In this tutorial I am going to show you all the steps I have taken to create gorgeous glossy letter with the help of four textures, layer styles, Pen Tool, gradients, layer masks and adjustment layers. The Font used for the letter is Verdana of Bold Style and all brushes applied on the layer masks and paths stroking are default so you can create this image in any Adobe Photoshop Version.
The four Textures- Log, Sky, Stone Wall and Stone are my photos and unrestricted stock, i.e. from now on they are yours and you can use them not only for this tut, but also for your own works if you like them.
This is a preview of the final result:
The most important is to organize your work because in addition to the .psd file you are going to create right now, you'll also have to download four textures and to save your outcome in .jpg or .png format. So you need to create a separate folder to save there all these files.
Now when you have the folder, open Adobe Photoshop and create a new .psd file (File, New). Name the file Glossy Texturized Letter, set its Width to 1100 Pixels and Height to 1500 Pixels. Insert 72 Pixels/Inch for Resolution or 300 Pixels/Inch if you intend to print your masterpiece. Set the Color Mode to RGB Color (or CMYK for those who'll print) and select Transparent from the Background Contents drop down menu. After you get transparent Layer 1 in your Layers panel, rename it to Background- doubled click on Layer 1 name and type Background instead. Press Ctrl+G or click on the Folder icon at the bottom of Layers pane to put the Background layer in a group. Rename Group 1 to Background.
Prepare the Background with Radial Gradient and Sky Texture
In Steps 2-5 you should fill your first layer in Background group with dark blue to dark red Radial Gradient. After that your task is to paste into your .psd file the Sky Texture you have to download, then resize it and change its Blend Mode to make it transparent.
Set Foreground Color to #2b3656 and Background Color to #1e0202 then grab Gradient tool (or press G), choose Foreground to Background Gradient from the Gradient Picker in the Options bar and click on the Radial type of Gradient icon. Drag with the instrument from the middle to a chosen corner of the canvas and you'll get the following outcome:
The first photo you have to download in this tutorial is the Sky Texture shown below. Click on it to open the image in high resolution then right click and select Save As to save it in the folder you created in Step 1.
Create a New Layer on top of Background group and call it Sky Texture. Open in Adobe Photoshop the previously downloaded photo, press Ctrl+A to Select it then press Ctrl+C to Copy it. Return to your Glossy Texturized Letter document, select the Sky Texture layer and press Ctrl+V to Paste there the image. Use Edit, Free Transform and move its nodes to resize the Texture so that it covers your canvas. Press Enter to apply the Transformation when you are ready.
Change Blend Mode of Sky Texture layer to Overlay.
Create the Base of the Letter with Stone Wall Texture, Layer Mask and Soft Brush
In Steps 6-11 you have to Create a New Layer in your Background group and paste there the Stone Wall Texture you have to download. Your next task is to resize and distort the Texture then change its Blend Mode and apply Layer Mask. In order to get rid of the rough edges, you have to use Soft Round Brush of black color with the Mask activated. You should also use Soft Black Brush to paint the shadow of the Letter.
Now download this Stone Wall Texture the same way you saved as the Sky Texture in Step 3.
Create a New Layer on top of Background group and call it Stone Wall Texture. Open in Adobe Photoshop the image you downloaded in the previous step, Select and Copy it then go back to your Glossy Texturized Letter file and Paste the Stone Wall Texture in the new layer (just like in Step 4). We are going to use this Texture as a base for our Glossy Letter, so go to Edit, Transform, Distort, move the upper middle node in inner direction and move left and right down nodes in outer direction to create a small trapezium.
You should get a shape like this after applying the Distort Transformation. Don't forget to press Enter to tell your program to accept the Transformation.
Change Blend Mode of Stone Wall Texture layer to Vivid Light.
While Stone Wall layer is highlighted, click on Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of Layers pane (Layer, Layer Mask, Reveal All).
