Your Site With Graffiti
by Angela Taylor aka Kitiara
Graffiti is a great text effect to use in
images, and is relatively simple to create. Although the
principle can be applied to pretty much any font, the first
thing you’ll probably want to do is find a graffiti style.
Try looking on
http://www.1001freefonts.com - they have a large
selection that are free to download.
Open a new image. This example uses a 400 x
200 px canvas, but depending on the amount of text you
want to write, you can make this bigger or smaller. As
long as it is in RGB mode, then it doesn’t matter. Set the
background to white, and foreground colour of the palette
to black. Click on the Type tool, and type in your tag
using your graffiti-esque font. The effect works better on
larger text, so try and keep the style chunky.
[ type in the text ]
Whilst you can make the text a solid
colour, you can get a very good effect by using a gradient
fill. Photoshop comes with a lot of these already, but you
can always make your own if you don’t like any of the
To make your selection, hold down the
left mouse button on the paint bucket in the toolbar until
a small popup appears, from which you can choose ‘Gradient
Tool’. A new menu will appear in the top menu bar,
allowing you to choose which colour gradient you want.
Another drop down shows you the options you have - pick
something bright and bold as your fill.
[ choosing the gradient ]
Once you’ve chosen your gradient, go back
to the Rectangular Marquee tool. Move the cursor to the
Layers panel, and hold down the Ctrl button on the
keyboard. Whilst the button is pressed, click on the text
layer. A highlight should appear round the edge of your
[ highlight the text ]
Get the Fill tool back - your gradient
choice should still be there. Without losing the
selection, make a new layer above the text, and hide the
copy. In the new layer, apply your gradient vertically.
Don’t click elsewhere yet. We still need the selection, so
don’t lose it.
[ the text with gradient ]
Make another layer on top of the gradient.
Pick a darkish grey as your foreground colour, and go to
‘Edit’ > ‘Stroke’ from the menu bar. Give the stroke a 2
px width, and ensure that it goes outside the selection.
You can leave this as it is, or make it a
little softer by applying a Gaussian Blur filter to the
layer. A setting of between 0.5 and 1 produces a good
result. You can lose the selection now, and merge these
two layers together to form the basic graffiti tag. Now
it’s up to you as to whether you stop here, or carry on to
add a shadow underneath it.
To add the shadow, repeat the selection
method on the newly merged layer. Go to ‘Select’ >
‘Modify’ and choose ‘Expand’ from the menu. We need to
make the selection bigger than our original text, so
expand by 2 or 3 pixels. Create another layer and fill it
with black. You’ll need to swap the Fill tool back from
gradient to regular. Again, this actually produces quite a
nice effect, which you can use elsewhere. Add the Gaussian
Blur to this layer too to smooth it out a little.
[ creating the shadow ]
Now you just need to piece the layers
together. Erase your initial text layer, as you don’t need
it anymore. Move the shadow underneath the gradient filled
text, and we have our shadow. Nudge the shadow layer a
little down and to the left to give it a more 3D look.
Merge your two layers when you’re happy with the
The finished tag will now look something
[ finished graffiti ]