Have you ever seen those really cool text effects where it appears that the text was created from little dots? This look is called a “Halftone Effect” and it’s possible to create something like this right inside of Adobe Photoshop. Since this type of thing takes a little practice to get just right, it’s important to follow a few steps to make whatever it is your working on editable, so you can go back and make changes if necessary. So many times, while working in Photoshop, we jump right into making things look good that we forget to follow the correct steps that will offer flexibility later on. Can you imagine working on something for an hour and then having to start from scratch, just for one small change? That’s not the way to get things done properly while creating graphics, so I’ll show you what you need to know below.
In today’s post, I’d like to apply a halftone text effect to the word “HALFTONE.” For this project, I’ll be taking advantage of Smart Objects, two filters and a layer effect or two. You’re going to love this one, so be sure to bookmark this page. I’ll show you how to blur the text, how to apply the halftone filter to it and how you can edit the actual word if you’d like to as well how to change the text color after the effect has been applied. Of course, there’s an endless number of results you can get when you’re experimenting with something like this, so I’ll stick with the basics with what I share down below. I’ll leave the creativity to you when working on your own project. This image below is of what I created just a few minutes ago while I was playing around. Once you get the hang of the necessary steps, you can create and apply this effect in about 30 seconds.
Writing Out the Text
The first thing I’ll have to do for this project will be to set up some layers. The bottom layer will be a solid fill layer and the layer above that will be the text layer. To create the fill layer, I’ll head down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer button and when the menu appears, I’ll select the Solid Color option.
I’ll make this solid color white.
Next, I’ll write out my text with the Horizontal Type Tool, which will create a new layer automatically. I’ll then delete the background layer that was in the Layers panel by default. This is what the Layers panel will look like.
And finally, here’s the word I’ll be applying the effect to today. I decided to mix up the fonts and use AR Julian, which I thought looked nice.
Creating a Smart Object
Because of the editable nature of this text, we’ll need to include both the fill layer and the text layer into one Smart Object. The process of accomplishing this is simple. I’ll click one layer in the Layers panel, hold down the Shift key and then click the other one. This is just to get both layers selected. Then, I’ll right-click on one of the layers and select Convert to Smart Object from the menu that appears. Doing this will change the two layers into one layer; the Smart Object. If I ever want to see the two original layers again, all I’ll need to do is double-click on the Smart Object layer thumbnail and those original layers will appear in a new tab, and they’ll be editable there.
Blurring the Text
The next step that needs to be completed will be the blurring of the text. For this, I’ll head up to the Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur menu item and click.
Once the Gaussian Blur dialog box appears, I’ll push the Radius slider to the left and to the right until I find a nice medium blur that offers what I’m look for, while still keeping the text legible. When I’m done with that, I’ll click on the OK button to apply the effect.
Applying the Color Halftone Filter
Okay, I’m now at the point of applying the actual Color Halftone filter to the Smart Object. To do this, I’ll visit the Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone menu item and click.
When I do that, the Color Halftone filter dialog box will appear.
Now, this may take some trial and error. There are a few default values in this box when first using it and you may need to plug some numbers in and then hit the OK button, just to see how things look. There’s no preview with this filter, but I’m sure there will be someday. I chose to make the Max Radius 6 pixels and all four Screen Angles 90 degrees. This is my result with these values.
Changing the Look
What’s great about this approach is that I can go in and change things any time I want. To change anything in the original text layer or the color layer, I’ll need to double-click on the Smart Object layer in this file. When I do that, another tab will open and I’ll have the ability to edit those original layers there (this is how Smart Objects work). I’ll need to make sure I visit the File > Save menu item once I’m done to apply the changes, but it’s really that easy.
To change the color of the text and to play with the look of things a bit, I can double-click on the Smart Object layer itself so the Layer Style palette opens up.
Once in the palette, I’ll click on the Color Overlay option in the left column and then choose the color I’d like to see the text. Because I have a white background, I’ll need to also select the Screen blend mode. To see some alternative changes, I could also run through the other blend modes, just to see if I bump into something I like. Once I’m finished here, I’ll click the OK button.
Here the text is in red.
This is what the text looks like after I chose the Color Dodge blend mode.
Because the text, background and layer style are completely editable, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what can be done with this.
I hope I clearly explained how to apply both the Gaussian Blur and Color Halftone filters to a Smart Object in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section down below. Thanks for reading!