PSDFan Extra

Create an Atmospheric Under-Water Text Effect

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Create a new document (600X600px).

Paste in this great concrete texture.

Step 2

We want a near black background, but with a subtle texture.

To achieve this, go to blending options for your texture layer and apply a black color overlay.

Step 3

Create a new layer called ‘radial gradient’ and drag out a white-transparent radial gradient from the center of your canvas.

Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 50%. This should create a subtle lighting effect over your texture:

Step 4

Use your text tool to type out a large letter ‘P’ in the center of your canvas.

I used ChunkFive, 372pt, white for my text:

Step 5

We will only be using this letter as an outline, so we don’t want it too imposing/obvious.

I reduce it’s opacity to 10% just to use as a guide for my main piece:

Step 6

Now I want to start adding water to my composition.

I prefer to arrange all of my water images before I start applying them, so I’m careful to extract all relevant images and organize them correctly before I start adding them to my final piece.

I’ll show you how to extract water properly using the color-range option:

Paste this image of a water drop into a new document.

Then go to image>adjustments>desaturate to grayscale your photo.

Then go to image>adjustments>levels and apply the settings shown below in order to really bring out the contrast between your black background and water:

Step 7

Now it’s time to extract the water!

Go to select>color range. The default setting should be to select ‘sampled colors’ and the fuzziness setting should also be fine as it is. You can see these settings below:

Then press OK, and copy/paste your selection back into your original document.

I like to duplicate my water layer, and then merge the duplicate down with the original. This simply gives it more impact and makes it a little bolder:

Step 8

Now repeat this technique to extract the following photos:

water photo 2.

water photo 3.

water photo 4.

water photo 5.

water photo 6.

Once you have successfully extracted each photo of water, paste your result into your original document, labeling each ‘water 1′ water 2′ etc… Remember with each to duplicate/merge down in order to make the water really stand out.

The great thing about doing things this way is that you now have all the water you need for your composition in a clear, organized set of layers. All you need to do is copy one of these images when you wish to use it on your composition, and hide the visibility of the original layer.

Step 9

Now we want to use all of these extracted images of water to outline our letter P.

The images below show how I build up my outline. To fit all the images in, simply resize them, erase them where needed, and perhaps most importantly use your warp tool (edit>transform>warp) to fit the water to the letter correctly:

Step 10

Now select your original letter P layer. Reduce it’s opacity from 10% to 6%. Then go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply a 15px gaussian blur. This should create a very subtle definition for your letter, rather than removing it completely.

Step 11

Now create a top adjustment layer (gradient map). Create a gradient ranging from 0971a2 to 3aa4d6.

Finally, reduce this adjustment layer’s opacity to 50% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This should give a nice underwater effect:

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome:

Download Source File for this Tutorial

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. thank for tutorial. I like it

  2. Ann says:

    Very well explained, especially the part from step 6extracting the waterdrops from the background!
    Beautiful result! Thank you.

  3. i like the idea a lot, i cant figure out what I’d use this for though =/. Any ideas anyone?

  4. Another awesome tutorial and I really like overall effect you have achieved in the final image. Very easy to follow and a good use of different techniques to make the finished image. I will definitely give this a go and see what I can come up with.

  5. rob Creare says:

    Great tutorial with a useful texture resource. I have recently seen these water/droplet effects being used and I must say to great success. The effect created is highly visual and I believe could be applied to other design elements with the same successful results. I will try this one out and hopefully post back with any experiments using the techniques from this tutorial.

  6. Awesome tut Tom!!! This has helped a great deal as creating digital artwork with water is often hard!!!


  7. Smitty says:

    How do you perform step 11. I use photoshop cs5 and am somewhat new to this. Any help would be appreciated.

  8. N4TUR3 says:

    hey thankx for tut man, mine came out really great and i really cool technique the color selector something lolz anyway thankx alot!

    btw smitty click on layer,then new layer adjustments and make the gradient

  9. Julie says:

    Such a dramatic effect but you make it seem so easy. Awesome! :)

  10. Pankaj says:

    thank for tutorial. I like it

  11. Shaan says:

    Hi,when i try to desaturate water drop image, using Image – Adjustments – Desaturate, the desaturate option is not active can some one sort out this for me.

  12. Moni says:

    Hi, I am new to photoshop, this is very useful to me to learn more.

  13. Oooooo, you just tweeted this 5 minutes ago and Im going to try it out.
    I have some ideas I’d like to apply this to.

    Thanx a Batch!

  14. ikram says:

    its very beautiful
    thanx for water text effect tutorial

  15. yas says:

    very very was nice.

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