Retro Text Effect

Illustrator Tutorial

Today I’ll show you how to create an easy retro text effect in Illustrator.

Step 1: Type the word.

This effect basically works with any font, but a sans-serif works better. The font I used is Blackcurrant Squash (by Rian Hughes).

  • Give the text a stroke and no fill.
  • Make the color white.

Step 2: Building the effect.

  1. Go to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance):
    • Add 4 new strokes
    • Move the fill to the middle
    • Give the top stroke a white color and set the weight to 10 pt.
  2. Second Stroke:
    • Weight 10 pt. and color 20 or 30% grey.
    • Add an effect: Transform: Move horizontal and vertical: 1px. / copies: 50.
  3. Make the fill visible and the color is white.
  4. Third Stroke:
    • Give it a 10 pt. weight and a different color.
    • Apply the Transform effect but this time set the copies to 70.undefined
  5. Last Stroke:
    • Color for this stroke is black. This will be the shadow.
    • Apply the Transform effect but this time set the copies to 120.
    • Set the opacity to around 25%. undefined
  6. Add a new fill:
    • Place the new fill above the white fill
    • Give it a pattern fill with strokes.
    • Set the opacity to around 12-15%. undefined


Simple Comic Book/Poster Effect

Photoshop Tutorial

This is an update of the First Simple Comic Book Effect (here). The update is that this effect gives the photo a more vintage poster look. We’ve worked with a comic book effect and with gradients in other tutorials, so I came with this after experimenting and trying some combinations. This effect creates soe interesting results.

Step 1: Effects on the Photo.

First thing to do is to make sure the Photo is a Smart Object. This is important for fine tuning the effect afterwards. After that go to:

  1. Filter -> Stylize -> Oil Paint. Set every setting to 10.
  2. Add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer: settings will be different for every photo.
  3. Add a Posterize Adjustment Layer: the setting will depent on your photo, try to keep the values between 5-10. Set the Blend Mode to Soft Light and opacity around 60%.

I find that the Brightness/Contrast Layer, in many cases, needs some work after the Posterize effect. Or with some photo’s I used the Brightness/Contrast Layer above the Posterize Layer

Posterize lever: 8. Brightness: -6/Contrast: 17.
Brightness: -13/Contrast: 9. Posterize level: 5.

Step 2: Experiment with Colors.

The give it a Poster feel we can add a Gradient. Experiment with different colors and blending modes. Like I did:

Blend Model: Soft Light
Blend Mode: Normal
Blend Mode: Normal
Blend Mode: Screen.

Step 3: Combine Effetcs.

Sometimes the Simple Comic Book Effect doesn’t give a clean result. This is mostly when the photo has a lot af detail, like in the facial area. Any imperfection shows on the effect. You can render the filters, but I found the combination of these two effects interesting.

  1. Save your Comic/Poster Effect photo and open it as a new document.
  2. Apply the Simple Comic Book Effect
  3. Add a gradient.
With gradient
No gradient.

Text Effect: Fantasy Movie

Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1: The text.

Almost any font will work with this text effect. But for the sake of the effect name choose a fantasy style font. The font I used is Witchic Blackletter (you can buy it from a font store). And I used my own name as text. For the k in my surname, I typed it with a capital K, because the font doesn’t have a good small k (and not a very good capital R by the way. So if you want to buy a font, check every glyph.

Step 2: Text Effect.

Now it is time to build the effect. For this we’ll need two copies of the text. Each copy will have a different set of Layer Styles.

Copy 1 Layer Styles:

Bevel & Emboss style.

The first Tthing to do is the Bevel & Emboss. The contour is showed in the photo left.

Second style of the first copy: Innes Shadow:

Next is: Color Overlay:

Last one: Pattern Overlay:

The pattern I used is a black-white photo of a damaged wall structure. You can use different textures, like paper, of anything grainy.

The last thing to do with this first copy is a Gaussian blur of 0,5 px.

Copy 2 Layer Styles:

Again go to Bevel & Emboss:

The contour needs a bit work (see photo right).

And we’ll also add a Gaussian blur of 0,5 px on this copy.

This is the effect.

What I did extra is:


  1. A background with clouds.
  2. Add a layer filled with solid black. Then go to Filter -> Render -> Lens flare. Set the Blend Mode to Screen.
Nice, but not good enough.

Extra Clouds:

  1. Paint some clouds on a New Layer in front of the text. This will give a sense of depth.


  1. I also painted some flares in orange, yellow and white. Set the Blend Mode to Screen and the Opacity between 85 – 100%. I created 5 flares and placed them random on the text.

Adjustment Layers:

The Adjustment Layers I used on top of everything are:

  1. Color Balance
  2. Levels
  3. Again Color Balance
  4. Photo Filter

And done!

Quick and Easy Halftone Effect

Geen categorie

Today I’ll show you how to create a quick Halftone Effect in Photoshop. I found this effect after trying different ways to (re)create an effect that makes your photo looks like an old engraved picture or like a picture on money. This is the most easy way to create this effect. Even when this is a quick way, the possibilities are close to limitless.

Step 1: The Photo.

The first you’ll have to do is add a Black-White Adjustment Layer on top of the photo. The effect wil be created on a black-white photo.

Step 2: Halftone Layer.

Create a New Layer and fill with 50% Grey. Now make this layer into a Smart Object. A Smart Object lets us adjust the effect afterwards.

  • Now go to Filter => Filter Gallery: under the tab Sketch => Halftone Pattern. Set the values to: Size 2, Contrast 0. Pattern Type: Dot.
  • Under the same tab: Torn Edges. Set the values to: Image Balance 25, Smoothness 13, Contrast 1.

Set the Blend Mode of the Halftone Layer on Hard Mix and the Fill around 80%.

Step 3: Apply a Gradient Adjustment Layer.

Choose a gradient with different colors. Every photo will need a different gradient. Sometimes you’ll have to adjust the values of the halftone to fine tune the look with a gradient. Gradient in First photo: 924663 -> d5dbd3.

Step 4: Experiment.

The values in Step 2 are values that work with most pictures, but not with all. So you’ll have to play with the values in order to get the best result.

Gradient: 125e56 -> ffa0a0
Gradient: 30527d -> ffae2e
Torn Edges Balance: 23, Fill: 88% and the Gradient: 62174f -> ffca8b.
Gradient: 2d2c54 -> e8c9d5

Vector Swirling Circle

Geen categorie

In this Illustrator tutorial we’re going to create a swirling vector circle.

Step 1: Basic Shape.

This is the basic shape: to create it follow the next steps:

  • Create two circles: a large one and in the center a smaller one.
  • Copy the smaller one and align it to the left so that the left side touch the left side of the big circle.
  • Copy the left circle so that it touches the right side of the bigger circle.
  • Now copy the two circles and rotate them so that they stand horizontally.

Step 2: Shape Builder Tool.

The Shape Builder Tool lets you create any shape out of basic outlinings. First we need to turn off the stroke and fill. Press CTRL + Y to enter the Outline Mode.

Now select everything and hold the Shape Builder to select the shape you want.

Step 3: Adding more swirls.

Copy the new created shape 3 times and rotate it so you get this result:

Step 4: Giving Color.

Now we’re going to give color to the shape. Select the Live Paint Bucket (behind the Shape Builder), select a color and paint the segments in that color. Tap CTRL + y to exit the Outline Mode.

Now we have a complete solid color shape. We have to make every segment in a separate object. To do this select the shape and go to Object -> Expand. Then ungroup the object several times until every segment is a separate object.

Step 5: Gradient Color.

Select 1 object and give it a gradient fill. Then select everything and with the color picker select the gradient fill segment.

Now you can experiment with the gradient and its angle, different colors…

Photo Effect: At the Vintage Beach

Geen categorie

Stack of Adjustment Layers:

  1. Vibrance: + 25 / Saturation: -40 or -50.
  2. Gradient map: Blend Mode: Hard Light, 40%. With colors:
    1. #091610 (very dark cyan), location: 1%
    2. #8b432d (dark moderate red), location: 50%
    3. #f0e6b1 (very soft yellow), location: 100%
  3. Curves. Blend Mode: Soft Light, 30%. With Point:
    1. 0,0
    2. 66, 43
    3. 114, 130
    4. 255, 255
  4. Color Adjustment. Blend Mode: Soft Light, 25%:
    1. Blue: + 13, – 12, + 12, + 6
    2. Grey: + 60, -12, + 37, + 6
  5. Color Fill:
    1. Color: #aa6381 ( Mostly desaturated dark pink)
    2. Blend Mode: Soft Light, 45%
  6. Color Fill 2:
    1. Color: #ddad85 (very soft orange)
    2. Blend Mode: Color, 10%
  7. Grandient Map. Blend Mode: Exclusion, 10%. With colors:
    1. #5f531e (olive tone), position: 20%
    2. #e3e3ac (very soft yellow), position: 83%
    3. #cccc99 (slightly desaturated yellow), position: 93%
  8. Curves. Opacity: 75% With Points:
    1. RGB: 27,35 / 123,125 / 182,188 / 243,238
    2. Green: 0,0 / 118,120 / 169,175 / 255,255
    3. Blue: 0,0 / 187,190 / 232,241 / 255,255

Anaglyph Effect Part 2: Experiments

Geen categorie

In this tutorial we’re going to build further on the standard Anaglyph Effect we’ve created in Part 1.

Experiment 1: Vibrance

With a Vibrance adjustment layer we can make the Anaglyph less bright.

  • Set the Vibrance on a negative amount (I dit -51)
  • You can leave the Saturation on 0 or even decrease the vividness of the Red/Blue.

Experiment 2: Different colors.

In this experiment we’re going to stack some adjustment layers on top of each other.

  • 1: Color Lookup: Candlelight.
    • Opacity: around 37%
  • 2: Gradient overlay:
    • Color 1: #290a59 (very dark violet), position: 39%
    • Color 2: #ff7c00 (a pure orange), position: 100%
    • Linear, 143°
      • Bleding Mode: Color Dodge, 36%
  • 3: Color Lookup: Foggy Night
    • Opacity: around 74%


  • Gradient overlay opacity: 20%
  • Second Color Lookup opacity: 100%

Experiment 3: Cold.

Add a Color Lookup adjusment layer and set the color on Crips Winter.

Anaglyph Effect Part 1

Geen categorie

The Anaglyph is a fun and easy effect to create in Photoshop. In this tutorial we’re going to create this effect and experiment with it. This effect is applicable to photos and drawings.

The Anaglyph Effect.

The creation of the Anaglyph Effect in Photoshop is quite simple and can be done in two different ways:

First way:

  • Duplicate your photo 2 times:
    • Name the top duplicate ‘Blue‘ and the second ‘Red
  • Select the Blue layer and go to Layer Style and Blending Option: uncheck the Red channel.
    • Move this layer to the right (I did 10 times)
  • Select the Red layer and uncheck the Green channel this time.
    • Move this layer to the left (same amount as the Blue layer)

Second way:

  • Duplicate the photo 1 time:
  • Go to Layer Style and Blending Options: unchech both the blue and green channels. So now you have a red copy of yout photo.
  • Move this duplicate to the left (the more stept you move the photo, the stronger the effect gets)

This is now your basic Anaglyph Effect.

Extra Effect: Noise

A fun extra effect to apply on top of the Anaglyph is a Noise layer:

  • Create a new layer
  • Fill the layer with black
  • Go to Effect: Noise: Add Noise:
    • set the effect on: 102%, Gaussian and Monochromatic
  • Set the Blending Mode to Screen and around 20% opacity.

You can create this effect with a black-white photo. Make sure the Mode is RGB.

Isometric New Year

Geen categorie

With this Illustrator tutorial I’m going to show you how to create Isometric Numbers. You can use these for a modern New Years card or Social Media banner. The first thing to do is to create an isometric grid. I’m going to ease the process by giving one to you.

The Isometric Gird: Download.

Step 1: Outline numbers.

When you have opened the isometric grid file, take the Pen tool with a stroke and no fill. Snap the Pen to a, Anchor Point to start. We’re going to make the numbers 3 squares wide and 5 high. When drawing in Illustrator you’re creating vectors so we can scale them infinitely.

Now we’re creating the 0 with the same size.

Step 2: Filling the numbers.

The numbers have strokes but we need them with a fill and no stroke. I filled the numbers with a light grey color. The middle part of the 0 is filled with white.

Step 3: Creating Depth.

Now we have a light grey flat numbers. To give them a sense of depth we need to draw with the Pen tool again. Set the stroke on and the fill off. Start drawing like this:

Now we’re going to fill the stroke elements. I used a darker grey.

Step 4: Making 2020

Now we have a Isomectric 20, to create the Year we just need to duplicate the first two numbers. Make sure every elemet of the numbers is grouped together.


An easy way to create Isometric Numbers with a drawing:

Draw the numbers:

Then apply the 3D-effect: Extrude and Bevel:


An easy way to create Isometric Numbers with a Font:

Type the numbers and apply the 3D-effect: Extrude and Bevel: