Create Glossy Dreamlike Text Effect

This Photoshop tutorial will not only help you create an attractive text effect but will also teach you to use some very helpful tools, which can be employed to create all kinds of effects in future.

Tutorial details

Program: Photoshop CS5

Canvas Size: 800 x 500 px

Estimated time: 30 – 40 mins

Difficulty: Intermediate

Tutorial resources





Now we have everything we need so before we start let’s have a look at our Final result:

Text effect tutorial

Step 1:

First of all, we need to decide what colors we want to use as the basis of our design. Choose two colors, which will complement each other, such as two different deep light yellows or, in my case, two deep reds. Select the gradient tool by either pressing G or clicking and holding the left mouse button over the Fill tool and selecting the correct tool out of the drop down menu that will appear. Set your foreground and background colors and from the top bar of Photoshop, select Radial Gradient. Drag down from one of the top corners into the middle of the canvas.

Step 2:

Next we need to decide what font we want to use. You should use something simple and quite bold and you can find the link to the font I used above. Set the color to white, font size to 300 and position the text in the centre of the canvas. Lower the opacity to 60%.

Step 3:

Right click on the layer and select blending options. On the window that comes up you’ll see a list of varying effects that you can set on your text, or any layer. Follow the series of images below and make your settings match mine.

Your text should now look something like this…

Step 4:

It’s starting to look good, but to add a little more depth I’m going to add some highlights to specific areas of the text. Create a new layer, grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool and select an area similar to the one I’ve selected in the image below.

Once selected, right click on the canvas and select Feather, setting it to 20 pixels. Apply the feather a total of 3 times and then using the Fill Tool, fill the selection with white. Set the layer type to Overlay and then select a large soft eraser. Gently erase around the highlight until it actually looks like it’s highlighting the text.

Duplicate your highlight layer twice leaving one with the same settings and changing the other to 30% opacity and a normal layer style. All going well, you should have the same as me, below.

Step 5:

The text is starting to get a bit more detailed, but the background is still a bit lacking. For my effect, I chose to add some random highlights to the background just to make the whole thing look a little brighter and perkier. If you want the optional effect I’ve added to the image below, then head for the Brush pane and select a medium to large sized white round brush with 0% hardness. The only options you need to change are those for the Scattering tab so make sure it’s ticked and make your settings are the same as mine in the image below. Make sure that Airbrush, Smoothing and Protect Texture are also ticked, but don’t concern yourself with their options at the moment.

Note: Some of the tabs or options may be slightly different in your version of Photoshop. Just as long as you have a scattered brush similar to mine, you’ll be fine.

Brush evenly over your canvas to create a brush spread that you like. It can be a lot of trial and error with the scattering, so make good use of Undo (Ctrl + Alt + Z). Use multiple layers to vary the opacity and layer type between the new highlights.

Step 6:

Now we’re going to add a bokeh effect to the text. For those of you who don’t know what the bokeh effect is, check my image below. Head to the Brush panel again and select quite a small round white brush with 80% hardness. Change your settings to match mine in the images below.

Now simply brush over your canvas to get an effect you like. Change the opacity and brush size along the way to get a spread with more depth.

I’ve used a medium sized eraser set to 0% hardness and with a lowered opacity in order to dim some of the more prominent and bright circles.

Step 7:

Now we want to give that flat looking text more of a pop. Visit the website I listed for patterns above and pick one you like. Save it to your computer and save it as a pattern in Photoshop. Now go back to Photoshop and duplicate your text layer and nudge it up by around 20 pixels. Keep all the same blending options we had from before and add a final one. Navigate your way to the Pattern Overlay options and make yours the same as mine, except with my pattern replaced with yours.

Click OK and you’ll have something like mine below!

Step 8:

The top half of the background still looks really bare to me, so I’ve decided to add kind of a shooting star effect just to give it a little bit extra effect. For this effect, all I we need is a soft round white brush at 0% hardness and remember to click only once on a layer. This is because we’ll need to use the Warp Tool, which you can find in the Edit menu under Transformation. Warp it quite a bit until you’ve made your brush stroke look like it’s shooting in a specific direction. You can always use the Smudge and Blur tools to give it an even more refined look. I ended up with this:

Step 9:

The text is still looking a little bare so we’re going to add some glow effects to each of the letters. We need to use the Pen Tool on our original text layer so you can hide the duplicated one for now if you like. Draw around certain small areas of the text without going outside the text’s borders. Use only one glow effect per layer because we’re going to need to add differing blending options on each glow. Once you’ve got your pen path right on your first area, right click and choose Make Selection then simply fill the new selection with white. Open up Blending Options and apply the following settings, however, feel free to change the colors.

Do exactly the same for your other selections. You should have something like me below.

Step 10:

Here we’ll just be adding some finishing touches, but they’re completely up to personal preference. If you want the same effects as I’ll be adding, then keep following.

First navigate to your background layer and open up the Blending Options. Choose Inner Glow and copy the settings below.

This will add a black glow to the edges of the canvas like my image below.

Now I’ll just be adding a texture over the background. There is literally no limit to what you could use as your background texture, just make sure you choose something that’s at a high resolution so that it’s as crisp as the rest of the canvas! Place the texture on a layer just above your background layer and set the layer type to Soft Light or Overlay and fiddle around with the Opacity and Fill.

Now select some of the brushes mentioned above and use them randomly to dress it up a bit more.

Text Effect

We are done, I hope you found this tutorial useful!

Do let us know what do you want to learn and we’ll be happy to create tutorials for you. Cheets


One comment

  1. What an awesome way to explain this-now I know everything! great tut


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