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Metallic type effect

by Adam Smith. 12 Nov 2012

Create metal looking type in five easy steps

From 2D to metallic shine

Start with your type image and duplicate this layer.  With the duplicate active Cmd/Ctrl click to select the layer, then go Edit>Fill, choosing a dark grey colour. Keep the layer selection and go Edit> Stroke>Width and set 3px, Location to Inside, Opacity at 100% and Mode to Normal.

Metallic type effect

Create the metallic text effect

With the selection is still active, create a new layer named ‘White Shadow’. Next go to Select>Modify>Contract and set 2px. Fill the selection with white, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect this. Now we need to blur the white shadow layer. Go Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur set to 3. Change the layer mode to Overlay. Go back to the stroked layer, Ctrl/right-click on the Layers palette and duplicate the layer. Name this layer ‘Metallic’. Hit Cmd/Ctrl and left-click the Metallic layer to select it.

Metallic type effect

Work with channels

Now go to Channels and click Save Selection as Channel (Alpha 1). Drag the Alpha 1 layer down to the Create New Layer button to duplicate it (Alpha 1 copy). Select the Alpha 1 duplicate layer, while the layer is still selected. Apply a Gaussian Blur five times, at first with 10px then getting gradually lower. Repeat the step with 5px then 3px, 2px and 1px.

Metallic type effect

Apply lighting effects

Select the Metallic layer then apply Filter>Render>Lighting Effects with the settings shown. Name the selected Texture Channel ‘Alpha 1 copy’. Create an inverse selection of the Metallic layer, press Cmd/Ctrl-click on the Layers palette to select it then Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert. Go to Select>Modify>Feather, set Feather to 1 pixel then press Cmd/Ctrl+X to delete pixels.

Metallic type effect

Make it shiny and Deep

Add a Curves adjustment layer, set as shown to the right. Curves enable you to make the text darker or more shiny. Add some colour and a Photo Filter>Warming Filter (85) with Density at 62%. Deactivate the Background layer and merge all visible layers (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+E). Create a new layer, fill with solid black then set the blending mode to Soft Light with Opacity and Fill at 100%. Choose a soft round Eraser Brush set to 90px and erase the top side and the corners of the letters. Use a smaller eraser at a lower opacity on the decorative elements.

Metallic type effect

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    • Francesca

      I always love metallic themes. I find it more appealing these days. Thanks for sharing your ideas in enhancing great metallic effects in Photoshop.