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Photoshop Gold Text Effect Tutorial

Turning Text Into Gold With Photoshop

Written by Steve Patterson. In this Text Effects tutorial, we'll learn how to easily turn type into gold with Photoshop using a few simple layer styles and our own custom gradient. Once the main effect is complete, we'll add sparkles with the help of one of Photoshop's brushes to make our gold letters really shine.

I'll be using Photoshop CS6 here, but this tutorial is also fully compatible with Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud). For earlier versions of Photoshop, you'll want to check out our original Gold Plated Text Effect tutorial.

Here's what the gold text effect will look like when we're done:

Lowering the layer opacity. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The final result.

Let's get started!

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Step 1: Create A New Photoshop Document

Let's begin from scratch by creating a new Photoshop document for our effect. Go up to the File menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choose New. Or, you can create a new document from the keyboard by pressing Ctrl+N (Win) / Command+N (Mac). Either way is fine:

Creating a new document in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Going to File > New.

This opens the New Document dialog box. If you know the size and resolution of the document you need, go ahead and enter in those values. For this tutorial, I'll set my Width to 1600 pixels and my Height to 800 pixels, and I'll leave the Resolution set to its default value of 72 pixels/inch. I have my Background Contents set to White. Click OK when you're done and your new document will appear on the screen:

The New Document dialog box in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The New Document dialog box.

Step 2: Fill The New Document With Black

Let's change the background color from white to black so our gold letters will really stand out. Go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Fill:

Choosing the Fill command from the Edit menu in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Going to Edit > Fill.

This opens the Fill dialog box. Set the Use option at the top to Black. Down at the bottom of the dialog box, make sure Mode is set to Normal and Opacity is at 100%:

The Fill dialog box in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Setting the Use option to Black.

Click OK when you're done. Photoshop fills the document with black:

The Photoshop document after filling it with black. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The background has been changed to black.

Step 3: Select The Type Tool

Select Photoshop's Type Tool from the Tools panel along the left of the screen. You can also select the Type Tool by pressing the letter T on your keyboard:

Selecting the Type Tool in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting the Type Tool.

Step 4: Choose Your Font

With the Type Tool selected, choose your font in the Options Bar along the top of the screen. For this tutorial, I'll use Times New Roman Bold, but of course you can choose something different. Don't worry about the size of the type for now since we'll resize it ourselves later:

Choosing a font in the Options Bar in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Choosing a font.

Step 5: Set Your Type Color To White

Next, we'll set our type color to white, just so we can easily see it in front of the black background while we're adding it. If it's already set to white, you can skip this step, otherwise click on the color swatch in the Options Bar:

Clicking the color swatch for the Type Tool in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the type color swatch.

This opens Photoshop's Color Picker. One way to select white in the Color Picker is by entering a value of 255 for the R, G and B options. Click OK when you're done to close out of it:

Choosing white for the type color in the Color Picker. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Choosing white by setting the R, G and B values to 255.

Step 6: Add Your Text

With the Type Tool in hand, your font chosen and your type color set to white, click inside the document and enter your text. I'll type the word "GOLD". Again, don't worry if your text is too small. We'll resize it in a moment:

Adding the text to the document. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Adding the text.

When you're done, click the checkmark in the Options Bar to accept the text and exit out of text editing mode:

Clicking the checkmark to accept the text. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the checkmark to accept the text.

Step 7: Resize The Text

Let's resize the text using Photoshop's Free Transform command. Go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Free Transform. You can also select Free Transform from the keyboard by pressing Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac):

Selecting Free Transform from the Edit menu in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Going to Edit > Free Transform.

This places the Free Transform box and handles (the little squares) around the text. To resize it, click and drag any of the corner handles. Hold down your Shift key as you drag a handle to constrain the original shapes of the letters so you don't distort the look of them. To move the text into position, click and drag anywhere inside the Free Transform box. When you're done, press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) on your keyboard to exit out of Free Transform mode:

Resizing and centering the text with Free Transform. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Resizing and centering the text with Free Transform.

Step 8: Duplicate The Text Layer

At the moment, we have two layers in our document - the black-filled Background layer and a Type layer containing our text. We need to create a copy of our Type layer. The easiest way to do that is to click on it, and with your mouse button still held down, drag the Type layer down onto the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (second icon from the right):

Dragging the Type layer onto the New Layer icon. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Dragging the Type layer onto the New Layer icon.

Release your mouse button, and Photoshop adds a copy of the Type layer above the original:

The Layers panel showing the copy of the Type layer. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The Layers panel showing the copy of the Type layer.

Clean up your Layers panel in Photoshop with these essential tips!

