Classy Black Glossy Metal Text Effect
This is really easy-to-follow tutorial on creating a glossy black metal effect for text and images in Adobe Photoshop. I have Adobe Photoshop CS6 but you can also use this technique with older versions. I’m using the Bevel and Emboss Layer Style and gradients to create the metal effect and a rough metal background photo to get the really great realistic quality. To do this you can photograph any rough or polished metal or rusty metal you think would be appropriate for the background layer. You can find a rough grey metal texture for free in a couple of free photo places like MorgueFile or FreeImages. Once you have created one of these signs, you can use the technique for a number of other projects in the future.
There are many avenues to the same function in Photoshop. I found after months of going the long direction (up to the toolbar, click an option, wait for the drop-down menu, choose one, get another drop-down menu, choose one, etc.) that there are shortcuts to almost all the functions. I will try to give some of these short cuts because the more you use them the easier they are to remember. However, if you can’t remember a shortcut, you can always go the long direction to get to the same place.
Step 1. Create a New Document
Create a new document with the following specs: 1550 x 870 px, 150 dpi, RGB, and white background.
Step 2. Place a Metal Photo Layer
Place a rough metal texture photo background on the first layer. Size to fit if it doesn’t already. You can go to a lot of places to find a rough metal texture photo. MorgueFiles and FreeImages are two places that have free photo textures. Also, you could just go out and photograph the street or concrete beneath your feet or a metal surface nearby you.
Step 3. Duplicate the Metal Layer
Duplicate this layer: Command/Control+J, click the eye to temporarily make the layer invisible and click onto the first background layer.
Step 4. Adjust the Levels
Adjust the levels: Control/Command+L to open the levels dialog box, for the highlight output level, change from 250 to 100; for the shadow input change from 10 to 90, then click okay. This darkens the background considerably.
Step 5. Make a Layer Mask
Click on the eyeball icon to turn on the duplicate layer and make a layer mask next to it. Invert the mask layer by typing Control/Command+I. This should fill the layer mask with black.
Step 6. Use the Soft Brush to Create Vignette
Open the brush tool and choose a soft brush. Hardness at 0%, Opacity 50%, press the right bracket key until the brush size fills the artboard from top to bottom. With the brush directly in the middle, left click twice, move to the right a bit, left click once, then move to the right and left click once. This should make the lighter layer visible only in the middle of the artboard.
Step 7. Choose a Font and Type
Go to the type tool, choose a font ( Abaddon II Regular) I chose Matura MT Script, size 150 pt, sharp, color set to black, but really the color is irrelevant since we are going to replace it with a gradient overlay later. Type whatever you like. Center the text by choosing the move tool and centering the text as desired.
Step 8. Choose Gradient Overlay
Go to the FX icon and choose Gradient Overlay. Blend Mode Normal, Style Linear, Align with layer is checked, Angle 90%, click the gradient bar and check the black to white default preset. Click below the gradient bar in the dialog box to add a color stop and type in 50% for location, click the color box to get a color picker, at the B box type in 70% for brightness, click okay. Click the lower right stop on the gradient bar (white), for location type 90%, click the color box and B for brightness type in 45%, and click okay. Click the lower left stop (black), which will give you a tiny diamond shape in the middle between the left stop and the middle one. Drag that diamond shape as far to the right as it will go. Click in between the right and middle stops to create another stop, for location type in 35%, click the color box and B for brightness type in 45%, click okay. Create another stop between the new one and the left on, for location type 20%, click the color box and B for brightness type in 40%, click okay in both dialog boxes.
Step 9. Click Satin
In the Layer Style dialog box, click Satin, change Blend Mode to Color Burn, Opacity to 50%, change the angle to 160%, Distance 5 px, size 0 px, open Contour and check the first preset, make sure Invert is checked, and check Anti-alias.
Step 10. Go to Bevel and Emboss
Go to Bevel and Emboss, check Contour, Style is Inner Bevel, Technique is Chisel Hard, Depth 300%, Direction is Up, Size 3 px, Angle 120 degrees, Altitude is 30%, Highlight Mode is Color Dodge, Opacity 75%, Shadow Mode is Multiply, Opacity 75%.
Step 11. Click Inner Glow
Click Inner Glow, Blend Mode is Color Dodge, Opacity 35%, click the color box to get the color picker, pick a bright color for the bevel’s accent: 00ffea will give you a bright aqua blue, click okay, Technique is Softer, Source is Edge, Choke is 0, Size is 8 px, Open Contour and click the lower left preset (a curved angle) called Half Round.
