Mystical text in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will learn how easy it is to create ghost text using Photoshop CS5. This lesson can be performed in other versions of the program. The main role in the lesson will play filters.
Let’s start!

Step 1. Rasterize the text.

To begin with, create a new document with a black background in Photoshop. On the new layer write the white text using the tool Horizontal text (Horizontal Type Tool). I have chosen Arial for bold work.

At this stage, we got the following layer scheme:

Make sure that you are standing on a layer with text (the active layer is highlighted in blue).
On the menu bar (at the top of the screen), select Layer >Rastrirovat > Text (Layer> Rasterize> Type).

Rasterizing the text is necessary for further work, so that we can apply various filters to the label. There are no changes in the layer layout, but now we see the text layer as a simple pixel image.

Step 2. Create a copy of the layer

At this stage, we need to create three copies of the raster text. The easiest way to do this is to use a hot key combination. Ctrl + J (Win) / Command + J (Mac). Or make a click on the text layer with the right mouse button and in the submenu use the command “Duplicate layer“(Layer via Copy).

A copy will be automatically placed above the original layer:

Do the same two more times. When done, you should get four text layers:

Step 3

Click on the original layer with the text to make it active.

Step 4. Use the “Motion Blur” filter

At the top of the screen go to Filter > Blur > Motion blur (Filte> Blur> Motion Blur).

After the done path you will go to the filter dialog box. Let’s start by adding a vertical blur to the text. Change the blur angle to 90 ° and then start dragging the slider “Bias“(Distance) (at the bottom of the dialog box) to the right to increase the degree of blurring. You can see the result of your changes in the filter’s viewing window. In my case, I stopped at an offset value of 150 pixels. Your value may be different , as the final result depends on the initial size of the canvas and the text.

When you are done, click OK to close the dialog box and apply the filter.

Step 5

Click on the copy layer above the original layer with the text to make the first copy layer active.

Step 6. Re-use the Blur in Motion filter

Press the key combination Ctrl + Alt + F (Win) / Command + Option + F (Mac) is a quick way to go to the last filter that was applied (in our case it’s a filter Motion blur (Motion Blur)). After clicking this combination in Photoshop, the filter dialog will reopen. This time we will add a horizontal motion blur, changing the angle to 0 °. I left the value for the “Offset” (Distance) as before, as in the version with vertical blur.

You can of course change the value for “Offset” to your own taste. When you are happy with the result, click “OK” to apply the filter.

Step 7. Merge layers

Hold key Shift and select two layers with blurred letters. Then press the key combination Ctrl + E or use the item Merge layers (Merge Down) by pressing the right mouse button and selecting this item in the submenu. This will merge the two layers into one.

After merging the layers, three text layers will remain in your palette.

Step 8. Apply Gaussian Blur filter

The edges of blurred text look too sharp, so let’s apply a different type of blur to soften them. Switch to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur).

The filter dialog box appears. Drag the slider to the right, setting a small blur value. In my example, a value of 2 pixels is enough. You can have it either more or less. Selecting the value, focus on the preview window. The effect should be very slight – the edges should become a bit softer.

To apply the filter, click “OK”. At this stage, your text looks like this:

Step 9

We now turn to the next layer, which is above the merged layer with a blurred text (“Copy 2”).

Step 10

Click Ctrl + Alt + F (Win) / Command + Option + F (Mac) on the keyboard. This will re-open the dialog box of the last filter you used (this time it’s a Gaussian Blur filter).
We use this filter again in order to give a glowing effect around the letters. Drag the radius value slider to the right (increase the value) until a glow appears around the non-washed letters. In my case, the value was 8 pixels.

Click OK. As a result, you should have a soft light effect around the text.

Step 11

Let’s go to the third copy of the text. We will leave this layer unchanged.

Step 12

Repeat step number 7 and combine the two layers – “Copy 2” and “Copy 3” (Layer> Merge Layers (Layer> Merge Down)). Thus, your layers palette will consist of three layers: background and two text layers.

Step 13

Stand on the top text layer and click on the icon. “Add layer mask” (Layer Mask).

Near the main layer, you will have an additional thumbnail, which indicates that the layer mask has been added.

Step 14

In the toolbar, activate the tool Gradient (Gradient Tool) by clicking on the corresponding icon.

Step 15. Use black and white gradient

Click on the keyboard “D“in order to set the default colors (black and white). Right-click anywhere in the document to quickly go to the gradient selection palette. From the list, select the black and white gradient. When the selection is made, press key Enter. The gradient palette will be closed.

Step 16

Now set the type of gradient. This is very easy to do by clicking on the icon in the palette.Mirror gradient“(“ Reflected Gradient “).

Step 17

Gradient type selected. In order to use it, stand on the layer mask. Then click in the center of the text on the canvas to set the starting point for the gradient. Hold key Shift and drag the gradient line up to the beginning of the text. Holding key Shift makes it easy to draw a straight line.

Release the mouse button at the top of the text, and at this point Photoshop will draw the reflected gradient on the layer mask, leaving only the middle of the text completely visible, and the rest of the letters will gradually “disappear” towards the top and bottom of the canvas.

Step 18

Duplicate the top text layer by pressing a key combination. Ctrl + J (Win) / Command + J (Mac).

This technique helped to make the glow more intense, and the text more “ghostly”.

You can continue to increase the glow effect by duplicating the layer as many times as necessary (Ctrl + J (Win) / Command + J (Mac)).

I stopped on two copies and got this result:

Step 19. Add an adjustment layer

We come to the last step. In the final, I want to offer you to color this black and white image. Click on the icon “Create a new adjustment layer“(New Adjustment Layer) at the bottom of the layers panel.

Select a correction layer from the list. Color tone /Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

If you are using a version of Photoshop CS4 or CS5, the settings for the adjustment layer will appear in the working area group above the layers palette. If you use later versions, these settings will appear as a separate dialog box.

Let’s start working with the adjustment layer. First check the box next to the “Toning“(Colorize). Then drag the slider”Color tone“(” Hue “) and you will see how the text color changes. To adjust the intensity of the selected color, use the function”Saturationь “(” Saturation “). For my text, I chose the value of the Color tone (Hue) equal to 123, and the Saturation increased to 40.

For Photoshop CS3 and earlier versions, click OK to close the adjustment layer settings window. For further versions of the program, you can leave the settings open in the group.

Ghost text ready! This is what my final result looks like;

Translator’s note: Many thanks to the Author for such a simple, high-quality and detailed lesson!

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