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How to Create a Shiny Tinsel Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

This tutorial will show you how to use brush settings, layer styles, healing tools, adjustment layers, and some tips and tricks to create a shiny, bright, fun tinsel text effect. Let’s get started!

This text effect was inspired by the many Layer Styles available on GraphicRiver.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. How to Create Background and Text Layers

Step 1

Create a new 1613 x 1075 px document, and go to File > Place Linked to open the Background Image.

Resize the Background Image to fit within the document and hit the Return key to commit the changes.

Background Image

Step 2

Create the text in All Caps using the font Quicksand Bold. Change the Size to 300 pt, the Kerning to Optical, and the Leading value to 325 pt if you have multiple lines of text.

Place the text however you like, and don’t worry about the background as we’ll fix it at the end of the tutorial.

Create the Text

2. How to Create Inner Work Paths

Next, we are going to create work paths inside the letters we have.

You can do that using the Pen Tool, but in this tutorial, we are going to use Photoshop’s new Curvature Pen Tool.

Step 1

Pick the Curvature Pen Tool, make sure to choose the Path option in the Options bar, and click once in the center of the first letter where you want to start creating the work path.

The Curvature Pen Tool is different from the Pen Tool. So to create corner points, you need to double-click when you add the point, and to create a curve, you can either click once or create a straight line instead, and then click on that line to add a point and drag it to create the curve.

When you finish creating the path, Command-click anywhere outside it.

Curvature Pen Tool

Step 2

You can also use any other shape tools to help you easily create the work path for some of the letters. For example, you can use the Ellipse Tool, with the Path option active, to create the work path for the letter O.

Ellipse Tool

Step 3

Make sure to create all the work paths needed to fill all the letters you have.

Create the Inner Work Paths

Step 4

It is very important to save the paths created. To do so, open the Paths panel, double-click the Work Path tab, and type Center in the Name field.

Save Work Path

This will save the work paths so that you can go back to them and use them any time.

Saved Work Path

Step 5

Right-click the text layer and choose Create Work Path to create the outer stroke path.

The dots on top of the letter E are a bit too big and will overlap with the letter when stroked with the tinsel brushes, so we’ll create smaller ones.

To do so, pick the Direct Selection Tool, select the dots, and hit the Delete key to delete them.

Create Work Path

Step 6

Then, use the Ellipse Tool to create smaller circular paths.

Once you’re done, double-click the new Work Path tab and name it Stroke.

Ellipse Tool

3. How to Create a Tinsel Brush Tip

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool, choose the Shape option in the Options bar, and create a small 3 x 30 px Black rectangle.

Ellipse Tool

Step 2

Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool, and click once in the middle of each of the rectangle’s vertical sides to add two anchor points.

Add Anchor Points

Step 3

Use the Direct Selection Tool to select both added points, and click the Left Arrow key three times to nudge the points 3 px to the left.

Nudge the Anchor Points

Step 4

Command-click the Rectangle shape layer’s thumbnail to load the selection.

Load Selection

Step 5

Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, and type Tinsel Brush in the Name field.

Define Brush Preset

4. How to Modify and Save Brush Tip Settings

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool, choose the Tinsel Brush tip, and open the Brush panel to modify the settings:

Brush Tip Shape

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Shape Dynamics

Scattering

Scattering

Color Dynamics

Color Dynamics

Step 2

Click the Create new brush icon in the bottom right corner of the Brush panel, and change the Name to Brush 01.

Create New Brush

Step 3

Modify the same tip’s settings to create another variation:

Brush Tip Shape

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Shape Dynamics

Scattering

Scattering

Color Dynamics

Color Dynamics

Step 4

Click the Create new brush icon, and change the Name to Brush 02.

Create New Brush

Step 5

This is optional, but it’s a cool new feature in Photoshop that will help keep things a bit more organized.

Click the Brush Preset Picker icon in the Options bar, Command-click the icons of the three brush tips you’ve created for this tutorial (Tinsel Brush, Brush 01, and Brush 02), click the flyout menu icon, and choose New Brush Group.

