Making text from water droplets in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a text effect in the form of water droplets. To create this effect, we will use layer styles.

Final image:

Translator’s note: when creating this tutorial, the author used the Adobe Photoshop CS5 version.

Step 1

Create a new ns with the parameters you see in the screenshot (File – New) (File> New). Immediately save it under the name “Water Drop Effect.psd” (File – Save) (File> Save) (Ctrl + S).

Step 2

Double-click on the background layer to unlock it. Rename this layer to “Gradient bg”. The layer must be unlocked in order to apply layer styles to it.

Step 3

Change the foreground and background colors in the color palette:

Step 4

Double-click the “Gradient bg” layer again to open the layer style window. In the left side of the window, select a style. Gradient Overlay (Gradient Overlay). In the gradient editor, create a gradient using the color values ​​shown in the screenshot:

Step 5

Above the “Gradient bg” layer create a new layer. (Shift + Ctrl + N) and name it “Clouds”. Apply a filter to it. Clouds (Filter – Rendering – Clouds) (Filter> Render> Clouds). This filter generates arbitrary clouds using foreground and background colors. Each application of this filter has a different cloud effect.

Apply the Cloud filter a few more times until you are satisfied with the result.

Step 6

Reduce the “Clouds” layer opacity to 50% and create a merged copy of the two layers. (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E). Name the resulting layer “Merged mosaic”. Keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E merges all existing layers into one layer and places the resulting combined copy over all layers.

Note: if you apply styles to existing layers (not to the merged layer), then turn off the visibility of this merged layer, otherwise you will not see any changes).

Step 7

Apply filter Mosaic (Filter – Design – Mosaic) (Filter> Pixelate> Mosaic). Set the cell size to 36.

Step 8

Above all layers create a layer with a grid using styles. To do this, create a new layer. (Shift + Ctrl + N) titled “Grid”, fill it with white and apply a layer style to it Pattern Overlay.

Step 9

We need a transparent mesh pattern on a white background. Create a new layer. (Shift + Ctrl + N) under the “Grid” layer, select both layers while holding the shift key (new layer and layer with grid), right-click on the “Grid” layer and select the item in the menu that appears Merge Layers.

Step 10

Apply the command to the mesh layer. Invert (Image – Correction – Invert) (Image> Adjustments> Invert). Now the grid instead of the white background is on black. Change the layer blending mode from mesh to Lighten (Screen) (Screen), to change the black color to white.

Step 11

Now create a shape of water droplets. Create a new layer. (Shift + Ctrl + N) and name it “Water drop shapes”. select round hard brush (B) and draw the shape of the droplets. Leave some space in the center of the background – a little later we will write the text “Aqua” there.

If you do not quite understand how to draw water droplets, browse the Internet for photographs and images of water droplets.

Step 12

Write the text “Aqua” (the Impact font was used to write the text). Rasterize the text: right-click on the text layer in the Layers palette and select Rasterize the text (Rasterize). After that, use a rigid round brush to draw the shape of the letters, giving them the appearance of water. If you make a mistake, erase the necessary areas with an eraser (E).

Step 13

Now we’ll start adding layer styles to the text layer. We need the styles to be transparent and the mesh to appear through them. Double click on the “Aqua” layer to open the window Blending Options. Decrease the parameter Fill Opacity Up to 0%, and also enable the Blend Interior Effects as Group option.

Step 14

Apply layer style Embossing (Bevel and Emboss):

Step 15

Add also a layer style Inner Shadow):

Step 16

External glow (Outer Glow):

Step 17


Step 18

The text is ready. Copy the layer styles from the text layer (right click on the styles and select Copy layer styles), go to the “Water drop shapes” layer and paste the copied styles onto it (right click on the layer and select Paste layer styles). This method allows you to save time when creating a design – you do not have to re-set all the parameters of the added styles.
In order to slightly change the appearance of the added styles, you can go into any of them and change their settings. I changed some style options Embossing (Bevel and Emboss). Focus on the screenshots:

Step 19

Now let’s distort the area with the grid texture, which shines through water droplets. But for this, you need to separate the “Grid” layer into two different layers. Click on this layer with the right mouse button and select Duplicate Layer. Rename the duplicate to “Grid inside drops”.

Step 20

Next, we will use the Glass filter to distort the texture of the grid, but it must be distorted so as to give a 3D effect to the drops. The mesh texture should be distorted by following the contour of the layer style. Next, create a layer “Depth map”, which will translate into a black and white image.

