Tutorials Photoshop Text Effects Outline Text in Photoshop

Outline Text in Photoshop

Colin Smith Text Effects Jul 12, 2006

1. Start with a blank layer and some text, this will work for shapes too.

image 1

2. Right click/Cmd click on the layer name in the layers palette. Select rasterize layer. Ctrl/Cmd click on the layer thumbnail to select the type.

image 2

3. Create a new blank layer.

Edit>stroke. I added a 6 pixel stroke here. Make the location center.

Click ok.

Ctrl/Cmd click on the layer thumbnail to select the new stroke.

image 3

4. In the layer palette, turn off the bottom layer, you should see the outline now.

Using the gradient tool: foreground to background linear - Black to white. apply a gradient to the selection.

image 4

5. Now apply the stroke again, this time 1 Pixel and set to outside.

image 5

6. To make the gradient look like metal, use our favorite curves trick.

Image>adjust>curves, use a similar curve to what is shown here.

image 6

image 7

7. Now display the bottom layer again and fill with a color or a gradient to get this result.

image 8

8. For a little extra depth apply a layer style to the outline, use a dropshadow.

image 9

9. Here is the result.

image 10
Click to enlarge

10. Another variation is to hide the fill and just use the outline with a dropshadow.

image 11

11. Here is yet another variation. This is just the previous image inverted. Ctrl/Cmd+I Note for this to work, you must flatten the image first.

image 12
Click to enlarge

12. Here is another variation. Play around with this effect and have fun.

Outline Text  in Photoshop

See you in a week with another new tutorial. Don't forget to drop by the forum and say hi!


Colin Smith

Colin Smith is a best-selling author, trainer, and award-winning new-media designer who has caused a stir in the design community with his stunning photorealistic illustrations composed entirely in Photoshop. He is founder of the world's most popular Photoshop resource site,, which boasts more than two million visitors.

With over 10 years of experience in the design industry, Colin was formerly Senior Editor and Art Director for VOICE magazine. He is a regular columnist for Photoshop User magazine,, and the official site of the National Association for Photoshop Professionals. He also contributes to a number of other graphic art publications and Web sites, such as Mac Design magazine, Web Designer magazine and Computer Arts Magazine.

Colin's graphic design work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Guru awards at Photoshop World 2001 and 2002, for his work in both Illustration and Web Design. He's authored or co-authored more than ten books on Photoshop, including the best-selling How to Do Everything with Photoshop CS (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2003) and award-winning Photoshop Most Wanted: Effects and Design Tips (A Press/Friends Of Ed, 2002). Colin is also creator of the Photoshop Secrets Video training series ( He is in high demand across the United States as a lecturer, presenting his Photoshop techniques to Web designers and other graphics professionals across the nation.

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