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How to Create a Steampunk Inspired Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:AdvancedLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. — Wikipedia

This tutorial will show you how to create different steampunk inspired elements, using shapes and layer styles with a bunch of gradients. Then, it will show you how to use those elements, along with a couple of textures and adjustments, in order to achieve a steampunk 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 Textured Background

Step 1

Create a new 1250 x 800 px document, and then add a Gradient adjustment layer.

Use the colors #44271b to the left and #110702 to the right for the gradient fill. Then change the style to Radial and the Scale to 200.

Gradient Fill

Step 2

Add the Shiver texture, change its layer's Blend Mode to Multiply, and resize it as needed.

Add the Background Texture Overlay

2. How to Create a Reference Text

Step 1

Create the text in All Caps using the font Museo Sans Rounded 1000. Change the Size to 300 pt and the Tracking to 100, and then rename the layer to Text.

Create the Text

Step 2

Duplicate the Text layer and hide it, and then right-click the copy and choose Convert to Shape.

Rename the copy shape layer to Outline, duplicate it, and rename the new copy Shape.

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), change the Outline shape's Fill value in the Options bar to None, and change the stroke Alignment to Outer to help you define the text.

Shape Layer Settings

Step 3

Pick the Pen Tool, and choose Subtract Front Shape from the Path operations list in the Options bar.

Select the Shape layer, and then start removing parts of the text that you want to replace with the elements you'll be creating.

Subtract Shapes

3. How to Style a Text Shape

Open the Rust0065 image, go to Edit > Define Pattern, type a Name for the pattern, and click OK.

Then, double-click the Shape layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Size: 1
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

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

Step 3

Add a Texture with these settings:

  • Pattern: Rust0065
  • Scale: 25%
  • Depth: 20%
Texture

Step 4

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 100%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 35
Inner Shadow

Step 5

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Vivid Light
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Color: #efedd9
  • Source: Center
  • Size: 50
Inner Glow

Step 6

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Color: #b1afa9
  • Blend Mode: Multiply
Color Overlay

Step 7

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

  • Pattern: Rust0065
  • Scale: 25%
Pattern Overlay

Step 8

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 100%
  • Distance: 2
  • Spread: 20
  • Size: 5

This is an optional effect if you don't want to add a shadow below the text as we'll do at the end of this tutorial.

Drop Shadow

This will style the main shape.

Styled Text Shape

4. How to Create Basic Cylinder Elements

Step 1

Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, and set the Radius to 1.

You can use any Radius value you like whenever creating rounded rectangles throughout the tutorial, depending on the effect you want.

Create a White rounded rectangle in an area you want to add a cylinder to.

Then, create a vertically narrower and horizontally wider rounded rectangle on top of the previous one, and fill it with the color #d0cac3.

Create Rounded Rectangles

Double-click the first rounded rectangle layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 2

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 0
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
    • Color: #b4b4b4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 3

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Half Round
  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
  • Range: 100%
Contour

Step 4

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Angle: 0
  • Use the Bronze Br44 gradient fill.
Gradient Overlay

Step 5

With the Gradient Overlay tab still active, you can click-drag the gradient fill inside the shape to move it around.

This will be very helpful throughout the tutorial to make sure the angles and positioning of the gradients suit the elements they're applied to.

Move the Gradient Overlay

Double-click the second rounded rectangle layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 6

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 0
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
    • Color: #b4b4b4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 7

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Half Round
  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
  • Range: 100%
Contour

Step 8

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Opacity: 30%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 2
Inner Shadow

Step 9

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Angle: 0
  • Use the stove pipe 150 gradient fill, and remember to move it if needed.

You can use gradient fills with different Blend Modes for the shapes you fill with colors other than Black and White. This will help you get more variations instead of creating new gradient fills.

Gradient Overlay

Step 10

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 50%
  • Distance: 3
  • Size: 3
Drop Shadow

As you can see, this is a basic layer style that can and will be used for a couple of different elements.

You can keep the simple Bevel and Emboss effect the same, and play with the Gradient Overlay fills, as well as adding Inner and Drop Shadow effects where needed.