First of all, turn off the visibility of the “Grid”, “Grid inside drops” and “Merged mosaic” layers by clicking on the eye icon near these layers in the Layers palette. Now turn on the visibility of the “Gradient bg” and “Clouds” layers. Click on the “Aqua” layer to make it active and create a merged copy. (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E). Place the resulting merged layer on top of the “Aqua” layer and rename it to “Depth map”.

Step 21

Bleach the “Depth map” layer (Image – Correction – Discolor) (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate). Now from this layer you need to create a separate file. Right click on this layer and select Duplicate Layer. In the window that appears, click on the Document drop-down menu and select New – a new separate file will be created from this layer. In this dialog box also write the name of the folder “Water Drop Depth Map”.

In the new file “Water Drop Depth Map” right-click on the layer “Depth map” and select the item Run flattening (Flatten Image). Now convert the image to black and white. (Image – Mode – Black and White) (Image> Mode> Grayscale). At this stage, all colors will be removed and the image will become black and white.

Now save this file in PSD format and close.

Step 22

Go back to the “Water Drop Effect” layer and turn off the visibility of the “Depth map” layer. Turn on the visibility of the “Grid inside drops” layer and apply a filter to it. Glass (Filter – Distortion – Glass) (Filter> Distort> Glass):

Step 23

The grid is now distorted, and we need water drops to be distorted. We use a mask to hide the contents of the layer. In Photoshop there are two types of masks – black and white. The mask also acts as a depth map.

The only difference is that here the white color leaves the contents of the layer visible, and black hides the contents.

Masks allow you to edit layers using a non-destructive method — you can always remove a mask without damaging the layer’s contents.

Ctrl + click on the “Aqua” layer thumbnail to load the selection around the text.

Step 24

After the selection is loaded, click Ctrl + Shift and click on the thumbnail of the “Water drop shape” layer. With the active selection, make Shift + click on the thumbnail of another layer, loading the selection of the second layer and adding it to the existing selection.

We have an active selection of two layers. Go to the “Grid inside drops” layer and add an Add Layer Mask to it by clicking on the corresponding icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. The texture of the grid will now be visible only in drops of water. Change the layer opacity to 30%.

Step 25

Add a mask to the “Grid” layer. Click on the thumbnail of the “Grid inside drops” layer mask, hold down the Alt key and drag the mask thumbnail to the “Grid” layer. So we just copied the mask from one layer to another.

Click on the mask thumbnail on the “Water drop shape” layer and invert it. (Image – Correction – Invert) (Image> Adjustments> Invert). After inversion, black and white areas will change. As a result, the undistorted grid texture is displayed only in the “Grid” layer. Reduce the opacity of the “Grid” layer to 10%.

Step 26

Now create a soft glow on the upper areas of the drops and text. Turn on the visibility of the “Depth map” layer and rename it to “glow”. Apply a command to this layer. Levels (Image – Correction – Levels) (Image> Adjustments> Level), to change gray areas or mid-tones within a black and white image.

Step 27

Apply filter Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with a value of 3 pixels. Change the layer’s overlay mode to Linear Dodge (Add).

Step 28

Distort the mesh layer. If you look closely, in some places the grid looks swirling. Fix this with a filter Plastic (Filter – Plastic) (Filter> LIquify).

Step 29

Apply a filter to the “Grid” layer Plastic (Filter – Plastic) (Filter> LIquify). In the Plastic filter window that opens, in its right part, under the parameters of the masks, click on the button Invert all (invert all). Now we can distort the grid within the limits of water droplets and text.

Uncheck the box next to the item. Show mask (Show mask). We will use the Warp Tool and the Pucker Tool.

Tool Deformation (Warp Tool) small size slightly distort the mesh in areas where you need to enhance the effect of distortion. The Pucker Tool helps you create twisted areas.

When using the tool Shrinkage (Pucker Tool) Tap, hold and drag it in the desired direction.

Step 30

Create a new layer called “Reflection“(Shift + Ctrl + N) above the “Glow” layer and change the blending mode to lighten the base (Color Dodge). select a medium size soft brush and a blue color (RGB 41, 119, 175). Paint some blue spots in the opposite direction to the highlights. After that, lower the layer opacity to 30%.

Step 31

At the end, reduce the opacity of the “Glow” layer to 50%.

Final image:

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