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Photoshop Tutorial: How To Create A Colorful Light Outline Text Effect

In this step by step guide, we will work on creating a colorful light effect for your text. This is perfect for designs with dark backgrounds and pretty appropriate for 80s themed posters, postcards or event flyers, where you want text to stand out and shine. We will use Adobe Photoshop here to get the desired effect. Do not worry, it is not as hard as it seems. Just follow these instructions point by point and you should never go wrong with your outline text effect.

1. First setup a new document with a black background. Make sure that it is in the right size and shape so that you can easily use this graphic as a cover design or as a graphic insert. Pay attention to the resolution as in printing it is best to use higher resolutions of 300ppi or higher.

2. With your new document ready, type in your title. Use a light yellow font color for now. As for the font style, choose something that is not only appropriate for your theme. Try as much as you can to use fonts that have thick characters to further emphasize the special outline effect that we are using.

3. Great! Now we will apply some creative blending options to make our title look more interesting. Do this by double clicking on the text layer to bring out its layer options. Alternatively, you can try out right clicking on the layer and choosing “Blending options”.

4.  Now, once the layer styles window is open, click on the checkbox for “Outer Glow”. Then click on the name to access its options. You will want to alter the outer flow feature with these settings.

– Blend Mode: Screen
– Color: #fff43e (or a light yellow color of your choice)
– Quality -> Range: 100%
– The rest should use default values.


5. Next, check the Inner Glow checkbox and then apply the following settings to add that important Inner glow effect.

– Blend Mode: Screen
– Color: #fff43e (or any light yellow color that matches what you used above.
– Quality->Range: 60%

6.  Finally, click on the Blending Options item on top of the layer styles and change the Fill Opacity in the Advanced Blending option to 0%.

7. Great, we now have the initial effect. However, we are going to apply more effects with another text layer. So first duplicate our text layer by pressing CTR+J. Then on the duplicate text layer, right mouse click on it and click on the option to Clear Layer Styles.

8. Next, with the new duplicate layer selected, access its layers again by either double clicking on the layer or right clicking on it and selecting the item “Blending Options”. For this new layer, first click on the Inner Glow option and then leave the default values.

9. Next, click on Bevel and Emboss. Apply the settings below:

– Technique: Smooth
– Depth: 225%
– Gloss Contour: Valley-Low, Anti-Aliased

10. Also, click on Contour and then tick of the anti-aliasing box there as well.

11.  Finally, click on the Blending Options settings, and then set the fill opacity to 0%

12. Now we will add some sparkles. Turn your foreground color white. Then, create a new layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+N. Name this layer sparkles. Afterward, use the Starburst Small brush to paint white sparkles across your text like so.

13. Now, we shall add more effects to the starburst. Create two new copies of your starburst layer. Name one vertical, the other horizontal.

14.  Select the Vertical layer. Then go to the option Filters -> Blur -> Motion Blur. Use a 90 degree angle and a distance of 135 pixels in the window that opens.

15. Select the horizontal layer. Apply the Motion blur again by clicking on Filter -> Blur -> Motion Blur. Use a 0 degree angle and a distance of 135 pixels.

16. Lastly, we shall do the exciting part of adding colors. Create a new layer above all else by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+N. Name the new layer any name you want, just know it is your color. Now, using a very soft brush (hardness 0%), paint various spots of bright colors in this new layer all around your text. Do not worry about totally overwhelming the text. Just make sure that different colors are present over your text outlines.

17.   Now, with this spot color layer selected, change its blend mode to “Color”.

18. Afterwards, you should have a very colorful looking, light outline for your text title.


Author Bio

Kate Manhaven is a graphic artist who works with, an online printing company that offers business cards, postcard printing and poster printing services. She spends her free time either wakeboarding or snowboarding whenever the season permits. 


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.