PSDFan Extra

Awesome Grunge Text Effect

Final Image:

Here is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1:

Open up your background image. For this particular example I’ve chosen this lovely example of a mouldy wall.

Step 2:

Go to image > adjustments > desaturate to grayscale your image. Then go to adjustments > brightness/contrast and reduce the brightness to -100, and contrast to -90.

Step 3:

Now I want to add some text to the center of my document. An easy way to do this is to drag from one edge of your document to the other using the horizontal type tool. Then simple align any text that you’re going to type to center. I’ve chosen a nice larger, bold Tahoma font, mostly because it matches my logo.

Step 4:

Next go to layer blending modes, and select an inner shadow, inner glow, and gradient overlay with the settings shown below. The outcome will look something like this:

Step 5:

Open up your original mould image again and paste it onto a new layer above your text layer. Make sure that you resize it to be roughly the same width as your text.

Step 6:

Now hide this new mould image layer to reveal the text underneath. Select your text layer. Use the magic wand selection tool to select around the text, and also the areas within the text (the gaps within the P, D and A). With your selection in place go back to your new mould image layer. Go to layer > add layer mask > hide selection. This will hide the area around your text, meaning that your mould image now is in the shape of your text.

Step 7:

Change your mould imagery layer blending mode to ‘hard light’ and reduce it’s opacity to 50%.

Step 8:

I now want my finished text complete with effects/textures to be on one easy to edit layer. I can’t merge layers down to achieve this as it will mess up some of my layer styles. Instead I simply hide my background layer and go to layer > merge visible.

Step 9:

Now duplicate your merged text layer. Move your duplicate layer beneath the original and use edit > transform resize to resize your duplicated text layer to about half the size of the original. Position this below the ‘PSD’ part of your original larger text. Duplicate the smaller text layer and position this about the ‘FAN’ part of the larger original. Resize a tiny bit where necessary to get it to fit nicely above the letters.

Step 10:

Repeat this resizing technique, positioning the smaller text below the PSD of the bottom text, and above the FAN of the top text.

Step 11:

Keep repeating this until you can’t go any smaller. You will need to magnify in to work with the ultra small text after repeating this a few times. Finally go to layer > merge down and merge all of these text layers into one single layer.

Step 12:

Now create a new layer above your text layer and make a large custom shape that covers most of your text. It’s important that the custom shape allows much of the text through, despite almost being the same size. I’ve made the shape pink in the example below just so that you can see it more clearly.

Step 13:

Rasterize your custom shape layer and select around the shape using the magic wand tool. Then hide the custom shape layer and go back to your merged text layer, selection still in place.

Step 14:

Then go to image > adjustments > hue/saturation. Make the hue -10, saturation +20 and lightness -10. The outcome should look like the example below:

Step 15:

Duplicate your text layer. Go back to the original layer underneath the duplicate and go to image > adjustments > brightness/contrast. Reduce brightness to -100 and up the contrast to +100. This will make the text completely black. Then using the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the layer down 2px and right 2px. Duplicate this layer and do the same. Keep repeating this until you have a kind of 3d shadow effect coming from the top text layer, which is still in tact. Finally merge all of these black text layers into one.

Step 16:

Now go to the layer blending options for this ‘black text’ layer and apply a white stroke, size=1, opacity=6%. You should get something like the outcome below:

Step 17:

Now paste onto a new layer an image of some sticky tape. Select the white background using the magic wand tool and delete it. Resize and move the tape to an appropriate place and reduce the layer’s opacity to 25%.

Step 18:

I wanted to add a little something to the background of my image, so I grabbed an awesome image of a paint splatter. Credit goes to Didi90, and the original image can be found here: I pasted this paint splatter onto a new layer below my text layers, but above my original mould background.

And we’re done!

To blend the splatter image nicely I simply set the layer’s blending mode to ‘multiply’. I hope that you found this tutorial useful, and as always would love to see people recreate my work! Please click the image below if you would like to download the full sized version free!

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Raj says:

    nice tutorial Tom :) Thanx 4 sharing!

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Raj :) I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

  3. netridge says:

    nicely done work, thank for sharing it came out pretty good.

  4. Tom says:

    Thanks Netridge! I’m glad that you found it useful.

  5. vimmy negi says:

    nice man good tutorial

  6. Teresa says:

    Thanks!!!!Nice work!! That’s what I am looking for

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks Vimmy Negi and Teresa! It’s great to know that people are finding these techniques useful!

  8. [...] Awesome Grunge Text Effect [...]

  9. MikeL_zO! says:

    wow! i really like the tut.. it’s really cool man! \m/
    but i wanna ask something Tom.. hope you won’t mind.
    how to make that signature below an image? or the signature of the person who does the tricks in the picture? any site you can suggest? thanks man! keep on posting cool tutorials! :)

  10. Tom says:

    Thanks MikeL_zO. I’m glad you enjoyed the tut. I definitely don’t mind you asking stuff :) Would you mind posting an example of what you mean though, perhaps you could comment in my suggest a tutorial post, and I’d be happy to write a tutorial on the subject for you.

  11. Anthony says:

    hey, awesome tutorial.
    but for some reason, it doesn’t work for me.
    i am using Adobe Photoshop CS2 and when i get to the part of the tutorial where i select the image, select the outside and create and hide the layer mask, the pattern does not show through the text. I hope someone can help me out.

  12. lUKE says:

    imPoSSIBLE tO Do!!

  13. Ivan says:

    im stuck… after you hide the selection after you selected psdfan, i still have that non-dark background image behind my words and on top of the dark background

  14. Tom says:

    Hi Anthony. The pattern shouldn’t need to show through, as it’s on a layer above your text. What you’re really doing is having the mould pattern above your text layer, and then simply deleting the area around the shape of your text, to make the mould pattern fit that shape. If the mask still isn’t working for you then hide your mould layer, select around your text, make your mould layer visible again, select that layer, then hit delete to delete the selection around your text shape.

    Ivan: Sorry I’m not sure exactly what you mean by this. If you don’t mind being a little more specific and perhaps referring to a certain step then I’d be happy to try and help.

  15. PDizzle says:

    Dude that is sweet.
    You are freaking awesome : )

    If only my imagination was as good as yours, hahah.
    I would never think to try something like that.

  16. Tom says:

    Haha thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it :)

  17. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Hey, could you send me the picture of the pink flower thing?

  18. Tom says:

    Hey Wolfie. The shape should be in your Photoshop custom shapes.

  19. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Also, I’m stuck on what “Rasterize” means, could you explain that step in detail?

    (I’m using CS2)

  20. Tom says:

    Rasterize means to convert an image or object from vector to raster format. If you want to learn more about both vector and raster then Google should bring up a ton of information for you.

  21. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    I tried Google but nothing really.
    I figured it out a different way though…
    Change it to “Hue” then do the Hue/Saturation to -10, 20, -10.

  22. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Here’s my finished version, nothing special, just followed the tut.

  23. Tom says:

    I’m glad that you figured it out. I really like your end result! It has a gamer feel to it or something. Nice work! :)

  24. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Wow, thanks!
    That’s what I was shooting towards.
    I’ll be sure to go over some of your other tutorials tomorrow and try them out!

  25. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Forgot to say,
    I’m going to try and add an animation into it somewhere, I’ll post the *.gif when I finish it.

  26. Tom says:

    No problem :) I can’t wait to see the finished animation.

    If you’re interested I’m launching a Flickr group for PSDFAN really soon, it’s just been held up slightly by a hectic schedule. I’d love for you to share your works.

  27. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    Just added a slight animation, I didn’t want to distract the user away from the symbol/logo of my name too too much.
    I don’t think I’ve ever used Flickr, but I’d be glad to check it out and share my works with people. I have a couple of pictures from my last years Communication Technology class I worked on, and I have some from this years class too.
    Anyways, here’s the gif:

    Tell me what you think! =]

  28. Tom says:

    Wow! Very impressive Wolfie :) . You should definitely check out Flickr and join the PSDFAN community there once it’s all live. Nice work!

  29. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    I found this tut’s final product to be a very nice and fun image to make. Can you recommend your “most fun” tuts from the others on this site to me, and I’ll do those ones first.
    Or recommend me some you want to see other people’s work from the most and I’ll do them.

    Also, you want the links to some other works I’ve completed on my own, they are nowhere near as good as your products, but I liked them nonetheless.

  30. Tom says:

    Hi Wolfie. I’m glad that you enjoyed making your piece. I’m not really sure which of my tutorials are considered the most fun, but if you browse the archives the post thumbnail images should let you know what looks best.

