Deke’s Techniques 66: Creating Turfy Type in Photoshop

Last week, I began what will be a series of five text effects in Photoshop. So if you like text effects, you’re in luck! And if either text just isn’t your bag or it somehow offends you—possibly thanks to some painful high school writing project (I had a few of those myself but I thankfully recovered)—come back on May 8 when we’ll visit Adobe Illustrator for… another text effect!

Which means, today, I offer you a text effect. (If you didn’t glean that, then I guess that high school writing project of yours was more painful than I had first imagined. Seriously, my condolences.) Specifically, I’ll show you how to render text in grass, down to the finest blade, against a dirt background. Complete with a golf ball. Because that’s how I play golf, on a dirt field adorned with small text-shaped clumps of fairway. Did I mention that I play miniature golf?

Here’s the official description from

This week’s Deke’s Techniques continues the celebration of Spring that began last week with an exercise in creating type out of freshly cut turf. In the last episode, Deke showed you how to create leafy letters by using a type layer as a mask. In this week’s free movie, you’ll see how Deke renders type in freshly cut grass. Like last week’s leafy letter,s this technique begins with using a text layer as a mask for a lushly green photograph and leveraging the power of Refine Mask to ensure that your letters have the appropriately rendered edges that do justice to the grass leaves of our masked image.

But this week, Deke shows you the nuances of working with grass on dirt. This requires anticipating how to lift the appropriate shadow color from the dirt that underlies the turf. Grass is particularly sensitive to the Refine Edge command, meaning that the letters run together in an unfortunate way. But Deke will show you how to split the layer mask into two parts in order to make sure the letters don’t run together. Plus, if you have turf, you naturally need to embed a perfectly landed golf ball into your image. With a little careful application of the shadow, you’ll really sell this effect as you can see here:

A turf text effect in Photoshop

And if you’re wondering why Photoshop looks so dark and elegant in this tutorial, it’s because Deke has demonstrated the effect inside of the Photoshop CS6 public beta. You can download the application, free of charge for a bit longer, from Adobe Labs. And if you find yourself disoriented, you can also watch Deke’s entire Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview in the Online Training Library. It’s unlocked for everyone during the beta cycle, so it’s a great chance to try these techniques in the latest version of Photoshop. Member or not, you can check it out.

Deke will be back next week with another fresh technique.

Next week, type render in smoke.

Next entry:I Woke to the Most Hilarious Experience

Previous entry:Fifty Feels Fukken Fantastic


  • Another great tut

    As always Deke, many thanks for another great tutorial. Looking forward to the next!

    Bit of a Photoshop nut.

  • Thank you

    Thanks for the neverending perfect tutorials. Happy Belated Birthday - You are TRULY a gift to this world!

  • Turf Video - Private?


    Why is this video private please?


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