This is how your layer will look in Layers pane after adding the Layer Mask. You see that Foreground/Background colors have changed to Black/White. Keep the Layer Mask thumbnail selected.
Grab Brush tool and select Soft Round Brush from the Brush Preset Picker. Set its Size to 100px and while the Layer Mask thumbnail of Stone Wall Texture is selected, start brushing the borders of the Texture until you get a similar result:
Create a New Layer on top of Background group and name it Letter Shadow. Verify that your Foreground Color is set to Black. Take Soft Round Pressure Size Brush and change its Size to 125 px then draw a black line like you see on the screenshot below:
Reduce Opacity of Letter Shadow layer to 60%.
Type the Letter and Add Seven Blending Options
In Steps 12-18 you firstly have to type a big black Letter O using Verdana (default) Font of Bold Style. You have to add Blending Options to give the Letter glowing metallic look, lead shaded Stroke and Texture. The combination of Inner Shadow, Satin Layer Style, Green and Black Pattern (default) and 3D Effect will add noise and relief.
As you can see, I haven’t resterized the Letter layer in order to leave it editable. If you rasterize it and then change your mind and decide to use another letter, you have to type it anew and paste the layer styles.
Grab Horizontal Type tool and navigate to the Options bar to change its settings. Find Verdana font from the Font Family drop down menu, select Bold for Font Style and set the Font Size to 1100pt. Choose black (#000000) for Text Color. Type capital O and place it as you see on the following screenshot- the shadow and Stone Wall Texture should be under the letter.
Rename the O Text layer to Letter and move it on top of Layers pane, then put it in a group (Ctrl+G) called Letter too.
Right click on Letter Text layer and choose Blending Options (Layer, Layer Style, Blending Options). Check Drop Shadow in the Layer Style box which will pop-up on your screen and change the following five settings:
Color of Shadow: #011a1a
Keep Layer Style dialog box active as we have five more Blending Options to add.
The second Layer Style we have to apply on Letter Text layer is Pattern Overlay. Change its settings like this:
Blend Mode: Normal
Pattern: Green and Black (128 by 128 pixels, RGB mode)
Now check Satin Layer Style and apply the following settings:
Blend Mode: Linear Dodge
Color of Effect: #d6f7ff
The next Layer Style you should tick is Inner Shadow. Modify these settings:
Blend Mode: Normal
Color of Shadow: #ebfdff
Angle: 120 degrees
Now we should add thin Stroke so check it in Layer Style box and change the following settings:
Fill Type: Gradient
First Color Stop (Location 0%): #10151f
Second Color Stop (Location 70%): #bebebe
Third Color Stop (Location 100%): #10151f
Angle: 90 degrees
Now we have to add 3D Effect to our letter so check Bevel and Emboss and change these settings:
Technique: Chisel Hard
Gloss Contour: Ring
Color for Highlight: #d1d4db
Color for Highlight Opacity: 100%
Color of Shadow Opacity: 100%.
The last Layer Style we are to apply on Letter layer is Contour. Tick it in Layer Style box and find Gaussian type of Contour in the Contour Picker. Leave the other two default settings unchanged.
This is how your O Letter will look after applying all previous layer styles:
Duplicate the Letter Layer and Apply Seven Layer Styles
In Step 19-25 you should duplicate the Letter layer and remove the Blending Options from the copied one. You have to enhance the glow and relief of the Letter in this step. Your task is to add Steel Bar (default) Gradient, light blue Satin and Inner Glow, Shadow, 3D Effect and Platinum shaded Stroke.
While Letter Text layer is selected, press Ctrl+J to duplicate it. Reduce the Fill Opacity of Letter copy layer to 0% then remove the previously applied layer styles- just drag the fx icon to the right of the layer to the recycle bin icon at the bottom of Layers panel. You can do the same if you right click on Letter copy layer and select Clear Layer Style.
