Blending Text on Wood Grain in PSE

As part of your growing skill set in PSE, blend modes can be your best friend. I was so in love with this tutorial from Judie on blending text into a wood grain paper. I wanted to see if I could achieve a similar look in PSE. So, let’s play with some blend modes in PSE to to achieve this blended into the wood grain effect.

The steps are shown for PSE15, and will work in any version of PSE or PS.  I’m going to be using a light wood panel paper and a fun bright piece of word art for this demonstration. This is the starting point.

Point to remember, when you apply a blend mode to a layer it will blend with the layer below it. If the layers you are blending together are lighter or darker than what is shown, you will get different results. I encourage you to play and experiment with different blend modes. It is how we learn and there is always the CTRL (CMD)-z to undo if you don’t like it.

In order to get this piece of word art to look more like it is painted on this wood.  Let’s start with applying a blend mode to the word art layer itself.  In this case I’m using the darker color blend mode.

The Darker Color blend mode allows the darker areas of the wood grain to show through the word art. This isn’t too bad, but I’m going to reduce the opacity just a bit to 79%

This is looking pretty good, but I duplicate the layer (CTRL-J) and reduce the opacity to 67% just to give a little extra color to some of the lighter areas. At this point it looks pretty good and here is my comparison of the PS and PSE versions.

Bonus Tip: I also use this technique for my text on layouts. For a dark text color on a light to medium-dark background, my go-to blend mode is linear burn. This will make the text appear darker, so I’ll typically reduce the opacity to somewhere between 65% and 85%. This just makes it look a touch more like it would if you actually wrote or printed on real paper.

Just one more small tweak for your growing skills.

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