I know that many of you have seen tutorials all over the place that describe how to create metallic text with Photoshop. Well, I’m here to show you how to make Killer Metallic Text and I’m going to toss in a cool background and a reflection effect. So over this two part tutorial you actually get three tutorials for the price of one. How’s that sound? Along with this tutorial I will make the final Photoshop (.psd) file available for download. I know that sometimes it is easier to figure out how something works by taking it apart first. Note: Throughout the tutorial I will give you keyboard shortcuts for picking tools or performing commands. They will be listed in parenthesis next to the task.

Let’s get started!

I would start this off as step one, but you all know that we’re going to need to open up Photoshop and create a new document. When you do create your new document set it up at about 800 x 800 pixels and make the background black. Place a guide at 400y and another at 400x to get the center of the canvas and reset your center point (very important). There we go…one step saved in the tutorial!


STEP ONE – Creating a gradient background
To start out create a new layer, flip your fill colors (x on the keyboard) and choose a decent shade of blue. For this tutorial I picked #2D4C91 and make sure your other color is black. Grab your gradient tool (g) and select the radial gradient. Make sure that the gradient is set to foreground to background color (blue to black in this case). Once you’ve got your gradient tool set, start at the center point and make your gradient (about halfway to the other side.

STEP TWO – Transform the Gradient
This step is relatively straight forward. All you are going to do is squish the gradient vertically by using Free Transform (cmd-t, ctrl-t). What you’re going to do is grab the center square. While holding down the alt key drag downwards to the 200 pixel mark. Once you’ve got it all set hit the confirm button and change the layer’s opacity to 50%. You want the blue to be visible, but not nearly as bright as before. If you’ve got something similar to the image, let’s move to step three.

STEP THREE – Adding Some Graphic Elements
For step three we are going to dive into the Go Media Vector Arsenal. In particular we are going to check out the radial vectors that are in Vector Pack 6. For instructions on using the vector packs check out the FAQ Page at Go Media. Back to the tutorial, open the vector pack and select a radial pattern to your liking. Create a new layer above the last one. Copy and paste the graphic into the Photoshop document and resize it to what you find suitable (NOTE: Try to limit the resizing to one attempt, any more and it will distort your piece). After you have the radial pattern all set you’ll want to adjust it as follows:
On the Layers Palette

  • Change the Fill to 0%
  • Choose Layer Effects (bottom of Layers Palette…looks like an fx)
    • Color Overlay: #823A7F
    • Blend Mode: Color Dodge
    • Click OK
  • Change Layer Opacity to 35%

STEP FOUR – Graphic Element Number Two
This step is almost identical to step number three with just a little tweak on the settings, a different vector graphic and another interesting effect to set it off from the previous layer. Create a new layer and paste your graphic into this new layer. After you have your graphic all set add the following settings to that layer:

  • Change the Fill to 0%
  • Choose Layer Effects (bottom of Layers Palette…looks like an fx)
    • Color Overlay: #00AEEF
    • Blend Mode: Color Dodge
    • Click OK
  • Change Layer Opacity to 25%

After you have the layer settings all done, click on the “Add Layer Mask” button on the layers palette (the Add Layer Mask is one to the right of Layer Effects. With the Layer Mask selected fill the entire thing with black (alt-delete), then change your fill color to white (x). Grab your gradient tool and select radial gradient with the color set to foreground to transparent. Now draw small radial gradients and they will begin to reveal the layer little by little. We don’t want the entire radial pattern to show, just bits of it.

STEP FIVE – Now For The Crazy Stuff!
In this step we are going to use a little free spirit and create some bright blue gradient orbs. Change your foreground fill color to #823A7F and make sure the gradient tool is selected with foreground to transparent and radial selected. Create a new layer above the last layer from step four and start making some blue orbs of all sizes (small, medium and large). Once you have a few blue orbs (remember not too many) change the layer blend mode to Color Burn. Create a new layer above, reset your colors (d) and swap to white (x). Start making some white orbs now, and it’s okay to overlap the blue ones, it will give more depth. After you have a few (10 or so) change the layer blend mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 42%. You should now have something like the sample image.

STEP SIX – A Final Touch
This is the final step for the background and an important one. This step will give us a platform of sort to set our text on. Create a new layer above the last one and grab the rectangle marquee tool (m). Once you have the tool in hand draw out a selection about 500 pixels wide by 150 pixels high. Place the top of the selection below your horizontal guide and centered left to right. It’s easiest to start on the left side at 250 pixels drag to the right side 250 pixels and down 150. If I just confused the crap out of you I apologize. Once you have your selection in place reset your colors (d) and switch to the gradient tool (g). Make sure you’re set to foreground to transparent and linear gradient (not radial). Drag from the top of the selection down to the bottom. Once you have that change your layer opacity to 50% and you’re done with part one of the tutorial.

That’s all for part one of this tutorial. I hope you’re following along well and making progress. If you have any questions regarding the tutorial please shoot me an email and as always feedback is welcomed. If you would like to check out the Photoshop file with all of the elements for part one of the tutorial you can download it here:

Photoshop File (2.8MB): Killer Metallic Text_PT1.psd
Safari Download: Right-Click > Download Linked File

Stay tuned for part two and the conclusion of this tutorial, you won’t want to miss it. Also, be sure to subscribe to the GrandmasterB RSS Feed to keep informed on upcoming tutorials and events.

~ GrandmasterB

This copyrighted tutorial was originally published at GrandmasterB.com on 06/06/2008