Step 9: Add A Gradient Overlay

With the copy of the Type layer selected (it should be highlighted in blue), click on the Layer Styles icon (the "fx" icon) at the bottom of the Layers panel:

Clicking the Layer Styles icon. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the Layer Styles icon.

Choose Gradient Overlay from the list that appears:

Selecting a Gradient Overlay layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting a Gradient Overlay layer style.

Step 10: Edit The Gradient

This opens Photoshop's Layer Style dialog box set to the Gradient Overlay options in the middle column. By default, Photoshop uses a black-to-white gradient. We need to edit the gradient, replacing the black and white with colors that look more "golden". To do that, click on the gradient preview bar:

Clicking the gradient preview bar in the Layer Style dialog box. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the gradient preview bar.

This opens the Gradient Editor. Double-click on the black color stop below the left side of the gradient:

Double-clicking the black color stop in the Gradient Editor. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Double-clicking the black color stop in the Gradient Editor.

This once again opens the Color Picker. I've sampled the colors I'm going to use from a photo of a gold coin, so if you want to follow along with these same colors, set the R value in the Color Picker to 247, the G value to 238, and the B value to 173. Click OK when you're done to close out of the Color Picker:

Replacing the black in the gradient with a different color. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Replacing the black in the gradient with R:247, G:238, B:173.

Back in the Gradient Editor, double-click on the white color stop below the right side of the gradient:

Double-clicking the white color stop in the Gradient Editor. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Double-clicking the white color stop in the Gradient Editor.

When the Color Picker re-appears, set the R value to 193, the G value to 172 and the B value to 81. Click OK when you're done:

Replacing the white in the gradient with a different color. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Replacing the white in the gradient with R:193, G:172, B:81.

Step 11: Save The Gradient As A Preset

We're going to need this same gradient again a bit later, so let's save it. In the Gradient Editor, enter a name for your custom gradient just below the Presets thumbnails. I'll name mine "Gold". Then, click the New button to save the gradient:

Saving the custom gradient in the Gradient Editor. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Saving the custom gradient as a preset.

A new thumbnail for the gradient will appear up in the Presets area, allowing us to quickly reselect the gradient anytime we need it:

Saving the custom gradient in the Gradient Editor. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Photoshop adds a thumbnail for our new gradient preset.

Click OK to close out of the Gradient Editor, but leave the Layer Style dialog box open. Your type should now look like this:

The text after editing and applying the gradient. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The text after editing and applying the gradient.

Step 12: Change The Gradient Style To "Reflected"

In the Layer Style dialog box, change the Style of the gradient from Linear (the default setting) to Reflected:

Changing the gradient Style option to Reflected. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Changing the Style option to Reflected.

This will move the darker gold color to both the top and bottom of the text, leaving the lighter color passing through the middle:

The effect with the gradient Style set to Reflected. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect with the gradient Style set to Reflected.

Step 13: Select The Bevel And Emboss Layer Style

Click directly on the words Bevel & Emboss at the top of the list of styles along the left of the Layer Style dialog box. If you simply click in its checkbox to select it, you'll turn the style on but you won't have access to any of its options. We need the options, and for that, we need to click directly on the style's name:

Selecting the Bevel and Emboss layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking on the Bevel & Emboss name.

Step 14: Change The Technique To "Chisel Hard"

The middle column of the Layer Style dialog box will change to the Bevel and Emboss options. Change the Technique from Smooth to Chisel Hard:

Changing the Bevel and Emboss technique to Chisel Hard. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Changing the Technique to Chisel Hard.

Step 15: Change The Gloss Contour To "Ring Double"

Then, down in the Shading section, click on the small arrow to the right of the Gloss Contour thumbnail (don't click on the thumbnail itself, click the arrow beside it) and select the Ring - Double contour by double-clicking on its thumbnail (third one from the left, bottom row):

Changing the Gloss Contour option to Ring - Double. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the Gloss Contour arrow and double-clicking on the Ring - Double thumbnail.

Step 16: Turn On Anti-Aliasing

Directly beside Gloss Contour is the Anti-aliased option. Click inside its checkbox to select it. This will smooth out any jagged edges that might become visible:

Selecting the Anti-aliased option. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Turning on anti-aliasing.

Here's the effect so far:

The text after applying a Bevel and Emboss layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The text after applying Bevel and Emboss.

Step 17: Increase The Size To Fill In The Letters

Increase the Size of the Bevel and Emboss to close up the open space inside the letters. The easiest way to do this is to click inside the Size value box to make it active, then press the Up arrow on your keyboard repeatedly. As you do, you'll see the letters filling in from the outer edges in towards the centers. The actual Size value you need will depend on the size of the document you're using. For me, a value of 46 pixels does the job:

Increasing the Size value for the Bevel and Emboss layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Increasing the Size value.

