Articles, Blog

Create Colorful Overlapping Text in Photoshop

September 5, 2019


Hey everyone, Steve Patterson here from
Photoshop Essentials.com. In this video, I’ll show you how to create a colorful
overlapping letters text effect with colors that blend together where the
letters overlap. I’ll be using Photoshop CC but everything is fully compatible
with Photoshop CS6. Thanks for watching and let’s get started! So the first thing
we need to do is create a new Photoshop document. Go up to the File menu in the
Menu Bar and choose New. In the New Document dialog box, set the Width to
1600 pixels and the Height to 800 pixels. Set the Resolution to 72 pixels per inch
and the Background Contents to White. Click Create or OK depending on which
version of Photoshop you’re using to close the dialog box and create the new
document. I’ll make the document larger on my
screen by going up to the View menu and choosing Fit on Screen.
To add the text, select the Type Tool from the Toolbar. Then choose your font
in the Options Bar. Thicker fonts tend to work best for this effect. I’ll use a
font called Proxima Nova set to Extra Bold, and I downloaded this one from
Adobe Typekit. If you don’t have access to this font, that’s okay. Any similar
font will work. Set your type size to 72 points. We’ll resize the text once we’ve
added it but this will give us the largest preset size to start with. Make
sure your type color is set to black so we can see the text in front of the
white background. If it’s not set to black, press the letter D on your
keyboard to reset it. Click inside your document and add your text. I’ll
type the word “COLORFUL”. Click the checkmark in the Options Bar
to accept it. To resize the text, go up to the Edit
menu and choose Free Transform. This places
the Free Transform box and handles around the text. To resize it, click and
drag any of the corner handles. Press and hold your Shift key as you drag so you
don’t distort the shapes of the letters. To move the text into the center of the
document, click and drag inside the Free Transform box. When you’re done, click the
checkmark in the Options Bar. If we look in the Layers panel, we see our text on a
new Type layer above the Background layer. We need to convert our text into a
shape. To do that, on a Windows PC, right-click on the type layer. On a Mac
Control-click. Then choose Convert to Shape. This changes our Type layer into a Shape
layer, and if we look at our text, we now see path outlines around the letters. We
need to move each letter onto its own Shape layer. Select the Path Selection
Tool from the Toolbar. Then, if you’re using Photoshop CC, go up to the Options
Bar and change the Select option to All Layers. This will make it easier to
select individual letters. If you’re using Photoshop CS6, you won’t see this
option but you’ll still be able to select the letters just as easily. To
deselect the letters, click anywhere on the white background. Then click on the
first letter on the left to select it. A path outline reappears just around that
one letter. To move this letter onto its own layer, go up to the Layer menu, choose
New, and then choose Shape Layer via Cut. Make sure you choose Cut and not Copy. Or,
a faster way is to press the keyboard shortcut which is Shift+Ctrl+J on a
Windows PC or Shift+Command+J on a Mac. It won’t look like anything has happened
to the text, but if we look again in the Layers panel, we see that the first
letter in the word has been moved to its own Shape layer above the original. To
move the second letter to its own layer, I’ll click on it to select it. If you’re
using Photoshop CS6, you’ll need to double-click. Then, I’ll use the keyboard
shortcut Shift+Ctrl+J on a Windows PC or Shift+Command+J on a Mac to move the
letter to its own layer, which we can see in the Layers panel.
Continue making your way through each letter, clicking on it to select it or
double-clicking in Photoshop CS6, and pressing Shift+Ctrl+J or Shift+Command+J
to move it to a new layer until each letter is on its own separate layer. When
you reach the last letter on the right, you can just leave it because it will be
the only letter remaining on the original Shape layer. And here we see
that each letter in the word is now on a separate layer. In a moment, we’re going
to change the color of each letter and move them closer together so that they
overlap. Since we want the colors in the overlapping areas to blend together, we
need to change the blend mode of our Shape layers. Photoshop lets us quickly
change the blend mode for multiple layers at once. Click on the top layer to
select it. To select the other Shape layers as well,
press and hold your Shift key and click on the original Shape layer directly
above the Background layer. Change the blend mode in the upper left of the
layers panel from Normal to Multiply. Nothing will happen just yet, but we’ll
see the effects of the Multiply blend mode once we overlap the letters. We also
need to place our Shape layers into a layer group. With the layers still
selected, click on the menu icon in the upper right corner of the Layers panel
and choose New Group from Layers. Name the group “Letters” and then click OK.
And now our Shape layers appear inside a new group named “Letters”. Click the
triangle to the left of the folder icon to twirl the group open. Let’s change the
color of each letter. We’ll start with the first letter on the left, which is
sitting on the Shape layer at the very top. Double-click on the layer’s thumbnail
to open the Color Picker. For this first letter, I’ll choose a light
blue by setting the R value to 30, the G value to 117 and the B value to 197.
Click OK to close the Color Picker. And now we see our first letter appearing in
blue. To change the color of the second letter, I’ll double-click on its
thumbnail and in the Color Picker, I’ll choose green by setting R to 25, G
to 161 and B to 53. I’ll click OK and now the second letter appears in green. For
the third letter, I’ll double-click on its thumbnail and this time, I’ll go with
yellow by setting R to 255, G to 190 and B to 0. For the fourth letter, I’ll choose
magenta by setting R to 158, G to 33 and B to 150.
Next I’ll choose orange by setting R to 244, G to 99 and B to 36.
And then for the “F”, I’ll set R to 243, G to 43 and B to 104 for a bright pink. For
the last two letters in the word, I’ll reuse some of the colors I’ve already
chosen. For the second last letter, the “U”, I’ll double-click on its thumbnail.
But instead of choosing a color from the Color Picker,
I’ll move the Eyedropper over the first letter, “C”, and I’ll click to sample it’s
