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Create Pretty Text with Custom Shapes and Clipping Masks in Photoshop

Updated on August 29, 2015

In this short tutorial I am going to show you how to create attractive Text Effect with Blending Options, Custom Shapes and Clipping Masks. You will also learn how to prepare beautiful Background using Reflected Gradient, Tree Bark and Frost Texture.

Both textures added to the Background are my own photos and unrestricted stock.

You'll see on the screenshots that the Text is created in Adobe Photoshop CS6 but all other versions of the program are applicable. I have used basic Font and custom shapes which are exclusive for the lower versions too.

This is the outcome you'll get if you decide to follow all my steps:


Firstly prepare a folder where you are going to keep your Photoshop file, both textures you have to download and the final result saved in a chosen by you format.

Now create a New .psd document of 1200px Width and 700px Height. Name it Pretty Text for example. Set the Resolution to 96 Pixels/Inch and select RGB Color for Color Mode. Choose also Transparent from Background Contents drop down menu to get an editable Layer 1.

If you intend to print your work, set the Resolution to 300 Pixels/Inch and choose CMYK for Color Mode.

Double click on Layer 1 name and type Reflected Gradient. Press also Ctrl+G to place your first layer in a group. Rename Group 1 to Gradient and Textures.

Create Sparkling Background with Reflected Gradient, Tree Bark and Frost Texture

In Steps 2-8 our task will be firstly to colorize the canvas with glossy Reflected Gradient, then we are going to add two textures- Tree Bark and Frost which will give our Background grainy and spotty look.


While Reflected Gradient layer is selected, change the Foreground Color to #a24d4d then set Background Color to #191401.

Grab Gradient tool (or press G for short) then navigate to the Options bar to change the settings. Open the Gradient Picker and select the first Foreground to Background Gradient, then click on Reflected Gradient icon. Drag with the tool from the middle to bottom of the canvas. It is better to hold down Shift when you drag with the Gradient to be able to colorize the canvas symmetrically.


Now you need to download this cool Tree Bark Texture which will be added to the Background.

Click on the Texture image below to open it in high resolution, then right click and choose Save As to put it in your folder.


Create a New Layer placed on top of Gradient and Textures group and name it Tree Bark Texture.

Open in Photoshop the Texture you already downloaded. Press Ctrl+A to Load Selection on its whole image then press Ctrl+C to Copy it. Go back to your Pretty Text .psd file, select the Tree Bark Texture layer and press Ctrl+V to Paste the Texture there.

As the Size of the Texture is 1800/1350px and the Size of your .psd file is 1200/700px, you will need to resize the Tree Bark Texture. While its layer is highlighted, navigate to the Menu bar and select Edit, Free Transform. Move any node in inner direction to make the Texture cover your canvas. Press Enter to apply the Transformation.


Change the Blend Mode of Tree Bark Texture layer to Multiply.


In this Step your task is to download the Frost Texture given below (See Step 3 for a reference).


Create a New Layer on top of Gradient and Textures group called Frost Texture. Paste there the previously downloaded Frost image and resize it to cover your canvas (see Step 4).


Change the Blend Mode of Frost Texture layer to Overlay.

Type the Text and Apply Layer Styles to Add Glow, Noise and 3D Effect

In Steps 9-15 we are going to type our Text using Verdana Font of 40% Horizontally Scale. After that we are going to apply four Blending Options which will give our Pretty Text subtle 3D look, glow, shadow and noise.


In this Step we'll start to create the Text Effect. Firstly we have to type it so select Horizontal Type tool (or press T) and navigate to the Options bar to change its settings. Select the widely used Verdana Font from Font Family drop down menu, Set the Font Style to Bold and Font Size to 420pt then choose #d4cd55 for Text Color. Now type Pretty using Capital Letters. After you have typed your Text, highlight it and click on Toggle the Character and Paragraph Panels icon (Window, Character). When Character panel pops up on your screen, Set the Tracking for the Selected Characters to 100 and reduce the Horizontally Scale to 40%. Now your Text will resemble my outcome shown on the screenshot below.

Move your Text layer on top of Layers pane and place it in a Group named Text and Custom Shapes.


Change the Blend Mode of your Text layer to Hard Light.


Now right click on Pretty Text layer and select Blending Options (Layer, Layer Style, Blending Options). Firstly tick Drop Shadow in Layer Style box and change three of its settings. Reduce Distance to 0px, then heighten the values of Spread to 35% and Size to 20px.

Keep Layer Style dialog box active as more Blending Optians are to be applied in the coming steps.


