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Members Area Tutorial: Create an Advanced Stone Text Effect in Photoshop

Today’s advanced tutorial will teach you how to create a realistic stone text effect from scratch in Photoshop.

You’ll learn how to create a custom bump map, and how to use this technique to distort virtually any surface. Then you will combine Layer Styles to create an authentic ancient stone texture. Finally, we will explore few simple techniques for creating fast and realistic jungle vines with leaves.

Let’s get started!

Final Image

This is the final image that we’ll be creating in this tutorial.

Resources Used In This Tutorial

Step 1

Open a new file (File > New) in Adobe Photoshop with the following settings. Save the file as “Stone Effect.psd”. During work remember to frequently press File > Save (Ctrl + S) to save and update the file.

Step 2

Select the Type Tool (Or press T), then type the word “King”. I’m using Trajan Pro (Bold, 250 pt), which is coming with Adobe Photoshop CS5. I typed the letters as separate type layers and then resize and arranged them the way I want. For resize use Edit > Transform > Scale after targeting the Type layer.

Step 3

Now select the Rectangular Marquee Tool. Then press Shift and drag a perfect square. Then use Edit > Free Transform to rotate and adjust the size of the square, so it will fit on top of the letter “i” of the word “King” nicely.

Step 4

Now target the black square layer, press Shift and then click on all the type layers to select them. Then Right-click and select Merge Layers. So now the square layer and all the type layers are merged into a single layer.

Step 5

Rename the merged layer to “King Text”. Now create a new blank layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) above “King Text” layer. Rename this layer to “Stone Bg” and fill with white color. We will create the stone textured background on this layer with the help of the Lighting Effects filter. But to produce effective result Lighting Effects filter needs a Bump map. In the next step we will create that bump map within an alpha channel.

Step 6

Click on the Channels panel and then create a new alpha channel by clicking on create new channel button (third button from left) below the Channel Panel. Alpha channels are used for storing transparency information.

Step 7

Bump Map is basically a grayscale image, where white depicts height and black depicts depth and 50% grey is neutral, i.e., neither height nor depth. Target the newly created alpha channel by clicking on it and from Filter > Render > Clouds. Clouds filter generate a random cloud pattern that varies between the current foreground and background color, each time you apply the filter. Apply the Clouds filter a couple more times until you get an even distribution of grey values. Rename the alpha channel to “Clouds”.

Step 8

Now we apply the Difference Clouds filter on top of this cloud pattern to enhance it more. Difference Clouds blend the current foreground and background colors with the contents of the selected layer. Then Filter > Render > Difference Clouds. This will add more depth and contrast to the existing Cloud pattern. Apply a few more times until there is an interesting pattern. Rename the alpha channel to “Stone Bump Map”. Now the bump map for our stone surface is ready.

Step 9

Now duplicate the previously created “Stone Bump Map” and rename it to “King Bump Map”.

Step 10

Go back to the Layers panel and Ctrl-click on the “King” layer to load that text as a selection.

Step 11

Come back to the Channels panel and target the “King Bump Map” alpha channel. Then Select > Modify > Feather and use 2 pixel as the Feather radius value.

Step 12

Now Select the Brush tool (Press B) and white as the color. In the Option Bar click on the Brush Preset and select a soft brush. Then change the Blend Mode to Overlay. Change the Brush opacity to 50% and start painting within the selection. Slowly build up the desired look by painting again and again. Due to the Overlay selection mode within the selection white area will become more white and black or dark area will become darker.

This process will help us to define the aged look of the stone text.

Step 13

For finishing touches we will paint with a white brush in normal mode in some of the areas, to give those areas more solid clean edges.

Step 14

Go back to Layers Panel and target the “Stone Bg” layer. Then Filter > Render > Lighting Effects and match the settings from below screenshot.

Now click on the save settings button to save it as “Stone Bump Lights”.

Next time if you want to apply the same settings all you have to do is to select the “Stone Bump Lights” from the save settings drop down list.

Lighting Effects Filter

The Lighting Effects filter creates various lighting effects on images (RGB only). You can also use textures from grayscale files (called bump maps) to produce 3D-like effects and save your own styles for use in other images.