blue color. Then for the last letter, I’ll double-click on its thumbnail and I’ll
move the Eyedropper over the third letter, “L”, and I’ll click to sample the
yellow. I’ll click OK to close the Color Picker, and now all of the letters appear
in different colors. To enhance the colors even further, let’s apply a
gradient to the layer group itself. Click on the layer group at the top of the
layers panel to select it. Then click on the Layer Styles icon, or the “fx”
icon, at the bottom of the Layers panel. Choose Gradient Overlay from the list.
This opens the Layer Style dialog box sent to the Gradient Overlay options.
click the triangle next to the gradient swatch to open the Gradient Picker,
then choose the Black, White gradient by double-clicking on its thumbnail.
Set the Blend Mode of the gradient to Overlay and increase the Opacity to 100%.
Make sure the Style is set to Linear and set the Angle to 90 degrees. Then click
OK to close the dialog box. Applying the gradient directly to the
layer group and setting its blend mode to Overlay turns the flat color in each
letter into a gradient, with a lighter shade of each color at the top and a
darker shade at the bottom. All that’s left to do now is move the letters
closer together so that they overlap. Select the Move Tool from the Toolbar.
in the Options Bar, make sure Auto-Select is turned on and that it’s set to Layer.
This will let us select each letter just by clicking on it.
Notice that as you click on each letter, its Shape layer in the Layers panel is
highlighted. Click on the second letter in the word to select it. Then drag the
letter to the left until part of it overlaps with the first letter. Press and
hold your Shift key as you drag to move straight across.
You can also nudge the letters into place using the left and right arrow
keys on your keyboard. Notice that in the areas where the two letters overlap, the
colors are blending together, and that’s because we changed the blend mode of our
Shape layers to Multiply. I’ll click on the third letter to select it, and then
I’ll press and hold my Shift key and I’ll drag it over and slightly into the
letter O using the arrow keys to nudge it into place. Again we see the colors in
the overlapping area blending together. Make sure that you release your Shift
key after you drag each letter, otherwise you’ll end up selecting two layers at
once. If that happens, press Ctrl-Z on a Windows PC or Command+Z on a Mac to undo your last step. Click anywhere on the white background to
deselect the letters, and then click on the letter you need to select it and
drag it over. I’ll continue clicking and dragging my
letters to overlap them and nudging them into place with the left and right arrow
keys. The only problem now is that the text
looks too small in the document. To resize it, click on the layer group at
the top of the Layers panel to select it. Then go back up to the Edit menu and
once again choose Free Transform. Just like we did before, click and drag
the corner handles to resize it, and press and hold your Shift key as you
drag to lock the shapes of the letters into place. To move the text into the
center, click and drag inside the Free Transform box. When you’re done, click the
checkmark to accept it. Let’s crop away some of the white space on the top and
bottom. Select the Crop Tool from the Toolbar. Then click on the top and bottom
handles and drag them inward towards the text.
Click the checkmark in the Options Bar to accept it. You may notice after
cropping the image that the gradient colors now look more intense. The letters
are lighter on top and darker on the bottom than they were before, and that’s
because the Gradient Overlay that we applied to the layer group is affecting
the entire image from top to bottom, not just the areas inside the text. To
adjust the intensity of the gradient, go back to the Layers panel and
double-click on the Gradient Overlay layer style. This re-opens the Layer Style
dialog box. Lower the Opacity of the gradient to fine-tune the brightness of
the colors. I’ll lower mine to 60%. Click OK to close the dialog box. Finally, what
if you want to change the background color of the effect, from white to
something else? Well here’s the problem we run into. It may not look like it, but
the colors in the letters are actually blending in with the background. Watch
what happens if I choose something other than white. I’ll click on the Background
layer in the Layers panel to select it. Then I’ll click on the New Fill or
Adjustment Layer icon and I’ll choose a Solid Color fill layer.
This opens the Color Picker set to the default color of black. And notice that
our text has disappeared. if I choose a different color, like red, we see that the
color in the letters is actually blending in with the color in the
background, and that’s because we’ve set the blend mode of our Shape layers to
Multiply. I’ll click Cancel in the Color Picker to close it and remove the Solid
Color fill layer. To change the background color without changing the
original color of the text, here’s what you do. Click on the top Shape layer to
select it. Then press and hold your Shift key and click on the bottom Shape layer
so that all of your letters are selected. On a Windows PC, press Ctrl+Alt+E on your
keyboard. On a Mac, press Command+Option+E. This merges all of your shapes onto a
new Shape layer above them. Double-click on the Shape layer’s thumbnail to open
the Color Picker and change the color to white.
Change the blend mode of the layer from Multiply to Normal. Then click and drag
he merged layer down below the other shapes. We now have a white shape sitting
directly below the letters, which means they’ll keep their original colors no
matter what background color we choose! To change the background color, click on
the Background layer to select it. Then click on the New Fill or Adjustment
Layer icon and choose Solid Color. And this again opens the Color Picker
sent to black, and right away we see that we’ve kept the original color of the
letters even with the black background. I’ll click on each letter with the
Eyedropper to sample its colors, and we see that no matter what background color
we choose, the colors in the text remain the same.
And there we have it! That’s how to create a colorful overlapping letters
text effect with Photoshop! As always, I hope you enjoyed this video and if you
did, please consider Liking it, sharing it and Subscribing to our channel. Visit our
website, Photoshop Essentials.com, for more tutorials! Thanks for watching, and
I’ll see you next time. I’m Steve Patterson from Photoshop Essentials.com.

