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Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial


Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial Title PostHere’s a great little technique that will add an air of mystery and ethereal menace to your type work! The process behind this effect lies in the ‘Overlay’ blend mode, and using multiple layers of the same type when necessary to build up the look. The background used plays a big part, as the underlying textures creep through the ghostly text. Feeling supernatural? Read on for the skinny ;)


The Background

The Ghost Text technique works very well with moderately dark backgrounds with subtle grungey textures. For the example, Ive put together a suitably creepy composite, the top left area is where the type will sit:

Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial 1

The effect varies with different backgrounds and lighting environments, so be sure to experiment to find the desired fit. For info on some the techniques used to create the example background, check out the following walkthroughs:

• Pen Tool Background Removal • Photoshop Textures Tutorial • Ambient Colour in Photoshop

Stocks: Girl by charligal-stock (DeviantArt), Textures from Lost & Taken, Victorian Ornaments from, Occult Brush by Resurgere (DeviantArt)


The Type

With your foreground colour set to white (Shortcut: D, X) create some text using the type tool (T). In the example, Ive used two of my favourite black letter typefaces Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch and H74 Black Mass:

Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial 2

Change the layer mode of your type layer(s) to Overlay via the dropdown at the top of the Layers Palette. The background will start to creep through at this point, and look pretty decent in it’s own right:

Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial 3

We’re going to boost that ethereal feeling with a simple layer style for an outer glow effect. Right click your type layer to access the ‘Blending Options, within the dialog tick ‘Outer Glow’. By default the colour is set to yellow, with a blend mode of ‘Screen’ – we want to tweak that to match our white type and effect. Change the screen blend mode to ‘Overlay’ and set the colour to pure white. Here’s the settings used for the example:

Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial 4

Opacity, spread and size are the main values you will want to play around with to customise your effect. Dependant on your background, a little more or less would be required; this is where the personal touch comes in 8-)

Here’s how we’re looking so far:

Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial 5

Building it up..

In some cases, the type set to Overlay will be overwhelmed by the details underneath. To overcome this, simply duplicate your type layer (with Type layer selected, hit Cmd / Ctrl + J), and clear the outer glow effect from the duplicate (right click on duplicate layer, select ‘Clear Layer Style’). Tweak the opacity of the duplicate as required; you could even add more duplicates if needed. The example piece has one duplicate above the original type layer, set to 28% opacity – only a little boost was needed in this case.

The finished article:

Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial


A nice easy one, I hope you enjoyed!

Conzz 8-)

Follow on Twitter >> @Conzpiracy


More Type Tutorials on SurrealPSD:

• Destroy Text in Photoshop • Photoshop Chrome Type Tutorial


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6 Responses to “Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial”

  1. Nathan Dufresne says:

    Great tutorial, great image chosen as well-nothing like the ghost of a beautiful woman to continue the viewer’s attention!! I learned a few things regarding the text here, too. Thank you for the help!


  2. [...] Ghost Text Photoshop Tutorial [...]

  3. Hello, I was wondering if I do the tutorial above would you give me permission to use the final product I come up with on my website? Please let me know at [email protected] Thanks :)

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