And now the letters are nicely filled in, making them look more solid:

The open space inside the letters is now filled in. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect after increasing the Size value.

Step 18: Increase The Depth To Enhance The Lighting Effect

Next, increase the Depth value by dragging its slider towards the right. This will enhance the lighting and add more contrast to the reflection in the letters. I'll set my Depth value to around 170%:

Increasing the Depth value for the Bevel and Emboss layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Increasing the Depth value.

And now our gold letter effect is really starting to take shape:

The effect after increasing the Depth value. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect after increasing the Depth value.

Step 19: Turn On "Contour"

Click inside the checkbox for the Contour style directly below the Bevel & Emboss style on the left of the Layer Style dialog box. There's no need to change any options for the Contour style. We simply need to turn it on, and for that, all we need to do is click inside its checkbox:

Turning on the Contour style for the Bevel and Emboss layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Turning on the Contour sub-style for Bevel and Emboss.

The Contour style enhances the lighting effect even further:

The effect after turning on the Contour style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect after turning on the Contour style.

Step 20: Add An Inner Glow

We have one last effect to apply before we exit out of the Layer Style dialog box. Click directly on the words Inner Glow in the list of layer styles along the left:

Selecting the Inner Glow layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking on the words "Inner Glow".

The options for the Inner Glow will appear in the middle column of the Layer Style dialog box. First, change the Blend Mode of the Inner Glow from Screen to Multiply, then lower the Opacity to 50%. Change the color of the glow by clicking on the color swatch directly below the word "Noise". When the Color Picker appears, select an orange color by setting the R value to 232, G to 128 and B to 31 (I sampled this color from a photo of a gold brick), then click OK to close out of the Color Picker. Finally, increase the glow Size to around 75 px, although you may need to experiment with this value depending on the size of your document. The goal with the Size value is to make sure the glow completely covers the thickness of the letters:

The Inner Glow layer style options. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Setting the Inner Glow options.

When you're done, click OK to close out of the Layer Style dialog box. Your effect should now look similar to this:

The gold letter effect after applying the Inner Glow layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The gold letter effect after applying the Inner Glow.

Step 21: Select The Original Type Layer

Click on the original Type layer in the Layers panel to select it and make it active:

Selecting the original Type layer in the Layers panel. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting the original Type layer.

Step 22: Add A Stroke

Click once again on the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:

Clicking the Layer Styles icon in the Layers panel. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the Layer Styles icon.

Choose Stroke from the list:

Choosing a Stroke layer style in the Layers panel. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting a Stroke layer style.

Photoshop will re-open the Layer Style dialog box, this time set to the Stroke options in the middle column. First, change the Fill Type from Color to Gradient and change the Style from Linear to Reflected. Then, increase the Size of the stroke at the top to around 8 px (make sure Position is set to Outside):

The Stroke options in the Layer Style dialog box. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The Stroke options.

Step 23: Choose The Custom Gradient Preset

Back in Step 11, we saved our custom gold gradient as a preset. Let's quickly set our stroke to those same colors by selecting the preset. Click on the small arrow to the right of the gradient preview bar:

Clicking the arrow beside the gradient preview bar. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the arrow beside the gradient bar.

This will pop open the Gradient Preset picker. Double-click on the thumbnail for the gold custom gradient. It should be the last thumbnail in the list:

Selecting the custom gold gradient. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Double-clicking on the custom gold gradient.

And now the stroke is set to the same colors as the text itself:

The effect after applying the gold gradient to the stroke. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect after applying the gold gradient to the stroke.

Step 24: Apply Bevel And Emboss To The Stroke

Click directly on the words Bevel & Emboss at the top of the list of styles on the left. This time, rather than applying it to the text, we'll apply it to the stroke:

The effect after applying the gold gradient to the stroke. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking on Bevel & Emboss.

Change the Style of the Bevel and Emboss from Inner Bevel to Stroke Emboss so that the effect is applied to the stroke itself. Then, just as we did before, change Technique to Chisel Hard, and set the Size to around 8 px (same size as the stroke). Also as we did before, click on the small arrow beside the Gloss Contour thumbnail and double-click on the Ring - Double contour to select it. Finally, select Anti-aliased to smooth out any jagged edges:

The Bevel and Emboss options for the stroke. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The Bevel and Emboss options for the stroke.

Turn on the Contour style directly below Bevel & Emboss by clicking inside its checkbox:

Selecting the Contour style under Bevel and Emboss. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting Contour for the stroke.

Here's the effect after applying Bevel and Emboss (and Contour) to the stroke:

The gold text effect so far. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The stroke now shares the same lighting and reflection effects as the type.

Step 25: Apply An Outer Glow

There's just one layer style remaining. Let's add a faint glow to the text, as if light was reflecting off the gold letters. Click directly on the words Outer Glow on the left of the Layer Style dialog box to turn on the Outer Glow style and bring up its options:

Selecting the Outer Glow layer style. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting Outer Glow.

Lower the Opacity of the glow to 40%, then click on the color swatch directly below the word "Noise" to change the color. When the Color Picker appears, use the same color we chose for the Inner Glow by setting the R value to 232, G to 128 and B to 31. Click OK to close out of the Color Picker. Finally, increase the Size of the glow to around 60 px:

The Outer Glow options. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The Outer Glow options.

At this point, we're done with our layer styles, so click OK to close out of the Layer Style dialog box. Here's our gold text effect with all of our styles applied:

The gold text effect is nearly complete. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect is nearly complete.

Step 26: Select The Type Copy Layer

All that's left to do now is add some sparkles, and we'll add them on their own separate layer. Click on the Type copy layer (the top layer) in the Layers panel to select it:

Selecting the top layer in the Layers panel. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting the top layer.

Step 27: Add A New Blank Layer

With the top layer selected, press and hold the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard and click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:

Clicking the New Layer icon in the Layers panel. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the New Layer icon while holding Alt (Win) / Option (Mac).

Photoshop will pop open the New Layer dialog box, giving us a chance to name the new layer before it's added. Name the layer "sparkles", then click OK to close out of the dialog box:

Naming the new layer. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Naming the new layer.

The new "sparkles" layer now appears as the top layer in the Layers panel:

The new layer is added above the others. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The new layer is added above the others.

Step 28: Select The Brush Tool

To create the sparkles, we'll use one of Photoshop's brushes. Select the Brush Tool from the Tools panel. You can also select it by pressing the letter B on your keyboard:

Selecting the Brush Tool in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Selecting the Brush Tool.

Step 29: Load The Assorted Brushes

With the Brush Tool selected, right-click (Win) / Control-click (Mac) anywhere inside the document to open the Brush Preset picker, then click on the menu icon in the top right corner:

Clicking the menu icon in the Brush Preset picker in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the Brush Preset picker's menu icon.

Choose Assorted Brushes from the menu that appears to load these brushes into Photoshop:

Clicking the menu icon in the Brush Preset picker in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Clicking the Brush Preset picker's menu icon.

Photoshop will ask if you want to replace the current brushes with the new brush set. Click Append to simply add them to the existing brushes:

Appending the Assorted Brushes set to the default brushes in Photoshop. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Adding the Assorted Brushes set in with the current brushes.

Step 30: Choose The Crosshatch 4 Brush

Scroll down through the various brushes in the Brush Preset picker until you get close to the bottom and look for the Crosshatch 4 brush. If you have Tool Tips enabled in Photoshop, the name of the brushes will appear when you hover your mouse cursor over the thumbnails. If not, look for the one that looks like an "X" with the number 48 under it (48 means the default size of the brush is 48 pixels). Double-click on the Crosshatch 4 thumbnail to select it and close out of the Brush Preset picker:

Selecting the Crosshatch 4 brush in the Brush Preset picker. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Look for the Crosshatch 4 brush thumbnail and double-click on it to select it.

Step 31: Sample A Color From The Text To Use For The Sparkles

Press and hold the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard to temporarily switch from the Brush Tool to the Eyedropper Tool and click on one of the lightest areas in the text to sample that color. This will become the brush color and it's what we'll use for our sparkles:

Sampling a gold color from the text with the Eyedropper Tool. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Holding Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and sampling a color from the effect.

Step 32: Paint Random Sparkles Around The Text

Release the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard to revert from the Eyedropper Tool back to the Brush Tool, then click in a few random places around the text to add your sparkles. For even more randomness, change the brush size for each click by pressing the left or right bracket keys on your keyboard to make the brush smaller (left bracket) or larger (right bracket). Don't add too many sparkles, though, or you'll overdo it. A couple of larger and smaller ones is all you really need. If you don't like the last sparkle you added, press Ctrl+Z (Win) / Command+Z (Mac) on your keyboard to undo it, then try again:

The gold text effect after adding some sparkles. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The effect after adding some sparkles.

If you find that your sparkles look a bit too intense, simply lower the Opacity value in the upper right of the Layers panel. I'll lower mine to around 60%:

Lowering the layer opacity. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
Lowering the layer opacity.

And with that, we're done! Here, after lowering the opacity of my "sparkles" layer, is the final gold text effect:

Lowering the layer opacity. Image © 2014 Photoshop Essentials.com
The final result.

And there we have it! That's how to turn text into gold using layer styles, a custom gradient and a simple brush in Photoshop CS6 and CC (Creative Cloud)! Check out our Text Effects or Photo Effects sections for more Photoshop effects tutorials!

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