Applying Lighting Effects Filter

  1. Choose Filter > Render > Lighting Effects.
  2. For Style, choose a style.
  3. For Light Type, choose a type.
  4. To add light drag the bulb icon from below the preview area to within the preview window.
  5. To duplicate a light, Alt-drag the light within the preview window.
  6. The Texture Channel will use any grayscale image (Alpha channel) to give the surface a 3D look.
  7. Below the Texture Channel, if Whit is high option checked, then the slider will determine the height of the white areas within the bump map.


Determines the gloss/ wet / matte look of the surface.


Determines which is more reflective: the light or the object on which the light is cast.


Increases or decreases light intensity.


Diffuses the light as if it were combined with other lights.


  1. The Lighting Effects filter works only on RGB images.
  2. Not available in the Filter Gallery of Photoshop CS5.
  3. Only available in the 32-bit mode of Photoshop. For 64-bit solution to using the filter in CS5 and above check out this link

As you can see the look of the stone surface is dependent on the cloud pattern we created in the alpha channel. Compare the b/w cloud pattern and the rendered stone surface to see how the white and black areas of the cloud pattern get translated into the final stone surface. You might want to do this a couple more times to get the desired look. Don’t try to match my stone surface because that maybe not possible due to the random nature of the cloud pattern. Instead try to create an interesting pattern of your own. This will give your surface a unique touch. So experiment with the Clouds – Difference Clouds – Lighting Effects combination.

Step 15

After finalizing the “Stone Bg” layer, Right-click on that layer and select Duplicate layer. Rename this layer to “Stone Sharp”. Change the Blend mode of this layer to Linear Light. Then Filter > Other > High Pass and use a radius value of 25 pixels.

Now reduce the opacity of this layer to 50%. The stone background now has more details. If you want to know more about High Pass and other sharpening techniques, read my other tutorial Mastering Photoshop’s Sharpen Tool here in PSDFan.

Step 16

But we want the detailed look in the center only. So let’s create a focus effect. Alt-Click on the Add layer mask button below the Layers panel and add a black mask in the “Stone Sharp” layer. Then press D key on the keyboard to change the foreground and background colors to black and white Click the black mask thumbnail in the “Stone Sharp” to make sure that you are still in the mask mode. Now select the Gradient Tool (Press G) and in the Option Bar click on the arrow besides the gradient bar to open the gradient picker. Select the Foreground to Background gradient, which is the first one and then select a radial gradient from gradient types beside the gradient bar. Now click in the center of the layer with the Gradient Tool and drag towards the right edge.

Now the “Stone Sharp” layer is only visible in the middle, through the white area of the mask. This will tone down the sharpen effect.

Step 17

Make sure in your Layer Panel only “Stone Bg” and “Stone Sharp” is visible. Now press Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to create a copy merge layer on top of those two layers. Rename this layer to “Stone Blur”. Then Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with a value of 3 pixels.

Click on mask thumbnail of the “Stone Sharp” layer, press Alt-key and drag and drop on “Stone Blur” layer. This way we can copy mask from one layer to another layer. Now both “Stone Sharp” and “Stone Blur” are sharing same type of mask (Center white and edge black). We want the blur (Stone Blur) to be visible in the edges only.

Click on the mask thumbnail of “Stone Blur” and Image > Adjustments > Invert. This will invert the mask, so black is now in the center and white is in the edges. As a result, blur effect is only visible in the edges of the layer.

Step 18

Now we will add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer to make the middle of the stone background less saturated. This will give more impact to the “King” text. Target the “Stone Blur” layer and from below the Layers Panel click on the Create new fill or adjustment button to create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. In the Hue/Saturation dialogue box, change the saturation value to -40.

Rename the Adjustment layer by clicking on the Hue/Saturation text and changing it to “Stone Color”. By using the same previously applied Alt-drag method copy the mask of the “Stone Sharp” layer and drop it (i.e. paste it) on the “Stone Color” adjustment layer. So now the de-saturated look is limited to the center only.

Step 19

Create a new Solid Color Adjustment layer on top of the “Stone Color” layer. In the Pick a solid color dialogue box select black as the solid layer color.

Now copy and paste the mask from the “Stone Blur” layer to this layer by using the same Alt-drag method. So the black color is only visible at the edges. Change the blend mode of this layer to Linear Burn and reduce the layer opacity to 70%. This will create an edge darkening effect. Rename it as “Stone Edge Darken”. Now the stone background is complete.

Step 20

Now create another solid white layer on top of the “Stone Bg” layer and name it to “King Stone Text”. Then Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. From the save settings drop down list, select the “Stone Bump Lights”. Only change the texture channel to the second alpha channel, i.e., the “King Bump Map” channel. So now we have two layers with the same stone texture, one with the “King” text and another without it.

Step 21

CTRL+ Click on the “King Text” layer to load the merged “King” text as a selection. Target the “King Stone Text” layer and then from Select > Modify > Expand. Use a value of 3 pixels. Why we have to do this is because of our use of 2 pixels Feather in the “King Bump Map” channel. As a result, after the Lighting Effects Filter application, the King text expanded a little. Now after the expansion the selection is fitting nicely around the King text.

Step 22

Now selection is still active on that “King Stone Text” layer click on the Add layer mask button (third from left) below the Layers Panel. Now in the “King Stone Text” layer only the king text is visible. Basically we are separating the stone background and the king text in two different layers. This will give us more flexibility and greater individual controls over them.

Step 23

Now double-click on the “King Stone Text” layer to open the Layers Style dialogue box and apply the settings form below screenshots.

First the Bevel and Emboss. In the Technique, select Chisel Soft. This will give the edges of the “King” text a rough and uneven stone surface look. In the Shading area 60 degree altitude is giving the surface little polished look.

In the Contour area of the Bevel and Emboss, increase the Range to 100% for a full bodied look of the bevel. This will help us to define the texture from Texture area more correctly over the bevel area.

In the Texture area of the Bevel and Emboss, click on pattern pop-up panel (right side) to open the Pattern pop-up list. Then click the pop-up panel option at the right side and load Rock Patterns. Use the “Rock Wall” pattern from Rock Patterns Group.

In case this pattern (i.e. Rock Wall) is not present in your version of Photoshop, feel free to use any other rock or stone pattern available in the pattern pop-up list. It will change the look of “King” text a little. But we are not working on any specific look here. This tutorial is rather an understanding of the process, besides being a simple steps tutorial. So explore on your own. Those of you want to use high quality textures, another technique is available. Open a texture image of your choice in Photoshop. You can save this texture image as a pattern within Photoshop by using Define Pattern command. Go to Menu bar, then Edit > Define Pattern. Save pattern with a suitable name. Now open the Layer Style window. Check Pattern Overlay or Texture area of Bevel and Emboss. You will find that the newly created pattern (i.e. texture image) is available in all Pattern pop-up lists.

Drop shadow settings.

Step 24

Click on the mask thumbnail of “King Stone Text” layer. Then Filter > Brush Strokes > Spatter and match the settings from below screenshot.

Spatter will roughen the edges of the “King” text. So it will match better with the stone surface.

Step 25

Duplicate the “King Stone Text” layer and rename to “King Stone Sharp”. Double click on it to open the layer style dialogue box. Uncheck the Drop shadow effect and click ok button to accept the change.

Step 26

Create a new blank layer below the “King Stone Sharp” layer and Alt-click on the eye icon (Visibility toggle button) at the left side of the layer. This will turn off the visibility of all the other layers. Now click on the eye icon beside “King Stone Sharp” layer. Press Shift and click on the “King Stone Sharp” layer to select both the new blank layer and “King Stone Sharp” layer. Right-click and select “Merge visible”. This will fix the “King Stone Sharp” layer with layer style into a normal static layer. This way you can change an always editable layer style into a permanent effect. Now this layer is ready for the High Pass Filter application.

Step 27

Change the blend mode of the “King Stone Sharp” layer to Linear Light. Then Filter > Other > High Pass and use 2 pixels as the radius value.

Change the layer blend mode to Linear Light and reduced the Opacity of the layer to 30%. Now the King Stone Effect is done. Next we will create the vines and leaves.

Step 28

The vines are an interesting topic. There are two common methods. First one involves in either use a vine brush or search for a jungle vine stock photo on white background for easy selection. Second process is to select the Pen Tool, create a path and stroke that with a hard brush. Then create a layer style for the vines. With this technique you have most flexibility. I will show you the path based technique and another uncommon technique. Select the Pen Tool (Press P) and in the Option Bar click the Paths button, which will create a path only. Now create a new blank layer on top of the “King Stone Sharp” layer with the name “Vine”. Open the Paths panel by clicking on Paths Tab. Click and drag to create a vine like path. If you need to know more about Pen Tool and how to work with them read the excellent tutorial Become a Master of the Pen Tool in Under 30 Minutes by Simon Hubbert here in PSDFan.