Now right click on Letter copy layer and select Blending Options. The first Layer Style to be applied is Gradient Overlay. Set its Blend Mode to Multiply, Opacity to 40% and select Steel Bar Gradient from the Gradient picker. Change the Angle to 90 degrees.
The second Layer Style to be added to Letter copy layer is Satin. Change its Color of Effect to #c0ffff, increase Opacity to 100%, change also Distance to 46px, Size to 210px and select Ring-Double Contour from the Contour Picker.
It is time to add more shine to our O letter so tick Inner Glow Layer Style and change these settings:
Color of Glow: #d5feff
In order to increase the volume and shadows of the letter, apply Inner Shadow Layer Style. Set the Color of Shadow to #26282e, change Size to 76px and select Ring-Double Contour.
Now tick Stroke Layer Style and modify these settings:
Fill Type: Gradient
First Color Stop (Location 0%): #535b5e
Second Color Stop (Location 25%): #bdc3d4
Third Color Stop (Location 50%): #4a5154
Fourth Color Stop (Location 75%): #c5cfe4
Fifth Color Stop (Location 100%): #535b5e
Angle: 90 degrees.
Tick also Bevel and Emboss to add 3D Effect. Change the following settings:
Style: Stroke Emboss
Technique: Chisel Soft
Gloss Contour: Ring
Color of Shadow: #292929.
The last Layer Style we need to add to our Letter copy layer is Contour. Only change the Contour to Gaussian and leave both other settings as given by default.
Our O letter is ready in regard to the Blending Options. Your outcome should resemble the result shown on my screenshot below:
Draw Two Wavy Lines with Pen Tool, Add Gradient and Layer Styles
In Steps 26-31 you will start to decorate the Letter. Firstly you have to draw Line 1 using Pen tool in Paths mode. If you are not that sure when working with Pen tool, simply use my screenshot for a reference and just trace my wavy line, following the nodes.
After you have drawn the wave, you should Stroke it with Soft Brush (Simulate Pressure checked) then apply Layer Mask and fill it with Black to White Gradient to make transparent the bottom part of the wave. You will finish your work on this first wavy line with applying three Blending Options- Glow, Gradient and Bevel and Emboss.
You have to create another wavy line on a new layer and also add Blending Options to it.
Create a New Layer called Line 1. Place it between Letter and Letter copy layer. Grab Pen Tool and check if its Mode is set to Path (by default) in the Options bar. Draw a curve similar to the one shown on the following screenshot:
Change the Foreground Color to vivid yellow: #faeb46 then grab Brush Tool and choose Soft Round Pressure Size brush. Change its Size to 20px.
Verify that Line 1 layer is highlighted then reselect Pen tool, right click somewhere on the Pen tool Path, select Stroke Path from the fly-out menu and when Stroke Path box appears on your screen, select Brush from Tool drop-down menu and tick Simulate Pressure option.
This is the result you should get after stroking the Path:
In order to get rid of the Pen tool Path, press twice Delete key or right click on the Path and choose Delete Path.
While Line 1 layer is highlighted, click on Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of Layers pane. Your Foreground/Background Color in the Tools bar should get Black/White.
With the Layer Mask thumbnail selected, press G to activate Gradient tool then select Foreground to Background gradient from the Gradient Picker and click on Linear type of Gradient icon. Drag with the tool from the bottom to the upper side of the canvas. Now you see that your Layer Mask changed- it is filled with Gradient and the black part of the Gradient made the bottom part of our yellow Line 1 look fade.
Double click on Line 1 layer's thumbnail to activate Layer Style dialog box. Tick Outer Glow then heighten the value of its Opacity to 100%, set the Color of Glow to #ffa44b and increase Size to 35px.
The second Layer Style to be added to Line 1 layer is Gradient Overlay. Change its Blend Mode to Hard Light, select Black to White Gradient from the Gradient Picker and set its Angle to 90 degrees.
