The Best Text Effects for Adobe Photoshop

Written by karen s. garvin
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The Best Text Effects for Adobe Photoshop
With Photoshop, you can create text effects that simulate metal. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The best text effects for Adobe Photoshop take full advantage of the program's built-in filters and lighting effects as well as its ability to use layers and layer styles. With Adobe Photoshop, you can create embossed and recessed type, drop shadows, outlined type and cutout effects. You can also simulate textures. Combine lighting effects with Photoshop's layer styles, and you can even create text effects that look like liquid, chrome, metal, plastic or glass.

Metallic Text

Metallic text effects, including chrome, are some of the most common text effects you'll see. Several steps exist to making text appear to be chrome. First, you'll want to choose a font that doesn't have thin serifs because they don't show the effect as well as thicker fonts. Gradients are used to fill the text and to create the highlight, or shine part of the letters. Finally, the text is embossed to make it look 3-D. For some metallic text effects, you can add a reflection to the letters to make them look even more realistic.

Dimensional Text

Perhaps the most popular text effect is making text appear to be 3-D. You can accomplish this text effect by changing the perspective of the text using Photoshop's transform tool so that the letters look like they are at an angle. Using layer styles, add bevelling and embossing to add depth to the text. Then, use the gradient editor to add subtle colouring so the text doesn't look flat. Use the dodge and burn tools to add highlights and shadowing to make the text look even more dimensional. And, use Photoshop's built-in lighting filters to add sparkles and lens effects.

Glass Text

Glass is another popular Photoshop text effect. By using layers and blending modes, you can give text drop shadow to make it seem dimensional. Adding an outer glow creates highlighting, and adding the bevel and emboss styles completes the dimensional effects. Give the text a colour overlay to finish the effect. With this approach, any background behind the text will seem to show through the letters and make them seem transparent. By adding a colour layer and choosing a blending mode of "Multiply," you can make glass letters appear as though they are filled with liquid.

Textured Type

Use Photoshop's layer styles to add textures and colourings to your text simply by adjusting the blending mode. The effects can be as simple as selecting the type and adding noise or by using a clipping path to add a texture, such as a hand-drawn scribble. For more ambitious projects, you can create a displacement map, which is a separate Photoshop document, and use it to interact with text in your main document. Use the displacement map to add images, such as a scene or a fabric texture, to your text.


Adding reflections to your text effects is a sure way to give them more dimensionality. You can combine reflections with metallic effects such as chrome to increase their shine. Adding reflections as drop shadows can simulate a shiny surface, or you can use reflections to create the look of water or other liquids.

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