Name the group Tinsel Brushes, and click OK.

New Brush Group

5. How to Stroke Work Paths

Step 1

We will create six new layers that will be used to create the main tinsel effect, and we will name them according to what they will contain. So it is important to name the layers as mentioned below to follow the tutorial easily.

The names from bottom to top are:

  • Stroke – Brush 01
  • Center – Brush 01
  • Center – Brush 02
  • Stroke – Brush 01 – White FG
  • Center – Brush 02 – White FG
  • Center – Brush 01 – Desaturated
Create New Layers

Step 2

Put all the new layers in a group and call it Tinsel, and set the Foreground Color to #d9001f and the Background Color to #300600.

New Group

Step 3

Open the Paths panel, and for each layer, select the path in the layer’s name, and stroke it with the brush tip mentioned along with it.

So if you select the Stroke – Brush 01 layer, you’ll need to click the Stroke work path in the Paths panel, pick the Brush Tool and choose the Brush 01 tip, and hit the Return key to stroke the path.

Stroke the Work Path

Step 4

To quickly switch between the brush tips, you can right-click anywhere to get the preset and choose the tip you need.

Switch Brush Tips

Step 5

Make sure to set the Foreground Color to White before you stroke the two layers that have White FG in their name.

White Foreground Color

Step 6

Change the Foreground Color back to #d9001f before creating the Center – Brush 01 – Desaturated layer’s stroke.

Stroke the Work Path

6. How to Add Glow and Shadow Effects

Double-click the Stroke – Brush 01 layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Color: #a7a7a7
  • Size: 10
Inner Glow

Step 2

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 36%
  • Distance: 10
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

This will style the first layer.

Styled Layer

Step 3

Double-click the Center – Brush 01 layer to apply an Inner Glow effect with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Opacity: 74%
  • Color: #a7a7a7
  • Size: 10
Inner Glow

This will help build the glow effect to add more dimension to the tinsel.

You can hide the top layers to see the effects you apply, and then show them again.

Hide and Show Layers

Double-click the Center – Brush 02 layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 4

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Opacity: 74%
  • Color: #a7a7a7
  • Size: 10
Inner Glow

Step 5

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 50%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

Step 6

Change the Center – Brush 02 layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay.

Blend Mode

7. How to Style Layers

Step 1

Change the Stroke – Brush 01 – White FG layer’s Blend Mode to Linear Light and its Opacity to 60%.

Layer Settings

Double-click the Center – Brush 02 – White FG layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 2

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Vivid Light
  • Opacity: 70%
  • Pattern: FDR Glitter Pattern 02
Pattern Overlay

Step 3

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Color: #8e8e8e
  • Opacity: 35%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

Step 4

Change the Center – Brush 02 – White FG layer’s Blend Mode to Linear Light.

Blend Mode

Step 5

Select the Center – Brush 01 – Desaturated layer, and go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.

Desaturate

Step 6

Double-click the Center – Brush 01 – Desaturated layer to apply an Inner Glow effect with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Opacity: 60%
  • Color: #a7a7a7
  • Source: Center
  • Size: 7
Inner Glow

Step 7

Change the Center – Brush 01 – Desaturated layer’s Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Blend Mode

8. How to Colorize a Layer Group

Double-click the Tinsel group to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Color: #c29816
  • Blend Mode: Hue
Color Overlay

Step 2

Add another Color Overlay effect instance with these settings:

  • Color: #cecece
  • Blend Mode: Divide
Color Overlay

Step 3

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Color: #1e0700
  • Opacity: 10%
  • Distance: 30
  • Size: 5
Drop Shadow

This will create the final tinsel effect.

Tinsel Effect

9. How to Create a Texture Overlay Using Filters

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of all layers, name it Texture Overlay, fill it with White, and right-click it to choose Convert to Smart Object.

Set the Foreground and Background Colors to Black and White.

Texture Overlay

Step 2

Go to Filter > Render > Fibers, and change the Variance to 30 and the Strength to 3.

