How to create a simple and elegant text effect

How to create a simple and elegant text effect

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create an elegant text effect in only 13 steps. We will use Illustrator to realize the outlined text. Then we will play with blending options to create the pressed effect. This style would be perfect for a site tagline or a poster design.



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Step 1

If you observe the final result, you can notice that it’s composed by 2 elements: the text and the outline shape. The easiest way to create a text and its outline is with Illustrator. So create a 2000×1500 pixels document in Illustrator and write something using the Creampuff font. The font size is 280 pt.

Step 2

We have to turn the text into a path. Then go to Type>Create Outlines. With the text still selected go to Object>Path>Offset Path and enter a value of 25 px.

Step 3

Use the direct selection tool (A) to select only the outline letters. Merge them using the pathfinder (Window>Pathfinder).

Tip: if you want to select more then one element, hold down shift while clicking on each element

Step 4

Hide the offset path (uncheck its layer visibility) and select the letters with the direct selection tool (A). Group them (ctrl+G) and change their color to distinguish them from the outline path. It’s not important the color you choose. Now you can replace outline shape visibility.

Step 5

Open Photoshop and create a 2000×1500 pixels document. Fill the background with grey (#3f3f3f)

Step 6

Copy and paste the text and the outline path in 2 different layers. Make sure to paste them as smart objects. In this way they can be resized without lose image quality.

Step 7

Lets start working with the outline shape, then hide the text for the moment. Right-click on the outline layer and select Blending Options.  Let’s start reducing the fill opacity to 0%.

Step 8

Add a dark grey (#242424) color overlay.

Step 9

How to create the pressed effect? Simply adding inner shadow.

Step 10

At this point you can make the text visible. We will still work with blending options. Start reducing fill opacity to 0%. Then fill the text with the same background color (#3f3f3f).

Step 11

Add a bevel and emboss effect:

Step 12

Our text is complete. The last step consists in adding a noise effect. Create a new layer and fill it with grey (#3f3f3f). Now set the same grey as foreground color and white as background color. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise.

Step 13

Set the layer blending mode to screen with opacity 10%. We’ve finished!


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(+add yours)
  1. Pevec

    Simple and nice, good job

  2. good effect ^^

  3. hildergarn

    Hi Sebastiano. I just did thi tuto on my side and it’s great, thenks. Just one question: why reducing the fill opacity to 0%? at least from my side i don’t see any change if i turn to 100%.

    • Hi Hildergarn,
      in this case it’s a unnecessary step ;-)

      • hildergarn

        Well thanks. Next step: Jungle 3D tutorial :)

  4. simple and effective. Thanks for the share.

  5. This is an excellent tutorial. It has made it so easy to implement. Thank you

  6. something weird. what software that he use, i think it’s adobe photoshop cs4 but where can i find the ‘So create a 2000×1500 pixels document in Illustrator and write something using the Creampuff font. The font size is 280 pt.’ where can i find the document in illustrator?

    • Hi Elan,
      When I write “create a new document in Illustrator” I mean open Illustrator and go to File>New and then set the document size (2000×1500 pixels)

      • Elan

        OK! I understand now!

  7. very good tutorial


  8. Hi Sebastiano, thanks for the tutorial.

    For those of use without Illutrator, would using Photoshop’s stroke blending option tool work well enough for creating the text’s outline, and then creating a layer from it so it can be styled?

    I’ll play around with it later, but thought I’d ask anyway.

    • Yes, Jonathan,
      I think you can obtain a similar result with blending options (I suggest you to play with bevel and emboss options, not stroke)

  9. Very Very nice effect. Was a little scared, when Illustrator was brought into the mix, but it was very simple. Nice work

  10. Awesome man. cant wait to get this effect applied to mine…^.^

  11. Super tutorial.Thank’s from Russia!!!)))

  12. alex

    hi, nice tut, was fun to do. cheers man.

  13. Dorine

    Great tutorial, love the effect
    I have a probleme on step 7: how do you copy and past the path and the text as 2 different layers from illustrator to photoshop?

    • Hi Dorine,

      Select them separately using the direct selection tool (A), then press ctrl+C to copy and ctrl+V to paste the selection in Photoshop

  14. Wizard

    “We have to turn the text into a path” how do you do that?

    • Hi Mate,

      Go to Type>Create outlines or click shift+ctrl+O

      • jerry

        It’s greyed out for me.

  15. Great effect. Source files saves a lot of work, thanks for it.

  16. Nicola

    Great job. I’ve never used Illustrator before, but was able to follow your instructions :D Thank you. I’m teaching myself to become a graphic designer too, very inspiring!

  17. i like it a lot! Thanks!

  18. Pro.

  19. Classic. Simple with nice outline that gives it twist.

  20. AiSucks

    Hey-o! Could you make a MUCH more detailed tut through the illustrator part? Cause I’m retarded and can’t make it work. T_T

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