help define the inner text shape.

## 5. Create the Outer Edges' Brush and Stroking the Text

### Step 1

Right-click any of the text layers and choose Create Work Path. Create a new layer on top of all layers, call it 1, and pick the Brush Tool.

### Step 2

Open the Brush panel (Window > Brush), choose a hard round brush tip, and modify its Settings as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

### Step 4

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), right-click the path, and choose Stroke Path.

Choose Brush from the Tool drop down menu, and click OK. Then hit Enter/Return to get rid of the work path.

## 6. Modify the Edges' Stroke

### Step 1

Command-click the stroke layer (layer 1)'s thumbnail to create a selection.

### Step 2

Go to Select > Modify > Contract, and type in 3.

### Step 3

Go to Select > Modify > Feather, and type in 2.

### Step 4

Make the stroke layer invisible by clicking the eye icon next to it, then select the Background copy layer.

### Step 5

Press Command-J to duplicate the selection into a new layer. It will be called Layer 1 by default. Drag Layer 1 on top of all layers.

## 7. Style the Modified Stroke

Double-click Layer 1 to apply the following Layer Style:

### Step 1

• Check the Anti-aliased box
• Highlight Mode: Soft Light
• Color: #ffe1ba
• Color: #d0c1ab

### Step 2

Use the default Contour values.

### Step 3

• Pattern : Spiky Bush

### Step 4

This will style the stroke.

## 8. Create the Transition Area

### Step 1

To help blend the stroke with the sand texture more seamlessly, we're going to add a transition area that feathers out to make the effect look more natural, so create a selection based on layer 1 again.

### Step 2

Go to Select > Modify > Expand, and type in 7.

### Step 3

Go to Select > Modify > Feather, and type in 5.

### Step 4

Command-Shift-click a text layer's thumbnail to add it to the selection you have, so that the selection doesn't have any empty areas inside.

### Step 5

Select the original Background layer, then press Command-J to duplicate the selection in a new layer. That layer will be called Layer 2. Drag it on top of both Background layers and right below the original text layer.

### Step 6

Double-click Layer 2 to apply a Drop Shadow effect using the values below:

• Blend Mode: Linear Burn
• Color: #e8e3dc
• Uncheck the Use Global Light box
• Angle: 139
• Distance: 19
• Size: 18

### Step 7

You can see how this is starting to blend in more nicely.

## 9 Create the Raised Sand's Stroke

### Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool and open the Brush panel again. With the hard round tip still selected, modify the Settings as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Scattering

### Step 4

Right-click a text layer and choose Create Work Path, create a new layer below the original text layer and call it Stroke Shadow, pick the Direct Selection Tool, and set the Foreground color to #404040.

### Step 5

Stroke the path just like you did before, and don't forget to get rid of the work path afterwards.

## 10. Modify and Style the Raised Sand's Stroke

### Step 1

Command-click the Stroke Shadow layer's thumbnail to create a selection.

### Step 2

Select the Background copy layer, press Command-J, rename the duplicated layer to Stroke, then drag it on top of the Stroke Shadow layer.

### Step 3

Right click Layer 1, choose Copy Layer Style, then right-click the Stroke layer, and choose Paste Layer Style to style the raised sand stroke.

## 11. Modify the Raised Sand's Shadow

### Step 1

Select the Stroke Shadow layer, then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Change the Angle to -30 and the Distance to 20.

### Step 2

Change the Stroke Shadow layer's Blend Mode to Linear Light, then, using the Move Tool (V), click-drag the shadow to place it so that it extends diagonally away from the sand.

### Step 3

Command-click a text layer's thumbnail to create a selection, make sure that the Stroke Shadow layer is still the active one, then hit Delete to get rid of the shadow's inner parts. Go to Select > Deselect when done.

### Step 1

Open the Red Seastar Isolated On White Background image, use the Magic Wand Tool to select the white area around it, and invert the selection by going to Select > Inverse. Then go to Edit > Copy to copy the selected star.

### Step 2

Back to the original document, go to Edit > Paste, and place the starfish's layer on top of all layers. go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and change the Saturation to -15 to tone the color vibrancy down a bit.

### Step 3

Double click the starfish's layer to apply the following Layer Style:

• Opacity: 35%
• Uncheck the Use Global Light box
• Angle: -30

### Step 4

• Blend Mode: Multiply
• Opacity: 55%
• Color: #d8d2ca
• Size: 16

### Step 5

• Blend Mode: Linear Light
• Color: #404040
• Uncheck the Use Global Light box
• Angle: 138
• Noise: 20

### Step 7

What you'll need to do next, is use the same brush modified in Step 8 to manually add some sand to the starfish's edges, then follow the Steps 9-1 to 10-2 to modify and style the stroke and its shadow. And finally, Command-click the starfish layer's thumbnail to create a selection, select the starfish stroke shadow layer, and hit Delete to get rid of the shadow inside it.

### Step 1

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon down the Layers panel and choose Curves.

### Step 2

Adjust the curves as shown below. You can also click the little hand with arrows icon then click and drag in the image to modify the brightness as you like.

### Step 3

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon again and choose Solid Color.

### Step 4

Use the color #b1a99c, change the layer's Blend Mode to Color Burn and its Opacity to 20%.

### Step 1

Place the WaterFoam0018 image on top of all layers and change its Blend Mode to Screen, then go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. Move the foam downwards as needed, then, you can pick the Eraser Tool (E) with a soft round tip, and remove any parts you don't like.

### Step 2

Create a new layer below the foam layer and call it Water. Pick the Lasso Selection Tool then draw a selection following the foam's edges, leaving some distance away from it. Fill that selection with the color #b2b3ad.

### Step 3

Go to Select > Deselect. Change the Water layer's Blend Mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 20%.

### Step 4

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and change the Radius to 5.

### Step 5

Duplicate the Water layer, then change the copy's Opacity to 15. Drag the copy down some more to create a darker layer in between the Water layer and the foam layer.

## 15. Apply the Lighting Filter

### Step 1

Select all layers except for the foam and Water layers, duplicate them, then go to Layer > Merge Layers. Rename the merged layer to Final.

### Step 2

Go to Filter > Render > Lighting, choose the Spot light, then move and scale it around as you like.

### Step 3

Change the rest of the settings as shown below. The colors used in RGB are:

• Color: 246, 242, 234
• Colorize: 247, 240, 223

### Step 4

The brush tip will give you a different result each time you use it. So you can always try it a couple of times until you get a result you like if needed.

## Congratulations! You're Done.

In this tutorial, a sand texture background was modified, and the text was created and styled to add the inner shadow and some depth.

Then, a couple of brushes were modified to create a couple of stroke layers to achieve the outer sand and raised sand parts, as well as a simple transition stroke to help blend the text with the sand nicely. All created layers were styled and modified to create the sand-like appearance and add the shadows.

A simple starfish was then added to the scene using the same techniques to blend it in, and a couple of adjustment layers were added to enhance the coloring and the brightness of the final outcome.

The foam was then added as well, and the rest of the layers were merged to apply a lighting filter to get the final result.