Fibers Filter

Step 3

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Sketch > Bas Relief, and use these settings:

  • Detail: 13
  • Smoothness: 3
  • Light: Bottom
Bas Relief Filter

Step 4

Click the New effect layer icon in the bottom right corner, go to Texture > Grain, and use these settings:

  • Intensity: 40
  • Contrast: 50
  • Grain Type: Regular
Grain Filter

Step 5

Clip the Texture Overlay layer to the Tinsel group, and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%.

Layer Settings

10. How to Add Global Adjustments

Step 1

Add a Selective Color adjustment layer with these settings:

Yellows

  • Cyan: -10
  • Magenta: -2
  • Black: -5
Selective Color

Step 2

Add a Color Lookup adjustment layer, choose the Fuji ETERNA 250D Kodak 2395 (by Adobe).cube table from the 3DLUT File menu, and change its Opacity to 15%.

Color Lookup

Step 3

Add a Solid Color fill layer with the Color #150806 and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 20%.

Solid Color

Step 4

Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to create an elliptical selection around the text, select the Solid Color layer mask’s thumbnail, and fill the selection with Black.

Layer Mask

Step 5

With the mask’s thumbnail still selected, open the Properties panel, and change the Feather value to 52% to create a quick simple vignette effect.

Vignette Effect

11. How to Add Glitter Using Brush Settings

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of the Background Image layer, and name it Background Glitter.

Background Glitter

Double-click the Background Glitter layer to apply the following layer styles:

Step 2

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

  • Pattern: FDR Glitter Pattern 16
Pattern Overlay

Step 3

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Color: #0a1119
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Distance: 1
  • Size: 2
Drop Shadow

Step 4

Pick the Brush Tool, choose the Airbrush Hard Low Density Grainy tip, and open the Brush panel to change the Scattering settings as needed.

The important thing for this to work is to use a big, 300px brush tip Size.

Scattering

Step 5

Click-drag slightly to add the glitter behind the text. You can change the brush settings to get a result you like.

Add the Glitter

12. How to Modify a Background Image

Step 1

Double-click the Background Image Smart Object’s thumbnail to open its file.

Pick the Content-Aware Move Tool, and set the Mode to Move in the Options bar.

Select the object you want to move and place somewhere else, and make sure to include some empty space around it within the selection.

You can check the Transform on Drop box if you want to transform the object after moving it.

Content-Aware Move Tool

Step 2

Move the selected object to its new position, transform it if needed, and then hit Return.

Move the Selected Element

Step 3

After that, you can use any of the other Healing Tools to better blend the object’s edges with the new background.

You can also use the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge Tools wherever needed.

Blend with the New Background

Step 4

If there are any parts you want to remove completely, select them using any selection tool, and go to Edit > Fill and choose Content-Aware from the Content menu.

Content-Aware Fill

Step 5

Again, use the Healing Tools to make any further adjustment to the area after removing the object.

Healing Tools

Step 6

Make any other adjustment needed to the background using the same tools.

Adjust the Background

Step 7

You can save the file and go back to the original document to see the changes there and make any necessary adjustments.

Make Further Adjustments

13. How to Add Finishing Touches

Step 1

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and clip it to the Background Image layer.

Choose the Yellows channel, and change the Saturation value to -25.

HueSaturation

Step 2

We need the Hue/Saturation layer to affect only the bells in the image.

So fill the Hue/Saturation layer mask with Black, set the Foreground Color to White, and use a soft round brush tip to brush over the bells.

Adjust the Layer Mask

Step 3

Select the Background Glitter layer and click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Set the Foreground Color to Black, and paint over the areas you want to remove the glitter from, like the bells and the trees, since the glitter is supposed to be under them.

Modify the Background Glitter

Congratulations! You’re Done

In this tutorial, we created a simple brush tip and adjusted its settings to create the main tinsel effect.

Then, we styled the many layers used in creating the effect to achieve the final result. After that, we added glitter, modified the background image, and added global adjustments to the effect.

Finally, we used some more adjustment layers and layer masks to add final touches.

Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.

Final Result