PSDFan Extra

Create Unique Sports-Themed Lettering

Final Image

As always, here is the final image we’ll be creating today:

Step 1

Create a new document 600X600px.

Then paste in this image of a baseball:

baseball photo.

Cut it out from it’s background. I selected it using the circular marquee tool, and then inverted my selection and hit ‘delete’ to delete the background part of the photo.

Step 2

With your baseball layer selected go to image>adjustments>levels and apply the settings shown below:

Step 3

Now select your dodge/burn tools. Option+click on your layer thumbnail in your layers palette. This will select your baseball shape. This way when you apply your dodge/burn tools they won’t leak out of your baseball shape at all.

Dodge/burn your baseball subtley to give it added impact.

Step 4

Now repeat these steps for the following images of a basketball and football:



Below you can see the result of extracting, leveling and dodge/burning these additional images:

Step 5

Now hide your sport balls layers, and type out ‘PS’ in large, medium gray letters. I used Times New Roman for my font:

Step 6

Now duplicate your baseball layer, moving the duplicate above your text layer. Resize it to make it much smaller, and then begin fitting it over your letters. Each time you want a new baseball simply duplicate your layer, the move the duplicate to be nicely spaced from the original:

Merge together all layers containing your smaller baseballs. Call this layer ‘baseballs’.

Step 7

Now repeat this technique but with your football image. However, use half the amount of duplicates, and make sure to place these overlapping your baseballs slightly.

Merge all football layers together and call this layer ‘footballs above baseballs’.

Step 8

Now repeat this technique, again using footballs. However, this time resize your football to be slightly smaller than your baseballs, and place them BEHIND your baseballs. This gives the illusion of depth, making your text more 3d. Merge these smaller footballs together and call this layer ‘Footballs behind baseballs’.

Step 9

Repeat this technique, using your basketball. Be sure to place larger basketballs in front of your baseballs, and smaller ones behind. Continue with this effect until most of your letters are covered:

Then hide your text layer! And voila! Some awesome sporting text :) .

Step 10

Now create a new layer just above your background layer.

Select your entire canvas, and fill it with a radial gradient ranging from FDF4E7 to F9E9D0.

Step 11

Download this great brush set:

Swirly Hi-Res Brushes.

And then begin applying them on a new layer just above your radial gradient layer. This should add some cool background details:

Reduce the opacity of this layer until you’re happy with how it looks:

Step 12

Now create a new layer called ‘circles’. Use your circular marquee tool and linear gradient tool to create a host of circles filled with fading color (see below):

Step 13

Now return to your original hidden ball layers. Duplicate each one, and then hide the original once again.

Then move your duplicates to act as the ‘foreground’ to your image. You want to give the impression that these large balls are flying at you. To help this effect, go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply various amounts of blur to your larger balls. The large balls should appear to be closer, and therefore need a more intense blur.

Step 14

Now create a new layer called ‘black shadows’. Make sure that this is your upper most layer.

Grab a small, soft black paintbrush (20% opacity) and then zoom in on your image. You want to brush in shadows that are cast from where the various balls constructing your letters overlap. This should make the 3d effect more realistic, as clearly if the balls were overlapping in this way they would be casting shadows upon one another:

Step 15

Now you guessed it! We’re going to add a layer called ‘white highlights’. Repeat the previous step, this time using a white brush to enhance the highlights on your sport balls:

Step 16

Now select your ‘large baseball’ layer and duplicate it. Move the duplicate beneath the original and then go to filter>blur>motion blur. Apply a motion blur with the settings below.

This should effectively make it seem that the ball is moving really fast towards you:

Step 17

Apply this effect to all of your other balls.

You’ll notice that when applying a motion blur it goes out in two directions. Clearly you only want it to stem from one side of your ball, so simply use an eraser to erase the other side’s blur. Where necessary, reduce the opacity of your blur layers to fit with your overall composition:

Step 18

Now create a new top layer called ‘vignette effect’. Use a very large, soft black paintbrush (20%) and paint around the edges of your canvas. Paint over the corners more, in order to enhance the effect in those areas.

This should create a nice vignette effect, giving more depth to your composition:

Step 19

Finally, create a gradient overlay adjustment layer ranging from 290A59 to FF7C00.

Reduce this layer’s opacity to 5%. This should give a nice subtle tint to your composition:

The Power of This Effect

Whilst this effect is quite simply and easy to produce, it’s very versatile. You can replace the sports balls with something more personal to you, and can clearly make the letters whatever you want. For example – if you like music you could spell out your name with music instruments. I hope that you’ll give this effect a try, and I’d love to see what you guys come up with!

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. Vim says:

    Great Tutorial Tom, really effective yet simple to do

  2. Brilliant tutorial and I really like the techniques you have used to achieve the final image. I will have to give this a go some time and see what I come up with. Thanks for sharing.

  3. thanks for share such a nice information Keep posting like this in future

  4. Rnel says:

    I like how you fit in the balls over the letters. Plus the fact that you combined it with a beautiful background, makes this really unique Photoshop text effect tutorial more interesting to read. Very clever! Thank you for sharing another brilliant Photoshop effect idea :)

  5. Ali says:

    Nice Tutorial

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