    I would love to see more of your work, and if you want to provide any new designs to offer as freebies here that would be awesome too! ;) If you want to send me some examples of your work you can contact me at: Thanks!

  31. Wolfie[NoCT] says:

    I’m going to try your grungy island tutorial next I think. I definitely did enjoy making this piece, maybe I could request of you to make more text based tutorials?

    I’ll be sure to send you a couple links to my pieces through Push Standards.

  32. Azzy says:

    thanks again….cant help but wonder what i’dve done if i didnt find this

  33. MedicatedArts says:

    wow! impressive! but i like it more on white background! it seems with more power and personality! but awesome! … ah! and a little tip! if you click the little image preview on the layers palette holding down the command key (on mac … i dont know if crtl do it to on pc) photoshop will select al the visible things on that layer! try it its very cool!!! see ya soon! and again awesome tutorial!

  34. Nitos says:

    Nice effect! thanks 4 sharing…!

  35. andy says:

    Hi Tom, I’m a bit of an old dog always learning new tricks. I’d have done all this using an airbrush once! Thanx for the clear and very helpful instructions and for sharing your ideas to inspire others.

  36. Illusion Design says:

    Here is my result lol Not the same but still thx for the tut

  37. DigiArtBali says:

    wow.. cool… great tutorial… perfect. thanks for share.

  38. Neri-Rwks says:

    Awesome Tutorial i really enjoy it..
    and i kinda changed somethings a little bit.

  39. Add says:

    Thanks, I used this tutorial for the cover of a school project(with my minor own touch to it), turned out really cool.

  40. Matt says:

    hey heres mine

    i changed it a little i am an aspiring designer and are a big fan of this site and your work

  41. [...] Time for a Grungy Text Tutorial – The most popular tutorial of the 2 published at the end of June, receiving over 40 comments to date. It seems that people appreciate a good text tutorial. [...]

  42. Aky says:

    Hey, thanks for the excellent tutorial!

  43. Deepak says:

    Thanx a lot………….

  44. slappy99 says:

    Great tutorial. My only problem is I can’t get the 3d shadow effect to look proper.

  45. Mark says:

    Awesome tut. Thanks Tom. Why is it I can never get my fonts to render perfectly smooth – they always seem slightly more pixelated. Your font is render perfect – my edges looked a bit jaded. I am using a Windows machine.

  46. Stephen says:

    Thank you, you are inspiration to us
    who are on our PSbeginnings.
    I.m thinking on making PS related blog on my
    mather language,
    would you mind if I feature some of your tuts
    translated in my language.
    Of course I would post from where is original tut and link it to original post.

    you are doing a great stuff.
    dont stop.

  47. izah says:

    I really do learn a lot in this tut. thanks for the good share. keep it up.

  48. Foxumon says:

    Thanks, nice and easy type treatment with great results :)

  49. Kaplang says:

    really cool tutorial, thanks :)

  50. dev says:

    really very nice and easy to understand tutorial.
    Very Nice…

    Keep It Up!!!!

  51. Superb tutorial. Very clear and simple to follow. The end result looks incredible. Thank you.

  52. RyanJin says:

    very inspire psd tutorial, thank you bro!

  53. Jason says:

    awesome tutorial! … something I can actually do lol

  54. RamirezZZ says:

    Hi tom, i have some problems..the first one is…i cant set contrast to -90 and the first image doesnot look like yours..then another problem is with the text blending…when i fill it just like u, it doesnot looks like yours..its..mmm black&white…another and most interresting problem is: I dont know how to insert an image like a new layer…cause if i will just do it, then the inserted image will be just black&white…sorry for my english, int not my mother tongue so if u dont understand me then just write me a mail and i will record some movie and u will tell me where is the problem ok?

  55. KEVIN says:

    I CANT UNDERSTAND YOUR RULE 6!, ive been working for 2 hours!!;[

  56. KEVIN says:

    i cant understan rule 6!:( (working it for 2 hours)

  57. Very nice mate.

    Changed mine up a bit, very new to photoshop but I enjoyed the final result. Kind of wish I didn’t merge the text layers, so I could still fix them up =/

    Heres what I came up with:

  58. oes tsetnoc says:

    You are right, the grungy text effect is awesome. very easy to understand and practise.

