In this quick tutorial, you will learn how to create a colorful text effect in which the colors form a wavy pattern upon the text giving it a vibrant and cute look in Photoshop using simple masking techniques and filters. We will play with some layer styles and filters to create our text in a very quick time, the steps are much easier to follow, this tutorial requires no user expertise, even a beginner can learn with ease and create some stunning text effects based on this.

Before going into the tutorial, let us see how the final image will look like.

Step 1:New Document

Create a new document of size 1280 by 1024 px with white as the background color. You can later apply some subtle gradient in the background layer if you want to highlight the text colors. In our tutorial, for the final output we have used a Radial Gradient for the background running from the colors #d6dbbf to #feffe8.

Step 2: Add Text

Now add some text of any round, bulbous, or fluffy font, i am using the font VAL which can be downloaded from FontFabric, about the size of 350 pt of black color. The color of the text does not matter here since we are going to apply some clipping mask of multiple colors on it.

Note: This text layer is the base for our design, so henceforth in the tutorial, we will be mentioning this layer as base_text.

Position the text in the center of the document , aligning both the horizontal and vertical centers with respect to the background layer.

Step 3: Drawing Color Bars

Now to create the curvy colors inside our text, we are going to draw some multiple color bars over the text and then later merge them and distort them to get a perfect wavy effect and clip it along the edges of the text.

First grab the Rectangle Tool (U), then draw a rectangle bar approximately about 1/4 th the size of the text from the bottom using the color RGB Red (#FF0000).

Then duplicate this layer 3 times and change the color of each bar to RGB Yellow(#FFFF00) , RGB Blue (#0000FF) and RGB Green (#00FF00) respectively. The choice of the colors and number of colors used depends entirely upon your taste, you can use different color palettes if you wish.

Now the text is entirely hidden behind our color bars.

Step 4: Wave Distort the color bars

Now its time to go for the wavy effect for the colors , for that we are going to use the Wave Distortion filter available in Photoshop’s default distortion filters. Before that, we need to merge all our color bar layers together, select all the 4 color bar layers , since we drew them using the Rectangle Tool , there will be four different layers for each colors. Select them all, and merge them using Layer -> Merge Layers (Ctrl + E).

Then go to Filter ->Distort -> Wave. Apply the wave filters using the following settings.

This is how our image looks like after applying the Wave distort filter.

As you can see, there are some parts left behind the color bars around the edges displaying the black portions of the text, we need to cover up these parts, for that, you can re-size our color bars to a larger size on all the sides as required.

Step 5: Apply Clipping Mask

Now we are going to mask the text with this distorted color bars so that the color bars are only visible upon the text, for that hold down the Alt-key and move over the edge in between the text and color bars layers, you will see a Clipping mask icon ( with two circles overlapping each other with an arrow pointing towards the left) and when you see this icon, click exactly on the edge and you color bars layer gets clipped with text layer and finally release the Alt-key.

This is how the text will look like after applying the Clipping mask.

Step 6: Adding Depth and Shadows

Now group both the layers, the distorted color bars and the text and duplicate the group by Layer -> Duplicate Group, then merge the group using Layer -> Merge Group (Ctrl + E).

Then apply a Gaussian Blur of about radius 10 pixels on this layer using Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and set Radius = 10 and apply OK.

Apply the following layer style for this layer.

Drop Shadow

Now duplicate this Layer, remove all the Layer Styles.

Quick Tip: Removing / Turning Off the Layer styles

In order to permanently remove the layer style for a particular layer, click and drag the fx layer style icon next to the Layer name and drop it down on the Trash Can icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel, or you can simply right-click on the particular layer and choose Clear Layer Style. To temporarily turn off the layer style, you can toggle the visibility of the Effects Layer below the layer marked by an eye icon.

Then go to Filter -> Sketch -> Halftone Pattern, apply this filter with the following settings Size = 1, Contrast = 50 and Pattern Type = Dot and apply OK.

Change this Layer opacity to 20%.

This is how our final output will look like, please also take a look at how the layers are stacked against each other and arrange the same in the order given below for good looking final result.

Finally here is our final image with a cute colorful style text effect. There are certain things i want to mention here, please be liberal with the use of color palettes, no of colors, choice of fonts , layer styles, and also experiment with the settings while applying filters to get accurate and effective results.

We’re finished! Hopefully you’ve picked up a few new techniques and had fun while doing so. Please share any of your personal creations in the comments for others to see!