Liquid Text Photoshop Tutorial

In this Photoshop tutorial I am going to teach you how to create liquid text. Liquid text created in Photoshop looks super cool and it is surprisingly easy to do. So why don’t we get started?

First of all we need to find an image that we are going to put our liquid text on. You want something with some pattern on it so that the liquid that you create can distort it. I used the wood grain image below (click for a much bigger version).

Liquid Text Step 1

Once you have your background image loaded up switch over to your channels palette and create a new channel. In this newly created channel you need to create your text. I used a font called Tree Frog, try and find something that is kind of liquidy looking. In this channel I also added a few water droplets to spice things up a bit. This is what my finished channel looks like.
Liquid Text Step 2

Now we need to create the displacement map that we are going to use when we run the glass filter in a few steps. Duplicated the channel that you created in the last step. Once you have the channel duplicated we need to blur it a bit. Go to Filters/Blur/Gaussian Blur, I used a value of 7 for the blur. The resulting channel should look like this.
Liquid Text Step 3

The glass filter, which we are about to use, requires a separate image to be used we need to duplicate this channel and save it as a standalone image. To do this click the little arrow on top of the channels window and from the menu that drops down choose “Duplicate Channel”. After you click duplicate channel another window will popup. From this window that pops up from the drop down menu choose new and press ok. The image you created in the channel will now popup in it’s own window. Save the image that pops up as a PSD file, it doesn’t matter where but remember what you called it so that you can find it later. I named mine displacementmap.psd.
step 4

Switch back to the original image. Go back to your layers palette and duplicate your background image. In your layers palette you should now have a layer called background and one called background copy. Now lets break out the glass filter. The glass filter can be found by going to Filter/Distort/Glass. When you choose glass a new screen will popup, on this screen you need to load your displacementmap.psd as the texture. Press the little arrow next to the drop down menu and choose load and browse to wherever it was that you saved your image in the previous step. Fiddle with the Distortion and smoothness levels to taste. I used a Distortion level of 10 and a Smoothness level of 4, keep scaling at 100%. Your image should now look like this (click for bigger). Rename this layer, which is currently called “background copy” to “Glassy”.
Liquid Text Step 5

Now we need the original, unblurred copy of our text in the layers palette. To do this go back to your channels palette and ctrl-click the unblurred image which has your text and water drops on it to choose its selection. Go back to your layers palette, create a new layer between the background layer and the Glassy layer, and with the selection still active fill the selection with black. Your layers palette should now look like the image below.
Liquid Text Step 6

We need to join the text layer with the glass layer. To do this right click the Glassy layer and choose “Create Clipping Mask”. Your layers palette should now look like this.
Liquid Text Step 7

Now lets have some fun and really make this pop. We are going to be doing a few different layer styles. Select the layer that has your text on it (the middle layer) and open up your layer styles window, lets start with bevel and emboss (Layer/Layer Style/Bevel and Emboss).
For bevel and emboss I used the following settings:
Liquid Text Step 8

Now lets add a drop shadow. I used the following settings, for color, click around your background image until you find a color that you like.
Liquid Text Step 9

Next, lets add a bit of an outer glow to really make things stand out. Once again, here are the settings that I used.
Liquid Text Step 10

And finally lets add a bit of an inner glow.
Liquid Text Step 11

With all of the above layer styles feel free to experiment and try different things, there is no set way to do this, just play with the settings until you achieve a look that you like.

Here is the final result. Make sure you click the image on the right to see the full size version. Pretty nice huh?
Liquid Text Step 12

Any questions, comments or feedback please fill out the form below.

Check out the comments below to see how you can make the water look oily.

Comments & Questions

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Comments

108 Questions/Comments/Trackbacks so far

  1. Posted by: Nick
    September 30, 2009 12:53 PM

    What do you choose when you make your new channel? masked area or selected area? I keep getting lost in that step.

    thanks.

  2. Posted by: Moe
    September 30, 2009 12:59 PM

    Can you be more specific at which point in the tutorial you are referring to?

  3. Posted by: Nick
    September 30, 2009 1:51 PM

    Sure.

    “Once you have your background image loaded up switch over to your channels palette and create a new channel. In this newly created channel you need to create your text. I used a font called Tree Frog, try and find something that is kind of liquidy looking. In this channel I also added a few water droplets to spice things up a bit. This is what my finished channel looks like.”

    You say to create a new channel, but you have options on the popup there – so I was getting confused.

    thanks.

  4. Posted by: Moe
    September 30, 2009 2:47 PM

    I am not seeing a popup. Open the image, switch over to the channels palette and hit the “create new channel” button. Check out this image.

    Also, what version of PS are you using?

  5. Posted by: Michael
    October 6, 2009 8:07 PM

    I am unable to blur the channel. I am using cs3.

  6. Posted by: Moe
    October 6, 2009 9:38 PM

    I am going to need more to go on than that, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to blur a channel.

  7. Posted by: mohammad
    October 8, 2009 2:32 AM

    i didnt understand this part “Go back to your layers palette, create a new layer between the background layer and the Glassy layer, and with the selection still active fill the selection with black”

  8. Posted by: Matt Tokar
    October 8, 2009 9:58 AM

    Very nice. i like this text effect alot

  9. Posted by: Moe
    October 8, 2009 10:02 AM

    mohammad, what part of what you quoted didn’t you understand? What can you not achieve?

  10. Posted by: Amanda
    October 15, 2009 1:40 AM

    “Now go back to your layers palette and duplicated you background image. In your layers palette you should now have a layer called background and one called background copy.”

    Is this on the displacementmap.psd…because if so, I cannot create a new layer as the background is locked, which also will not allo the glass effect as it is greyed out.

    Any ideas?

  11. Posted by: Amanda
    October 15, 2009 2:02 AM

    no worries…i’ve figured it out…it wasn’t the displacementmap.psd it was the original image and the reason why I couldn’t use the glass technique is because my image wasn’t rasterized. Thank you!

  12. Posted by: ansyah
    November 5, 2009 6:23 PM

    thanks bro,…

  13. Posted by: Hugo
    November 12, 2009 11:28 AM

    How did u add the water drops?

  14. Posted by: Moe
    November 12, 2009 11:58 AM

    Hugo, I just used the brush tool and did them by hand.

  15. Posted by: Aji
    November 13, 2009 2:50 AM

    Wow, that’s cool !. Looks like real water over there

  16. Posted by: Xavier
    January 3, 2010 10:35 PM

    Can anyone update these instructions for use with CS4?

  17. Posted by: Moe
    January 4, 2010 1:19 AM

    There is no need to update this for CS4, the tutorial works just fine in CS4, I just tested it to make sure and it works great.

  18. Posted by: Xavier
    January 4, 2010 7:08 AM

    In CS4, my glass filter no longer has an option to load in textures, so does that mean you just skip the step of making the displacement psd? I’m also trying to apply an oily rainbow effect to the water droplets. Any suggestions on how to trap colors in the water?

  19. Posted by: Xavier
    January 4, 2010 8:16 AM

    Sorry Moe, I figured out the liquid technique (still getting used to the new palette layouts). Would still love to figure out how to add color effects inside the droplets.

  20. Posted by: Moe
    January 4, 2010 11:03 AM

    In the inner glow step use a rainbow gradient and you may get the effect you’re after. Here is a quick and dirty mock-up using that technique: Rainbows

  21. Posted by: Xavier
    January 4, 2010 1:21 PM

    That’s exactly the effect am after, maybe with just a little more color pushing through. Mind if I ask what settings you used in the Inner Glow to achieve the radiance.

  22. Posted by: Moe
    January 4, 2010 1:45 PM
  23. Posted by: Moe
    January 4, 2010 1:49 PM
  24. Posted by: Daniel
    January 6, 2010 1:29 PM

    I really don’t get anything about this tutorial. I read it, but nothing works for me. it’s badly explained. Could you not make a 5min video tutorial of this? would be much easier to follow this cool effect.

  25. Posted by: Moe
    January 6, 2010 2:19 PM

    Daniel, I think the problems lies in you and not the tutorial as hundreds, if not thousands of people have been able to get it work just fine. If you can explain to me where you are having a problem I’ll try to help you. What version of Photoshop are you using?

  26. Posted by: Daniel
    January 6, 2010 2:25 PM

    I’m using cs4 extended version. It’s the channel pallete, when I create a new layer to write the text on. i can’t put text in it. and on the layer pallete, where did the layer under “glass” come from? the rest I understand, but the first part is hard for me to understand

  27. Posted by: Moe
    January 6, 2010 2:53 PM

    When you switch to the channels palette, hit the “New Channel” icon see this image. The newly created channel will be called “Alpha 1″ The text tool should work just fine on this layer, I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

    The layer under the glass layer was created by me, I just clicked the “new layer” button (same place as the new channel button just on the layers palette). If the newly created layer doesn’t show up between them, you can drag the layers to whatever order you want. Or just make sure you are on the bottom layer when you create it because newly created layers are placed above the layer you are currently working on.

  28. Posted by: Daniel
    January 6, 2010 3:30 PM

    okey, thanks for the help!

  29. Posted by: cameron
    January 13, 2010 8:45 AM

    uhm u should probably show how to get the hardwood background from

  30. Posted by: Moe
    January 13, 2010 10:10 AM

    Cameron, it’s just a photograph and you can get right here on my site (just click the picture, it brings up a larger version).

  31. Posted by: Adelaida
    January 23, 2010 7:10 PM

    I can´t apply the glass effect… do i have to click in one specific channel to aplly the effect before go back to layers or just click the background copy and apply the effect? Please explain me this part

  32. Posted by: Moe
    January 24, 2010 10:57 AM

    Adelaida, you apply the glass filter on the background copy layer.

  33. Posted by: Douglas Alvarado
    February 18, 2010 2:21 PM

    Excelentes efectos.

    Lo que quisiera saber es en que formato puedo guardar los trabajos para efectos de impresión digital y para impresión offset.
    Si puedes enviarme tu respuesta a mi correo te lo agradecería.

    Hasta pronto

  34. Posted by: evilkitty75
    February 27, 2010 7:38 AM

    Loved it thx lol

  35. Posted by: evilkitty75
    February 27, 2010 7:39 AM

    I always find it incredable that people dont read properly lol

  36. Posted by: DarkyAngel
    March 13, 2010 1:14 PM

    i can’t make the layer between Glassy And Background to be like yours….please help me:)

  37. Posted by: Moe
    March 13, 2010 1:54 PM

    DarkyAngel, you are going to have to help me to help you because what you posted tells me absolutely nothing about the problem that you are having.

  38. Posted by: DarkyAngel
    March 14, 2010 12:30 AM

    i did it, thank you for help..:D

  39. Posted by: Jason
    April 1, 2010 7:12 AM

    When i go to apply the blending options to the glassy layer, nothing seems to happen. I cannot get the effect to show up correctly. I have the layers setup up as laid out properly, I have the clipping mask applied and Layer 1 is underlined. The content in Layer 1 is black. Not sure what i’m doing wrong… Any idea?

  40. Posted by: Jason
    April 1, 2010 7:16 AM

    Nevermind, i got it. I had the wrong layer selected!

  41. Posted by: Stefan Gustafsson
    April 2, 2010 8:02 AM

    Great tutorial, thanks!

  42. Posted by: amber
    April 6, 2010 6:52 PM

    i am using elements 5.0, so i’m not sure what a “new channel” means. i’m pretty new at this!

  43. Posted by: Moe
    April 6, 2010 7:27 PM

    Amber, I don’t think Elements supports channels.

  44. Posted by: Mel
    April 8, 2010 8:55 PM

    Hi Moe, great tutorial and i get it that some people have not read the tutorial correctly in regards to missing your points prior to raising questions to you however, i have just loaded cs4 and when i add to the background copy the glass effect i am stuck trying to load the displacement.psd. I cannot see any option by way of dropdowns/little arrows etc that allow me to locate the file crreated earlier? I beg for your help….

  45. Posted by: Mel
    April 8, 2010 9:04 PM

    Good news, i located it after having to select the glass selection under distort which then added new selections to the right hand column.

  46. Posted by: Sayed Wazid Ali
    April 12, 2010 3:34 AM

    Bahut Badiya hai Bhaiya to good

  47. Posted by: Fedatti
    April 13, 2010 9:57 AM

    Great tut.!!!

  48. Posted by: Mariel
    May 22, 2010 8:04 PM

    ta bueo

  49. Posted by: Mellisa
    June 7, 2010 4:39 AM

    Excellent tutorial! Thanks so much.

    To those who are battling, read the i.n.s.t.r.u.c.t.i.o.n.s.

  50. Posted by: Zac
    June 16, 2010 1:23 AM

    I was inspired by the effect. It simply looked awesome. I did give this link to my graphic designer from LogoDesignStation as a reference to how I wanted my business card to look like. Surprisingly, the design came out better than expected! It was really good all thanks to you! Even my friends were impressed…

  51. Posted by: Frustrated
    June 16, 2010 10:38 AM

    Hey Moe…I can’t get my glass filter to work. Any suggestions? I have my background copy layer selected then I go to Filter/Distort and the Glass option is greyed out. Can you help?

    Thanks!

  52. Posted by: Moe
    June 16, 2010 10:47 AM

    What version of Photoshop are you using?

    Read through the tutorial again very carefully and make sure you are not missing any steps. 99% of the problems that people have is because they missed a step.

  53. Posted by: Frustrated
    June 16, 2010 11:09 AM

    I’m using CS3 on a Mac and as far as I can tell (re-read the tuturial), I’ve done everything up to the glass filter point because I can’t click on it.

  54. Posted by: Moe
    June 16, 2010 11:19 AM

    Sorry, but I don’t know what to tell you. If you followed the directions carefully there is no reason that I can think of that you shouldn’t be able to select the glass filter.

    You should be working on the original image, working in the layers palette and working on the copy of your background.

  55. Posted by: Frustrated
    June 16, 2010 11:24 AM

    Thanks. I’ll start over and see if that helps. It’s an awesome tutorial…I just hope I can get it to work. lol

  56. Posted by: Frustrated
    June 16, 2010 11:32 AM

    Just as an FYI for future readers…Most filters in CS3 will become unusable if you’re working in CMYK. That was my issue. It’s more difficult to accomplish in CMYK, but not too bad.

  57. Posted by: Julz
    June 17, 2010 7:17 AM

    Okay, when i create a new channel, it goes all white. When i click the text tool and try to type in a word, the white turns to pink and everything i type comes out white. When i click the tick to complete the text, the background goes white and the text remains white but with the dotted lines moving around it to show that it is selected. I don’t know why this happens and it certainly isn’t black and white like yours. I also cannot click away from the text to deselect it either. Please help!!

  58. Posted by: Newdals
    July 28, 2010 10:27 PM

    Hello, 1st of all Thank you for the tutorial. I just have a quick question. Im at the point where I should import my displacement.psd But under distort/Glass there is no Load option. Could this be because I’m using CS2?

  59. Posted by: Moe
    August 4, 2010 10:07 AM

    Newdals, next to the pulldown menu next to Texture there is a little icon. Click that and it will give you the option to load an image.

  60. Posted by: JC
    August 6, 2010 10:46 PM

    i didn’t understand this line please help

    (Now we need the original, unblurred copy of our text in the layers palette. To do this go back to your channels palette and ctrl-click the unblurred image which has your text and water drops on it to choose its selection. Go back to your layers palette, create a new layer between the background layer and the Glassy layer, and with the selection still active fill the selection with black. Your layers palette should now look like the image below.)

  61. Posted by: Moe
    August 12, 2010 12:25 PM

    JC, what part don’t you understand? What can you not achieve?

  62. Posted by: Jaka Zulham
    August 23, 2010 11:15 AM

    sorry, i’m not understand.. this tutorial very hardly

  63. Posted by: Mlky Khan
    September 4, 2010 12:44 PM

    Wow man !

    Hats off to u.

    You just made my day :)

  64. Posted by: Fleshlight
    September 4, 2010 1:22 PM

    Awesome tutorial, thank you very much.

  65. Posted by: Joey
    September 19, 2010 10:53 PM

    “Once you have your background image loaded up switch over to your channels palette and create a new channel. In this newly created channel you need to create your text. I used a font called Tree Frog, try and find something that is kind of liquidy looking. In this channel I also added a few water droplets to spice things up a bit. This is what my finished channel looks like.”

    Im getting stuck here, I create a new channel and make it black, when I go and try and put white text into it the channel it turns from black to red and white text to black text, im not sure whats going wrong any help would be appreciated!

    im using cs5

  66. Posted by: Joey
    September 21, 2010 8:43 AM

    I figured the text out, but I cannot find out how to load the saved file as a texture, theres no drop down menu

  67. Posted by: Moe
    September 21, 2010 10:45 AM

    Joey,

    Glad you figured out the Text. To load the saved file as a texture, you need to hit the little down arrow with the four lines next to it that appears next to the Texture drop down menu on the right. When you click that little icon it will say “Load Texture”

  68. Posted by: Joey
    September 25, 2010 5:34 PM

    Thanks Moe! I wouldn’t have found that for the life of me!

  69. Posted by: sharad kumar chaudhary
    October 6, 2010 2:27 AM

    good………..keep it up….

  70. Posted by: aaaa
    October 9, 2010 6:53 AM

    cool… but the steps are hard to understand..

  71. Posted by: Matt
    October 20, 2010 5:59 PM

    Hey there,
    Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I came upon it through StumbleUpon — and I’ve been trying to do it since.

    However, I have a problem. I read through all the comments and I can’t seem to find a solution for myself.

    When you say to load the previously saved text layer as a texture in the glass distortion filter, I don’t see an option to load it. Can you take screenshot of your desktop to me and show me exactly where it is? I can’t find any option whatsoever to load it, and I’ve looked through all of the choices. I’m running on CS3.

    Thanks in advance!

  72. Posted by: adrian 20120
    October 24, 2010 3:44 PM

    hola hay algunas cosas que entiendo y esta bien pero no puedes hacer como este tecto que se ve mas vonito y presentable pero sin embargo isiste un buen travajo
    http://translate.google.com.bo/translate?hl=es&sl=en&tl=es&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.photoshopcafe.com%2Ftutorials%2Fliquid-type%2Fliquid-type.htm

  73. Posted by: Niels
    October 28, 2010 6:12 AM

    This is very nice!
    Thank you very much!

  74. Posted by: Moe
    November 17, 2010 11:12 AM

    Matt, read the comments again, this question has been answered. There is a little icon with a down arrow and a few straight lines, click that and it will give you the option to load.

  75. Posted by: Quinn
    December 1, 2010 4:15 PM

    Brilliant and easy to understand!

  76. Posted by: Eldioth
    January 21, 2011 8:00 AM

    hey man, i was wondering what my channel options should be, mine are:
    colour indicates, masked areas
    colour, black
    opacity 50%

    is this correct?

  77. Posted by: Moe
    January 21, 2011 10:30 AM

    Eldioth, at what point in the tutorial are you seeing these options?

  78. Posted by: Eldioth
    January 24, 2011 8:19 AM

    when i go to add a new channel. if you look in channel options from the drop down menu it should say there.

  79. Posted by: Bruno Silva
    January 29, 2011 6:58 PM

    muito bom o tutorial parabéns… abraços

  80. Posted by: N3
    February 9, 2011 3:48 PM

    not working. too complex.

  81. Posted by: llixha
    March 10, 2011 4:02 PM

    cool trick, looks realy nice.

  82. Posted by: rk
    March 16, 2011 9:37 AM

    When I try to save the wood grain image to use in this tut, it’s not a jpeg file! It saves it as html and even that, nothing in the file when I open it.

  83. Posted by: dafii
    April 27, 2011 8:32 AM

    AWESOME!!! u’re good!!

  84. Posted by: sharad kumar chaudhary
    May 2, 2011 4:10 AM

    really this one is very nice photoshop tutorials. I am really happy to find this tutorials and i will do that to be good designer.

  85. Posted by: nicola
    May 10, 2011 7:33 PM

    Help! When I click to make a new channel it does not show the same screen that you showed as being the correct one. I’m using CS5 and maybe that is the problem. It just doesnt have the option to save it as PSD file ect.

    Thanks!
    Nicola

  86. Posted by: nelly mongi
    May 16, 2011 2:42 AM

    thanks for the best tutorial it gonna make me to be the best in graphics,i real enjoyed and like it for real i applicate for that,thanks again.

  87. Posted by: David
    August 21, 2011 10:22 AM

    Hi, I am totally new to Adobe Photoshop so I am learning at the same time as following your tutorial. I have a question for you if I may.

    I am here, “Now we need the original, unblurred copy of our text in the layers palette. To do this go back to your channels palette and ctrl-click the unblurred image which has your text and water drops on it to choose its selection. Go back to your layers palette, create a new layer between the background layer and the Glassy layer, and with the selection still active fill the selection with black. Your layers palette should now look like the image below.”

    I am stuck on this bit “Go back to your layers palette, create a new layer between the background layer and the Glassy layer, and with the selection still active fill the selection with black.” I have generated the layer but cant fill it black.

    Can you tell me how to do this as I cant get any further?

    Thank you

  88. Posted by: Sketch
    October 19, 2011 12:03 AM

    Hi Moe, I’m having difficulties using my filters. In your tutorial outline, it tells me that after duplicating my bg image, to go to Filter>Distort>Glass. The problem is that when I go to the Filter tab, PS only let’s me access a few of the filters excluding Distort. :( Can you give me a solution to fix this or more info on why this is occurring?

  89. Posted by: Moe
    October 19, 2011 12:56 PM

    What version of Photoshop are you using?

  90. Posted by: Sketch
    October 19, 2011 11:33 PM

    I’m using Ps CS5.1 (64 bit)

  91. Posted by: Moe
    October 20, 2011 2:06 PM

    Sketch, I am afraid that I am at a loss as to why you cannot choose the glass filter. My best guess would be you missed some step along the way but I really don’t know. I am also using CS5 64bit and I just ran through the tutorial with no problems.

  92. Posted by: Sketch
    October 21, 2011 2:25 AM

    Well, that’s a bummer. 8( I don’t think I missed a step, but I’ll redo everything when I have time and try again. I have a feeling it has something to do w/the converting of my image mode. I had it on grayscale before I changed it to RGB. Thank you for time Moe and Hopefully I’ll be able to do it soon! lol :]

  93. Posted by: BUITEMS
    February 12, 2012 7:44 AM

    Thank you. I got stuck in step 4 but with a little more concentration I did it. Hats of for you man.

  94. Posted by: DaAdorableOne
    March 19, 2012 11:47 AM

    I am having trouble with this tutorial.

    Everything is fine until I get to this part

    Now we need the original, unblurred copy of our text in the layers palette. To do this go back to your channels palette and ctrl-click the unblurred image which has your text and water drops on it to choose its selection. Go back to your layers palette, create a new layer between the background layer and the Glassy layer, and with the selection still active fill the selection with black. Your layers palette should now look like the image below.

    I go to the channels tab/palette and ctrl + click on the unblurred text and then go back to my layers palette, create a new layer and the new layer is blank.

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