Create a Spectacular Graffiti Effect

By   |  Stashed in Text Effects

Graffiti Final

Since I’m not about to go out and spray paint my website on the side of a city wall, I figured I could at least simulate the look in Photoshop. With the help of some awesome brushes from Bittbox and Deviant Art and a cool font I found at Dafont. The effect is rather easy to create, here’s how…

This tutorial has been updated to include the vanishing point filter thanks to the advice of Andre and Erika. I also took the liberty of adding a couple of extra steps to help improve the realism.

Step 1

Find a picture of a brick wall or a building that you’d like to use as a background. The one I used can be downloaded here. Create a new document in Photoshop at the size you’d like and place the bricks on the top layer.

Brick Wall

Step 2


Step 3

Add a thick stroke to your text. Open up the layer style window by double-clicking next to the layer name.


Step 4

We need to alter the perspective of this text to make it work with this wall. Right click on the text layer and choose Convert to a Smart Object from the options that appear.

Smart Object

Step 5

Press ctrl, click on the thumbnail next to your text layer’s name, this will select that layer, hit ‘ctrl, c’ to copy that layer to the clipboard. Now hide the layer by clicking on the eye next to the layer. Hit ‘ctrl, d’ to deselect your selection. Click to add a new layer to the top and name it ‘perspective text’ or something of that nature. This is were you will place your text after using vanishing point.

Pespective Text

Step 6

With the ‘perspective text’ layer selected click Filter->Vanishing Point. With the create plane tool selected, click for the four points of the perspective. Use the brick lines to help line things up. Also make sure the grid is large enough to hold all your text.

Vanishing Point

Step 7

Hit ‘ctrl, v’ to paste in your text. Now hit ‘ctrl, t’ and transform your text into place. When you have it the way you like click OK.

Vanishing Point Transformation

Step 8

Make a new layer and place it behind your text layer. Then grab a splatter brush and use the same color as the stroke on your text. I used these brushes, for this effect. Dab some paint so it drips a little below the text and add some small splatters around.


Step 9

Merge the splatters and the text layers by highlighting both the layers, right clicking on one and choosing ‘merge layers. Ctrl, click on the thumbnail in the layer palette next to the name of the newly merged layer to create a selection of just the text and splatters. Now click on the bricks layer, and hit ‘ctrl, c’ to copy just the bricks that are below the text and splatters that you have selected. Create a new layer at the very top of the palette and name it something like ‘brick overlay’. Press ‘ctrl, v’ to paste the bricks on this new layer. Press ‘ctrl, shift, u’ to desaturate this layer. Change the blend mode to hard light and the opacity to 80%.

Brick Overlay Layer

Brick Overlay

Step 10

Add a layer mask to the ‘prespective text’ layer. Now grab some of your favorite grunge brushes. I used these brushes from Bittbox. Change your foreground color to black and with the grunge brushes paint away some of the mask revealing some of the brick layer below. Be subtle with this step.

Grunged Text

Step 11

The effect is pretty sick already. Let’s just add a little more illusion of depth. Make a new layer at the top and name it ‘shadows’. Grab the gradient tool make a radial gradient go from gray to white. Click on the right side and drag to the left, creating the gradient. Change the blend mode to linear burn and the opacity to 75%.

Graffiti Final

This is a really effective and fairly simple to create text effect. I hope you can find some use for this in your own projects. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the comment form below.

About the Author

Andrew is a primary contributer for MyInkBlog. He is a full time web developer for Niagara University. When he's not working there, he's a blogger, twitter'er, wordpress'er, silverstripe advocate, blessed father and husband.

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  • Andre

    for the correct perspective of the graffiti I would have used the “vanishing point” feature, but anyway great and simple tutorial…

  • Erika

    I was just about to say… you might want to check out vanishing point and maybe dropping the opacity/changing the blending mode to overlay or something… because graffiti isn’t quite THAT bold on brick.

    Nice tut, overall, though. :)

  • Andrew Houle

    Thanks Andre and Erika for the great advice! I just finished updating this tutorial to add in the vanishing point filter, as well as some extra steps to help with the realism.

