GrandmasterB is back and ready for Round Two of this Killer Metallic Text tutorial. Since this tutorial is a two-parter I recommend going through part one before moving onto this tutorial. However, if you only want to learn how to create the metallic text effect and not the background that is fine too. I leave it up to your discretion. With all of that out of the way, let’s get on with the show…

If you haven’t done so already please open your file from the first tutorial (you did save it right?). If you don’t have it, fear not you can download the Photoshop file that I created for the tutorial here:

Photoshop File (2.8MB): Killer Metallic Text_PT1.psd

Alright…let’s roll!

STEP ONE – Let’s Make Some Text
I’m sure all of you know how to do this, but just in case here it is. Grab the text tool (t) and type out your text. I chose a nice heavy italic font (Incised Italic Bold) for this tutorial, because anything metallic should look tough. Now this font I used wasn’t quit slanted enough, so I gave it a little more of what it needed. Simply go under your menu to Edit > Transform > Skew (-10.6°). You can play with the settings as much as you like, but remember the golden rule “Less is More!”. Once you have the text how you like change it to a light shade of gray (#C5C5C5). Then add some Layer Styles to the text with the following settings:

  • Drop Shadow
    • Multiply: Black
    • Opacity: 12%
    • Angle: 120°
    • Distance: 5
    • Spread & Size: 0
  • Stroke: Change only the size to 1 pixel and the color to #666666

STEP TWO – Add Some Detail
Create a new layer above the text layer you just made. Change your fill color to #A5A5A5 and make a selection of the text by cmd-clicking/ctrl-clicking the text layer on the layer palette. From here we will contract the selection by going to the menu: Select > Modify > Contract > 2 pixels. Once your selection is contract fill with foreground color (alt-backspace). Deselect (cmd-d, ctrl-d) and change to the oval marquee tool (m or shift-m to change between square and oval). Draw an oblong selection over the top half of the darker gray layer and then delete. You should now have something like in the sample image.

STEP THREE – Add Some Texture
This step is a little more involved than previous steps, but should still be relatively easy to follow along with. First things first, create a new layer above the previous darker gray layer. Reset your colors to black and white (d) and grab the gradient tool; making sure that foreground to background is selected as well as linear gradient. Next draw out a gradient from the bottom left to top right corner. After that it’s time for some filter action. Start out with making some clouds: Filter > Render > Clouds. You can do this step a few times to get the right spread by hitting cmd-f, ctrl-f if you like. After you have that it’s time to MAKE SOME NOISE! Sorry, I got a little carried away go back up to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use these settings:

  • Amount: 12.5%
  • Uniform
  • Mono

Then we’ll add a little bit of motion blur to finish off the look and give us a cool brushed aluminum look. Back to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur with the following settings:

  • Angle: 32°
  • Distance: 40 pixels

Move the layer around over the top of the text to get the right balance of gray. You don’t want too much white or black. Once you got it all set, make a text selection (like in step two) and create a layer mask (next to Layer Effects on the Layers Palette). Change your layer blend mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 68%…done, onto step four.

STEP FOUR – Adding Some Depth (Shadow Line)
We’re going to start by creating a new layer (of course) on top of the previous layer. Make a selection of the text layer and change your fill color to #616161. From there make a stroke/outline of the selection: Edit > Stroke > 1px > Outside. Deselect (cmd-d, ctrl-d) and change to the move tool (v). Nudge your stroke layer up and left 1 time (arrow keys). Make another selection of the text layer and invert it (cmd-shift-i, ctrl-shift-i) and hit delete/backspace. Change your opacity to 75%.

STEP FIVE – Get Like Some Highlights Dude!
Start out with a new layer, reset your colors (d) and flip your fill color to white (x). Make a selection of the text layer and add a stroke (just like step four): Edit > Stroke > 1px > Outside. Deselect (cmd-d, ctrl-d) and change to the move tool (v). This time we’re going to nudge down and to the right one time. Make another selection of the text layer and invert it (cmd-shift-i, ctrl-shift-i) and hit delete/backspace. Change your opacity to 85%.

