The Photoshop CS3 Special Text Effects

Written by amanda tromley
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The Photoshop CS3 Special Text Effects
Fill text with an image using layer masks in Photoshop CS3. (colour theory image by feisty from

Adobe Photoshop CS3 gives graphic designers and photographers an arsenal of photo-editing tools that have uses far beyond cropping or reducing red-eye. Text effects in Photoshop CS3 range from simple embellishments such as drop shadows and bevelling to elaborate type treatments. Using different combinations of filters, styles and tools available can make text a part of the design instead of just an afterthought.

Image Text

One of the easiest and most popular text effects, a "Layer" or "Clipping Mask" basically hides everything in a photo or image except the shape of letters. This gives the appearance that the text is filled with an image. This type treatment pairs well with a drop shadow to give the text more depth.

Glass/Plastic Text

Create transparent text effects using Photoshop's "Gaussian Blur" and "Glass" filters. By applying different textures to your layer styles, you can achieve a variety of looks including those of glass and plastic. Use the glass effect in modern or elegant designs and the plastic in retro designs.

Ice Text

Similar to glass and plastic text treatments, go a step further utilising Photoshop brushes to apply cracks to the type. Use the "Wind" filter to render icicles and apply layer styles such as "Bevel and Emboss" to give the icy text depth. Give your travel or winter-sports themed designs an extra edge using this effect.

Fire Text

Setting your type on fire creates a sense of drama and draws the viewer into your design. You can achieve this effect in a number of ways including using actual photos of fire or painting the colours and using the smudge tool to manipulate the pixels to look like tongues of fire.

Chrome Text

Achieve smooth and shiny chrome type treatments using these layer styles: "Stroke," "Drop Shadow" and "Bevel and Emboss." Understanding colour and shading will aid you in choosing the correct highlight and shadow colours since chrome reflects the colours around it. Nothing says "diner" or "classic cars" like chrome type.

Glowing Text

Go beyond Photoshop's standard "Inner" or "Outer Glow" by using the "Pen" tool to add lines of light. Pair this with the "Clouds" filter and some subtle colour blending to achieve a glow that leaps off the screen. Glowing text adds flair to night scenes and sci-fi themed art.

Patched Text

Photoshop's "Warp Text" commands give you a good beginning for creating patch text effects. Overlay a fabric texture and use the "Displacement" filter, then paint stitches with the "Brush" tool to create this effect. You may not have many opportunities to apply this effect, but the effect is stunning nonetheless.

Graffiti Text

The "grunge" look has gained popularity in recent years, and graffiti text treatments often make appearances in designs of this style. Use Photoshop's "Perspective" warp tool and "Overlay" blending mode to make text look spray-painted on a wall in a photo.

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