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Gold Plated Text Effect In Photoshop

Written by Steve Patterson. In this Photoshop text effects tutorial, we’re going to learn how to turn text into gold using Photoshop’s Layer Styles. We’ll even throw in some sparkles at the end to make our gold letters really shine.

Here’s the effect we’re going for:

The final effect
The final gold plated text result.

Let’s get started!

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Step 1: Open A New Photoshop Document

Open a new document in Photoshop by going up to the File menu and choosing New…, or by using the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+N (Win) / Command+N (Mac). I’m just going to use the 640×480 preset size. You can use whichever size you like for your width and height, and then click OK to create your new Photoshop document:

Creating a new document in Photoshop
Create a new document in Photoshop. I’m using the 640×480 preset size.

Step 2: Fill The Background Layer With Black

Press D on your keyboard to quickly reset Photoshop’s foreground and background colors, which sets black as your foreground color. Then use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Backspace (Win) / Option+Delete (Mac) to fill the Background layer with black:

Fill the Background layer with black
The Background layer now filled with black.

Step 3: Set Your Foreground Color To White And Add Your Text

Press X on your keyboard to swap your foreground and background colors so white becomes your foreground color. Select your Type tool from the Tools palette or by pressing T on your keyboard. Choose a font from the Options Bar at the top of the screen, then click inside the Document Window and enter your text. I’m using "Times New Roman Bold" here to keep things simple if you want to follow along. I’ll enter the word “GOLD”:

Enter your text
Set your foreground color to white and enter your text.

Step 4: Resize Your Text With The Free Transform Command

The text is too small at this point, so with the text layer selected in the Layers palette, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to bring up Photoshop’s Free Transform box and handles around the text. Hold down Shift+Alt (Win) / Shift+Option (Mac) to have Photoshop constrain the text proportions and resize the text from the center as you drag out any of the corner handles to enlarge the text:

Photoshop's Free Transform box and handles around the text
Resize the text with Free Transform.

Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) when you’re done to accept the transformation.

Step 5: Duplicate The Text Layer

Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) to quickly duplicate the text layer. You should now have three layers in your Layers palette:

Duplicate the text layer
Photoshop’s Layers palette now showing three layers.

We’re going to be working on the text copy layer throughout the next few steps.

Step 6: Add A Gradient Overlay To The Text

With the text copy layer selected, click on the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers palette:

Click the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers palette
Click the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Select Gradient Overlay from the list:

Select the Gradient Overlay layer style
Select the Gradient Overlay layer style from the list.

This brings up the Layer Style dialog box set to the Gradient Overlay options:

Photoshop's Layer Style dialog box
Photoshop’s Layer Style dialog box set to the “Gradient Overlay” options.

We’re going to set the colors for our gradient, so click directly on the gradient preview area (circled in red above) to bring up the Gradient Editor.

Step 7: Select A Lighter And Darker Gold Color For The Gradient

When the Gradient Editor appears, click on the left color marker to select it, and then click on the Color swatch to choose a color for the left side of the gradient:

Choosing a color for the left side of the gradient
Click on the left color marker in the Gradient Editor, then click the Color swatch.

This brings up Photoshop’s Color Picker. You can use whichever gold colors you prefer, but if you want to follow along, I’ve entered a color of R:247, G:238, B:173 which gives us a light gold color (I cheated and sampled the color from a photo of a gold coin):

Photoshop's Color Picker
Enter R:247, G:238, B:173 for the left gradient color.

Click OK to accept the color and exit out of the Color Picker. Then, back in the Gradient Editor, click on the right color marker to select it, and then click back on the Color swatch:

Choosing a color for the right side of the gradient
Click on the right color marker, then click back on the Color swatch.

When the Color Picker comes back up, enter R:193, G:172, B:81 to give us a darker gold color (also sampled from the gold coin):

Photoshop's Color Picker
Enter R:193, G:172, B:81 for the right gradient color.

Click OK to exit out of the Color Picker once again, and click OK to exit out of the Gradient Editor as well.

Your text should now look like this:

The gradient colors applied to the text
The gradient colors applied to the text.

Don’t exit out of the Layer Style dialog box yet. We have more to do.

Step 8: Change The Gradient “Style” To “Reflected”

Back in the Gradient Overlay options in the Layer Style dialog box, click on the down-pointing arrow to the right of the word “Linear” and change the Style of the gradient to Reflected:

Changing the gradient style from linear to reflected
Change the gradient style from “Linear” to “Reflected”.

This will add the darker gold color to both the top and bottom of the text, leaving the lighter color in the middle:

The text after changing the gradient style
The text after changing the gradient style.

Step 9: Select The “Bevel and Emboss” Options

Click directly on the words “Bevel and Emboss” in the layer styles menu along the left of the Layer Style dialog box to switch to the Bevel and Emboss options. Make sure you click directly on the words themselves, not just in the little box beside them, otherwise the options won’t appear:

Switch to the Bevel and Emboss options
Click directly on the words “Bevel and Emboss” in the menu on the left.

