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Perk up your images with a fresh, warped text effect

Added on Friday 3rd of June 2011 05:32 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


It’s easy to get so focused on using Photoshop for image editing that you lose sight of its awesome ability to handle text. Not only can you add text to your designs, you can format it, flow it on paths, and edit it much the same way you do images. We’ll show you how to warp text to create a really cool effect.


To help you get the most out of the Warp Text command, we’ll show you how to:

  Upgrade your designs with text.

  Incorporate uniquely styled text into your designs.

  Add a new dimension to your designs with special text effects.


You may not even realize how capable Photoshop is at handling text. In addition to standard text formatting and flowing options, you have the Warp Text command at your fingertips. This feature enables you to bend text this way and that, so you can integrate it into your images and create special effects. With the help of the Text Warp command, you too can produce great-looking text effects like the one shown in Figure A, and we’ll show you how.




Set up the document

To start, launch Photoshop and create a new document that’s 3 x 3 inches in size. Set the Resolution to 300 pixels/inch, the Color Mode to RGB Color, and the Background Contents to White. In this new document, create the shape you want to warp text around.


To create a circular shape:

1.  Choose the Ellipse Tool from the Tools panel.

2.  Select the Shape Layers button on the tool options bar.

3.  Click on the triangle to the right of the shape tools on the tool options bar to display the Ellipse Options dialog box. Then, select the Fixed Size option button and enter 1.5 in in the W and H text boxes, as shown in Figure B.

4.  Click on the Color thumbnail on the tool options bar, and specify a color for the shape in the Color Picker dialog box. Then, click OK.

5.  Select the Ellipse tool on the canvas to create the shape. Then, [command]-click and drag the circle into the center of the canvas.



How’d we do that?

To create the orange in our final image, we used a layer style and the Lighting Effects filter.

If you’re curious about how we created the final image shown in Figure A, extract the warp_text.psd document from the URL listed at the beginning of this article.



Create a text warp

With the shape complete, you can now type the text you want to warp. Just like layer styles, however, the Warp Text feature applies to all text on a layer. Therefore, you’ll need to create two separate text layers to apply the two different Warp Text settings we use in this example.


To create the first text layer:

1.  Select the Horizontal Type tool from the Tools panel and click and drag it across your shape.

2.  Type the word Florida in the resulting bounding box, as shown in Figure C.

3.  Highlight the text and use the tool options bar (or the Character and Paragraph panels) to format it.

4.  Format your text with Bernard MT Condensed Regular at 60 points, or other font that appeals to you.

5.  Choose Sharp from the Anti-alias pop-up menu.

6.  Click the Center Alignment button.