  • collette

    hi! i’m a newbie in photoshop. i have the CS2 version installed in my laptop. i’m trying to follow the steps above but got stock in the part where the text is required to be “converted to smart object.” the only option i get is “Group into new smart object.” Is that the same?

  • Andrew Houle

    Hi Collette,

    Yeah that is OK. You just need to get the text on one layer so that you can use ‘vanishing point’. I hope this helps you get through the rest of this tutorial, if you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Brennen

    Hi, I’m having some trouble with step 9 I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this part. Maybe I’m just confused. Any help would be great thanks

  • Andrew Houle

    Hi Brennan,
    I re-worded step 9 to be a little more detailed hopefully that helps. Basically you are merging both the splatters and the text onto one layer. Then you select the layer by ctrl clicking on the thumbnail of the newly merged layer. Then click on the brick layer, now when you hit ctrl c to copy; you will only copy the bricks that are below the selection you made for the text and splatters. Create a new layer at the top, paste the selection, desaturate it, and play around w/ the blend mode. This step gives the graffiti the appearance of texture and actually being on the brick wall. Let me know if all goes well.

  • Mark

    I am having a problem copying and pasting the text into the Vanishing Point Feature. I have photoshop CS3 extended. I attempt to copy the text by pressing ctrl+c but i am not sure if it copies because when i try to paste it nothing shows up.???

  • Andrew Houle

    Hi Mark,
    Here’s a couple of things to check:

    Did you convert the text layer to a smart object?

    I just noticed in step 5 I said to right click on the thumbnail next to the layer’s name instead of what you should do, which is ctrl, click. When you ctrl, click you will see just the text from that layer selected. Did that selection show up?

    After you copied the text did you deselect it and create a new layer? Were you on that new layer when you went into the vanishing point filter?

    I hope using these problem solving steps helps. Sometimes finding something like this is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I would also be more than happy to look at your .psd file if you’d like to email it over, to try and find why it won’t paste in vanishing point.

  • Mark

    I am sure I did everything you said to do right… But it just doesn’t want to copy to clipboard. I will try ctrl + clicking to see if that works…

  • Andrew Houle

    That is most likely why you can’t paste it in the vanishing point filter. If you don’t select the text (with ctrl, click) then there will be nothing to paste. Let me know if you get things to work.

  • Mark

    thanks a lot. Ctrl + clicking worked. Great tutorial. It’s good that you update it frequently and reply to questions. Again, thank-you

  • Andrew Houle

    Mark, your welcome. So glad you got it to work.

  • 3

    Awesome tutorial… The effect is great, and the tutorial is easy to follow. Thanks a lot!

  • 3.1

    Thanks for the tutorial, simple but powerful :]

  • Sumi

    Hi, this is cool. Love how easily you can create an effect like this. Well worded and easy to follow. Thank you.

  • Joe


    What kind of font did you use at Dafont? What was the fonts name?


  • Andrew Houle

    Sumi, The font is called Amsterdam Graffiti. You can download it here.

  • tobbe

    i dont get it with the Vanishing Point thing, cant get the text copied into Vanishing Point. i have read your tutorial peace for peace, but still cant get it to work. and i have read your “help mail” , still cant make it work. and by the way, what do u mean with tumbnail? the locker above the text layer or what?
    Glad if u can help me :)

  • Andrew Houle

    Hi Tobbe,

    The thumbnail I referred to is the small image of the layer within the layer palette just to the left of the text. When you hold down ctrl and click the mouse button on the thumbnail image of that layer (in this case the graffiti text layer) this will select the layer. Then you can copy it (ctrl + c) and bring those pixels into the vanishing point feature. For more info, please refer to my comment in response to Mark. Or check out this link to another similar good tutorial about using vanishing point in this manner: I hope this helps.

  • LoveBird_01


  • Gareth

    Hi Andrew,

    Great tutorial and just to say I think it’s great that you have the patience to reply and help everyone out when they are struggling – nice one mate.

    Keep up the good work!