The second Layer Style to be applied on Pretty Text layer is Inner Glow. Increase its Noise value to 30%, Set Color of Glow to #58cbca, select Center for Source and also increase the Size to 54px.


In this Step we are going to add dark red shades to the Text borders. For the purpose check Inner Shadow Layer Style. Change the Blend Mode to Hard Light, Set Color of Shadow to #9f0d0d and increase Opacity to 100%. Now reduce Distance to 0px, then heighten the values of Choke to 20% and Size to 15px.


We have to add subtle 3D Effect now, so tick Bevel and Emboss Layer Style, increase its Size to 16px, select Rounded Steps from Gloss Contour menu and Set Color for Highlight to #c5500f. Slightly increase Color for Highlight Opacity to 77% and reduce Color of Shadow Opacity to only 15%.


The last Layer Style we have to add to our Text is Contour. Only select Rounded Steps from the Contour Picker and leave the other two settings as given by default.

With this we finished our work on the Text layer. Press OK button to apply all Blending Options and to close Layer Style dialog box.

This is how our Pretty Text will look after applying all five Blending Options:

Draw Custom Shapes and Create Clipping Masks Using the Text as Masking Agent

From Step 16 until the end of this tut we are going firstly to make light green Spirals pattern with Spiral Custom Shape then we are going to add blue colored Tyle 2 Shape and Create Clipping Masks using the Text as a Masking Agent.


Create a New Layer on top of Text and Custom Shapes group and name it Spiral Custom Shape.

Set Foreground Color to light green- #55d47c then select Custom Shape tool, set its Mode to Pixels and find Spiral Shape in the Custom Shape Picker. Start drawing random spirals of different size on your canvas until you cover your Text with them.


Right click on Spiral Custom Shape layer and select Create Clipping Mask from the fly-out menu.

This is my outcome after applying the Clipping Mask:


Now we are going to add relief and volume to the spiral pattern which already covers our Text.

Double click on Spiral Custom Shape layer to activate the Layer Style box. The first Blending Option we have to tick is Drop Shadow. Only lower its Distance to 0px and increase Size to 6px.

Still don't close the Layer Style box. There are two more Blending Options to be added.


The second Layer Style we have to apply on the light green spirals is Inner Shadow. Decrease its Distance to 0px and Size to 2px.


Now select Bevel and Emboss Layer Style and decrease Color for Highlight and Color of Shadow Opacity to 30% both.

This is how our Pretty Text Effect will look after applying the layer styles on the spirals pattern:


Create a New Layer on top of Text and Custom Shapes group and call it Tyle 2 Custom Shape.

Change the Foreground Color to #55c1d4 then grab Custom Shape tool again in Pixels Mode and select Tyle 2 Shape in the Picker. Draw the Tyle 2 Shape to cover your Text as you see on the following screenshot.


Change the Blend Mode of Tyle Custom Shape layer to Hard Light.


Right click on Tyle 2 Custom Shape layer and choose Create Clipping Mask from the fly-out menu (see Step 17). You should get a similar outcome:


Now we have to transfer on the Tyle 2 Shape the same layer styles we applied on the spirals. Right click on Spiral Custom Shape layer and select Copy Layer Style.

Go back to Tyle 2 Custom Shape layer, right click on it and select Paste Layer Style.

This should be the result after you have pasted the Blending Options on Tyle 2 Custom Shape layer.

With this our Pretty Text is ready. You should have two groups with six layers in them in your Layers panel:

  1. Gradient and Textures group which includes these three layers: Reflected Gradient, Tree Bark Texture, Frost Texture and

  2. Text and Custom Shapes group which also has three layers in it: Pretty Text layer, Spiral Custom Shape and Tyle 2 Custom Shape layer.


This is my Pretty Text saved in .jpg format. To improve the quality of the final image you can apply Filter, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask.

Hope you find this tutorial useful and easy to follow. Thanks a million for reading and God bless! :)


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    Post Comment

    • CorneliaMladenova profile imageAUTHOR

      Korneliya Yonkova 

      3 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Thank you very much for the support, Sheila! :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      You are so talented at this! I wish I had your creativity! :)

    • CorneliaMladenova profile imageAUTHOR

      Korneliya Yonkova 

      3 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Thank you very much for the kind words and support, my friend :) God bless! :)

    • Michael-Milec profile image


      3 years ago

      Hello Cornelia.

      Amazing performance. I feel being lost and don't mind, knowing there are talented young and knowledgable people, ready to implement your conception. Thought of it makes my heart rejoicing .

      Good night and blessing upon you always.


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