Step 10: Change The "Technique" To "Chisel Hard"

In the Bevel and Emboss Structure options in the middle of the Layer Style dialog box, click on the down-pointing arrow to the right of the word “Smooth” and change the Technique to Chisel Hard:

Change the technique to Chisel Hard
Change the “Technique” from “Smooth” to “Chisel Hard”.

Step 11: Change The "Gloss Contour" To "Ring Double"

In the Shading options below the Structure options, click on the down-pointing arrow to the right of the word “Gloss Contour” and select Ring – Double, which is on the bottom row, third from the left:

Changing the Gloss Contour to Ring Double
Change the “Gloss Contour” to “Ring Double”.

Select the Anti-Aliased option as well to prevent our text from getting the “jaggies”.

Here’s the text at this point:

The gold text effect so far.
The effect so far.

Step 12: Increase The Structure “Size” To Close Up The Open Space Inside The Letters

Go back up to the Structure options at the top of the Layers styles dialog box and drag the Size slider bar to the right until you’ve closed up the open spaces inside the letters. Here I’ve dragged mine to a value of 16 pixels:

Increase the structure size by dragging the slider bar
Drag the “Size” slider to the right until you’ve closed up the open spaces inside the letters.

The open spaces are now gone:

The open spaces inside the letters have been closed
After dragging the “Size” slider to the right, the open spaces inside the letters have been removed.

Step 13: Increase The Structure "Depth" To Enhance The Lighting Effect

Next, drag the Depth slider to the right to enhance the lighting effect on the letters. I’ve dragged mine to a value of 171%:

Increase the depth to enhance the lighting effect
Drag the “Depth” slider to the right to enhance the lighting effect on the letters.

Now things are starting to look good:

The effect after increasing the depth
The effect after increasing the “Depth”.

Step 14: Turn On The "Contour" In The Layer Style Menu

Next, click inside the checkbox to the left of the word Contour on the left of the Layer Style dialog box, directly below the “Bevel and Emboss” option. This will enhance our gold effect even further. There’s no need to change any options for it, so just click inside the checkbox to enable it:

Enable the Contour option
Click inside the “Contour” checkbox to enable it without viewing its options.

Here’s the text with “Contour” enabled:

The effect with the Contour option enabled.
The effect with the “Contour” option enabled.

Step 15: Add An Inner Glow

One last thing to do here before we exit out of the Layer Style dialog box and switch to the original text layer. We’re going to add an Inner Glow effect to enhance our gold colors. To do that, click directly on the words Inner Glow on the left of the Layer Style dialog box to enable it and bring up its options:

Select the Inner Glow layer style
Select the “Inner Glow” layer style. Click directly on its name to bring up the options for it.

Change the options that I’ve circled here:

Change these Inner Glow options
The “Inner Glow” options.

First, change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Then lower the Opacity to 50%. Click on the color swatch directly below the word “Noise”, which brings up the Color Picker. Enter R:232, G:128, B:31 to give us an orange color (this one was sampled from a photo of a gold brick) and click OK to exit out of the Color Picker. Finally, increase the glow Size to 15 pixels.

When you’re done, you can click OK to exit out of the Layer Style dialog box. Your text should now look something like this:

The text after applying the Inner Glow
The text after applying the “Inner Glow” layer style.

Step 16: Add A Stroke To The Original Text Layer

We’re done with the text copy layer at this point. Now we’re going to work on the original text layer, so click on it in the Layers palette to select it. We’re going to head back to the Layer Style dialog box once again, so click on the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers palette:

Click the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers palette
With the original text layer selected, click on the “Layer Styles” icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

This time, select Stroke at the bottom of the list:

Select the Stroke layer style from the list.
Select the “Stroke” layer style from the list.

This will bring the Layer Style dialog box back up, set to the Stroke options. Change the options that I’ve circled below:

Change the Stroke layer style options.
The “Stroke” layer style options.

First, increase the stroke Size to 5 pixels. Then change the Fill Type from “Color” to Gradient. We’re going to be using the same gradient colors for the stroke that we used on the text. Before we go setting gradient colors though, change the gradient Style to Reflected.

Step 17: Set The Stroke Gradient To The Same Colors As The Text

Click directly on the gradient preview area in the Stroke options:

Click the gradient preview area
Click on the gradient preview area.

This will once again bring up the Gradient Editor. Set the colors for the gradient to the same colors we used on the text. For the left color, use R:247, G:238, B:173, and for the color on the right, use R:193, G:172, B:81. Click OK to exit out of the Gradient Editor once you’ve set the colors, and your text should look like this:

The gradient stroke applied to the text.
The gradient stroke applied to the text.

Step 18: Apply The "Bevel and Emboss" Style To The Stroke

Click directly on the words Bevel and Emboss in the menu on the left of the Layer Style dialog box to once again enable it and bring up its options. This time, rather than adding a bevel and emboss style to the text, we’re going to add it to the stroke. Change the options that I’ve circled below:

The Bevel and Emboss options for the stroke
The “Bevel and Emboss” options to apply to the stroke.

First, in order to apply these settings to the stroke, we need to change the top option, Style to Stroke Emboss. Now all of these settings will be applied to our stroke. Change the Technique to Chisel Hard once again. Set the Size to 5 pixels. In the “Shading” section, click on the down-pointing arrow to the right of the words Gloss Contour and once again select that Ring – Double option, which is the third one from the left on the bottom row. Finally, over on the left in the menu area, once again click inside the Contour checkbox to enable it.

After applying the Bevel and Emboss style to the stroke, your text should now look like this:

The text after applying the Bevel and Emboss style to the stroke.
The effect after applying the “Bevel and Emboss” style to the stroke around the text.

Step 19: Apply The "Outer Glow" Style

One last thing to do here in the Layer Styles dialog box. We’re going to add a bit of a glow to the text, as if some light was reflecting off the gold. Click directly on the words Outer Glow in the menu on the left to turn on the Outer Glow style and bring up its options, then change the options I’ve circled below:

The options for the Outer Glow style.
The options for the Outer Glow layer style.

First, lower the Opacity value to 50%. Then click on the color swatch directly below the word “Noise”, which brings up Photoshop’s Color Picker. Enter in R:183, G:145, G:79 for the color (another gold brick photo sample) and click OK to exit out of the Color Picker. Finally, set the Size to around 29 pixels, and then click OK to exit out of the Layer Styles dialog box.

The text now has a faint glow around it:

The text now with a faint glow around it.
The text now with a faint glow around it.

One thing left to do…

Step 20: Add A New Blank Layer Above The Text Copy Layer

Click on the text copy layer in the Layers palette to select it, then press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N (Win) / Command+Shift+N (Mac) to bring up the New Layer dialog box. Name the new layer “sparkles”, and click OK:

Photoshop's New Layer dialog box.
Photoshop’s “New Layer” dialog box. Name the new layer “sparkles” and click OK.

We now have our new blank layer in the Layers palette:

Photoshop's Layers palette.
Photoshop’s Layers palette now showing our new “sparkles” layer at the top.

Step 21: Load The “Assorted Brushes”

We’re going to add some sparkles to our gold text to really make it shine, and we’re going to use a brush for that. But first, we need to load in some new brushes. Grab the Brush tool from the Tools palette or press B on your keyboard to quickly select it. Then right-click (Win) / Control-click (Mac) anywhere inside the Document Window to bring up the Brush options menu, and click on the small right-pointing arrow in the top right corner:

The Brush options menu
Click the small arrow in the top right corner of the Brush menu.

Click on the Assorted Brushes in the long list that appears to select them:

Select the Assorted Brushes
Click on “Assorted Brushes” in the list that appears.

Photoshop will ask you if you want to replace the current brushes with these new brushes or simply append them to the existing ones. Click Append:

Click Append to add the brushes to the existing ones.
Click “Append” to add the new brushes to the existing ones.

Step 22 Sample A Light Gold Color From The Text With The Eyedropper Tool

Grab the Eyedropper tool from the Tools palette or press I to quickly select it, and then click on one of the lightest areas in the text to sample that color. We’re going to use that color for our sparkles:

Sample a light gold color from the text with the Eyedropper tool.
Sample a light gold color from the text with the Eyedropper tool.

Step 23: Select One Of The “Crosshatch” Brushes To Use As A Sparkle

With your light gold color sampled, switch back to your Brush tool again, and then once again right-click (Win) / Control-click (Mac) anywhere inside the Document Window to bring up the Brush options menu. Scroll down the list of available brushes until you come across one that looks like a fancy “X”. If you have Tool Tips turned on in your Photoshop Preferences, you’ll see that the brush is named “Crosshatch”, as we can see here:

Choose one of the Crosshatch brushes
Choose one of the “Crosshatch” brushes (which looks like an “X”) to use for the sparkles.

Step 24: Paint A Few Randomly Placed Sparkles Around The Text

With your brush selected and your sampled color ready to go, click in a few random locations around the text to add some sparkles. Change the brush size after each click to add even more randomness by using the right and left bracket keys to increase or decrease the brush size on the fly. Adding sparkles is fun, but too many is too many, so only add a few. A couple of larger ones and a couple of smaller ones should do it.

If you find your sparkles look too intense, lower the opacity of the "sparkles" layer. Here I’ve lowered mine down to 50%:

Lower the opacity of the sparkles layer
Lower the opacity of the “sparkles” layer to reduce their intensity.

Once you’ve added your sparkles and lowered the opacity to your liking, you’ve completed the gold lettering effect!

Here’s my final “Gold-Plated Text” effect result:

The final effect
The final effect.

And there we have it!

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