Step 12. Choose the Steel Bar Gradient
Click on Stroke, Size 3 px, Position is Inside, Fill Type is Gradient, Click the Gradient Bar, click the gear icon at the top right of the Color Picker box and choose Metals; when the warning box appears, click okay so you can see the metals gradient in the gradient window. Click the Steel Bar gradient and click okay.
Step 13. Click on Drop Shadow
Click on Drop Shadow, Blend Mode is Multiply, Opacity is 50%, Angle is 120 degrees, Distance 5 px, Size 5 px, then click okay.
Step 14. Convert to Smart Object
We are going to make the Text Layer into a Smart Object so that all the styles will remain with the text if you should change it. Click the icon at the top right of the layers panel or right click on the text layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.
Step 15. Go to Drop Shadow
Click the FX icon and go to Drop Shadow. Blend Mode is Multiply, Opacity is 50%, Distance is 25 px, Size 30 px, click okay. Make a copy of this layer by typing Control/Command+J and double-clicking on Drop Shadow on the new layer, increase the Distance to 50 px, click okay.
Step 16a. Make a Groove or Bevel
To make a Bevel in the metal background, create a new layer above the lighter metal layer. Go to the Rectangular Marquee tool and make a rectangle around the text in the new blank layer, go to Edit>Stroke, make the Width 8 pixels, Location is Inside, click okay, press Control/Command+D to deselect. Go to the layers panel and reduce the Fill to 0, this makes the border disappear but the ghost is still there. Double click the border layer to open the Layer Style window, click Bevel and Emboss, Style is Inner Bevel, Technique is Chisel Hard, Direction is Down, Size is 5 pixels. Click okay. Reduce the Opacity of this layer to 80%. To center this border, click the Move Tool, type Control/Command+A, to select it all and click the center icon in the top panel. Press Control/Command+D to deselect.
Step 16b. Alternate Way to Make a Groove or Bevel
To make a Bevel in the metal background with curved corners, if you have Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, start the same as before by making a new layer above the light metal background. Go to Edit>Fill, choose Pattern, check Scripted Patterns, choose Picture Frame under Script, click okay. A dialog box with choices of frames will appear and go down till you find Inverse Rounded Corners listed. Margin 25, Size 1, Thickness 35, Angle 25, press Enter. Select>Deselect or Control/Command+D. Like before, make the Fill 0 so the frame disappears. Double click the frame layer to open the Layer Styles dialog box. Check Bevel and Emboss, use the same settings as before, Style is Inner Bevel, Technique is Chisel Hard, Direction is Down, Size is 5 pixels. Click okay. Reduce the Opacity of this layer to 80%.
The great thing about this process is that no matter what you typed in the beginning, it can be changed to another word or phrase easily. This can be created once and used over and over again. I have even taken a word or phrase and clicking onto the layer drag and dropped it onto another waiting background to be used for some header elsewhere.
To change the text, double click on any Smart Object, which will open a new window. You can easily change the size of the canvas by going to Image>Canvas Size and changing the inches to percentage. Then changing the percentage from 100 to 150 or more, click okay. Double click the T on the layer, which will highlight the text and type any other word or phrase you like. Press Enter or click the check mark at the top bar to accept the change and all the styles will be applied to the new word. You must click the “x” at the right of the artboard tab and you will get a warning about the changes. Click okay and the changes will be made in the original background you first created.
Shiny New Comments Wanted
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 08, 2018:
Thank you, Mary. I think years ago they were mostly for artists, but now you can get so many sizes and styles that it is not only suitable for anyone but even affordable for anyone. The real learning curve with the smaller Bamboo versions and the Intuos (that I have) is that you don't watch your hands as in regular writing and drawing. You draw and watch the screen. This is off-putting for some but once you get used to it, it's not a big deal. My first Bamboo I got for $100. The Intuos is about $350. The Cintiq (which is my dream version of Wacom) is over $1000. I love it and I couldn't work without it now that I'm used to it. I hope that helps.
Mary Wickison from USA on May 07, 2018:
This is a nice effect, I will be trying this. I noticed on another article of yours you are using a Wacom pad. I have been thinking of buying one in the future and would love to read a review from you. Are they suitable for beginners as well as trained artists?
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 11, 2016:
Thank you so much. I love your work too.
Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on March 11, 2016:
Beautiful text, Denise. Love the gloss and its 3D look :)
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 14, 2015:
Larry, you have to be the best at following anyone I've ever seen. It's so nice to see your name pop up in all my meager writings. I voted for you in the hubbies. Thanks for commenting.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on August 14, 2015:
Thanks for the tips.