Realistic Text Blending

I have always been a fan of making my scrapbook pages look more realistic.  After taking Tiffany Tillman‘s Keeping it Real class, my desire to broaden my horizons in this area has grown.  I am constantly tweaking my pages now with shadows and blending to hopefully accomplish this.  While I have a long way to go, I am starting to pick up a few tricks to help me along my way.

One of the things that I have started doing is blending my text into the paper below it.  In the wonderful world of digital scrapping our text sits on our papers and does not look realistic in my opinion.  If we can make it look like the ink is embedded in the paper, we will have a much more lifelike look.


Here is an example of text that is just typed into my program.




The words “moments,” “memories,” and “stories” are resting on top of the paper.  While this is a look some may admire, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this style, it is not the realistic look I am looking for.


After a few tweaks, here is the same cross section of my page, now with the blended words.




Big difference isn’t there?  You can now see the texture of the paper bleed through to the text.  Now you could take this a step forward and add some bleed to it, but I find this method works well for me.  Ready to learn how I do it?  🙂


I am a Photoshop CC user (previously CS6) so I can confirm that this technique works with those versions.


Note: I have found that a textured paper, as I have used in the example, gives you the best results.


On top of the paper, add in your text and set the color, size, etc.  Then,  it is time to work with our blending.


With your text layer active, select the “Add a Layer Style” button from the bottom of your layers palette.




If your Layer Style screen is covering your text, you will want to move it by clicking in the area that says “Layer Style” and dragging it out of the way.  It is important that our text is visible for our next steps.


It is now time to make our adjustments.  Located at the bottom of the screen, in the Underlying Layer section you will see a black slider on the left and a white one on the right.  The little sliders are referred to as “Blend Ifs” by Adobe, but for the purpose of this tutorial, I will refer to them as sliders (mainly because that’s what makes the most sense to me).  😉




These sliders in this section control how much blend your active layer has with the layers beneath it.  As you move your black sliders, you are affecting the blend with the dark shades and conversely with the white, you are affecting the lighter shades.


With your mouse, click and start dragging the black slider toward the right until the text on your pages disappears.  Once this happens, then hold down your Alt Key and click on the left side of the black slider to split it in two and bring it toward the left until your text reappears and you are happy with the result.  Once they are split, you can control the individual halves if you need to tweak it.


Now that you have a nice blended text, you may want to adjust the white sliders and bring in more of the lighter bits of the texture.  To accomplish this, you simply follow the same steps as above but in the reverse directions.  Move the white sliders to the left until your text disappears and holding down the Alt Key to split it in two, returning toward the right until you get your desired look.  For me, the addition of the white sliders added a bit too much light blend for my taste, so I skipped this step.


In the example, I used the settings shown below.  My right half of the black slider is hiding under the white slider.




Once you are finished, select OK and enjoy your handiwork.  Here is my completed page so you can see it all together with other elements.  I feel it is a small step with big impact, don’t you think?


December-Daily-2013---00-CoverImage linked for credits.


I hope this helps you, as it has me, in your journey toward creating more realistic pages.

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  • Jen Flaherty December 13, 2013   Reply →

    Fantastic, Rachel! I’ve tried doing this using a different method and never got the result I was looking for. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Leslie December 30, 2013   Reply →

    This is simply fabulous. I tried this last night and I have to say I’m hooked! Was just writing a blog post for ScrapStacks featuring tutorials and was sad that this one wasn’t stacked so that I could feature it!

  • Vivian June 5, 2014   Reply →

    I really like this, but is there a work-around for PSE users? Thank you.

  • Elisa January 25, 2015   Reply →

    That iis a very good tip especially to thhose new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Tank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  • Katherine Engelhardt January 29, 2015   Reply →

    Can’t wait to try this!

  • Kathy Black March 12, 2016   Reply →

    All these awesome tutorials for photoshop users! Is there a way to adapt them for us PSE users?

  • Laurel March 13, 2016   Reply →

    I, too, would like to see a PSE workaround. Thanks.

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