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How to Digitally Paint Word Art in Photoshop

How to Digitally Paint Word Art in Photoshop

I love the look of handpainted and watercolored elements on digital projects. Photoshop makes it possible to get this effect without any mess. By making a few adjustments in the brush panel, you can make any word art look hand painted.

Here's how:

  • Begin by loading a paint brush into your software. Katie Pertiet's Watery Spots Brushes and Stamps No. 8 are a good choice for this technique. There are many other good choices in the Watery Spots Brushes line as well.
  • Open a word art image and a new blank document in Photoshop.
  • Drag the word art image onto the blank document.
  • Hide the background layer by clicking the Layer Visibility Icon (eyeball) on the left side of the background layer.
  • Select the word art layer and click the Channels Tab in the Layers panel to create an alpha layer. Channels can be found to the right of the Layers tab.
  • Now you'll see several Channels – RGB, Red, Green, and Blue.
  • Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) one of the thumbnails to make a selection. (Because the word art is black, it doesn’t matter which channel you use.)
  • Click "Save Selection as Channel" at the bottom of the panel.
  • This creates a new channel at the bottom of the panel called Alpha 1. Select the Alpha 1 layer.
  • Now click the Layers tab to exit the Channels panel. You'll still have a selection (marching ants) around the word art. At this point, the layer has a red tint.
  • Delete the word art layer and create a new transparent layer by clicking the Create a New Layer icon in the Layers Panel.
  • Press Ctrl Shift I (Mac: Cmd Shift I) to select the inverse.
  • Now choose a paint color by clicking the Foreground color chip and using the color picker to select a color.
  • Get the Brush tool and look in the Options bar across the top of the editing window. From the brush picker there, select one of the paintbrushes you loaded in the first step.
  • Next, toggle the brush panel which looks like a folder with brushes on it and make the following changes in the brush panel that populates.
    - Click "Shape Dynamics"
    - Increase the Size and Angle Jitter by moving the sliders to around 25%
    - Click "Color Dynamics"
    - In the Color Dynamics options on the right, tick "Apply per tip."
    - Drag the Foreground/Background Jitter slider all the way to the left.
    - Drag the Hue Jitter, Saturation Jitter and Brightness Jitter to the right. Start at about 20-25% knowing that you can adjust these as you paint, if you'd like more or less variation.
    - Leave "Purity" at 0%
    - Tick "Smoothing"
  • Now go back to the Options bar and choose Mode: "Multiply"
  • Drag and/or click the cursor over the word art selection. As you do, the word art is painted. Make adjustments to the choices in the Brush Panel if you'd like more or less variation in the shape or color dynamics.
  • When you are finished painting, press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to remove the marching ants.
  • To paint again, simply choose the Alpha Channel, select the inverse and paint with the cursor.

Try this trendy technique to give your word art images a new look and style.
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