Articles, Blog

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make Underwater Text & Graphics!

October 24, 2019

Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV.
I’m going to show you how to quickly make text or graphics look like they’re underwater
on the bottom surface of a swimming pool. Notice how the text conforms to the contortions
of the water and how the surface reflections remain bright and intact. I provided this image of a swimming pool , so you can follow along. Its link is located in the video description
or project files. Make a copy of it by pressing Ctrl + J on Windows or Cmd + J on a Mac. We’re
going to use this copy for our displacement map, which will distort our text based on
the tonal values of the water. Since displacement effects look best when they’re blurred, go
to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. Blur it 3 pixels and then, click OK or press Enter
or Return. Go to Layer and Duplicate Layer. Open your Document list and click “New”. Type
in “Displacement” and click OK. Go to File and “Save As”. Save it to your “Desktop” for easy access, as a Photoshop file and then click “Save”. If you see this warning, click OK. Click the small “x” on tab of the displacement file to close it. Now that we made a displacement
map from the blurred, background copy of the water, we can trash the layer. Open your Horizontal Type Tool and make sure black and white are your respective, foreground and background
colors. If they’re not, click this icon or press “D” on your keyboard. Choose a relatively heavy font. I’m using “Bebas Neue Regular”. If you’d like to use it, I provided its link,
as well. I’ll choose a size of 150 points, Smooth, Center alignment and the color is black. Click on your document and type out your text. If you have more than one line
of text, to adjust the space between the lines, highlight them and go to Window and Character. The Character panel will open. Drag the “Leading” icon to the right or left to increase or decrease the space between the lines. To close the Character panel, click the double, arrowhead icon. To center your text, click your Move Tool, press Ctrl or Cmd + A to select it all
and click the “Align Horizontal Centers” icon. To deselect it, press Ctrl or Cmd + D. We
need to move the text down on the document. To do this, press the Down arrow on your keyboard.
Position your text so its closer to the bottom. The reason we’re doing this is because once
we angle our entire image later, our text will look more centered. We also need to move
the text 30 pixels to the left, since it’ll be displaced 30 pixels to the right. Press
and hold Shift as you press the Left arrow three times. Each time you pressed the left
arrow, holding “Shift” moved it 10 pixels. Go to Filter, Distort and Displace. You’ll
see this window if you’re using version CC 2014. If you’re using an earlier version,
I’ll show you what to do in a second. Click “Convert to Smart Object”. This allows
us to change or edit our text without having to start from scratch. If you’re using an
earlier version of Photoshop, go to Layer, “Smart Objects” and “Convert to Smart Object”. You know its a Smart Object when you see this icon on the lower, right corner of the thumbnail.
Go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. Blur it 1 pixel. Then, click OK or press Enter or Return. Go to Filter, Distort and Displace. For the Horizontal and Vertical Scales, type
in 30. Tick: “Stretch To Fit” and “Repeat Edge Pixels”. Then, click OK or press Enter
or Return. document Click the Displacement document and click “Open”. Notice the text is now centered
and the shapes of the individual characters have beautifully conformed to the reflections
and curves of the water. Next, we’ll make it look like its underwater. Change the Blend Mode to “Overlay” and reduce its Opacity to 80%. If you want to change the text, double-click
on the Smart Object to open it. Double-click the large “T” on the layer to highlight the
text and type out your new words. Click the checkmark and the small “x” on the tab of the Smart Object. Then, click “Yes” to save the changes. Notice, the text instantly updated
and retained all the filters and effects as well as all the nuances of the water. I’ll
press Ctrl or Cmd + Z to undo the last step. Let’s, angle our image in perspective. Make a composite snapshot by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E on Windows or Cmd + Shift + Option + E on a Mac. Zoom out of your document by pressing Ctrl or Cmd and the minus key on your keyboard. Go to Edit, Transform and Perspective. Go to a bottom corner and drag it out until
you’re happy with swimming pool’s perspective. Then, press Enter or Return. To see your document
at 100%, press Ctrl or Cmd + 1. The last step is to brighten our overall image. To do this, invoke Auto-Levels by pressing Ctrl + Alt + L on Windows or Cmd + Option + L on a Mac. Then, press Enter or Return. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!


  • Reply FINIX September 9, 2014 at 12:31 am

    good idea, it looks very nice!

  • Reply Ger Prz September 9, 2014 at 1:04 am

    great, thank you

  • Reply Manuel Díaz September 9, 2014 at 1:26 am

    You are the best Thak

  • Reply Gbtx6 September 9, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Marty… you are… THE BEST!

  • Reply El Fasko September 9, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Russian here. Great! )

  • Reply flame September 9, 2014 at 7:17 am

    great thanks, how to do that for video?

  • Reply OORVOKKI September 9, 2014 at 7:57 am

    thank you….i wonder too like one of your visitors if this is possible make to video….i try and see what i get…

  • Reply Ian Kearns September 9, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Another superb tutorial. Thanks

  • Reply Er Ald September 9, 2014 at 10:45 am

    what is scratch?

  • Reply Simle septembre September 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Waw thank you <3 

  • Reply GIGA AL September 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    UnderWater LOL

  • Reply John van der Star September 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    yeah did it ! great thnx

  • Reply Thomas Antoine September 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks a lot for this video.

  • Reply Kris Drake September 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    You sir, are a wizard! 😀

  • Reply Sweet Life With Pookie September 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Seen Your Every Tutorials U Made SO Far………….. Waiting For Next……….Keep it Coming ……We Love U (Me & My Frnds)….God Bless U

  • Reply Oltinjo Media September 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Program that you use to record tutos ?

