Create a bright watercolor text effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a simple and bright watercolor text effect using filters, brushes, and adjustment layers. Let’s start!

I was inspired to create this effect by the numerous additions for creating the watercolor effect, available (for a fee) on the GraphicRiver website.

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

Note: The author used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the fonts for the lesson.

1. Create a background

Step 1

Create a new document 1250 x 850 pixels above the layer Background (Background) insert a picture with a canvas texture and, if necessary, adjust its size (Ctrl + T).

Step 2

At the bottom of the layers panel, press the button Create new fill or adjustment layer (Create a new fill or adjustment layer) and select Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 3

Transform adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) in clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G) for the layer with the texture of the canvas and set Saturation (Saturation) at -25.

2. Transform a layer into a smart object.

Step 1

Above all previous layers we add a new one and call it “Watercolor texture”.

Choose any color and fill it with the “Watercolor texture” layer.

In the lesson, the fill color used is # d63965.

Step 2

Click the right mouse button on the “Watercolor texture” layer and select Convert to Smart Object (Convert to smart object). After that, set the background color to white.

Step 3

Move on Filter – Render – Clouds (Filter – Rendering – Clouds).

3. Create a watercolor texture using filters

Move on Filter – Filter Gallery (Filter – Filter Gallery) and apply the following filters:

Step 1

Brush Strokes – Sprayed Strokes (Strokes – Airbrush):

  • Stroke length (Length of stroke): 12
  • Spray radius (Spray radius): 7
  • Stroke Direction (Direction of strokes): Right Diagonal (Diagonally to the right)

Step 2

Before adding each new filter in the lower right part of the window click on the button New effect layer (New effects layer).

Step 3

Brush Strokes – Spatter (Strokes – Spraying):

  • Spray Radius (Spray radius): 10
  • Smoothness (Softening): 5

Step 4

Artistic – Dry Brush (Imitation – Dry brush):

  • Brush Size (Brush size): 2
  • Brush Detail (Detailing): 8
  • Texture (Texture): 1

Step 5

Artistic – Underpainting (Imitation – Drawing on the back):

  • Brush Size (Brush size): 40
  • Texture Coverage (Textural background): 40
  • Texture (Texture): Canvas (Canvas)
  • Scaling (Scale): 100
  • Relief (Relief): 0
  • Light (Shine): Top (Above)

Step 6

Artistic – Dry Brush (Imitation – Dry brush):

  • Brush size (Brush size): 10
  • Brush Detail (Detailing): 10
  • Texture (Texture): 1

Step 7

Click OK to close the window with filters, and go Filter – Sharpen – unsharp Mask (Filter – Sharpening – Contour Sharpness).

Install Amount (Effect) at 55, Radius (Radius) – by 5 and Threshold (Isohelium) – to 0.

4. We work with the text

Step 1

Using the font HucklebuckJF, we write any text of 200 pt.

Step 2

Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the text layer in the layers panel to load its selection.

Step 3

On the layers panel, click on the eye icon to hide the text layer.

Then select the layer “Watercolor texture” and at the bottom of the layers panel click on the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask).

5. Adjust the brush

Take Brush Tool (B) (Brush) and open the panel Window – Brush (Window – Brush).

Select the Chalk 23 brush and set it up:

Brush Tip Shape (Brush print form)

Shape Dynamics (Dynamics of the form)

Scattering (Scattering)

Transfer (Broadcast)

6. Create a work path and apply a stroke.

Step 1

Right click on the text layer and select Create Work Path (Create a work path).

Step 2

Take Direct Selection Tool (A) (Selecting a node), then on the top property bar, click on the button Path operations (Contour operations) and select Merge Shape Components (Combine the components of the figure).

Select the “Watercolor texture” layer mask on which we will stroke the working contour.

Step 3

Activate again Brush Tool (B) (Brush), set the foreground color to white and press the Enter key to draw a work path around the configured brush.

Then press the A key and again Enter to remove the work path.

7. Create a watercolor brush

Step 1

Take Brush Tool (B) (Brush) and open the panel Brush (Brush), choose a hard round brush and customize it as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape (Brush print form)

Shape Dynamics (Dynamics of the form)

Texture (Texture)

Dual Brush (Double brush)

Select the brush Chalk 23.

Transfer (Broadcast)

We tick opposite Noise (Noise) and Wet Edges (Wet edges).

Step 2

Select the “Watercolor texture” layer mask and lightly draw with a brush to add blurred areas.

8. Stylize the watercolor effect.

Step 1

Change the blending mode of the “Watercolor texture” layer to Linear Burn (Line dimmer).

Step 2

Double-click on the “Watercolor texture” layer to apply the layer style. Inner Glow (Internal glow) with the following parameters:

  • Blend Mode (Overlay mode): Linear Burn (Linear dimmer)
  • Opacity (Opacity): 90%
  • Color: #cccccc
  • Size (Size): 5

This will make the edges of the label more realistic.

9. Add a vignette

Step 1

Under the layer “Watercolor texture” add fill Layer – New Fill Layer – Gradient (Layer – Fill New Layer – Gradient).

Select the gradient from transparent to color and set the color to # d8d8d8 on the left and # 929292 on the right, then change Style (Style) on Radial (Radial) and increase Scale (Scale) up to 250%.

Step 2

Change the blending mode of the gradient layer to Color Burn (Blackout basics).

With this step we finish the creation of the main watercolor effect using only one color that we chose to fill.

10. Add additional colors.

Step 1

Above the layer “Watercolor texture” add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and transform it into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G). Then install Saturation (Saturation) at -100.

Step 2

Above the layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) add a new one and call it “Color”. Change the blending mode of this layer to Color Burn (Blackout basics).

Step 3

Transform the “Color” layer into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G) for the “Watercolor texture” layer and take a large soft brush (B).

Next, we select in turn any bright hue and randomly paint over the text on the “Color” layer.

If you like, you can change the opacity of the “Color” layer to get a softer effect.

11. Apply more filters.

Step 1

Above all previous layers add a new layer and press Alt + Ctrl + Shift + E to merge all visible layers on it.

Name the resulting layer “Color Contrast” and convert it into a smart object.

Step 2

Move on Filter – Other – High Pass (Filter – Other – Color Contrast) and set Radius (Radius) on 1.

Step 3

Change the blending mode of the “Color Contrast” layer to Soft Light (Soft light) and reduce the opacity to 50%.

Step 4

At the very top, create another layer and merge all visible layers on it (Alt + Ctrl + Shift + E). We call it “Xerox” and convert it into a smart object.

Step 5

Move on Filter – Filter Gallery (Filter – Filter Gallery). We check that in the lower right part of the window there are no additional effects. If so, delete them by pressing the button. Delete effect layer (Remove effects layer) in the lower right corner of the window Filter Gallery (Gallery of filters).

Choose Sketch – Photocopy (Sketch – Photocopy) and configure the filter:

  • Detail (Detailing): 7
  • Darkness (Darkness): 8

Step 6

Change the blending mode of the “Photocopy” layer to Soft Light (Soft light) and reduce it Opacity (opacity) up to 10%.

Congratulations, we are done!

At the beginning of the lesson, we added a simple background with a canvas texture and, using several filters, created a watercolor texture.

Then applied this texture to the text, stylized it and added more colors. Using a customized brush, we modified the edges of the text and gave them a more textured and uneven look. In the end, we applied several filters and adjustment layers to complete the effect.

Feel free to add comments, suggestions and share your results.

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