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Old Chrome Text Effect In Adobe Photoshop

Updated on June 22, 2017
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise has been mastering photography and photoshop for many years and sells some of her work. She hires out her skills to help people.

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Classy Effect In Photoshop

This is a really easy to follow tutorial on creating a reflective chrome effect for text and images in Adobe Photoshop. I have Adobe Photoshop CS6 but you can also use this technique with older versions. I’m using the Bevel and Emboss Layer Style to create the 3D texture and a photo overlay to get the really great reflective quality. To do this you will be creating a displacement map. It seems difficult at first but it’s not as hard as it sounds. Once you have created one, you can use the technique for a number of other projects in the future.

There are many avenues to the same function in Photoshop. I found after months of going the long direction (up to the tool bar, click an option, wait for the drop down menu, choose one, get another drop down menu, choose one, etc.) that there are shortcuts to almost all the functions. I will try to give some of these short cuts because the more you use them the easier they are to remember. However if you can’t remember a shortcut, you can always go the long direction to get to the same place.

This tutorial makes a really beautiful text heading for your flyers or business cards, or even a cover for an e-book. The application possibilities are virtually endless. So let’s get started.

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Step 1.

Create a new document in Photoshop at US Paper size, 11 wide by 8.5 high and 300 pixels per inch. Make sure you have RBG color selected.

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Step 2.

Go to the Text button and choose a font that is fairly think, like Impact. Although any font will do, a thicker one will look nicer and show more of the chrome details better. I used a medium thin font called Tagettes and Tagettes Plus at 150 pixel size. I tilted mine too for decorative purposes but that isn’t necessary. Type anything you want in black and you are ready to go. Tagettes can be found at DaFont for free. At this point I also added a black illustration so that I could apply the same functions to it along with the text. This is optional.

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Uses

Can you think of any uses you may have for a dramatic Chrome text effect?

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Step 3.

Hold down the control key, or command key in Mac, and click on the T in the layer with your text. This makes the text a selection. In Windows find Channels and open it so you can see the four channel options. You can also see the Channels tab next to the Layers tab above the Layers panel on the right. Create a new channel, which will be black to start and fill that with white. To do this, click the little white piece of paper icon at the bottom of the panel. If you can’t figure out how to fill with white, go to Edit>Fill>white or Control/Command+Backspace. This creates a new layer for you with white copy. Rename it Original then duplicate that channel by dragging the layer to the bottom of the panel where the white piece of paper icon is.

This second copy will be for our displacement map. With the second one selected go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur set to about 9. Control/Command click on the original channel, which loads the original sharp edge design as a selection. I want to eliminate everything outside the marching ants so I invert by selecting Control/Command+Shift+I. Then fill that with black by pressing Control/Command Back Space or Edit>Fill>black. Pressing Control/Command+D will deselect so the marching ants stop and you can see the image is sharp and crisp with a little blur on the inside edge. Now I changed the name from Original copy to Blurred just so I can differentiate later.

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Step 4.

Now you have to save this into a new file to use later as a displacement map. Press Control/Command+A to select all, Control/Command+C for copy, Control/Command+N for new. Leave all the parameters the same as they are and click okay. Then click Control/Command+V to paste. Now save this new document as your displacement map. Name it Dismap or whatever will help you to find it later. Be sure to save it in a file where you will be able to find it again as a psd and then close it.

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Darker photos work best.
Darker photos work best. | Source

Step 5.

You are now back to your RGB original layer text. Go to your Layers panel. Now to have a reflective surface, you want something to reflect so find a photo, preferably a colorful one and one that isn’t too bright. A little underexposed photo may be best for this purpose. I chose a landscape photo I got free from Dreamstime. Make sure the photo fills the canvas area completely for the filter we are going to use to work properly.

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Step 6.

Blur your photo just a bit by going to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set it at about 3.5. Click okay.

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Step 7.

Now for the magic. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery (in CS6) or Filter>Distort>Glass in older versions. Bring Distortion up to 20, and 9 for the Smoothness. Click on the side icon next to texture and you will get Load Texture, go to your file with the dismap, then click okay.

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Step 8.

To isolate the glass effect from the background, go back to your original channel and Control/Command click onto that original channel to make the selection. Click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel and it should automatically cut the letters out for you leaving a nice white background.

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Step 9.

Obviously this is really too reflective for Chrome so we need to tweak it a bit and add some lighting. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Bevel and Emboss, set the depth to 350%, size to 35 pixels, softness to 3 pixels, light direction to 90 degrees, altitude to 32 degrees and Gloss Contour to Terraced. If you don’t see Terraced, use Rounded Steps.

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Step 10.

