Tutorial

How to Create a Realistic Neon Light Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Layering glow and gloss effects can help create nice, shiny objects. Learn how to modify a brick texture for the background, and then use layer styles with the Pen Tool to add some bright, glowing neon text and a simple cable over it.

Looking for a shortcut? Check out this beautiful Neon Light Effect available on Envato Elements. It comes with:

  • an organized layer structure
  • seven color variations
  • smart objects used for easy object placement
  • four background variations
  • two noir overlay effects
  • four sample vector objects.

Instead of creating the effect from scratch, you can use this simple, ready-made solution.

neon light effect on Envato Elements
Neon Light Effect on Envato Elements

Otherwise, this comprehensive tutorial will show you a complete and professional workflow. Let’s get started!

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

Create a new 1500 x 950 px document, and set the Resolution to 300.

Go to File > Place Embedded, and open the BrickOldRounded0061 image. Resize it as you like, and then tap the Return key to accept the changes.

Place the Brick Texture

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Levels.

Levels

Click the Clip adjustment to layer icon at the bottom of the Properties panel, and then change the Shadows value to 85.

Levels Values

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon again and choose Hue/Saturation. Click the Clip adjustment to layer icon at the bottom of the Properties panel, and then change the Saturation to 11, and the Lightness to -83.

Hue Saturation

Create the text in All Caps using the font Beon Medium. The color is #a33e88 and the Size is 103 pt.

Create the Text

Duplicate the text layer and make it invisible by clicking the eye icon next to it. Then right-click the copy and choose Rasterize Type.

What we’ll be doing next is separating the vertical and diagonal parts of the letters from the horizontal ones, in order to apply the effects using different Angle values.

Rasterize Type

Pick the Rectangular Marquee Tool (or any selection tool you like), click the Add to selection icon in the Options bar, and select all the horizontal parts of the letters you have.

Select Horizontal Parts

Go to Edit > Cut, and then Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place. This will place the selected parts in a separate layer. Rename the layers to Vertical and Horizontal.

Separate Vertical and Horizontal Parts

Change both the Vertical and Horizontal layers’ Fill values to 0.

Fill Value

Duplicate each of the Vertical and Horizontal layers twice, and then place each set of layers in a group that has its name (Vertical/Horizontal).

Duplicate and Group Layers

Place the Horizontal group below the Vertical one.

Group Order

Double-click the original Horizontal layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 10
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 0
  • Altitude: 70
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Linear Light
  • Shadow Mode – Opacity: 0%
Bevel and Emboss

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
Contour

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Color: #e658d4
  • Angle: 30
  • Distance: 0
Inner Shadow

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 85%
  • Color: #fe66f1
  • Source: Center
  • Size: 18
Inner Glow

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Distance: 13
  • Size: 7
Drop Shadow

This will style the first layer of the horizontal part.

Styled Original Horizontal Layer

Double-click the first copy Horizontal layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 16
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: -36
  • Altitude: 42
  • Contour: Cove – Deep
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Shadow Mode – Opacity: 0%
Bevel and Emboss

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Cone – Inverted
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

This will add more gloss to the text.

Styled First Copy Horizontal Layer

Double-click the second copy Horizontal layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 16
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 18
  • Altitude: 58
  • Contour: Half Round
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Shadow Mode – Opacity: 0%
Bevel and Emboss

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Sawtooth 2
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Noise: 5%
  • Color: #ffdcfa
  • Source: Center
  • Size: 38
Inner Glow

Add an Outer Glow with these settings:

  • Color: #7f2d65
  • Size: 15
Outer Glow

This will style the final horizontal layer, adding even more gloss and glow.

Styled Second Copy Horizontal Layer

Right-click the original Horizontal layer, choose Copy Layer Style, and then right-click the original Vertical layer, and choose Paste Layer Style.

Double-click the original Vertical layer to adjust the Bevel and Emboss‘s Angle and Altitude values, by changing them to 90 and 74.

Bevel and Emboss

For the Inner Glow, just change the Size to 15.

Inner Glow

This will adjust the effect to suit the vertical and diagonal parts.

