Photoshop tutorial: Speedy 1980s text effects

Create a brilliant type-art effect rapidly by stacking layer styles

Intro


In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create flashy type-based art quickly by making cunning use of Photoshop’s layer styles. You’ll be using the same image on multiple layers, modifying each version with its own layer style – this can help you achieve dramatic effects that seem far more complicated to create than this. It’s a handy little cheat that can save you plenty of time – while also creating a glowing, shiny result.

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The technique is most effective when used for type-based art – and particularly logos – but it has a wealth of other uses. Here, Tabor Robak shows how to fake a glowing gel effect, but you could also use it to create a plastic, metal or any other texture.

Software

Adobe Photoshop

Time to complete

1 hour

Step 1

STEP 1

Create a new 300dpi A4 Photoshop document in RGB, with a black background. Select File > Place and import the file slime.ai from the download link – or use another piece of vector or type art. Size it so that it fits comfortably within the canvas. Duplicate this layer four times (Cmd/Ctrl + J), naming the layers ‘slime 1’,’slime 2’ and so on from top to botton until you get to ‘slime 5’. Hide ‘slime 1’ to ‘slime 4’.

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Step 2

STEP 2

For the base layer we want to create the general shape and dimensionality. Double-click the ‘slime 5’ layer to open the Layer Style dialog. Under Advanced Blending, drag the Fill Opacity slider to 0, then set the layer styles as shown in the screengrabs.

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Step 3

STEP 3

Now we need to add some highlights to the image, to create more depth. We’ll also add a secondary light colour for visual interest. Turn on the ‘slime 4’ layer and double-click it to open the Layer Style palette. Under Advanced Blending drag the Fill Opacity Slider to 0, and again copy the layer styles so they match the screengrabs.

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Step 4

STEP 4

It’s time to make the image sharper by applying effects that accentuate the edges. Turn on ‘slime 3’, and open the Layer Style dialog. Drag the Fill Opacity Slider in Advanced Blending to 0, and copy the layer style settings as shown.

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Step 5

STEP 5

Now it’s time for some contrast and glow to really make the image pop. Turn on ‘slime 2’ and double-click to open the Layer Style palette. Again, in Advanced Blending drag the Fill Opacity slider to 0, then copy the layer style settings here.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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Step 6

STEP 6

To give the image further depth we need to add a drop shadow. Turn on the ‘slime 1’ layer and open the Layer Style palette. As before, set the Fill Opacity to 0, and copy the settings as shown in the screen shot.

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Step 7

STEP 7

Select all five slime layers and press Cmd/Ctrl + Alt/Opt + E to merge them into a new layer.  Hide the previous slime layers so that you can access them later, then get stuck into the embellishment: this is your chance to go wild and make this image you own. Here, I used the Airbrush (B) to add some highlights, then I created a sparkle with an airbrush and copy and pasted it. The bubbles and drips were copied and pasted the top of the ‘i’ and bottom of the ‘m’. Finally I airbrushed brushed a little bit of purple into the background.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials