How To Create Gradient Text And Shapes In PSE

So I'm starting a little mini series on the blog today!

I wouldn't necessarily call myself a blogging expert.  But I have been doing this for a long time.  And I've been designing for myself since the very start. So I know how to do certain things, and it occurred to me that I should share my knowledge with all of you - hence this series.

First just let me say that this is going to be a very unstructured series.  I'm not going to post on any specific day or at any specific intervals, just when I feel like it.  And when I say the tips will be random, I mean they will be random.  There's no rhyme or reason here.  

I might do tutorials on how to do something in Photoshop Elements or in the template designer.  I might share links that explain how to do certain things better than I can.  I might share blogging resources that I think are useful.  It's pretty much anything I feel like, and hopefully some of it will be helpful.

So first things first - let's start with my header.  See the pretty gradient font?  I'm going to tell you how to create gradient text (and shapes) in Photoshop Elements.

First let me just say that I learned how to do it by watching this video - and if you have any issues figuring it out from this tutorial, I say watch it, and hopefully it will answer some of your questions.  But for those of you who don't want to stream a video, I'm going to explain it here.


First you need to start with a color scheme that you like, and you need to get the codes for the colors you want in your gradient.  You can find those in the color box in PSE:


Find colors that you like together and write down the numbers.  Once you have the color scheme you like, you want to create a gradient.  (1) Open the gradient tool, (2) select a gradient style that you like, and (3) click "edit".


Then when the gradient edit box opens, see those little colors sliders?  (1) Click on one, then (2) double-click on the color and type in the color code for the color you want in the color code box (see first image in this post).  Do that for each slider and slide the color stops until the gradient looks the way you want it to.  Then click "save" and name your gradient something you will remember.  It should show up in the gradient drop down menu now.


Now go to "File" and click on "New", then "Blank File".  Size this file so it will be wide enough to be your blog header (I made mine 1250 pixels).  Create a text box and type in the words you want to use.  Make sure the text is black. While you're at it, get it centered the way you want.

Screen Shot 2013 09 12 at 5 51 02 PM

Now create a new layer either by clicking on "Layer", "New, and "New Layer", or you can press Shift - CTRL (or COMMAND) - N.  

Select the new layer.

Click on the gradient tool and drag the gradient line from one side of the blank file to the other.  I usually do mine corner to corner, but you can do straight across or whatever.


The gradient will be covering your text because the gradient layer is above your text.  This is the way you want it.

Screen Shot 2013 09 12 at 5 58 56 PM

Now go down to your layer box in the lower right-hand corner.  Put your cursor between the text layer and the gradient layer.

Screen Shot 2013 09 12 at 6 00 27 PM

THen hold down the ALT button (or the Option button on a Mac), and when you move your cursor between the text layer and gradient layer a little weird cirle symbol will appear.  When it appears just click . . .

Screen Shot 2013 09 12 at 6 02 47 PM

And wholla!  The two layers connect and you have gradient text.

And finally, if you select both the gradient layer and the text layer and then go to "Layer" and click "Merge Layers", you can make your text or shape movable!


Now you can decorate it any way you want!  You can also do this with shapes the same way as long as you start with the shapes being black.  Then merge the layers just like I explained above to move the shape around.


I checked out PicMonkey and googled, and there really isn't a good free alternative to create gradient text, at least not that I could find.  This is the best one I found, but you can only use their pre-set colors, which isn't ideal if you are wanting to make something for your blog design. I will let you know if I come across something better.  

And if I can just put in my two cents - if you want to do your own blog designs or if you are into photography at all - I'd recommend Photoshop Elements.  It really isn't outrageously expensive - about $80-100, and I hear with a little work you can do almost anything with PSE that you can do with the full Photoshop (which is hundreds of dollars).  

It's definitely the best resource for blog design that I've used - you can do some stuff with PicMonkey, but you are definitely limited. Photoshop Elements has been worth the money to me.  Photoshop isn't paying me to say that, I'm just an Elements fan!

That's it!  Let me know if you have any questions and I'l try to help!


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Kate Craig said...

I did not know about connecting layers like that!

Jessica and Stephan said...

This is great, and I'm really excited that you're doing this! I'll have to try this sometime, when I have time to read and understand it, and have time to fool around with it!

Can't wait to see what other tips you might have!

Unknown said...

I'm so excited that you are doing this! I am looking forward to reading your tutorials. Thank you!

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