  59. hima says:

    nice tutorial

  60. Guildford says:

    Really great tutorial. It takes time to prepare such wonderful easy to understand tutorial.

  61. I like this TUT has a good grunge effx i’ll try it tomorrow tho….post some more tuts like this

  62. alexjuuhh says:

    Step 6 doesn’t work for me, I tried everything, but all I get is the plain white text, without the mould “printed” in the text.

    Any idea why this happens? :l

  63. Adam K. says:

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing these :)

  64. joe says:

    this was amazing tutorial, i practiced it step after step with a lot of attention and the results was different but just how i wanted them. u can check the final result in link bellow
    thanks a lot

  65. alexnjoy says:

    Great tutorial Tom! ;) it’s really simple and the result is awesome ! ))

  66. Amazing. thanks for sharing.

    I have a question. How do I make my image in 3D?

  67. Great website I’ve found and very inspiring! Great job!!

    Have a great day.

    Thanks and regards,

  68. Hywel says:

    This rungy text effect is amazing, Not easy to reproduce i guess, but following the steps should make it easier.

    Thanks for sharing

  69. I’ve just begun a very successful thanks to the photoshop program.

  70. Red havok says:

    Tom, you are simply the best and your tutorial is better than the best.
    Thanks for sharing..

  71. Nice tutorial…i like it….

  72. jose says:

    hey, great tut dude, your the man! :b

    could you just tell me what is the fonts name pls?

    cya ;D

  73. Batz says:

    on Step 6…

    paste the mould picture on the top of the text then hide it.. after hiding select your text using magic wand…. Reveal the mould picture then go to the layer’s panel (right bottom of the screen where the layers are placed)… under the layer’s panel… click the layer mask icon..

    then that’s it!! u can proceed to step 7.. XD

  74. Daniel says:

    Hi guys, whoever wants to help me can reply :) … When you have to add a layer mask and select hide selection, nothing happens. I followed everything 100% correctly, is there maybe a setting i can go take a look at and see if that is the problem? Please i need this urgently!

  75. vera chang says:

    it’s beautiful .like it v ~

  76. I used everything in this tutorial to make an image that is going to potentially be my Acoustic/Alternative album cover. :-D
    Check it out…. what do you think?

  77. This is a very good post! Keep them comming!

  78. Wow this is really good post. Very informative

  79. ADZ says:

    Thanks this is my first time to try makin a graphic art and this is very useful..:)

  80. TTAR says:

    Really nice text effect, would look really nice on a poster.. thanks for sharing..

  81. This is a great post, very useful and the end results look great!

  82. Nick says:

    wow this is great… It’s just what I needed. Is it ok if I use this style in a project I’m working on for school?

  83. umzug says:

    yes supper boxes next day to desing

  84. ron says:

    for step 13, it’s not letting me rasterizing the layer… what do i do?

  85. sarla says:

    nice tutorial i like it

  86. lalaine says:

    How to hide the mould image? Please answer.

  87. Eric says:

    Please, can you send me your shape? Thank you

  88. Jyoti says:

    Excellent it will be helpfull me Thank You :)

  89. Red says:

    nice and inspiring tutorial, gonna apply this somewhere later

  90. Vasan says:

    awesome tutorial!!! thx

  91. Indezoo says:

    this is an awesome tutorial here..thank you for sharing such a wonderful post

  92. Garry says:


  93. fabjeezy says:

    thanks for the tutorial man, keep on progressing in ps!!!thx a lot

  94. web dizajn says:

    Nice tutorial.. thanks for sharing.

  95. aj says:

    I have a little trouble in step 6. For which layer do I have to add the layer mask, the text layer or the mouldy layer? PLease help, I cant get further with this! :O

  96. Leandro says:

    how do u align the text ?

  97. selidbe says:

    Very cool Collection. Thanks for this. Keep up the good work.

  98. It’s very informative and helpful.

  99. Wow this tutorial is amazing. I like the picture included in the step 18 best. Great work. Looking forward to see some of your new works soon.

  100. Thanks for great tutorial. keep going like this

  101. DRPCIV says:

    Hi. Thank you. I was making this tutorial at school. I just have Adobe PhotoShop CS2. It is working too for it.

  102. chin says:

    I dont get it. From step 12. Tsk

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