In order to give our Line 1 some relief, tick Bevel and Emboss Layer Style, increase its Depth to 1000% and Size to 7px, set Color for Highlight to #bd0c0c and Color for Highlight Opacity to 100%. Then change Color of Shadow to #0a464f and increase its Opacity to 100% too.
Create a New Layer called Line 2. Place it above Line 1 layer in Letter group. Draw a curve with Pen Tool and Stroke the Path with the same Brush of yellow color you already used in Step 26. Delete the Path when you are happy with the result.
Now you need to apply the same layer styles which we already added to Line 1 layer. For the purpose right click on Line 1 layer and select Copy Layer Style then right click on Line 2 layer and choose Paste Layer Style.
You should get this result so far:
Add Rifts and More Color to the Letter Using Log Texture and Gradient
In Step 32-35 you have to paste Log Texture into your .psd file, place it above Letter group and create Clipping Mask between the Texture and the group. You have to add Layer Mask too in order to be able to erase parts of the Texture using Soft Brush. The advantage of the Layer Mask is that if you work in it you won’t damage the layer contents and if you are not happy with the result you can always restore the original and start brushing anew.
You also have to change the Blend Mode and Opacity of the Texture and add default Gradient to colorize it.
Now you have to download this Log Texture which will be used to cover parts of the O Letter.
Create a New Layer on top of Layers pane and name it Log Texture. Open the Log Texture in Photoshop, Select it (Ctrl+A) then Copy it (Ctrl+C), go back to your Glossy Texturized Letter document and Paste (Ctrl+V) the Texture in Log Texture layer. Apply Edit, Free Transform and resize the Texture so that it covers the whole O letter. Press Enter key when you are ready with the Transformation.
Right click on Log Texture layer and select Create Clipping Mask from the fly-out menu.
Now reduce Fill Opacity of Log Texture layer to 65%.
While Log Texture layer is highlighted, click on Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of Layers pane. Grab Soft Round Brush, set its Size to 100px and with the Layer Mask thumbnail selected, erase with the Brush some parts of the Texture. Below is shown my result, but of course, you can decide to remove another parts.
Change also Blend Mode of Log Texture layer to Vivid Light.
Double click on Log Texture layer's thumbnail and check Gradient Overlay in Layer Style box. Change the Blend Mode to Hard Light, select Blue-Violet, Yellow-Orange Gradient from the Gradient Picker and set its Angle to 90 degrees.
This is how our letter will looks so far:
Add More Lines in Front and Behind the Letter
In Steps 36-42 you have to do more work with Pen tool to create additional colorful waves stroked with Soft Brush on separate layers. You also have to apply Bevel and Emboss on each one of the waves.
Now create five new layers on top of Layers panel. Name the first one (from bottom to top) Purple Line, the second- Yellow Line, then come Pink Line, Green Line and Blue Line layers. Select all these five layers and press Ctrl+G to put them in a group. Name it Front Lines. Select Purple Line layer, take Pen Tool and draw a curve at the left side of the O Letter. Stroke the curve with Soft Round Pressure Size Brush of 40px and #f284ff color. Press Delete key to remove the Path when you are ready. Repeat the same on the rest of the layers in Front Lines group. For the Yellow line I have used #f8ef61 color, for the Pink Line- #d26fab, for the Green Line- #7cf98a and for the Blue Line- #4e9ae2 color.
Now reduce Fill Opacity of each of the color lines layers to 55%.
Apply Bevel and Emboss Layer Style on any of the colorful lines layers. I have chosen the first Purple Line layer. Increase the Depth of Bevel and Emboss to 1000%, choose Rounded Steps for Gloss Contour then reduce Color for Highlight Opacity to 45% and Color of Shadow Opacity to 40%.
Right click on Purple Line layer and select Copy Layer Style.
Now select Yellow Line layer, right click on it and select Paste Layer Style.
