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Twig Wood Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Updated on June 22, 2015
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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Rustic Woody Text Effect

This is an easy to follow tutorial on creating a classy woody looking text effect for headings and images in Adobe Photoshop. I know there are quite a few steps but it is easier than it looks once you get started. I have Adobe Photoshop CS6 but you can also use this technique with older versions. I’m using the Liquify Filter, plus Bevel and Emboss to create the 3D twigs for each letter and Overlays such as a Wood Bark Photo overlay to create the woody look, and the Lantern Photo overlay to create the foreground lighting for the text. I also added a photo of a train above the background for more ambiance, but that isn’t necessary. Once you have created one of these text effects, you can use the same technique for a number of other projects.

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.

New Document

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Step 1.

Open a new document in Photoshop. You can use any setting you wish but I am using the following settings set to: 14 by 8.5 inches and desired resolution value. I will use 300 ppi, RGB and Black background. Click Ok.

Color Picker

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Step 2.

Using Rounded Corner Rectangle Tool and medium brown color, 8f5d1b, draw out rectangles for each letter of your text. I am going to make the word PIONEER. Don’t worry about the diagonal rectangles just yet. We can transform them later. Each one will appear on a separate layer.

Do you think you would try this style after this?

See results

Rasterize and Liquify

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Step 3.

Each rectangle has to be Liquified one at a time. Click onto the first rectangle and go to Filter>Liquify. You will get a dialog box stating that the layer must be Rasterized first. Click okay. In the Liquify filter, pull and push the edges of the rectangle to look like a rough wood twig as shown in the diagram, then click okay. I shaped them each and moved them using the Move Tool, to fit the letters that I wished to form. If you need to make a diagonal rectangle press Control/Command+T to size and rotate the rectangle as you wish. There should be a 45 degree tilt for the Ps and the Rs.

Group all the layers for each letter separately by holding down Shift and clicking on each layer for that letter. Then by going to Layer>Group Layers they will all be under one group heading for each letter. Click twice onto the name of the group to change it to the letter, like P or I, or O, etc. This step takes a little time but is worth the effort.

Liquify one at a time

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Move into place

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Liquify takes time

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Group all layers for each letter

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Last letter

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Group Layers

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Bevel and Emboss

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Step 4. Bevel and Emboss

Double click to open Layer Styles, click Bevel and Emboss, Inner Bevel, Technique is Smooth, Depth 100%, Direction Up, size 50 pix, Soften 8, Angle -48, Altitude 26, Highlight color changed to faed80, or medium yellow, Shadow color changed to 893a10, or red brown. Click ok. To apply this to each twig press and hold Alt (on PC) or Option (on Mac) and click onto the FX on the side of the layer just applied, then drag this FX up to the next layer. The Layer Style is applied to the next layer magically. Do this with all the twig layers.

Create twig ends

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Step 5. Twig Ends

Choose a light brown, f9d3a1, and the Ellipse Tool and create a small oval for the cut end of each wood twig. Group each ellipse with the letter it belongs to.

Gradient Overlay

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Add FX to each letter

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Step 6. Gradient Overlay

Double click to open Layer Style, click Gradient Overlay, click on gradient bar to change the gradient colors, click onto the left color stop and change the color to 814f15, brown. Then click onto the right color stop and change the color to faddc1, sand. Click ok. Duplicate this oval for each of the bottoms of the twigs by pressing Control/Command+J, and then dragging the new copy to the appropriate twig letter on the art board and in the Layers Panel.

Photo Overlay

FX style to each letter

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Group all letter groups

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Group Pioneer

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Step 7. Group letter groups

Group all grouped letter layers and rename: text.

Bark Photo

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Copy this Bark

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Step 8. Bark Photo

Add a bark texture photo. You can use my photo of a tree trunk near me or use your own photo as you wish. Make sure the photo covers your twigs completely. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply.

Lantern

Free from Morgue File.
Free from Morgue File. | Source

Copy this Masked Lantern

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Step 9. Add lantern

Add the lantern photo to a new layer. I got a photo of a lantern from the Morgue File, a website of free photos. The background had to be masked out and carefully. I have done this for you so you can use my photo or retrieve your own. Drag and drop this photo onto your text background. Resize it and reposition it as desired by pressing Control/Command+T.

Place Lantern

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Dodge and Burn

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Step 10. Dodge and Burn

Create a New Layer above the lantern. Fill with 50% grey. I did this by choosing a middle grey as my foreground color, choosing the Paint Bucket tool and clicking onto the art board. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply. This layer is to create the Dodge and Burn without damaging the original photo of the lantern. Dodge lightens, Burn darkens. Start with the Burn tool, with Range on Shadows and Exposure to 65%, begin darkening the areas of the lantern that are away from the center, where the light is or will be. Then on the same layer with the Dodge tool, Range on Highlights and Exposure the same, lighten areas that are pointing toward the light, like on the arms of the lantern and bottom and top rim. You can even lighten the bottom edge of some of the twigs nearest the lantern if you like.

Light and Glow

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Step 11. Light

Create a new layer. Change the foreground color to an orange color: FFae00. Select a brush tool with soft edges. Set the Brush Opacity to 50 and Flow to 40%. Size the brush to just fit in the middle of the lantern. Add “light” in the middle of the lantern clicking once or twice. Make the Brush larger by clicking a couple times on the Right Bracket key ] and click in the center of the lantern again. Make the Brush larger and click again. Keep doing this until the glow from the lantern reaches as far as you would like. Change the Blend Mode to Screen. Bring down the Opacity to 85%.

Step 12. Glow

Bring down the Brush Opacity more to 15% and the Flow to 44% to add some light around the lantern as desired. I added some on the bottom edge of the lettering to add glow from the lamp. Zoom out and look at the overall feel. Add more if you like.

Dust

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Step 13. Splatter Dust

Create a new layer and name it Dust. Add some dust to the foreground by clicking onto the Brush Tool or type B, and choose a splatter brush from the Presets. I enlarged the splatter to fill the space around the lantern and some of the lettering (about 2400). Using white I clicked once and then using the Eraser tool took out some of the extra splatter. Change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and the splatter appears to be dust in the light of the lantern.

Train background Levels

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Step 14. Train Background

Now you can insert a photo above the background layer. It really has to be a dark photo or the lettering won’t really stand out well.

I found a train photo that I had taken and darkened it using Levels, taking down the Input blacks to 72 and the Output whites to 153. Then I added a Gradient Map from the list at the bottom of the Layers Panel in Adjustment Layers. I changed the gradient to be dark purple to black and changed the Blend Mode to Overlay. If this is too dark, reduce the Opacity of the layer to about 50 or 60% as needed. Group these layers all together and drag the group to your Lettering art board. Adjust the lighting as needed.

Gradient Map

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Lightning Bugs

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Lightning Bugs and Done

I added a few lightning bugs around by using a small soft brush and clicking here and there with white. That’s it. You have a very cool lettering effect that you created from scratch. Enjoy.

Finished

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Woody Comments Accepted Here

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      CorneliaMladenova,

      Wow, thank you. Coming from you that is a really big compliment. Your work is outstanding. I see you studied Graphic Design. I am a fine artist and didn't study Graphic Design but only illustration, still I like some Graphic Design and play with it now and then, as you can see. Also as you see, I like to throw in some fine art into the graphics, so it is a bit of both. Thanks for looking at my design and commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 2 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Gorgeous effect, Denise, love the wooden texture. :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Larry Rankin,

      Thanks for taking a look. You are so nice to come by and visit.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Rachel L Alba,

      Thank you, Rachel, but I think almost anyone can do it with a little practice. I appreciate you thinking I'm talented though.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Really cool effect. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I really like the pictures with the lightening bugs in it. I can't do these things but you obviously have a talent for it. Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings to you, Denise.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      FlourishAnyway,

      Thank you very much. I do try to be thorough and professional. I hope you can use this one.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I could definitely see this being used for a camping or outdoors adventure article. Very original and your instructions professional.