While this Layer Styles window is open, click on the Gradient Overlay to give that grey chrome coloring. Use the default gradient, which is dark at the bottom and light at the top, Opacity to 65%, change the Blend Mode to Linear Dodge.

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Step 11.

Now you need to create a copy of this layer by dragging the layer down to the piece of paper at the bottom of the layers panel and then strip the effects from the new copy layer. Then click on the FX at the right of the layer and tell it to clear Layer Style. Change this layer’s Blending Mode to Color Dodge. Take the opacity down to 40%.

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Step 12.

Make a Curves Adjustment Layer by clicking the icon at the bottom of the layers panel, play with the levels by pulling the darks down and the lights up till you are happy with the effect, or you can follow my diagram.

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Step 13.

You can make the background black or dark to really make the image pop. Then select all the layers except the background layer and Convert to a Smart Object so that if you need to you can still go back and make changes. It is a non-destructive way to Merge the layers. To do this right click on the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object from the menu. Or to do the same thing go to the top menu choose Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object.

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Step 14.

On top of the background layer and under the Smart Object layer, create a new layer and add a Radial Gradient. Create a Hue Adjustment layer and add color to your Gradient, any color you want by dragging the slider bars back and forth. Don’t forget to click Colorize.

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Step 15.

Now we need a drop shadow. Make sure you are on the Smart Object layer. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow, or double click on the layer and choose Drop Shadow from the Layer Styles dialog box. The Angle needs to match what we did earlier so set it at 90 degrees, and the Distance to 32 degrees, the Spread to 20 and the Size to about 60 pixels. It’s all a matter of preference so choose what you like.

Step 16.

Extra shadow: Often this isn’t quite enough so you can drag the Smart Object down to the layers icon to Duplicate. Put the duplicate under the original and fill it with black, by going to the channels again and clicking Control/Command onto the original layer. This gives us the marching ants selection and you can make it any color you like, in this case black. Sometimes I like to make the shadow a blue or dark purple. Then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set it to about 5 or 6, just enough to give a soft blurred shadow under the text layer.

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Step 17.

Highlights: The last little thing is that with any shiny metal you need a little highlight. So create a new layer on top of everything, name it Highlights. Use a soft brush with no hardness, set the flow to about 20 and pick parts of the text where there would be white highlights glowing back to the camera. I chose the top left parts and just clicked several times to make the glow pop then moved to another area to click several more times there, all the way across the text. You may find in your brushes a starburst brush or star brush, which you can use if you so desire but go sparingly with it because it can easily be overdone and look tacky.

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Finished

And there you have it. You can use a number of fonts on the same image as I did with Art Therapy, or stick with just one as in the Simplicity. I think it makes a very classy glassy effect good for a number of headings or book titles. I even used a it over a photo as in Great Scott. The possibilities are endless. Have fun.

Artistic Comments Wanted

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      FlourishAnyway,

      Thank you. It is really pretty with a bold font too.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      So beautiful, and I like that you applied it to a cursive font. I can see it being used for technology hubs especially.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      GarnetBird,

      Awesome, thank your for sharing and visiting. I'm glad you liked the hub even though you already know how to do this effect.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Lovely C,

      I will get right on that. I think that's a great idea. Thank you for the tip. You can be looking for it within a week or so.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 2 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I have been using photo shop for years and my husband used the chrome effect to do some vintage car photos..nice hub!

    • Lovely  C profile image

      lavenderLove 2 years ago from Philippines

      introduction to Photoshop I think is the best way to get people interested about it..specially people like me who is not really into computers...(smile)

    • Lovely  C profile image

      lavenderLove 2 years ago from Philippines

      Maybe an introduction to Photoshop and all..then how to start installing stuffs...coz I know lots of people stikk want to know the basics first ..like me..I am not really a computer person..I would love to read stuffs like that..

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Larry Rankin,

      Me too, Larry, it is such a cool effect that it is worth the extra effort. Enjoy.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I really like this chrome effect.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Lovely C,

      Oh if there is an interest I would love to do that. I had the feeling that people either already know a little about Photoshop and want to know more or they aren't interested at all. Let me know what areas you think I should cover first. There is so much that Photoshop will do.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Ana Kolomeka,

      Well, you can save this as a jpeg and then insert it into a Word document as if it were a photo. In Word you would go to Insert, then Photo, then Picture from File then find where you saved it on your computer. When it opens in your Word document just resize it to fit where you want it to. I have done this with lots of headings I wanted in my flyers and bio papers they give away at galleries. Hope that helps.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Lovely  C profile image

      lavenderLove 2 years ago from Philippines

      this is really interesting

      ..I have always wanted to try something like this..I hope you will have soon an article for begginers like me...like all about the photoshop facts ..

    • Ana Kolomeka profile image

      Ana Kolomeka 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Is there a way you can do this using a basic Word document?

    working