  • Andrew Houle

    @Gareth I really appreciate the kind words. I definitely try to respond to everyone, I designed this blog as a resource where designers could learn, get ideas, and get help. That includes trying to answer all their questions. I try not to miss any :)

  • Sc07

    i think its great its just like real you dont have to change anything in my opinion
    but advices are good everytime;)

  • sreelekshmi

    I have some dout .i dont have the option convert to convert to smart object /group to smart object.I have the photoshop version 7.Is it because of this version pls clear my douts.

  • sreelekshmi

    I had go through the link of the font .I would like to download some fonts to work with it in photoshope.How i get the amsterdam graffit as one of the font in my font list in photoshope ,wat step i should i follow. I dont know how to get it.

  • Andrew Houle

    @sreelekshmi Grab the font you’d like to use at a place like dafont and download it. Unzip it if needed and place it in your systems font folder. On windows that’s located here: C:\WINDOWS\Fonts Next time you restart Photoshop, you should see the font available.

  • Andrew Houle

    @sreelekshmi Unfortunately smart objects aren’t an option on PS7, I believe they started with CS or maybe it was CS2.

  • bony

    I have a problem I copy the text and transform the text layer to Smart Object, and I hide this layer, i made a new layer and I will select Vanishing Point then I paste the text but when I drag is hardly look as if he was behind the wall and when the move is a part … please help me..and i have Adobe Photoshop cs3…

  • bony

    I would like if you could make from the start by watching one of the catches you had 4 layers and I have 3 1) (the image is bricks) 2) text and the brick overlay for this will be my problem please fix it and told me

  • bony

    I can do this no answer my question

  • Jason

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Great Tutorial and incredibly cool effect!

  • Rick

    A most outstanding tutorial. I used a heart around my grandson’s and his girlfriend’s name, and pasted it on the wall as if it had been painted there, instead of carved in a tree. They loved it. Thanks so much.

  • sam

    Brillient mate, Most importantly i learned about grunge brushes

  • Joe Schmoe

    ive gotten to the vanishing point of the tut. i make the vanishing point table thing fine, copy the text into it, then press command + t (i have a mac). the text doesnt move at all. plz help!

    im using cs4

  • Joe Schmoe

    apologies, i am just a beginner haha :D dont worry, i figured it out. good tutorial!

  • Andrew Houle

    @Joe Schmoe Nice alias :) Glad you got it working!

  • Robinson

    Im having problems with step 10. When I right click on perspective text, enable layer mask is greyed out. Any advice?

  • Andrew Houle

    @Robinson Is the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette grayed out? If you’re not sure which one it is hover over each one to get the tooltip to show up.

  • Robert

    I am not getting the option of converting to smart object. I am only getting the convert to paragrapgh text and convert to shape. Did I miss something??

  • Robert

    Sorry……I am so new at this and I am teaching myself. I have at best very little knowledge of PS. I am using PS7. I do not see the Vanishing Point option either. I was just plaiyng around to see what I had missed. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  • Andrew Houle

    @Robert I don’t believe the vanishing point feature or smart objects came out until later versions of Photoshop. I would suggest converting it to a shape, then doing a free transform and eyeballing the perspective.

  • Markonda

    Very easy but so effective tutorial.. txt :)

  • sir eagle

    what font did you use.

  • Andrew Houle

    @ eagle The font is Amsterdam Graffiti you can get it here

  • Underdog

    thankyou Andrew Houle ,
    i got .it’s wonderful..i like this effect..look at my work

  • errisi^deltt

    thank you realy much:$ i did it all

  • Lucky

    I have a problem whit last step i get one side black and one white and you don’t have any white side on your picture what to do?

  • Lucky

    I found the solution thanks for the tutorial

  • Charandeep

    Hi, thanks for putting tis on its gr8 coz u can mould it into ur own and a whole new thing. keep it up

  • Kaplang

    really cool tutorial, thanks :)

  • said

    Excellent stuff!!! Thank you very much for sharing!

  • Sunny

    ooooo really bumping man. . . . . goood keep it up . . . . !!!!

  • Cal

    HI Andrew

    Excellent, fun and easy to follow tutorial with very good results!

    Keep it up and thanks

    regards Cal

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