Quick Tut: Outlined Display Text Overlaid on an Image

This is a quick and easy method of applying a nice, opaque, outlined display text over an image using a free font and Photoshop’s built in tools, and of course, the image of your choice.

Quick Tip: Outlined Display Text Overlaid on and Image


Big Campus font from Dafont

Step 1

Open your chosen image – for the purposes of this tutorial I have used a mountain view from Unsplash, which I cropped and applied some layer adjustments to lighten, increase saturation and make it a little more blue over all.

These are the settings I used:

Adjustment Layers

Adjusted Image

You can now merge or group the image with the adjustment layers if you wish.

Step 2

With black as the foreground color, select the Type Tool and Big Campus font. The image I am using is 2448px wide, and I am using 2 lines of text – so for me, the best size for the font is 250pt as shown in the image below. You will be guided by the size of your image and the space you want the text to occupy.

Text Size

Step 3

Right click on the text layer in the layers palette and click Rasterize Type. Then duplicate the layer.

Turn off the visibility of one of the text layers and make the other one the active layer – it doesn’t matter which layer you now work on.

Zoom well in to the text and erase the letters from the center, leaving just the outline. You can use the Polygonal Lasso tool to make the selections, but beware of letters like O and A that have some outline in the middle of the letter.

Rename this layer to outline

Your text will end up looking like this:


Step 4

Turn of the visibility of the outline layer and restore visibility to the other text layer.

Delete the outline from this layer, leaving just the inside letters.


Rename this layer text

So now when you restore the visibility of the outline layer, the text should look as it did originally.

Step 5

Double click on the outline layer in the layers palette to bring up the blending options and apply the following Bevel and Emboss and Color Overlay settings:

Bevel and Emboss Settings 1

Color Overlay Settings

Step 6

Now we have to separate the lines of the text layer. To do this, use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select all of the top line, then with the text layer active, Ctrl + J to duplicate the selection. This will also deselect the selection, so you have to reselect it with the Rectangular Marquee tool and with the text layer still active, hit the delete key on your keyboard to remove the top line. Now you have the top line and bottom line on separate layers, and you should apply the following Bevel and Emboss and Gradient Overlay settings to both layers:

Bevel and Emboss Settings 2

Gradient Overlay Settings

Step 7

Now you have to rasterize these layers – In CS6 you can do this by simply right clicking on the layer in the layers palette and click on Rasterize Layer. Any version below CS6 you will have to create a new layer above the text layer, select both layers by making one of them active, holding the Shift key and clicking on the other, then right click on either layer and click on Merge Layers.

You need to rasterize both text layers.

Step 8

Change the layer mode to Multiply and reduce the opacity to 80%. Apply this to both text layers also.

And you’re done!

You can change the opacity of the outline layer if you wish, and/or you can add a gradient to suit your backgound.

Below is the image with the solid, gray outline and then the image with a gradient overlay on the outline and the opacity reduced to 70%.

Final Image

Final Image - Gradient Outline


I love using and learning Photoshop, and I also enjoy creating resources to share with the world. I am at my happiest when I have free time to further explore all that Photoshop has to offer and learn more about its powerful built-in tools. I hope people enjoy either using or learning from my free resources, and welcome any hints and tips - and of course, if you would like to offer a free resource on this site, please don't hesitate to contact me (top right of the page).



about 2 years ago

Love this effect! Thanks for sharing!


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