  • Reply Rocadamus September 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Another great tut, Marty.
    Regarding the displacement doc, I don't see any reason to make a duplicate layer first. Why not just make a Duplicate document (Image>Duplicate), name it Displacement, blur it, then save it and close it. It's faster and that way you don't have to discard a layer in your original doc.
    Also, if you convert both the top and background layers to ONE Smart Object (shift-click both layers to select them, then Convert to Smart Object). This way there's no need to make a "composite snapshot". You can just transform the perspective of the Smart Object, thereby, leaving it all non-destructive (and alterable in the future).
    Didn't see the link for the "Bebas Neue Regular" font in the video description but I found it at as a free download. Thanks again for all your great tuts!

  • Reply ™قعقاع الصحراء September 12, 2014 at 6:12 am

    How to Make a wax seal?? … Thank u !

  • Reply fernando cid September 12, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks Marty

  • Reply Tra Chamroen September 13, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Hi, Brother I want you to teach Coreldraw programs too.
    I like your teaching.

  • Reply Reptile estrin September 13, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Can you start making after effects tutorials for intros and other stuff, please reply!

  • Reply Ndala PROD September 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    you are the best about PS tutorials, I like all of your video.

  • Reply Luciano September 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Muito bom Marty..obrigado.

  • Reply João Félix September 14, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Thanks Marty great tutorial as usual

  • Reply honey alfaro September 14, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Nice Marty. My Brother like your tutorial video…gooD afternoon PHILIPPINES

  • Reply Aviv M September 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

    thank you!

  • Reply SIRA Seen September 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm


  • Reply Momin S September 15, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    really awesome

  • Reply Jessica W September 15, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I can count on u Marty!

  • Reply ALI JAFAAR September 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    cool trike thnx marty 

  • Reply Wilson Vargas September 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Me gustó. Gracias por compartir sus conocimientos.

  • Reply Simon Robinson September 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Marty, you're the best. Your tutorials have helped me learn PS so quickly, take a bow.

  • Reply Erfan B September 24, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    where can we find the project files ?

  • Reply beachlover34698 (Leslie) September 27, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    This is amazing 
    thank you I really like the view
    have a wonderful evening

  • Reply beachlover34698 (Leslie) September 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Love the look  :):)
    great job

  • Reply jamal cd September 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm


  • Reply sleepingrose70 October 26, 2014 at 8:43 am

    My result is here. I made this with an image. Thank you!

  • Reply J Lyn November 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

    How do u make the pic into ur background in CS6?

  • Reply CΛRLOS CΛSTILLO March 11, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Outstanding! Thanks!!!

  • Reply "GtaIIIBoy_2_" March 27, 2015 at 2:14 am

    sir hey.. um at 1:30 when i save my displacement file
    a window pop out says

    save adobe pdf
    and a compatibility : acrobat 5 (pdf 1.4)
    "Use these settings to create Adobe PDF documents for quality printing on desktop printers and proofers.  Created PDF documents can be opened with Acrobat and Adobe Reader 5.0 and later."

    when i press "save pdf"

    and follow 4:57 i cant find my file in my desktop..

  • Reply Monis Salih April 10, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I always watch a video of Blue Lightning TV when I can't sleep, it helps me fall asleep just after few seconds. It is too academic. Anyways, thanks Marty for your efforts, you helped a lot man!

  • Reply Johnny Värdling June 9, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Thank you! Veru good tutorial!

  • Reply Vero1975 August 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Marty you're a genius !!! Thank you so much

  • Reply Neelam Hargunani December 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    owsome amazing ill try

  • Reply Wychwood Ave January 4, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Keep it up Marty. Very useful, easy to follow tutorials.

  • Reply Etienne Buxton January 13, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Hello Marty,

    When I'm trying to make the text wobbly in accordance with the ripples, I try to go to "Filter > Distort > Displace" but the program does not let me select 'Distort'. If I may ask, how might I solve this problem?

    Thank you very much,


  • Reply Reuben April 2, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Awesome tutorials man good job!!! I am not kidding really its awesome 🙂

  • Reply Dragan Tomas April 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Marty, I tried this multiple times (in CS6) but I am not getting any result. In fact, the only thing that happens when I open the displacement map is that the text moves little bit to the side, and that without any conformation of the text to any shape of the water curves. You have any idea as to what could be the problem?

  • Reply Haroon Aaron June 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Wow so amazing your every video make learn me a new technique in photoshop. .
    So helpful dear. .
    God Bless you and your work.

  • Reply MOLHAM MOLHAM July 4, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for this valuable information.

  • Reply Kareem Hassan September 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    very good Marty u my hero

  • Reply XAMPER -noway November 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    thank you so much bro! 🙂 2016 !

  • Reply FPortman April 21, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    NIce lesson.thanks. i will subscribe

  • Reply Lima Madrid August 17, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    You're so amazing! Please do more scifi fonts and effects i liked it so much!

  • Reply Bethi Mrittika March 12, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Marty The Great……

  • Reply Julian April 1, 2018 at 4:18 am


  • Reply nget kakada August 3, 2018 at 4:33 am

    Thank you Teacher

  • Reply Muthu arumugam August 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Mr.Marty, can I ask, if I want to make the text float on surface of water to give it floating effect instead of bottom of pool, how do I do it? Thank you

  • Reply skySofa September 29, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    in photoshop cc 2015 I don't get the box that appears at @4:46, any ideia why?

  • Reply 박하연 October 18, 2018 at 4:45 am

    soooo much thanks!!!! it's so simple but helpful!

  • Leave a Reply