10 Comments

  • Reply Photoshop Essentials February 18, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Hi everyone, Steve here. Thanks so much for watching my Colorful Overlapping Letters Text Effect video! I tried to pack a lot of great Photoshop tips into this lesson, so you'll learn things like how to convert text into shapes, how to split text into layers, how to merge shape layers, how to blend layers and colors together using Photoshop's blend modes, and more! If you find this tutorial helpful and would like to see more, please Like and Subscribe! Leave any comments, questions or suggestions below. Thanks again for watching!

  • Reply TIME IN SPACE November 30, 2018 at 5:19 am

    You are very good in Explanation and clean visuals, particularly for learners, Thanks for your patience

  • Reply SALMON December 3, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Hello, is it possible to make the overlayed part brighter?

  • Reply neil kumar January 3, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks

  • Reply Valeria February 4, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    THANK YOU

  • Reply Brian Stocker February 18, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Nice! thanks!

  • Reply Van I March 7, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks for the great video! I learned a lot from this!

  • Reply Tai Moya March 8, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    do you know by any chance how to do this for videos? after effects/vegas/premiere any of them. I have been looking for quite the time and have found nothing. my mind is slowly breaking. so if you do know a tutorial or a way to do it or even just the name of it let me know ;-;

  • Reply ABDIL-AZIZ HAMSAIN April 13, 2019 at 3:50 am

    nice simple design. I like it.

  • Reply Fahad khan June 21, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    did everything as u did but as i select multiply option above layer, text turn into black color with blue background and color also dont change when clicking on thumbnail of each letter (using black background & PS version PS cc 2018)

  • Reply Matharage Gayani August 1, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Can we change the text later by keeping this as a template? :/

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