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Reproducing Apple's "Aqua" Lettering Effect

Type effects are a good way to turn a headline into a visual element. One popular type trend, known as liquid or "aqua" lettering, is easy to reproduce in Photoshop using the steps below:
  1. Create a 300dpi image in Photoshop, with dimensions that are large enough to fit your entire headline text.
  2. Set the foreground color to R=0 G=51 B=222. This will provide the color for your text.
  3. Select the type tool and choose a serif font, such as Garamond or Times New Roman.
  4. Set the font size at 72px, and type the text you want to use in the headline.
  5. Control-click (Mac: Command-click) inside the type layer to select the shape of the letters.
  6. Reduce the selection by seven pixels, by choosing Modify > Contract from the Select menu at the top of the screen.
  7. Create a new layer (with your selection still in place), and change the foreground color to R=31 G=82 B=255.
  8. Using the fill tool, color your selected area with this new color.
  9. Once that's set, deselect the selected area, and duplicate the layer you just created, so you now have two copies of it.
  10. Name the first of these layers "Color1" and the second "Color2."
With all your layers in place, you'll now need to make the following adjustments:

Color1 -- Set the Blend Mode to Multiply
  • Double-click the "Color1" layer on the layers palette to bring up the Layer Style dialog box.
  • Set the Blend Mode to Multiply, and hit OK.
Color2 -- Add a Gaussian Blur
  • Highlight "Color2" on the layers palette, and choose Blur > Gaussian Blur from the Filter menu at the top of the screen.
  • A dialog box will appear. Set the radius to 5px and hit OK.
Color2 -- Add an Emboss Effect
  • Double-click the "Color2" layer on the layers palette to bring up the Layer Style dialog box.
  • Highlight and select the Bevel and Emboss style.
  • For the Style setting, choose Emboss.
  • Change the Depth to 441% and the Size to 10px.
  • Set the Highlight Mode to Normal, with an Opacity of 100%, and the Shadow Mode to Color Dodge, with an opacity of 40%.
  • Press OK to continue.
Color2 -- Adjust the Curves
  • With the "Color2" layer still highlighted on the layers palette, choose Adjustments > Curves from the Image menu at the top of the screen.
  • Another dialog box will appear.
  • Insert stop points at the following coordinates (input/output): 50/160, 200/90, and 233/180.
  • Once you have these coordinates in place, click OK.
Text Layer -- Add a Drop Shadow
  • Right-click (Mac: Option-click) on the text layer in the layers palette.
  • Select Blending Options from the dropdown menu that appears.
  • Highlight and select Drop Shadow in the Layer Style dialog box.
  • Set the color (the swatch next to Blend Mode) to R=0 G=32 B=186 and the Opacity to 75%.
  • Choose a Distance of 5px, a Spread of 0%, and a Size of 9px.
The effect is now complete.

Photoshop Type Effects Visual Encyclopedia

by Roger Pring

Nothing can ruin a stunning piece of art quicker than finishing it off with poorly executed type effects. The Photoshop Type Effects Encyclopedia walks users step-by-step through the details of designing professional level type effects. The book is packed with rich illustrations of each effect, detailed instructions on how to create the effect (including screenshots and other illustrations showing the step-by-step progress of each effect), and tips for creating your own variations of the effect.