Create Smokey Typography in 12 Steps

Final Image

This is the final image that we’ll be creating:

User Suggestion

This tutorial is actually a suggestion of some of our visitors. I always welcome user suggestions and would love to get your ideas for future tutorials.

Images/Files Used

Here is a list of images and files used in this tutorial:

Step 1

Open up a new document (600X250px) and create a new layer called ‘black background’. Fill your entire canvas with black.

Step 2

Now add some white text to the center of your canvas. I used the font ‘Gill Sans’ set to bold.

Step 3

Now duplicate your text layer. Select your original and rasterize it (layer>rasterize>layer). Then apply a motion blur to this layer by going to filter>blur>motion blur. Set your angle to 90 and your blur strength to 20. Finally reduce your layer’s opacity to 60%.

Step 4

Now paste in an image of some smoke. Make sure that you find an image of smoke on a black background, and if there is any color to your smoke go to image>adjustments>desaturate. Then change your layer’s blend mode to ‘exclusion’.

Step 5

Now select a large, soft eraser brush at a low opacity (around 10%) and erase the edges of your smoke image.

Step 6

Now repeat the same technique with another smoke image.

Step 7

Add some more smoke, being sure to erase parts of each image until things are looking good.

Step 8

Now paste in another smoke image, and set your layer blend mode to ‘multiply’. Then go to image>adjustments>levels and set your input levels to 0, 1.00, 100.

Step 9

You’ll notice that this layer now hides some of your previous smoke layers. To fix this grab a soft eraser brush and erase around your letters, exposing the rest of your smoke.

Step 10

Now if you remember we created 2 text layers earlier and rasterized the first one. Now it’s time to rasterize the second one. Once you have done this grab your smudge tool, and set your brush size to 40px and your strength to 60%. You want to start smudging the tops of the letters of your top text layer. To achieve a nice smokey effect, don’t simply smudge upwards, but make small circular smudging motions.

Also reduce this text layers opacity to 75%.

Step 11

Select your paintbrush tool and apply the settings shown below in your brush palette.

Step 12

Now paint over your text on a new top layer. To make your scattered brush marks more obvious duplicate your layer and merge it down with the original. Then apply an outer glow blending option to your layer (settings below).

And We’re Done!

I really hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and as always I’d appreciate your comments.


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