This path will be stored as a work path in the Path panel. Double click on the Work Path and in the consecutive Save Path dialogue box type “Vine” click ok to save that work path as a permanent path in the Paths palette.

Step 29

Select a 3 pixel hard brush and 50% grey as brush color.

This 3 pixel will be the thickness of the vine. Now in the same Path panel click the third button for left, which is “Stroke path with brush” button. You will see that how Photoshop creates a 3 pixel stroke in the “Vine” layer by stroking that path.

Now create a Layer Style by matching the screenshots below. You can create the rest of the vines with same process. But we will explore another quick technique for vine generation next.

Bevel and Emboss settings.

Inner Shadow settings.

Gradient Overlay settings.

Drop Shadow settings.

This is the final look of the vine after the layer style.

Step 30

Create n new blank layer with the name “Vine 2”. Select the Gradient Tool and Linear gradient as type.

Now click on the gradient bar in the Option Bar and create a gradient using the below screenshot. Then type in name field “vine 1” and click on the New button to save it as a preset. In the screenshot “L” is indicating the location of each gradient color stop.

Step 31

Create a new layer named “Vine 2”. Then open the Info Panel (Window > Info) and click on the panel option arrow at the upper right corner to open the Info Panel Options dialogue box. Change the Ruler Units to pixels click ok to accept and close.

Select the newly created gradient (“vine 1”) in the Gradient bar. Then drag from left edge of the layer to the right edge. You can also press shift for a straight line.

Then Edit > Transform > Scale. Press Shift + Alt key start to drag the upper middle handle towards the center. Check the info panel to make sure it is 8 pixels in height and then click apply button on the Option Bar to accept the transformation. By pressing these two keys, we can move both edges together. So we end up with a rectangle, which is 1024 pixels wide and 3 pixels in height. We follow this process instead of creating a rectangle with 8 pixel in thickness, because we want to distort the gradient while we are transforming the rectangle (i.e. the “Vine 2” layer).

Step 32

“Vine 2” layer is still targeted, Filter > Distort > Wave and match the screenshot below.

Below is the vine after the Wave Filter.

What I did after this is apply the Wave again and click on the Randomize button a couple of times until I like a shape. Then I click OK and accept the changed.

This is after second Wave Filter.

I just create one vine layer with this process. Then I duplicate it several times to create more vines. But you can create the Randomize option to more vines. This is a quick process for generating random distorted vine/ wire/ tentacle. Only one problem you will face is generating the exact vine shape twice. This is not possible because of the random nature of the wave filter. So don’t try to duplicate my vine shapes only. Instead create your own unique vines. Maybe your vines will look much better. Take a look at the screenshot below for example.

Step 33

Another finishing touch you can add to this wave generated vines is to use the Liquify filter (Filter > Liquify) to fine tune the vines more if some area is looking too distorted.

Step 34

Now double click on this “Vines 2” layer and create a layer style by following the screenshots below.

Bevel and Emboss settings.

Inner Shadow settings.

Drop Shadow settings.

Step 35

So now we have two vine shapes. One created through path and another by using the Wave filter. Actually, in my PSD file, you will find two more vertical types of vine. One created with Wave Filter. Then another with the Shear Filter. Let’s create one more vertical vine using the same Wave filter technique.

Create one more Gradient layer but this time scale it down from left to the center. So we have now a vertical rectangle, which is 768 pixels in height, but 8 pixel wide. Name this layer “Vine V Wave”. Duplicate this layer one more time and rename as “Vine V Shear”.

Step 36

Target the “Vine V Wave” layer and apply Filter > Distort > Wave. Match the settings from below screenshot. Don’t use Randomize here. We just need a wavy vertical vine.

This is the look of the vertical vine.

Step 37

Target the “Vine V Shear” and select Filter > Distort > Shear. Check the screenshot from below.

Step 38

Apply the same “Vine 2” layer style on these vertical vine layers. You can copy layer style from one layer to another by Right-clicking on any layer with layer style applied and selecting “Copy Layer Style”. Then Right-click on another layer and select Paste Layer Style.

Step 39

Now duplicate “Vine” and “Vine 2″ layers multiple times and arrange them across the image. For variation use Edit > Transform > Scale / Rotate / Distort while you are arranging the vines.

Select all the vine layers and click the Layers panel option on the upper right corner. Select “New Group from Layers” option. You can also use Layer > New > Group from Layers from the Menu bar.

Type “Vines” in the name field.

