Quick Tutorial – Creating a Letterpress and Embossed Text Effects in Photoshop

Posted in Quick Tips, Text Effects, Tips, Tutorials, Web Design • Posted on 14 Comments

In the past few years the letterpress text effect has become a huge trend in web design. It’s being used in headers, headlines and even interfaces. The love for the letterpress effect has been transferred from printing machines to our computer screens. If done right letterpress can be a splendid and neat accent in your design. Another superb, yet often underrated, text effect is embossing. You may have seen it in some menus though. Text embossing is another effect which digital art has borrowed from traditional design. This tutorial will guide you through creating the letterpress and embossed text effect in Photoshop. The tutorial will be using some basic layer styles together with some more advanced techniques. If you’re a beginner in Photoshop text effects, continue to read to find out how to achieve fantastic looking letterpress and embossed text effects in Photoshop.

Final Image

(click on the image to view full-size version)

Letterpress-13-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-26-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Background

Having the perfect background when using a letterpress or embossed text effect is very important. The right background can seriously enhance the overall look and make it more realistic. For letterpress and embossed text we want the background to be lighter than the text itself. So lets begin.

1. Create a new document

Start by creating a new document. Dimensions I used are 700×400 with dpi set to 72 pixels/inch.

Background-1-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

2. Solid color

Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer with #30485a.

Background-2-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

3. Adding texture

Download this Black Leather Pattern and open it up in Photoshop. There’s no need to download the original size image since we are going to define a pattern from this. I downloaded the 240×240 version. Once you’ve opened the pattern in Photoshop, go to Edit – Define Pattern and click ok.

Background-3-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Head back to your document and create a new layer. Go to Edit – Fill – Pattern and choose the pattern you just created.

Background-4-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Background-5-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Set layer’s Blending Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 55%.

Background-6-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Download this Subtle Grunge texture and paste it into your document. Hit Ctrl+T and adjust it so it fits your document.

Background-7-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Go to Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U) and drag the Saturation slider to the very left.

Background-8-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Then again go to Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Ctrl+M) and drag the lower part of the curve down a bit.

Background-9-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Set layer’s Blending Mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 15%.

Background-10-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

4. Darkening Corners

Now select the Brush Tool (B) and choose a large soft brush with around 150px size and hardness set to 0%. Hit D on your keyboard to set the foreground color to black and background color to white. Holding Shift brush around the edges.

Background-11-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Now increase the brush size and brush the corners carefully to make a nice rounded frame.

Background-12-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Got to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur and set its radius to around 55 pixels depending on your document size. If necessary adjust your layer’s Opacity. I set my to 75%.

Background-13-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

And you’re done with the background. To unite the layers click on the top one, hold Shift + Ctrl and click on the bottom layer. Then click Ctrl + G to group them.

Letterpress effect

Select the Type Tool (T) and type in your text. I used a font called Myriad Pro, set to Bold, 95pt size, Spacing -10 pt. After you’ve typed your text do a right click on the layer and click Rasterize Type.

Letterpress-1-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

There are various ways to create the letterpress effect. I’m going to teach you the easiest and quickest way, in my opinion. Do a right click on your text layer and select Blending Options. Then apply the following Layer Styles.

Letterpress-2-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Letterpress-3-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Letterpress-4-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

These are the Styles which worked fine for me. You may want to twiddle with the settings that so that it looks right. Your text layer should look similar to this one.

Letterpress-5-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Not looking quite like a letterpress effect, right? But we’re going to fix that. Do a Ctrl + click on your text layer. A selection should appear.

Letterpress-6-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Still with the active selection head to your Background group and find the black leather pattern layer.

Letterpress-7-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Select it and hit Ctrl + J. A new layer should spring up.

Letterpress-8-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Bring that layer’s opacity up to 85%. Then go to Image – Adjustments – Curves (Ctrl+M) and drag the lower part of the curve down a bit.

Letterpress-9-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

With that done, your letterpress effect now should look much more realistic.

Letterpress-11-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

For the final step lets add subtle lighting to our image. Grab the Gradient Tool (G), hit D and X on the keyboard to set white as a foreground color and black as a background color. Choose Radial Gradient and draw something like this.

Letterpress-12-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Set the layer’s Blending Mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 45%. Congratulations, you’re done with the letterpress effect. Click on the image to view the full-size version.

Letterpress-13-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed effect

We’re going to create the embossed text effect on the same background. So delete your letterpress text layer and the one you substracted from black leather pattern and do a Save As. You should have a fresh background with smooth lighting on it.

Embossed-1-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Again start by typing your text. I used the same bold Myriad Pro with 95pt size and -10 Spacing. After you’ve typed your text rasterize the layer.

Embossed-2-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Now apply the following Layer Styles to your text layer.

Embossed-3-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-4-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-5-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-6-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Your text layer should look similar to this one.

Embossed-7-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Now just like with the letterpress effect do a Ctrl + click on your text layer, select the black leather pattern and hit Ctrl + J. Name the new embossed2. Bring layer’s Opacity up to 100%. Go to Image – Adjustments – Curves (Ctrl + M) and drag the lower part of the curve down.

Embossed-8-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-9-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Now apply these Layer Styles to the embossed2 layer.

Embossed-10-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-11-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-12-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-13-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Now do a Ctrl + Click on your original text layer. Then go to Select – Modify – Expand, enter 1 pixel and click ok.

Embossed-14-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-15-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

When that’s done create a new layer and grab Paint Bucket Tool (G). Set the foreground color to black and fill the new selection. Name the layer stroke.

Embossed-16-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Do a Ctrl + click on your original text layer to select it. Then select the stroke layer and hit delete on your keyboard.

Embossed-17-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Embossed-18-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Select the stroke layer and hit your left arrow key once. Then set the layer’s opacity to 45%. That should give you a neat emphasizing stroke around your text.

Embossed-19-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

For the final touches select your original text layer again and do a Ctrl + click to load a selection from. Locate your black leather pattern and click Ctrl + J. Name the layer embossed 3 and drag it above the stroke layer.

Embossed-20-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Firstly, set the layer to Normal and lower the Opacity to 20%.

Embossed-21-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Then go to Image – Adjustments – Curves (Ctrl + M) and drag the lower part of the curve down a bit.

Embossed-22-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

After that go to Image – Adjustments – Color Balance (Ctrl + B) and in Midtones set the balance to +20 for Blue tones.

Embossed-23-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

To finish up lets add a bit more lighting to our image. To do that go to Edit – Fill and choose 50% grey. Set layer’s Blending Mode to Overlay. Then grab Burn Tool (O) with large soft brush set to Midtones and Exposure set to around 30%. Then just brush around the center. If you’d switch layer’s Blending Mode to Normal you should see something like this.

Embossed-24-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

Set layer back to Overlay and go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur and set it’s radius to around 30 pixels.

Embossed-25-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

And that’s about it with the embossed text effect. Click on the image to view a full-size version.

Embossed-26-letterpress-embossed-text-effect-tutorial-photoshop

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on creating letterpress and embossed text effects in Photoshop. Of course this is not the only way to create the effect, Photoshop is full of possibilities you just have to experiment. You just have to imagine how would the effect look in real life and then it’s up to you how you achieve it. Feel free to make suggestions and ask questions if something wasn’t clear to you.

Here is the PSD file for you, if you want to compare your outcome with ours!

111 Written ArticlesWebsite

Works at 1stwebdesigner, studies photography at ISSPand seeks to enjoy life. You can check out his photography blog and follow him on twitter.

14 Comments Best Comments First
  • Shikeb Ali

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011 12:51

    2

    WOW ! the embossed text effect is mind blowing and the leather texture made it look so real and stunning.

    +3
  • Andrea Spikes

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 22:23

    8

    This tutorial makes it easy to create great embossed text effects in Photoshop. Keep coming with great tutorials like this :)

    +3
  • Renato Alves

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011 21:16

    3

    I enjoy the tutorial. Thanks! It’s really helping me to improve my PSD skills.

    +1
  • Elisha

    Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 22:52

    14

    It DEbossed people. Embossed goes up, debossed goes down.

    +1
  • Giuseppe

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011 14:55

    1

    God and useful post, thanks

    0
  • Nanang Gunawan

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 03:13

    4

    nice post,, waiting for next post about Photoshop.
    i like photoshop :D

    Thanks…

    0
  • James

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 10:37

    6

    Excellent Photoshop tutorial,

    It’s always great to see how text effects can be used in Adobe Photoshop. It looks like a design placed on leather.

    0
  • Karl Lorenz

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 10:51

    7

    Rly awesome tutorial and a n1 effect. I like it that much!!! There is another simpler way to get these effect and also u can use it on your website text without using pictures.
    It’s called text-shadow:
    .shadow {
    text-shadow: 1px 1px 0px #000;
    /* misalignment left – misalignment top – blur – color */
    }
    To explane these in PS u only have to create 3 simlear text layers and a bg-layer. One with your basic color, beneath one with a darker color. U have to move this text-layer with your arrow-keys one left, one up. Beneath this layer u have a third text-layer with a lighter color which u have to move one right, one down.
    Voila you got the letterpress effect.

    And these would be a example for the css code for letterpress effect:
    background:#404040;
    color:#303030;
    text-shadow: -1px -1px 0px #101010, 1px 1px 0px #505050;

    0
  • Fazreen

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 10:41

    9

    Freaking awesome, both letterpress effect and embossed effect. Thanks for this trick. Now I have another skill to be practiced.

    0
  • Giuseppe Lanzetta

    Monday, June 27th, 2011 12:22

    11

    Very nice effects! I’ve just sticked this tuts!

    0
  • Raynold

    Monday, June 27th, 2011 06:57

    10

    Great tutorial and techniques well explained!
    Thanks for sharing…
    Bookmarked & Featured in Tutorials of the Week!!

    0
  • Tevin H

    Monday, January 16th, 2012 01:03

    13

    This is really good. But how would you apply this to a brick wall backgrounkd?

    -1
  • Hafism

    Thursday, July 21st, 2011 10:23

    12

    I’m trying it now :) Thanks dude. Nice tut.

    -1
  • Sandra

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 07:47

    5

    Even if those effects have been described many times in tutorials – I love the final effect and I will try it out. Tutorial is as always very well written and easy to follow.

    -1
  • Elisha

    Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 22:52

    14

    It DEbossed people. Embossed goes up, debossed goes down.

    +1
  • Tevin H

    Monday, January 16th, 2012 01:03

    13

    This is really good. But how would you apply this to a brick wall backgrounkd?

    -1
  • Hafism

    Thursday, July 21st, 2011 10:23

    12

    I’m trying it now :) Thanks dude. Nice tut.

    -1
  • Giuseppe Lanzetta

    Monday, June 27th, 2011 12:22

    11

    Very nice effects! I’ve just sticked this tuts!

    0
  • Raynold

    Monday, June 27th, 2011 06:57

    10

    Great tutorial and techniques well explained!
    Thanks for sharing…
    Bookmarked & Featured in Tutorials of the Week!!

    0
  • Fazreen

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 10:41

    9

    Freaking awesome, both letterpress effect and embossed effect. Thanks for this trick. Now I have another skill to be practiced.

    0
  • Andrea Spikes

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 22:23

    8

    This tutorial makes it easy to create great embossed text effects in Photoshop. Keep coming with great tutorials like this :)

    +3
  • Karl Lorenz

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 10:51

    7

    Rly awesome tutorial and a n1 effect. I like it that much!!! There is another simpler way to get these effect and also u can use it on your website text without using pictures.
    It’s called text-shadow:
    .shadow {
    text-shadow: 1px 1px 0px #000;
    /* misalignment left – misalignment top – blur – color */
    }
    To explane these in PS u only have to create 3 simlear text layers and a bg-layer. One with your basic color, beneath one with a darker color. U have to move this text-layer with your arrow-keys one left, one up. Beneath this layer u have a third text-layer with a lighter color which u have to move one right, one down.
    Voila you got the letterpress effect.

    And these would be a example for the css code for letterpress effect:
    background:#404040;
    color:#303030;
    text-shadow: -1px -1px 0px #101010, 1px 1px 0px #505050;

    0
  • James

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 10:37

    6

    Excellent Photoshop tutorial,

    It’s always great to see how text effects can be used in Adobe Photoshop. It looks like a design placed on leather.

    0
  • Sandra

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 07:47

    5

    Even if those effects have been described many times in tutorials – I love the final effect and I will try it out. Tutorial is as always very well written and easy to follow.

    -1
  • Nanang Gunawan

    Monday, June 20th, 2011 03:13

    4

    nice post,, waiting for next post about Photoshop.
    i like photoshop :D

    Thanks…

    0
  • Renato Alves

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011 21:16

    3

    I enjoy the tutorial. Thanks! It’s really helping me to improve my PSD skills.

    +1
  • Shikeb Ali

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011 12:51

    2

    WOW ! the embossed text effect is mind blowing and the leather texture made it look so real and stunning.

    +3
  • Giuseppe

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011 14:55

    1

    God and useful post, thanks

    0

Comments are closed.

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