Styled Rounded Rectangles

5. How to Create Cylinder Variations

Step 1

By duplicating the two styled rounded rectangles you have, and nudging the copies on top of each other, you can create a cylinder.

You can also add and style two more rounded rectangles, with bigger Radius values, at the top and bottom, to add more details.

To keep things organized, place the elements of each letter in a group with its name. Add numbers as well because you might need to use more than one group per letter.

Create the Cylinders

Step 2

You can scale and reorder the rounded rectangle shapes to achieve different variations.

For example, I made the thinner rounded rectangles shorter here, and styled them with the Brass 80 gradient fill.

Create Different Cylinders

Step 3

When you create vertical shapes, make sure to change the Gradient Overlay's Angle to 90.

Change Gradient Overlay Angle

Step 4

You can also use the Pen Tool to create some more parts like the white shape in the letter K here, which uses the stove pipe 110 gradient fill, with an Angle value of 27.

It's the same layer style, but with different Gradient Overlay fills and angles.

Draw More Shapes

6. How to Create Small Rivets

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool and open the Brush panel.

Choose a hard round tip, and under the Brush Tip Shape tab, choose a small size and increase the Spacing value.

Brush Tip Shape Settings

Step 2

Create a new layer on top of the layer of the shape you want to add the rivets to. Then pick the Pen Tool, and choose Path in the Options bar.

Create a simple curve path where you want to add the rivets.

Create Work Paths

Step 3

Set the Foreground Color to #f1edea, and hit the Return key to stroke the path. You can then move the rivets, or erase any unwanted parts.

Duplicate the rivets, or repeat the same process, to add them where you want.

Stroke the Path with the Brush

Double-click one of the rivet layers to apply the following layer style:

Step 4

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 0
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
    • Color: #b4b4b4
    • Opacity: 100%
  • Shadow Mode:
    • Opacity: 60%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 5

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Cone - Inverted
  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
Contour

Step 6

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Angle: 0
  • Use the Brass 70 gradient fill.
Gradient Overlay

Step 7

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 35%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: -156
  • Distance: 2
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

Step 8

Copy and paste the layer style to the rest of the rivet layers.

Copy and Paste the Layer Style

Step 9

Make sure to change the gradient fill's Angle and move it where needed.

Adjust the Gradient Fill

7. How to Create Glass Elements

Step 1

Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool, with a big Radius value, to create a glass shape where you want to add it.

Create a Rounded Rectangle

Double-click the glass shape layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 2

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 29
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 108
  • Altitude: 42
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Linear Light
    • Color: #b4b4b4
    • Opacity: 78%
  • Shadow Mode: Screen
    • Color: #b8b09b
    • Opacity: 33%

You might need to adjust some of the values depending on the size of your shape.

Bevel and Emboss

Step 3

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Dodge (Add)
  • Color: #a8a8a8
  • Opacity: 35%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 3
Inner Shadow

Step 4

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Hard Light
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Noise: 10%
  • Color: #e5d9cc
  • Source: Center
  • Size: 20
Inner Glow

Step 5

Change the glass shape layer's Fill value to 0.

Change the Fill Value

8. How to Create Big Rivets

Step 1

Pick the Polygon Tool, and set the Sides number in the Options bar to 8. Then create a rivet base where you like on top of the original text shape.

Set the polygon's Fill Color to #67604e.

Create a River Polygon

Double-click the polygon shape layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 2

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Size: 5
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
    • Color: #b4b4b4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 3

Add a Contour with these settings:

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

Step 4

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Style: Reflected
  • Angle: 42
  • Create the Gradient fill using the colors #59503a to the left, #62574c with a Location value of 30, and #70685c to the right.
Gradient Overlay

Step 5

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 100%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 135
  • Distance: 1
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

Step 6

Now use the Ellipse Tool to create a circle in the center of the rivet, with the Fill Color #8f5d26.

Add a Circle Shape

Double-click the ellipse shape layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 7

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 13
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 90
  • Altitude: 58
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Linear Light
    • Color: #eee4e4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 8

Add a Contour with these settings:

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

Step 9

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Style: Reflected
  • Angle: 42
  • Create the Gradient fill using the colors #ffec97 to the left, #675031 with a Location value of 45, and #2a1f0d to the right.
Gradient Overlay

Step 10

Group the styled rivet shapes, and duplicate them over a couple of different areas.

