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anyone who was alive in the seventies will hopefully appreciate this little tutorial. i remember airbrushing these type of effects a hundred years ago…in fact i still own several thousand dollars worth of airbrush equipment. one brush i bought for close to $700 weeks before an update to the mac os that made it a more viable solution for the type of work i was doing than the traditional way.

anyhoo, the chrome effect can be a winner for certain types of projects. there are few steps and as always, once you get the hang of it there is really no end to how you can alter and customize per your vision.

first of all, create a block of text…a heavier weight font is almost necessary for this effect to stand out.

once you have the basic text. duplicate it to a new document and give it a gaussian blur of a few pixels (this will alter depending upon the dpi of your image).

save that file out as grayscale image…we will use it later for a displacement map. now back to the original image. grab your gradient tool (g) and create a layer on top of the text. on this layer create a gradient that goes from white to transparent and extends to about the middle of the text.

to this layer we are also going to add a layer style…a gradient effect.

we will use the basic chrome gradient from the dialogue box. which will alter the image thusly.

next we add an entire chrome layer on the topmost layer.

at this point, select the text and copy the merged layers (copy + shift + c). paste that on top of the other layers. go to filters > distort > displace. set the parameters to match (although these can be altered per your desired effect). when the dialogue box pops up, locate the blurred text grayscale image from earlier.

you will now have altered the latest layer to something like this. notice how the horizon has now altered a bit, giving the text some depth and character.

now we can start tweaking this image a bit. create another layer and make another white to transparent gradient that goes from the middle of the text to the bottom of the letters. you can drop the opacity a bit…mine is at 50%.

create another top layer. select the text and go to select > modify > contract. this will create an inset for the text… i set it to 4 pixels. then stroke that line with a 2 pixel white line.

create another layer on top for another soft white gradient. this one has a transparency of 75%

it now looks very similar to a plethora of bad, i mean retro, album covers from the seventies. we can further enhance the image by creating a sense of place with things like a shadow, reflections, etc…

or to make it really pop, put it on a black background.

well, i hope this was helpful. it is another manual way to create interest with your imagery in photoshop while maintaining full control of the image. you could alter, degrade, enhance this in numerous ways that no plug-in could match.