Outlines are one of the coolest Photoshop text effects because they can be used for a variety of applications including creating very professional looking content, filling content with another color, or even creating glowing and fiery text. While creating text outlines might seem challenging at first, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the hang of the basics and moving on to adding other effects including 3D. Needless to say, this tutorial starts out with Photoshop already open so please make sure yours is ready to go.
1. Start With An Image
You can include any type of image but for the purpose of this tutorial, I’ve started out with a simple black box. If you would like to do the same you can import any image that you like and open it in Photoshop. Use the rectangular marquee tool to select the entire image and then click ‘edit’ and ‘cut’. The entire image will vanish leaving you with a simple white box. From there you can just click ‘Image’ and then ‘Adjustments’ and then ‘Invert’ to get your black box.
2. Add Text
Your next step should be to add text and for this application I will be using something random. For this application I am using ‘Model’ which was the first random word anyone came up with. First select your text editor and choose a font that you like. I’ve used ‘Euphemia’ which is a pretty simple block base type that is very basic and easy to add effects to.
3. Free Transform
Next you will want to change the text to suit the image. You can play around with free transform which you can access by clicking ‘Edit’ and then ‘Free transform’, or you can click ‘CTLR + T’ on Windows or ‘Command +T’ on Mac. Move the text around until you are happy with it and then proceed. Remember to select the ‘Text’ again before proceeding.
4. Edit Layer
Next you will want to edit the layer which is the easiest way to edit text. You can add almost any sort of text editing from here, including flames and glowing text.
5. Add ‘Stroke’
This is the part that adds basic outlines so if you just want this, you can skip to this stage at any time in your future photo edits. Click ‘FX’ and then click ‘Stroke’. Because you are working with white text on a black background (or at least I am) you should choose a colorful outline. You now have basic outline text.
6. Play With It
The next step is to make your text look better. Chances are you might not be quite happy with simple, basic text, so you can feel free to play around and add as many layers and alterations as you like. The following tutorials are going to show you how to add different features to your text including glow, two tone and more.
7. Insert Bevel & Emboss
Bevel & emboss is a tool that is going to give your text a real 3D look, but you have to do it right. For this option, I’ve decided to change the text outline to grey, so you’re going to have to click on ‘Stroke’ again and change the ‘red’ to grey. This is very simple and will only take a few seconds. From there, click ‘bevel and emboss’ in the fx menu. If you look at mine, I’ve set the ‘depth’ to 1000, while leaving the size and soften menu pretty much alone, this gives my text more depth without altering the background, or the outline that I already have in place.
8. Lower the Fill Level
While you can skip this step, lowering the fill level allows you to work with your fills without having to see them clash. At this point you can simply type into the standard ‘fill’ option’ on the layers menu. I’ve layered mine to about 40%.
9. Add Outer Glow
Outer glow is a great option for anyone who wants to create truly professional looking text because it looks professional. In the old days you would have taken hours using a brush to put this in, so the pure fact that you can add it in in seconds using an effect is simply great. I’ve chosen blue for my application for maximum contrast with my text.
10. Restore Fill to Normal
This step is the last step (except for any edits you want to make). All you have to do is click the ‘fill’ on the layers button and type in 100%. From here you have 3D text with startling blue outline. Of course it says ‘model’ so you probably can’t use it for anything.
Repeat the above steps to add effects of any color or style to any text that you like. Enjoy!