This will make the Layers Panel more compact.

Step 40

We are almost there. It’s time for the leaves. Download and open the leaf image from the resources link for this tutorial. We are using the top middle leaf image here. I’m using Pen Tool for the selection. But feel free to use any selection tool of your choice. The quality of the selection hardly matters here. Select and copy the leaf on a transparent layer. Then drag that single leaf with the Move Tool from leaf file to our project file (i.e. Stone Effect.psd). You can also copy and paste it in the “Stone Effect.psd” file.

Step 41

Rename this layer as “Leaf Green 1”.

Now create a layer style by matching the screenshot below. First Gradient Overlay.

Then Drop Shadow settings.

Step 42

Duplicate the layer and rename as “Leaf Green 2”. Arranged them like the screenshot below.

Step 43

Shift click to select both layers and duplicate them.

Rename these two new layers as “Leaf Brown 1” and “Leaf Brown 2”.

Use the same layer style but increase the Gradient Overlay Opacity to make them more brownish in color.

Step 44

Now we have two sets of leaves. One green set and one brown set. Next step will be to duplicate them multiple times and arrange them across the vines. To make this tedious process a little easier we duplicate both sets one more time and merge the duplicates respectively. This will remove their layer styles and change them into normal layers. That is the reason we are keeping one set of each type in their intact layer style version. So if needed we can use them later for editing the layer styles again. So first target both “Leaf Green 1” and “Leaf Green 2” by shift clicking on them. Then Right-click and select Duplicate Layers.

Again Right-click on the targeted group of selected layers and select Merge Layers. Rename this new merge layers as “Leaves Green”.

Follow the same technique and create a “Leaves Brown” from the “Leaf Brown 1” and “Leaf Brown 2” layers.

Step 45

Now copy and paste these “Leaves Green” and “Leaves Brown” layers multiple times and arranged them over the vines across the image.

Select all the leaf layers with the same Shift clicking method. Then click on the arrow in the upper right corner of the Layers panel and select “New Group from Layers”. For variation use Edit > Transform > Scale / Rotate / Distort while you are arranging the leaves. Then reposition “Leaf” and “Vine” groups at the top of the Layers stack.

Step 46

Now let’s create the aged drip marks below the “King” text. Select the Brush Tool and click the “Brush Preset picker” in the Option Bar. Now click the arrow in the upper right side of the Brush Preset picker list and load Dry Media Brushes. Click ok to replace the existing brush list.

Select the 29 pixel Pastel Medium Tip brush. Then click the Toggle the Brush panel (Or press F5) to open brush panel. Then in the left pane click on the Shape Dynamics change the roundness jitter control to Fade and value 8.

Next go to the Transfer and right pane change the Flow Jitter control to Fade and value 30. Close the Brush panel by clicking on the double arrow in the upper right corner.

Now create a new blank layer with the name “Aged Drips”. Create the drip marks by first clicking an area below the “King” text and then click on another area a little below that. The brush stroke will fade in both roundness and flow. Check the screenshot below for the brush stroke positions.

Then changed the blend mode of this layer to Multiply and Opacity to 60%.

Step 47

Now we will create a Dodge Burn layer on the very top of the layers stack and adjust the overall light and shadow. Target the current top layer and Alt-Click on the Create new layer button below the Layers Panel. This will open the new layer dialogue box. Type “Dodge Burn” in the name field. Change Blend mode to Overlay and check the Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray) option below. Overlay will make this gray layer not visible. But if we paint with Dodge and Burn Tool on this layer, that will be visible. This is a Non-destructive way to add highlights and shadows.

I just paint with the Burn tool to add some shadow on the vines. But feel free to use both Dodge and Burn to tweak the final look.

Below is the final look.

Step 48

As the last step we will add a little more depth to the “King” text by duplicating it and then offsetting both “King Stone Text copy” and “King Stone Sharp” towards up and upper left. First duplicate the “King Stone Text” layer. Then select both “King Stone Text copy” (i.e. duplicate layer) and “King Stone Sharp” by the Shift click method.

Then use Up arrow and Left arrow from the keyboard few times to offset them. This will add more depth to the “King” text.


Congratulations, your Stone Text Effect is now complete! This was a super long and advanced tutorial, but you made it.

You can still tweak your outcome and add more details. It’s really up to you and your creativity where you want to go from here. So embark on your Photoshop adventure.

Member File Download

Download the original .psd file for this tutorial here:


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