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Very Simple Quake-Grunge Text in Photoshop


I was asked recently about grungy text. There’s plenty of tutorials out there but I wanted something simple, that can be done in a couple of minutes but has a great effect. Here’s my solution.

Step 1

On a new document I put the text. Right now it doesn’t matter about the colour, but the font wants to be quite big and bold. Here I’m using Poplar Std.


Step 2

The text needs to be rasterized to be able to run a couple of filters, so right click on the layer and choose, Rasterize Text


Step 3

Ctrl+J (PC) or Cmd+J (Mac) to duplicate the layer. You may find it easier in later steps if the visibility of the Background layer and the initial text layer is off. Do this by clicking the eyeball next to the layer so that it disappears.

Step 4

From the menu choose Filter – Stylize – Tiles

For my image, the default settings work great, so I’ll leave them as is. You may want to play about to get various effects.



Step 5

This is a good start to our effect but there’s some background colour mixed in with my blocks. This is easily solved. From the Select menu I choose Color Range. Because the text is one colour it can be selected really easily by clicking the eyedropper on the text.


Once you press OK the red will be selected, so pressing Ctrl+J (PC) or Cmd+J (Mac) will copy just the red bits to a new layer.

I’ll Ctrl+J (PC) or Cmd+J (Mac) the new layer to work on.

Step 6

I may find that some of the blocks aren’t scattered or random enough, that’s easily solved. I’ll select the magic wand and click the block I want to move then, holding down the V key and going into the selection changes the cursor to a pair of scissors. I can then drag the section, with it’s contents to where I’d like it. Then release V.  I could now Ctrl+T on PC or Cmd+T (Mac) to transform the shape, maybe turning it slightly.

Step 7

Time to make the darker grunge, or quake, portion. Ctrl+J (PC) or Cmd+J (Mac) to make a new copy,  I choose filter – Distort – Wave


The settings here really are down to how scattered I’d like the effect. I would however recommend that you start with ‘Number of Generations’ set to 1. This then makes seeing the effects of the sliders more obvious.


Step 7

I’d like this layer to be grey or black, so I hold down the Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) and click the icon of this layer. This will select the contents. Pressing D will revert the Foreground and Background colours to Black and White. So all I need do now is to press Alt+Backspace to fill the selection with black. Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac)+D will deselect the selection. I’ll reduce the Opacity to around 75%


I’ll Ctrl (PC) / Cmd (Mac) + T to transform that a little, maybe make it a little larger and rotate it slightly.

Next I duplicate Layer 1 by Ctrl/Cmd + J and repeat step 7 to make another ‘quake’.

Step 8

Now I drag the ‘TipSquirrel Copy’ to the top of the stack and make it and the two grungy quake layers visible.


Step 9

To finish off I select the contents of the top layer by using Ctrl/Cmd and clicking the layer icon. Then I change the foreground colour to white and the background to deep blue,


I choose the gradient tool and the Radial gradient from the options bar. Dragging out the gradient from the centre of the text will only effect the areas selected.

And then just to make it stand out a little more, I add a Bevel;


and a small Stroke;


And there we are;


About Eric Renno (434 Articles)
Eric’s background in video editing with Adobe Premier led to his interest, and then obsession, with Photoshop. Starting TipSquirrel.com as a hobby he is proud to have gathered together and be a part of The Photoshop Nuts. Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge. While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.

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