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Members Area Tutorial: Create Beautifully Lit Jellyfish Typography

Final Image

Here is a preview of the image that we are going to be creating:

Step 1

Start by creating a new document (800X600px). Paste in your jellyfish background image from the resources section to this tutorial:

Step 2

Now apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer. Reduce the lightness, as you don’t want you background to be too intense or distracting behind your text effect.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: 0
Lightness: -55

Now create a new layer called ‘cover bright background’. Use a soft black paintbrush at around 40% opacity to brush over the brighter areas of your background, again to make them less intense and distracting:

Now create a new layer called ‘center light’. Drag out several white to transparent radial gradients, creating a large highlighted area in the center of your canvas.

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’:

Step 3

Now type out some text in the center of your canvas reading ‘jelly’. Use a bold, chunky font that isn’t too rigid or restricting, look for curves and simple shapes.

Font Settings:

Font Face: Knubbel
Color: 6bc3ff
Size: 172pt
Kerning: -50

Now apply an outer glow blending option to your text:

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 100%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0%
Size: 21px

Now reduce the FILL opacity of your text layer to 10% (keeping the main layer opacity at 100%).

Step 4

Open up your ‘jellyfish 1′ image in a new document:

Now duplicate this layer. With the duplicate layer selected go to image>adjustments>levels. Shift your levels settings so that your contrast is increased, with your darks becoming much darker and your lights much lighter. It doesn’t matter which specific settings you input, as long as your contrast is increased considerably:

Now go to select>color range. Use your eye dropper to click on the black area of your background. Then input the fuzziness as 200.

Hit ok, and you should have selected most of your black background:

Now hide your duplicate high contrast layer and select your original layer in your layer’s palette. Go to select>inverse to select your jellyfish, rather than the dark background:

Step 5

Now copy and paste your jellyfish selection back into your original document:

Now apply a levels adjustment layer (with clipping mask) to your jellyfish layer.

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

34 / 1.23 / 196

Now repeat this process, using all of the jellyfish images from the resources section for this tutorial. With each jellyfish extract it correctly, and then apply an adjustment layer to make it more intense:

Now for each jellyfish layer, select this layer, and also select the adjustment layer which effects it. Then hit option+g to place them in a layer group. Create seven layer groups (one for each jellyfish image), each group containing a jellyfish image and adjustment layer. You can see these layer groups below:

Step 6

Now hide your layer groups, but start to duplicate them, using the duplicates to construct your lettering. If you zoom in on your letters you can see the faint text we laid out earlier. Use this to position your jellyfish, resizing and rotating them to fit the letter shapes:

You can see below as we build up our letters:

And the final letter arrangement can be seen below. Take your time with this step, and experiment with which jellyfish fit best in which regions:

Step 7

Now type out the word ‘fish’ below.

Font Settings:

Font Face: Dancing Script
Size: 102pt
Kerning: -50
Color: 75abff

Now it’s time to give our text a whole lot of blending options to give it a cool glossy effect:

Drop Shadow Settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: 000000
Opacity: 20%
Distance: 5px
Spread: 0%
Size: 5px

Inner Shadow Settings:

Blend Mode: Overlay
Color: ffffff
Opacity: 100%
Angle: 120
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 7px

Outer Glow Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 10%
Noise: 0%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0%
Size: 10px

Bevel and Emboss Settings:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 2px
Soften: 0px

Angle: 120
Altitude: 30 degrees
Highlight: Screen (ffffff), Opacity: 0%
Shadow: Overlay (000000), Opacity: 20%.

Gradient Overlay Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: 0d2c87 to 0096ff
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

You can see the glossy result here:

Step 8

Now create a new layer called ‘letter extend’. Select your paintbrush tool and choose a 3px, soft paintbrush (color: 0d8bd9).

Now use your path tool to create a path line arching up from the end of the ‘h’ in fish. Right click on this path in your paths palette and click ‘stroke path’. Stroke the path with your blue paintbrush and it should create a fairly natural looking extension to the end of your letter h:

Now right click on your ‘fish’ text layer in your layers palette. Hit ‘copy layer styles’ and then right click on your ‘letter extend’ layer. Hit ‘paste layer styles’. Then hide the ‘inner shadow’ blending option, leaving all other layer styles remaining:

Step 9

Now paste in your ‘jellyfish 2′ image (after extracting it in the same way as previous steps). Paste it into the bottom left of your canvas and apply a levels adjustment layer (again, like with previous images):

Reduce the opacity of this jellyfish layer to around 45%. This is so it’s not too distracting next to your main text, and feels more distant in the background:

Step 10

Now create a new layer called ‘white light effects’. Drag out a series of white to transparent radial gradients over areas of your text you wish to illuminate:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 40% and change the blend mode to ‘overlay’. This makes the effect much more subtle:

Step 11

Now create a new layer called ‘blue lights’.

Drag out a series of 00bcf9 to transparent radial gradients. Try to drag these areas over the darker parts of your text, or where you want the text to have a deeper, richer color:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 10%. Don’t change the blend mode to ‘overlay’, but instead keep it at ‘normal’. This will give a richer, softer lighting effect:

Step 12

Finally, create a layer called ‘light blue lights’. Drag out a series of a8f1fc to transparent radial gradients. Try to position these over the lighter areas of your text.

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 10% and keep it’s blend mode at ‘normal’:

Step 13

Now paste in one of the larger jellyfish, positioning it in the top left of your canvas:

Now apply a layer mask and fade out the left edge of the jellyfish, so that it blends into your background better. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 70%.

Now apply a color balance and levels adjustment layer (giving each a clipping mask):

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

22 / 1.34 / 184

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -70 / +23 / -30
Midtones: -35 / +6 / 0
Shadows: -38 / +5 / -28

You can see the outcome of this below:

Step 14

Finally, create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’. Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray.

Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will allow you to dodge/burn your text in a non-destructive way. Simple use a low opacity, soft black paintbrush to paint in your shadows, and then a low opacity, soft white paintbrush for the highlights.

The images below show this layer at ‘normal’ blend mode, and then at ‘overlay’ blend mode:

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.

VIP Download

Download the original .psd file for this tutorial here:


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