Photoshop swirl effect

by Design Workshop Sydney

Photoshop is a great program for creating interesting text effects, like the Swirl Effect illustrated here. We show you how to create amazing effects like this, and more, in our Adobe Photoshop training courses.photoshop-swirl-effect
First create a new document, size A5, for example. Then use the Type tool to type a word like iMAGiNE as shown here. Format this to about 100 points high.
Next we browse the internet for a swirly image, usually created in Adobe Illustrator using the Twirl tool. Then go to the Window drop-down menu and choose Channels. Press Control (Mac: Command) and click on the RGB channel – this loads the white in the image as a selection. Then go to Select and Inverse.
The next step is to create a new layer. Press the Shift and Backspace keys (to open the Edit, Fill dialog box). Choose to fill with white and hit OK. Deselect and note the white swirls thus created. View both files then drag and drop the swirls into the text document. Scale down the shape to fit and use the layer blending mode of Difference – this will result in a black swirl.
Next we select the text layer and use the Gradient Overlay layer effect – use a black and white linear gradient with an opacity of 50% and an angle of 40 degrees, for example. Add a new layer effect of Stroke with a size of 2, Position: Inside and the colour black. Now select the swirly shape layer and press Control and J to duplicate with a blending mode of Normal. Move the layer down to just above the text layer.
Now we press the Alt key (Mac: Option) and click between this layer and the text layer below it to create a Clipping Mask. The duplicate shape will now only be visible inside the text area. Now scale and move the swirls inside the text. You could also duplicate again the Difference layer to add more swirls.
To turn the effect into a brush go back in the History panel to before the adjustment layer was made (about four steps back). This needs to be black and white. Create a merged copy by pressing Control, Alt and Shift together with the letter E. Then go to the Edit menu and choose Define Brush Preset.
Now create a new document and select the Brush tool. Select the brush at the bottom of the list and change its colour. In the Brush panel change the Brush Tip Shape Spacing to 180, and in the Shape Dynamics section change the Size Jitter to 65. Then in Colour Dynamics change the Hue Jitter to 80, and paint with the brush tool on the page. You can also change the colours and brush size to paint more instances of the swirly text effect.
Many more tips and techniques can be found at the Adobe website. And see many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Photoshop Blog Posts: