Whether you’re a big fan of animals or you just want to create your own unique text, in this tutorial, you will learn how to create a furry text effect in Photoshop!
Although the results are extremely realistic, there is no Photoshop 3D used at all! Only clever techniques using Custom Brushes, Layer Masks, and Layer Styles!
Table of contents
You can use whatever image of a furry creature that you like to achieve this effect. I will use a stock photo to complete this Photoshop text effect.
Create the Text Layer and Apply The Fur Layer
Open an image of a fur in Photoshop.
With the fur image layer selected, click on the Horizontal Type tool from the Toolbar.
On the Options bar, set the Arial Rounded MT Bold as the font, and you can select your own.
Then, use the tool to type a letter. For this part, type “C.”
Select the Move tool and press Ctrl T (Windows) or Command T (macOS) to transform and scale up the letter by clicking-and-dragging on the corner handles.
On the Layers panel, move the fur image layer above the Text layer.
Then, duplicate it by pressing Ctrl J (Windows) or Command J (macOS). Disable the duplicated copy for now.
Select the original fur image layer and press Ctrl Alt G (Windows) or Command Option G (macOS) to create a clipping mask, and this means the layer below controls the layer’s visibility on top.
Create the Background
Next, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and select Solid Color.
On the Color Picker window, select any color, and press OK to exit the window.
Place the Color Fill layer at the bottom of the layer stack, or you can simply press Ctrl [ (Windows) or Command [ (macOS) to move the layer down the layer stack.
On the other hand, press Ctrl ] (Windows) or Command ] (macOS) to move the layer up the layer stack.
Enable the duplicated fur image layer and hide it by pressing Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you press on the Layer Mask icon to create a black layer mask.
With that, everything on the layer is hidden, and you can selectively paint on areas you want to reveal from the layer mask using a brush found in older versions of Photoshop.
Find the Dune Grass Brush
To create a furry text in Photoshop, you’ll need to use the right brush that replicates the fur texture. If you’re using the latest version of Photoshop, select the Brush tool and click on the down-pointing arrow in the Options bar.
Click on the Gear icon > Legacy Brushes.
When a dialog box pops up, asking you if you want to restore the Legacy Brushes Brush Set to the list of Brush Presets, select OK.
Now, you’ll have the Legacy Brushes on the Brush folders list.
Open the Default Brushes folder and find the Brush Style called Dune Grass. Then, close the panel.
Create a New Layer to see how the brush paints on your canvas.
Click-and-drag along the canvas to see how the Dune Grass brush works and notice that it also looks
similar to fur despite its name.
The brush color takes from the current Foreground and Background color and then mixes them and you can easily choose a different color of your preference.
Adjust the Brush to Make It Look Like Fur
If you want to use only a single color, click on the Brush Settings icon and uncheck Color Dynamics from the list.
After this, you can paint with only one color using the brush and whichever Foreground color you set.
You can now delete that layer as it was for demonstration purposes.
Zoom into the text and click on the Layer Mask thumbnail.
Set the Foreground color to white (#ffffff) to reveal the rest of the fur from the Layer Mask.
Go back to the Brush Settings and rotate the brush to follow the letter’s direction or the fur itself.
You can also flip the X and Y axes just by checking and unchecking the corresponding boxes.
You can also adjust the Spacing slider to widen or shorten the space between each brushstroke and achieve a more realistic fur.
Paint on the Mask To Reveal the Fur
Start painting along the edges of the letter to reveal the fur beneath the Layer Mask.
If you’re doing everything by hand, start with small sections instead of painting long strokes.
Through this method, there are fewer mistakes and more room for adjustments.
In some cases, you will need to uncheck the Flip X-axis or the Flip Y-axis then rotate the angle of the brush to match the edge or the curvature of the letter.
You can make the process easier by making sure the brush angle matches the edge or curvature of the letter.
Check the box for Shape Dynamics.
Under Angle Jitter, set the Control to Direction. When you start painting, the brush strokes will automatically match your painting’s direction, and you no longer need to keep on flipping the X or Y axis or adjusting the Brush angle.
Automate the Fur Masking with a Vector Path
Before preceding, delete the current Layer Mask as you create a New Layer Mask for automation.
You can start automating the process by holding Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you click on the Layer Mask icon.
As you hover over the Text layer thumbnail, hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS) and click to make a selection out of the text character.
From the Layers panel, switch to the Path panel.
Click on the Path icon at the bottom to create a new work path.
Go back to the Layers panel and make sure that your Layer Mask is selected.
With the Brush tool active, make sure you keep the same brush settings as you create a stroke that follows the work path.
Go back to the Paths panel.
Right-click > Stroke Path.
When the Stroke Path dialog box pops up, set the Tool to Brush.
Then, press OK.
Now, you see how Photoshop creates a smooth line of brushstroke as it followed the work path.
Enhance the Effects with Layer Styles
Select the topmost layer, hold the Shift key as you click the Text layer below. Remember, do not include the Color Fill layer.
Then, press Ctrl G (Windows) or Command G (macOS) to merge all the layers into a group.
From this point, you can add Layer Styles to this group to make the furry text look more realistic.
Start by clicking on the Group’s side to bring out the Layer Style window and explore the different kinds of Layer Style such as Bevel & Emboss or Drop Shadow—anything that you can apply on the furry text to add more dimension or unique character to it!
Now, that’s the simple tutorial on how you can create a furry text in Photoshop!
Please feel free to try out other animal furs and when you’re ready to show your work, tag #PTCvids in your social media post!