How to create a watercolor effect

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This tutorial will show you how to combine textures, layer styles, and brush settings to create a fun colorful watercolor text effect.



1. Create the background

Step 1

Create a new 960x720px document, and go to File > Place Linked to open the Paper texture design .eps file.

Resize the image as needed to fill the document, then hit the Return key.

Step 2

Press Command-L to get the Levels box, and change the Gamma value to 1.50.

Step 3

Press Command-U to get the Hue/Saturation box, and change the Saturation value to -80.

2. Create the text

Step 1

Create the text in using the font Hensa, and set the Size to 200pt.

Step 2

Command-click the text layer's thumbnail to create a selection.

Step 3

Hide the text layer by clicking the eye icon next to it. Then, create a new group and call it Text.

Step 4

Click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to mask the group.

3. Add the watercolor texture

Step 1

Go to File > Place Linked again, but this time, add the Artistic background with colorful watercolor stains .eps file.

Place the texture inside the Text group, rename its layer to Text Color, and change its Blend Mode to Linear Burn.

Resize and move the texture inside the text until you get a result you like.

Step 2

Duplicate the Text Color layer, rename the copy to Outer Stroke, and drag it outside the Text group.

Step 3

Press Command-U and change the Saturation value to -100.

Step 4

Press-hold the Option key, and click the Add layer mask icon to add an inverted mask that hides the Outer Stroke layer's contents.

4. Change the texture's coloring

Step 1

Select the Text Color layer, press Command-U, and play around with the Hue value to change the texture's coloring if you like.

Step 2

Create a new layer on top of the Text Color layer, call it Colors, and change its Blend Mode to Color.

Step 3

Pick the Brush Tool, with a soft big round tip, and set the Foreground Color to any vibrant colors you want to add to the text, then paint over the areas where you want to add the colors.

You can add as many colors as you like, and try different color values until you achieve the desired result.

Step 4

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, choose Photo Filter, and make sure to add the layer on top of the Colors layer.

Choose Warming Filter (85) from the Filter list, and change the Density to 10%. This will add a very subtle warming effect to the text.

5. Create the text stroke brush

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool and open the Brush panel.

Choose a soft round tip, check the Wet Edges box, and use these settings:

- Brush Tip Shape

- Shape Dynamics

- Dual Brush

Use the Spatter 46 pixels tip


Step 2

Click the Create new brush icon at the bottom right corner of the Brush panel, and type Text Stroke for the Name.

6. Create the outer stroke brush

Step 1

Choose a soft round tip, un-check the Wet Edges box, and use these settings:

- Brush Tip Shape

- Shape Dynamics

- Scattering

- Dual Brush

Use the Sampled Tip tip


Step 2

Create another new brush with the name Outer Stroke.

7. Create the work path

Step 1

Right-click the text layer and choose Create Work Path.

Step 2

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), click the Path operations icon in the Options bar, and choose Merge Shape Components.

8. Stroke the work path with the saved brush tips

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool, choose the Text Stroke tip, set the Foreground Color to White, and select the Text group mask's thumbnail.

Hit the Return key once to stroke the path with the selected brush tip.

Step 2

Choose the Outer Stroke brush tip, select the Outer Stroke layer mask's thumbnail, and hit the Return key again to stroke the path.

Press A then hit the Return key one more time to get rid of the work path.

Step 3

Lower the Outer Stroke layer's Opacity to a value around 5%.

9. Style the text's edges and add vignette

Step 1

Double-click the Text group to apply an Inner Shadow effect with these settings:

Blend Mode: Color Burn

Color: #050505

Opacity: 100%

Distance: 0

Size: 15

This will style the text's edges.

Step 2

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Gradient.

Create a Transparent to Fill Color gradient using the colors #848284 to the left and #2d2c2b to the right.

Change the Style to Radial, the Scale to 200, and check the Dither box.

Finally, change the Gradient layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light, and its Opacity to 50%.

That's it!

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we used a couple of textures, layer styles, and brush settings to create a fun, easy, colorful watercolor text effect.

Please feel free to share your work in projects section!

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