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Tutorial [TUTORIAL] Swerve's How-To: Creating a Space Themed Text Effect!

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Swerve

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WELCOME!

In this tutorial I'll be teaching you how to create a space/supernatural themed text effect on Adobe Photoshop. I'm currently using Photoshop CS6, but this is applicable to all versions of Photoshop.

Note: Each attempt you do will come out differently based on the settings you select. I'm only providing you with a foundation, so I encourage you to play around with your own works and see where your creativity leads you. :smile:

So, before we delve into this, I'll give you a sample in which you can compare or be inspired.

This was done by me as the cover for a song (which you can listen to here).

Let's begin!
STEP 1: Setting the background
To start, we'll need a background to base our space theme on. This will house our stars and general spacey aura. To achieve this, we only need two things: clouds & noise.

Let's begin by setting up a new black canvas, then choosing a dark blue primary color. I have chosen #18323a. This will help set the stage for an eery vibe. After this follow this sequence: Filter > Render > Clouds. You should end up with something that looks like the screenshot below.

STEP 2: Adding the stars
Now that we have set the clouds, we can place our beautiful stars. To do this, create a new layer and fill it with black. This will assist us in blending the stars later. Next, follow this sequence: Filter > Noise > Add Noise. At this point, you can truly start to experiment and tailor your artwork to your liking. For this tutorial, I am using 28.49% as the amount of noise I want, and I've set the distribution style to Gaussian, with the Monochromatic box checked. See below for a visual.


STEP 2.1: Thinning out the stars
At this point, our stars are far too plentiful, so let's thin them out a little bit so it looks more realistic. To do so, follow this sequence: Image > Adjustment > Levels. You can also use Ctrl + L or ⌘ + L if you are on a Mac. This will open up the settings window for the levels of the layer. Adjustments here will directly affect the stars, which is what we want. I suggest leaving the channel settings and output levels the same, and only changing the input levels. The values I used were 161, 1.55, and 255, though you are free to play with the sliders until you find an arrangement that suits you. See below for a visual.

STEP 2.2: Blending the stars and the clouds
Now all that's left to do is blending the stars so that they overlay the clouds appropriately. To achieve this, simply set the star layer's blending mode to "Screen", which will disable the black color elements from the layer. This now allows your white stars to sit amongst the clouds. See below for a visual.

STEP 2.3: BONUS!
This step isn't totally necessary or pivotal, but it is an option if you want to darken the edges of your artwork a little bit. To do this, create a radial gradient layer going from the white in the center to the black at the edges and then set the layer to "Overlay" with 45% opacity. I won't provide a screenshot as the difference is so subtle, it's not worth straining your eyes to see it.


STEP 3: Adding the text
This step is very simple and probably self-explanatory. The font you choose is up to you, however, I recommend full bodied fonts, as they tend to look better under this effect versus fonts that are similar to dry brushes or cursive. I went with Gotham. See below for a visual.

STEP 3.1: Adding layer styles
Now that we have our base text set, we can start altering it to fit our theme. To do so, we'll start by adding layer styles. Double click the text layer and check off Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, and Color Overlay. Use the following settings below as a guide.

a) Inner Shadow
Color: #54a4ff
Blend Mode: Screen
Distance: 1
Size: 2
Angle: -90°
b) Inner Glow
Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 24%
Color: #032ea1
Contour: 4th selection in the top row
c) Color Overlay
Color: #000000

See below for visuals of each setting.

STEP 3.2: Adding more layer styles
Here is where we add a couple more styles to give our text some depth and more of a 3D feel. For this, we'll be utilizing the Bevel and Emboss, Texture, Drop Shadow, and Outer Glow layer styles.

For the Bevel and Emboss, the color code you should use for the Shadow Mode is #54a4ff. The highlight mode can either be black, or a dark grey, such as #525252. It won't really matter since the opacity for it will be set to 0%. The Drop Shadow and Outer Glow work to create a small glow and a wide-set glow respectively. This means the distances will be 10px and 100px, and both will be set with the color #008ac5, and blended with the "Screen" setting.

Visuals have been included below.

STEP 4: Recreating the base text
At this point, we're actually quite close to finishing our project! We are now going to need to recreate our base text for a couple of reasons: a) it helps give a nice outline that further pushes the concept of depth in our text, and b) we will need a slightly altered version of the base text in order to create our smoky wisps later on.

This is a very simple step. Start by duplicating your original text, then right-click on it and remove all of the layer styles. Now change the color of the text to #5cdbff. Once that is done, rearrange the layer so it is behind your fancy text. This places it under the fancy text in your image. Now press the up arrow while the fluorescent base text is selected. This moves the base text up 1 pixel with each arrow tap. I recommend no more then 2 pixels up if you want a reserved effect. See the visual below.

STEP 4.1: Creating the wisp base
This is where we get to transform our simple text into something supernatural! Start by duplicating the fluorescent base text layer. Then follow this sequence: Filter > Distort > Wave. Once this window has opened, change the scale so it reads as 10% horizontally & 10% vertically. You're free to play with this as much you like.

Note that in the visuals below, I turned off the extra layers to showcase just how the Wave filter works on our base text, as well as what contracting does.

After you have done this, you'll need to make your text come off as smoky. To do so, follow this sequence: Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the value to 4px, then set the opacity to 20%. Once this is done, hold down Ctrl or ⌘ and click the layer image. After doing that, follow this sequence: Select > Modify > Contract. Use a value of 5px, then hit Shift + Ctrl + I (or Shift + ⌘ + I) to invert your selection. Finally, hit delete. See below for what your text should look like at this point.

At this point, you've created the base wisp, so give yourself a pat on the back. Now what you can do to beef up the smoke around the text is to duplicate the wisp layer then run through this sequence: Filter > Distort > Wave. Repeat this a few more times, and mix it up if you like. You can play with blending options, arrangement of the wisp layers, and randomizing the Wave filter. This adds to the realism of the smoke coming off the letters.

STEP 5: Adding bigger wisps
So at this point you're basically done. Now we're adding the finishing touches to our text. To start, duplicate the fluorescent base text layer again. Now follow this sequence: Filter > Distort > Wave. This time, set the horizontal value to 5% and the vertical value to 100%. Press enter, then repeatedly press Ctrl +F or ⌘ + F until you get a very elongated piece of text. Afterwards, set the blending mode to "Hard Light", and then apply a Gaussian Blur of 4px by following this sequence: Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. You can use an eraser to clean up some of the larger wisps, and you can also duplicate the larger wisps and invert their positions to add some variety to the direction of the smoke. See below for a final visual.


That's it, you're done! :smile:

Thanks for reading this tutorial, and hopefully you learned something new! Feel free to share your creation below, and remember that this is just a foundation for this text effect. This means that you can do a lot more with this if you want to experiment. Good luck to you all! :thumbsup:
 
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Also something you can add is how to use a soft light to add depth if you want the text effect to be more intense.
 
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