Duplicate the Rivet Shapes

9. How to Add Clock Elements

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool to create a circle where you want to add a clock.

Create the Clock Circle

Double-click the ellipse shape layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 2

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Size: 9
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
    • Color: #b4b4b4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 3

Add a Contour with these settings:

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

Step 4

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Angle: 0
  • Scale: 150%
  • Use the stove pipe 100 gradient fill.
Gradient Overlay

Step 5

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 100%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 135
  • Distance: 1
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

Step 6

Create a smaller circle in the center of the styled one.

Add a Smaller Circle

Step 7

Double-click the smaller ellipse shape layer to apply a Gradient Overlay effect with these settings:

  • Style: Radial
  • Angle: 0
  • Scale: 150%
  • Use the Steel 100 gradient fill.
Gradient Overlay

This will style the clock shape layers.

Styled Circle

Step 8

Open the Clock image, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to select the clock, and copy it.

Select the Clock

Step 9

Paste the copied clock on top of the clock shapes you've just created, resize it so that it fits within the smaller circle shape, and change its layer's Blend Mode to Overlay.

To get a cleaner result, you can add a layer mask using a selection of the smaller circle shape.

Add the Clock Texture

Step 10

Duplicate the shapes if you want to add them to another letter, and you can use different clocks as well. Here, I used one of the Clocks Pack psd clocks for the letter U.

Add More Clocks

10. How to Create Pipes

Step 1

Create a new 20 x 6px document, and fill the Background horizontally with the Steel 100 gradient fill.

Then, go to Edit > Define Pattern, type Pipe Pattern for the Name, and click OK.

Define a Pattern

Step 2

Create a new layer below the layer of the element you want to add the pipe behind.

Use the Pen Tool to create a path for the pipe.

Create a Work Path

Step 3

Go to Edit > Fill, and change the Contents to Pattern.

Choose the Pipe Pattern you've just created. Check the Script box, choose Place Along Path, and click OK.

Fill Options

Step 4

This will open the Place Along Path options and settings.

  • Pattern Scale: 1 (Change this if you want to change the width of the pipe.)
  • Spacing: -20 (This makes sure that the pattern fill is continuous.)
  • Check the Adjust spacing to fit box.
  • Angle from path: -90 (This makes the pattern fill follow the path's direction without being rotated.)
  • Distance from path: 0 (This will place the fill exactly on the path.)
  • Un-check the Alternate patterns box to avoid creating patterns on both sides of the path.
  • Scale progression: 100 (This makes sure that the fill maintains the same size along the path.)
  • Un-check the Skip symbol rotation so that the pattern units follow the path's direction.
  • Color randomness: 0
  • Brightness randomness: 0
Place Along Path Settings

Once you click OK, the path will be filled with the pattern.

Stroked Path

Step 5

If you want to reduce the color strokes around the corners, you can go to Noise > Median, and use a Radius value around 2.

Median

Step 6

You can also use the Blur Tool to smooth the corners out.

Blur Tool

11. How to Style Pipes

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

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 0
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
    • Color: #b4b4b4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Half Round
  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
  • Range: 100%
Contour

Step 3

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Opacity: 30%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 2
Inner Shadow

Step 4

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Overlay
  • Opacity: 25%
  • Angle: -142
  • Use the stove pipe 150 gradient fill, and move it to get the highlight across the corner of the pipe.
Gradient Overlay

Step 5

Copy the pipe layer style. Create more pipes where needed, and paste the layer style to each one of them.

If there are no corners, you might not need the Gradient Overlay effect, since it is used to emphasize the corner's highlighted area.

In order to get rid of the Gradient Overlay effect, all you need to do is expand the layer effects list, and hide the Gradient Overlay.

Add More Pipes

Step 6

Make sure to create the pipes that are on top of each other in separate layers.

Separate the Pipe Layers

Step 7

Add more rounded rectangles to the bases of the pipes. It is important to pay attention to the layers' order to get realistic and clean results.

Grouping the layers and keeping the Layers panel organized will help you change the layer order easily and quickly.

Adjust the Layers Order

12. How to Add Gear Shapes

Step 1

Pick the Custom Shape Tool, and use the 90 Photoshop Gears Shapes pack to add a couple of gears randomly behind the text.

Add Gear Shapes

Step 2

Use different sizes, and rotate the different gear shapes to get more dynamic results.

Adjust the Gear Shapes

Double-click one of the gear shape layers to apply the following layer style:

Step 3

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Size: 3
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Overlay
    • Color: #b4b4b4
Bevel and Emboss

Step 4

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
Contour

Step 5

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Style: Radial
  • Angle: 0
  • Scale: 150%
  • Use the Brass 70 gradient fill.
Gradient Overlay

Step 6

Copy and paste the layer style to the rest of the gear shapes. Again, you can always play with the layer style values to get different results.

Copy and Paste the Layer Style

Step 7

You can also add ellipse shapes to the center of some of the gear shapes, and use the same layer style with different values to style them.

Add More Details

13. How to Add Wires

Step 1

Create new Wire layers wherever you want to add wires, and add the wire color to each layer's name.

Create the Wire Layers

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool to create the wire paths, and stroke them with a hard round brush tip.

Create and Stroke Wire Paths

Double-click a wire layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 3

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 5
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: -143
  • Altitude: 37
  • Highlight Mode: Linear Light
Bevel and Emboss

Step 4

Add a Contour with these settings:

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

Step 5

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Color: #99803e

Here is where you get to choose a color for the wires, so use any colors you like.

Color Overlay

Step 6

Copy and paste the layer style to the rest of the wire layers, and change the Color Overlay's Color value for some of the layers if you like. The blue color used here is #245383.

Change the Colors

14. How to Add Shadows

Step 1

First off, hide the Drop Shadow effect applied to the Shape layer, so that it doesn't get in the way.

The process below works for any element you want to paint shadows on. So I'll demonstrate it for the wires, but you can use it for the rest of the elements you have.

Hide the Drop Shadow Effect

Step 2

Create a selection of the elements you want to paint shadow on, and then create a new Shadow layer on top of them.

Create a New Shadow Layer

Step 3

Add a layer mask to the new layer, and make sure that the layer's thumbnail is selected.

Pick the Brush Tool, and choose a soft round tip. Set the Foreground Color to Black, and reduce the Opacity value in the options bar based on how intense you want the shadows to be.

After that, start painting the shadows where there are elements that are supposed to be casting shadows on the wires.

Paint the Shadows

Step 4

Now repeat that for the rest of the elements that have other elements casting shadows on top of them, to get a more realistic final result.

Add Shadows to the Other Elements

15. How to Add Smoke, Bottom Shadows, and Texture Overlays

Step 1

Add a couple of smoke images to the top of some of the pipes.

Change the smoke layers' Blend Mode to Screen, and darken their backgrounds if they are visible using the Levels adjustment options.

Resize the smoke images to fit the pipes, and mask parts of them as needed.

Add the Smoke Layers

Step 2

Next, you can create some shadows below the text, using black-filled elliptical selections below each letter.

You can then Gaussian Blur the black ellipses, and for a more detailed and realistic effect, you can use layers of shadows with different Gaussian Blur Radius values, and different layer Opacity values as well.

Add Shadows Below the Letters

Step 3

Place all the text shape layers, except for the smoke and bottom shadow layers, in a group and call it Main Text.

Place the Old paper texture on top of all layers, clip it to the Main Text group, and change its layer's Blend Mode to Linear Light.

Move and resize the texture to cover only the first letter.

Add a Texture Overlay

Step 4

Press Command-U, and then change the Saturation value to -50 and the Brightness to -20.

HueSaturation

Step 5

Duplicate the modified texture for the rest of the letters, making sure the copies stay clipped to the Main Text group.

Duplicate the Texture Overlays

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created a textured background and a text layer.

Then, we converted the text into a shape and started working with it, adding more different shapes to create the elements we'll be using.

After that, we styled the elements and used them to build the final effect. Finally, we added smoke, shadows, and texture overlays to finish off the effect.

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

Final Result
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