Select the next Pink Line layer, right click on it and choose Paste Layer Style. Repeat the same on Green and Blue Line layers. Now all lines will get nice relief and 3D look:
Create a new group of layers called Back Lines. Place it between Background and Letter groups then create within it the following layers (from bottom to top): Red Line 1, Red Line 2, Red Line 3, Blue Line 1 and Blue Line 2 layer. Use Pen Tool to draw the first Red Line 1 Path then Stroke it with Soft Round Pressure Size Brush of 50px Size and #f4185e color. Create the same way the other two red lines then use the same brush but this time of #7068fb color to create the two blue lines. It is not necessary to draw absolutely the same lines as mine. You can create more and differently curved. Just use your imagination. The most importatn is to create every line on a separate layer.
Now reduce Fill Opacity of all layers in Back Lines group to 40%.
Double click on Red Line 1 layer's thumbnail and check Bevel and Emboss. Increase its Depth to 1000%, change the Highlight Mode to Overlay, Color for Highlight to #ffb245 and increase its Opacity to 100%. Reduce Color of Shadow Opacity to 50%.
Copy the Layer Style applied on Red Line 1 layer and Paste it on the rest of the layers in Back Lines group.
Add Stone Texture to Create Rough Translucent Vignette
In Steps 43-46 you have to download awesome Stone Texture, paste it in your document and place it on top of Layers pane. You should change its Blend Mode, add Layer Mask and erase the middle part of it to create subtle texturized Vignette Effect.
The last Texture you have to download to give unique touch to your image is this Stone Texture:
Create a New Layer on top of Layers pane and Name it Stone Texture. Place it in a Group called Front Effects. Paste in this New Layer the Stone Texture you already downloaded and apply Edit, Free Transform to make it cover your canvas:
Change the Blend Mode of Stone Texture layer to Overlay.
Now apply Layer Mask on Stone Texture layer then grab Soft Round Brush, set its Size to 500px and erase the parts of the Texture which cover the O Letter. Erase also some portions covering the background but leave a Texture on the Blue and Red Lines as you see on this screenshot:
Add Two Adjustment Layers to Improve the Colors and Contrast
You will finish the work on the Glossy Texturized Letter when you add two Adjustment Layers on top of Layers Panel. The first one is Color Balance. You should modify its Midtones, Shadows and Highlights settings then change the Blend Mode and reduce Opacity value.
The second Adjustment Layer you should create is Photo Filter. The Underwater type of Filter will add mystic look to your work.
While Stone Texture layer is highlighted, navigate to the Menu bar and select Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Color Balance.
When Properties dialog box pops out on your screen, firstly change the Midtones settings:
Now change the Shadows settings like this:
And the Highlights settings:
Change also the Blend Mode of Color Balance layer to Multiply and reduce its Opacity to 50%.
This is how our O Letter looks so far. We have only to add some final touches in the next two steps.
Now go again to Layer, New Adjustment Layer but this time Select Photo Filter. Choose Unterwater from Filter drop-down menu in the Properties box and increase Density to 100%.
Change Blend Mode of Photo Filter layer to Lighten.
Our Glossy Texturized Letter is ready. This is my outcome saved in .jpg format. You should get similar result if you have decided to followed all my steps.
If you don't understand anything just leave a comment below. I will be happy to help you.
Thank you very much for reading. God bless! :)
Korneliya Yonkova (author) from Cork, Ireland on May 19, 2015:
Thank you so much, Rachel :)
Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on May 19, 2015:
Hi Cornelia, You created another beautiful art for Photoshop. You obviously have a talent for that. Even though I wouldn't be able to do it, I love looking at it. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and beautiful.
Blessings to you.
Korneliya Yonkova (author) from Cork, Ireland on May 16, 2015:
Thank you very much for the support, my friend :)
poetryman6969 on May 16, 2015:
I like your work. The results are attractive.
Korneliya Yonkova (author) from Cork, Ireland on May 16, 2015:
Thank you very much, Christin, hope you will find the tut easy to follow :)
Christin Sander from Midwest on May 16, 2015:
Looks really sharp! - I love Photoshop and this is a good tutorial.