How to show background texture through text placed on background in Photoshop?


Say you have an image of a wall or an old, creased piece of paper and you want to add text on that background. How can you make the texture of the background come through the new text in Photoshop so it will look like the text is actually on the background rather than above it?

9/1/2011 1:21:00 PM

Accepted Answer

This is what I quickly cooked up:

enter image description here

To accomplish this:

  1. Type your text in a bold font type. color black
  2. Set the Fill to 20% (important, set fill to 20%... not opacity)

Now it shines through. If you want to give it an offset, do this:

  1. Double click on your text layer in the layer box.
  2. Set the Drop Shadow to white, blending mode to normal, opacity 50%, size 2, distance 2
  3. set the Inner Shadow to black, size 4, distance 4, and the opacity to about 60%

Now the text is pressed in the wall.


Or if you mean this:

enter image description here

  1. Type your text
  2. Set the blending mode of it to Soft Light or Overlay.
  3. Duplicate the layer and you get the result above
  4. Play around with the colors
8/14/2013 2:46:00 PM

Adding to what Luuk and Horatio suggest:

If you want the lettering to look like it is on a rough surface (i.e., you want it to conform to the surface texture, at least somewhat), you would use the Displacement filter (Filter > Distort > Displace). This takes a bit of prep, but it's not arduous.

  • Look at the RGB channels for your background texture, and pick one that has good contrast.

  • Target that channel, then use Image > Calculations to create a new document using just that channel as Source. (It doesn't matter what Blend Mode you use, because it's going into a new document.)

  • Save the new document as MyCoolDisplacementMap.psd (or whatever name you like).

  • Back in the main document, add your text, and make it a Smart Object.

  • Run Filter > Distort > Displace. Accept the defaults in the first dialog, and in the second, choose the file you saved earlier.

What you have just done is displace the text pixels in a way that corresponds to the grayscale values in the displacement map. If it's too much, too little, or the direction is wrong, just undo and rerun the filter. Adjust the settings in the first dialog until you get the result you're looking for.

Used in conjunction with the techniques Luuk and Horation describe, you can get a very realistic rendering of the text.