Distorting Lettering using Brushes

There are two ways to do this depending on what you are designing, one way is to select the type tool from the tools menu Photoshop Text Tool then click on the blank canvas and type in your chosen letters or numbers.

Text layer in photoshop

I have just typed in the letters P and S, using the font 'Arial Black'. Once you are happy with the font and the size of the lettering click OK in Photoshop 5.5 and in version 6 click on the tick mark on the top menu or select a new tool from the tools menu.

photoshop layers menu

Next we need to make the text into a picture (so it can not be edited again with the text tool) in Photoshop 5.5, right hand click on the T in the layer menu (figure 1) then from the sub menu select (figure 2) 'render layer'. In Photoshop 6, right click in the same place and select 'rasterize layer'.

As I mentioned in the Using Brushes tutorial, its worth Duplicating some Photoshop layers before working on them so if it all goes wrong you can delete the mistake and turn on the safe one and try again. On this design I would duplicate the text layer before its turned into a picture, just incase you need to alter the text at a later date.

Next from the tools menu select the eraser tool the eraser tool icon and select or load the Photoshop brushes you want to use. For this tutorial I'm using this grunge set of my brushes. We need to set the eraser tool opacity to 40.

faded text, erased at 40%

In Photoshop 5.5 double click on the eraser tool to launch the options palate and in there enter the opacity number 40. (in Photoshop 6 its at the top). On the left are the letters with 2 clicks of the eraser tool (one click on each letter using one brush) If the opacity number was set at 100 then instead of it being a subtle grey the brush would leave near white.

The final photoshop lettering

If you keep clicking on the mouse button while using the eraser tool and select different brushes you can create something similar to the image on the left. I limited myself to just one set of Photoshop brushes for this tutorial but I would recommend loading several brushes that you know or like. Now you know the basics play around with the settings available, there are so many ways to do the same thing in Photoshop.

The above method is good if you need to overlay the distorted text over a complicated background image so the background shows through the lettering. If you just need to add white over the black text then you can use the airbrush tool, heres another quick Photoshop Tutorial on how to do this.