Text Effects

Create an Awesome Funky Text Effect

Funky, abstract text effects can yield incredibly stunning results.  Whether they’re fiery and explosive, cool and sleek, retro, or intricate vector compositions, the techniques used in abstract text effects are applicable across nearly all fields of design.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn step by step, with a plethora of details and screenshots, how to create an awesome funky text effect.  Master digital artist Bruno Kenzo will take you through his detailed workflow that he used in the creation of his work, FUNK-IT, which has received significant recognition in the design community including a Daily Deviation on deviantART.  You’ll learn the use of clipping masks, a variety of layer modes and blending techniques, along with a variety of other effects for this awesome and funky text effect.

Let us know what you think in the comments, and hope you enjoy the tutorial!

Tools Used:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Stock Images (see below)


Final Image Preview (Click for the incredible full view):

Hi everyone! First of all, thanks for reading this tutorial and I hope you can learn something, not only how to create a work like this, but also to use in other works. During this tutorial I will explain some tips and effects that I think fit very well with any style. =)

You will learn how to create a high quality “funky” effect for your text with some vibrant colors and many details! So, let’s start!

Create a new document on Photoshop and set the size that you prefer, for this job I used 40 x 15 cm 200dpi and 16bits/channel, because I printed it and with 16 bits the gradients become smoother.
So, add a Radial Gradient with the following settings:

Add some nebulas stocks and change the blend mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and Fill: 60%.
Add the text that you prefer and choose one font with a “thick body” like Impact, DaddyDontDisco, Geist RND, because you will have more area to work.

Start doing some strokes around the word:
1- Select the letter that you want to apply the stroke.

2- Go to Edit > Stroke and use the values like the following image.

3- Choose some basic colors like yellow, red, black, white, or something like these, and move a few pixels up and right. Try some blend modes like Color Dodge or Linear Dodge (Add), because they fit very well.
Or if you prefer, you can use the layer Blending Options, but I don’t recommend this, because if you are starting with Photoshop, it is a little difficult to change the Blend Mode.

Choose some texture images and make a Clipping Mask with the text:
1- Select the letter that you want to make a Clipping Mask.
2- Place the stock image on another layer like the following image.
3- Then, select only the stock image and go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask (Ctrl + Alt + G).
4- A little arrow will appear on the stock image layer. This indicates that the stock image is linked with the letter layer.

5- Select both layers and go to Layer > Merge Down (Ctrl + E). They will turn a unique layer.
6- Change the blend mode to Soft Light or Overlay, move a few pixels and press Delete. So you will get something like the following images:

Now we will start the Clipping Mask Part: choose some stocks or 3D renders that fit with the style that you are working.
I chose some of my old Cinema 4D renders like headphones, stereo, DJ equipment, guns and some abstracts.

Place the renders each one on a different layer like the following image: the Red Layer is the group (Ctrl + G), the Yellow Layers are all the clipping masks, and the Blue Layer is the text object.

In this case I chose one of my DJ equipment render. The layers that are inside of the red bracket are linked (Clipping Mask) with the typography (yellow layer). Try some blend modes like Color Dodge, Linear Dodge (Add), Overlay, Soft Light and Screen, and change the Opacity and Fill like you prefer.

Here are more examples about this effect:

Add some 3D particles (explosion effect) in your work and change the blend mode to Soft Light or Overlay.

Now we will add more details: choose some 3D spheres, change the blend mode to Soft Light or Overlay and change the Opacity like you prefer.

And here are more examples:

Choose some 3D renders and add them in your work. In this example desaturate it (Shift + Ctrl + U), so I rotate it and change the blend mode to Color Dodge. In this case all the objects are on Color Dodge, Linear Dodge, Screen, Overlay or Screen and they are inside the 3D Objects Group.

More examples:

Now we will add some brush lines (if you have a Pen Tablet your work will become easier). Try to use one pixel (diameter) and basic colors like red, black or white.

And now, I think is the most important part of this tutorial: illumination and colors.
Choose a Bokeh Effect texture with vibrant colors like red with orange or yellow and change the blend mode to Overlay, varying the Opacity to fit better in the composition.

Besides this, add some Adjustment Layers like Levels, Selective Color and Curves to adjust the illumination of your work. To improve some parts, use the Brush Tool with a soft round brush and change the blend mode to Soft Light or Overlay. The Levels and Brush settings are something like the image.

Here are some examples:

Add some 3D spheres in the foreground and background. So apply Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius between 3-5 pixels. Try some blend modes like Normal or Overlay, because they fit very well.

Finally, we are done! Fix some details. Apply a Sharpen Filter, etc…
And here is the Layer Window with all the objects.

So, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something. I also hope to do more tutorials of my work and thanks for reading! =)


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  2. the tutorial is only about taking 3d and putting into text, how is that awesome? without those 3d objects you’re not able to follow the bigger part of the tutorial.

  3. hey i am recently tryin your lesson but i am having problems, i have followed up to wher you get the nebulas, but on the pic you show it being in black and white mine is still the colour of the nebulas wa do i do to changeit so its like yours? x

  4. i have tryed both an it is still in colour not black and white i dont know why this is happening i have followed the instruction step by step but it just hasnt changed would the whole effect still work if i desaturate it?

  5. as much as this design rocks im a newbie to the photshop game so i would appreciate it if u cud direct me to tuts that wud get me at this level………this design is the shiiii

  6. dont you think its a bit hard, my daughter wants to use something like this for her school project and it was just to difficult. in the end she decided not to use it and was very disapointed!

    my husband tried it out and he works as a tech teacher at a high school, he knows how to use the program well but her said it just wasnt clear, he said it looked amazing on the website and not the same when he did it.

    sorry for all the bad comments. it looks lovely but needs to be simpler.


  7. im having a problem with step 6 where it says move some pixels down then press delete but whenever i press delete it the layer disappears im not too shore has being done there

  8. Your work is awesome and I am trying to do as you did but I am not able to do :(
    some places I am getting so much confused ???
    like how did you select the word and add stroke ??? I did the same way but stroke option is not showing.
    And how did your words are transparent what did you do ???
    :( its so cool I want to do like this

    Please help me

  9. Hi, this is an awesome tutorial and would love to use this to make some headers for my website, but a couple of the images are missing with the settings on them…
    PLEASE can you re add them

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