STEP SIX – Time For Some Shading
Here is where we take this flat looking hunk of text into the next dimension. Once again, we’ll make a new layer on top of the previous layer and make a selection of the text. Reset your colors (d) and change to the gradient tool: foreground to transparent, linear gradient. You’re going to make two separate gradients one will start just above the top of the text and stop about the midpoint of the text. The second will start just below the text and end at the midpoint. This may take some time to get the look you want. We’re going for a dark gray to transparent, not really black. It has to be smooth. Once you’ve got something you’re comfortable with deselect (cmd-d, ctrl-d) and change the layer opacity to 80%.

NOTE: As we progress through the tutorial you may notice that the sample images are a bit fuzzy. I wanted to save load time and filesize, so the images are saved as JPEGs. Normally, I would use PNG but the filesize was almost triple of the JPEG at 60%.

STEP SEVEN – Another Highlight
This step is purely optional, but I feel that it gives the text just a little something extra. To start out make a new layer above the previous and make a selection of the dark gray layer just above the text. Change your fill color to white (x) and make a stroke: Edit > Stroke> 1px > Outside; then deselect. Make a selection of the text layer and contract it: Select > Modify > Contract > 3 pixels. Invert the selection (cmd-shift-i, ctrl-shift-i) and delete. Change the blend mode to Soft Light and opacity to 50%.

STEP EIGHT – Give It Some Shine
Make a new layer above the previous and if your fill color isn’t white (it should be), reset the colors (d) and swap (x). Grab your gradient tool, switch to foreground to transparent and radial gradient. If you followed along with part one this will seem familiar. At the points of the letters draw small gradient orbs, they will look goofy for a bit, but you’ll see. After you have the orbs created (remember not too many) change your layer mode to Soft Light and opacity to 80%. Make a selection of the text and create a layer mask.

STEP NINE – Shadow Of The Text
This layer is going to set the text apart from the background and make it appear to be standing on a glossy surface. This is bonus number two of the tutorial; the first bonus was the background, so if you skipped part one, you better get back there and check it out. Just as before we’re going to create a new layer but this time it will be below the text layer. The quick way to do this is (cmd-shift-click, ctrl-shift-click) the layer you want to be under. Once you’re all set make a selection of the text layer and fill with black (reset colors if need be) and deselect. Nudge the layer down ten times or hold shift and hit the down arrow once. Now to add a little perspective: Edit > Transform > Perspective (change the H value in the options window to 45°). Then Free Transform (cmd-t, ctrl-t) and change width to 120% and height to 31%. Blur the layer to make it look like a true shadow: Filter > Gaussian Blur > 5px. After all of that is done change your blend mode to Multiply and opacity to 60%.

STEP TEN – Time to Reflect
This part of the tutorial is fairly straight forward for those that are familiar with Photoshop, but for those who aren’t you shouldn’t have any issues. Start out by clicking your highest layer (should be the last highlight layer) and create a new group (folder icon on bottom of layer palette). Once you have that click the highlight layer again and while holding shift click the text layer. You should now have eight layers selected, drag them all up into the folder and click the arrow to close the folder.

Now that you have everything in a nice neat container we’ll duplicate it: Layer > Duplicate Group. Drag that duplicate layer below the shadow layer we created in step nine. With the duplicated group still selected we’ll flip it on it’s head: Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical and drag it so the bottom of the text is almost touching the other text group bottom. Change your blend mode to Soft Light and opacity to 50%. Create a layer mask for the group and grab the gradient tool: set to foreground to transparent and linear gradient. Start at the middle of the text (bottom) and drag up to the middle of the top text. If you’ve gotten all of that, you’re GOLDEN and should have an image similar to the one at the top of the tutorial.  If you didn’t make it and it’s not looking similar, double-check that your layers are positioned correctly. You can download the Photoshop file with the final version of the tutorial here:

Photoshop File (8.9MB) - Killer_Metallic_Text_Final.psd
Safari Download: Right-Click, Download  Linked File

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial; I know that I enjoyed writing it. Some critics might say that it’s a bit long or there are too many steps for a tutorial. I believe that you can’t have too much information when it comes to learning a program like Photoshop. I’ve spent the past thirteen years using Photoshop and I tell you, I learn something new daily. If you have any questions regarding this tutorial or would like to see me do something else let me know. I’m always up to new challenges! Thanks again for reading this tutorial and checking out the site. If you like what you see and want to keep up to date, subscribe to the GrandmasterB RSS Feed.

~ GrandmasterB

This copyrighted tutorial was originally published at on 06/06/2008