Modified Style for the Original Vertical Layer

Copy and paste the first copy Horizontal layer’s layer style to the first copy Vertical layer, and then double-click the Vertical copy layer to change the Bevel and Emboss effect’s Angle to -76, and its Altitude to 53.

Bevel and Emboss

That’s it for the first copy layer.

Modified Style for the First Copy Vertical Layer

Copy and paste the second copy Horizontal layer’s layer style to the second copy Vertical layer, and then double-click the Vertical copy 2 layer to change the Bevel and Emboss effect’s Angle to -82, and its Altitude to 53.

Bevel and Emboss

That concludes styling both parts of the text.

Modified Style for the Second Copy Vertical Layer

Create a new layer below the original invisible text layer, call it Background Light, and change its Blend Mode to Linear Light.

Set the Foreground color to #98338b, pick the Brush Tool, and choose a very big, soft, round tip. Then click once to add spots of color behind the text (don’t click and drag, just dot the color).

Add Background Glow

Create another new layer below the Background Light layer and call it Cable. Pick the Pen Tool and choose the Path option in the Options bar.

What you’ll need to do next is create the paths where you want to add the cable. You can click to add corner anchor points, and click and drag to create curves. Keep in mind that the path created doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can pick the Direct Selection Tool at any time later to adjust the anchor points or the direction handles.

Create the Cable Paths Using the Pen Tool

To separate the paths, press and hold the Command key, and click outside the path you’ve finished creating so that it won’t be connected to the path you create after it.

Separating the Paths

Take your time with this step to get a neat outcome.

Finish Creating the Paths

Pick the Brush Tool, and then open the Brush panel (Window > Brush), and choose a hard round 7 px tip with Spacing set to 1.

Brush Settings

Set the Foreground color to #252525, pick the Direct Selection Tool, right-click the path and choose Stroke Path.

Stroke Path

Choose Brush from the Tool dropdown menu and uncheck the Simulate Pressure box.

Stroke Path Box

This will stroke the path. Hit the Return key to get rid of the work path.

Stroked Path

Double-click the Cable layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Color: #ec6ab7
  • Opacity: 24%
Bevel and Emboss

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
Contour

Add a Pattern Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Pattern: 8
Pattern Overlay

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 60%
  • Distance: 13
  • Size: 10
Drop Shadow

This will style the cable.

The Styled Cable

Pick the Rectangle Tool and create an 11 x 15 px rectangle.

Create a Rectangle

Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool and click to add two points in the center of both vertical sides of the rectangle.

Add Anchor Points

Pick the Direct Selection Tool, click and drag to select the center points you added, and then press the Left Arrow Key once to move them 1 px to the left.

Move Anchor Points

Duplicate the Rectangle layer and then go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90° Clockwise. Rename the Rectangle layers to H (for horizontal) and V (for vertical).

Duplicate and Rename Rectangle Layers

Double-click the H layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Gradient Overlay with these settings:

  • Opacity: 42%
  • Click the Gradient box to create the gradient using the colors #151515 to the left, #6d6d6d in the center, and #161616 to the right.
Gradient Overlay

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 60%
  • Distance: 13
  • Size: 10
Drop Shadow

This will style the horizontal clip.

Styled Horizontal Clip

Copy and paste the H layer’s layer style to the V layer, and then double-click the V layer to change the Gradient Overlay‘s Angle value to 0.

Gradient Overlay

Next, duplicate and place the clip layers wherever you want to add clips to the cable you created.

Duplicate and Place Clips
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Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon and choose Solid Color. Use the color #a34799, place the adjustment layer below the Cable layer, and change its Blend Mode to Vivid Light. This will apply the color to the bricks behind the text, and enhance the glow and lighting of the final result.

Solid Color Adjustment Layer

In this tutorial, we modified a brick texture background and darkened it a little bit. Then we created the text, rasterized its layer, and separated the horizontal parts from the vertical and diagonal ones.

After that, we duplicated and grouped the separated text layers, and styled all of them to achieve the glossy-glowing effect.

Once the main text was created and styled, we added some more glow to the background, and used the Pen Tool to create the cable’s path. We stroked the path and styled it to give it a 3D look.

Finally, we used the Rectangle Tool to create some clips for the cable, modified and styled them, and added one last adjustment layer to enhance the coloring of the final result.

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