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Create Muddy Text Using Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will create text that looks like its melting in the hot sun. Use this text to make a bold statement on your website header. Although we’re working under the premise of mud, you can easily make this effect look like chocolate. Let’s begin!

1. Open the image Dry Lake Bed in Photoshop.

2. This image looks a little bland, so doctor it up with a Curves adjustment. Go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Curves, or press CTRL + M on your keyboard. Enter the following input/output numbers into the RGB, Red, and Blue channels. Alternately, you can load the color curves file (.acv) from the resources package.

3. Create a new layer for the text. This tutorial uses BorisBlaxkBloxx, which can be found here and also comes attached in the resources package. Type “ROYAL” in all caps, and change the font size to 325 pt.

4. Open the mud texture file from the resources package. Go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Name the pattern “cracked.” Close that file.

Right-click on text layer and select Blending Options. Go to Pattern Overlay, and select “cracked” from the pattern drop down screen. Change the scale to 75%. Manually move the pattern so that the darkest part of the pattern is on the left.

Select Inner Glow. Change the Blend Mode to Normal, and the color to #8B582E.

Go to Color Overlay. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay, and the color to #A4521E.

5. Duplicate the text layer. Move the duplicated layer under the original text layer. Right-click on it and select Clear Layer Style. Next, go into text mode, select the text, and change the color to #481A0B. Duplicate this layer. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the first duplicated layer 4 clicks to the left and 4 clicks up. On the second duplicated layer, use the arrow key to move it over 4 clicks to the right, and 4 clicks up.

6. Add a shadow to part of the text to make it seem affected by the sunlight. First, while holding the CTRL button, click on the original text layer. Create a new layer. Make sure your foreground color is black. Select the hard round paint brush at 100 pixels and change the opacity of the brush to 33%. Begin to paint over R, O, and part of Y, as the sunlight is coming from the right side of this image. After you’ve finished painting this area, change the layer mode to Overlay. Deselect text by pressing CTRL + D.

7. Create a new layer. Change the paint brush size to 13 pixels, and move the opacity back to 100%. Select #481A0B as your foreground color. Begin to paint mud on the top of the letters until it resembles the image below. Name this layer “Mud.”

8. Create another layer on top of the “Mud” layer. Hold CTRL and click on the “Mud” layer to create a guide. Use a black hard round brush at 53% opacity and begin drawing a shadow around the bottom of the mud. Name this layer “Mud Shadow.”

9. Link all the text layers together (including the mud and mud shadow layers), and then go to Layer -> Merge Linked, or press CTRL + E. Name this layer “Text.”

Take the Eraser and configure it to 36 px, with the chalk brush like below.

Start erasing the bottom of the text to make it appear as if it’s coming from the ground.

10. Return to the eraser brushes, and change to the hard round at 33 px. Begin erasing the top of the text, but don’t worry about the sides.

11. Select the hard round paintbrush, with the color #481A0B in the foreground and begin to paint the sides of the text, as if mud is sliding downward. Create a new layer, and change the paint brush to 8 px at 53% opacity. Change the color to black. Begin painting a subtle shadow to that mud.

Merge all the text-related layers together, and name this layer “Text.”

12. Create a new layer. Type ROYAL using the same specifications as in Step 3. Position it directly over the original, altered text. Right-click on its layer and select Rasterize.

Go to Edit -> Transform -> Rotate 180 Degrees. Then go back to Transform, and select Flip Horizontal.

13. Return to Transform, and this time select Distort. Enter in the following specifications, making sure the text is at a 45 degree horizontal skew.

Change the layer’s Blending Modeto Overlay. Name this layer “Text Shadow” and change the fill to 50%.

14. Create a new layer under the text and shadow layers. Use the hard round brush at 20 px to draw a mud puddle under the text. Use #481A0B. Name this layer “Mud Pool.”

Ctrl + Click on the “Mud Pool” layer, and create a new layer. Use the hard round brush at 8 px and 53% opacity to draw shadow. Name this layer “Mud Pool Shadow.”

Create another layer named “Mud Pool Highlights.” Use the brush and paint the foreground color #64351A onto the mud pool.

15. Continue tinkering with the mud pool, adding more depending on your desire. Remember to add a shadow and highlight.

16. Move all the text-related layers into a folder named “Text.” Collapse the folder, and lock by clicking on the “lock” icon.

17. Open the three flowers images from here, here, and here, and the child image, also available in the resources package.

18. Create a new layer in the text file. Go to the first flower image and move it directly onto the text canvas. Move flower1 in front of the letter Y. Keep this layer on top of the Text folder.

Create a layer for flower2, and move it to the R. Next, move this layer underneath the Text folder (you must unlock the folder first).

Move the new layer containing flower3 on top of all others. Erase any areas that don’t look natural to the text.

19. Add the child image onto the text canvas. Scale the image by going to Edit -> Transform -> Scale. Add a shadow for the child, using the same method as Step 12.

20. Create a mud stream and shadow under the child for enhanced realism. Save and you’re done!

Royal Tutorial

Zac Johnson is the founder of RoyalTutorial.com and has been conducting business online since the late 90s. You can follow Zac on Twitter and visit his affiliate marketing blog, ZacJohnson.com.