Photoshop Tutorial: Create the Sky Logo Typography Lightning Effect

This tutorial will teach you how to recreate the lightning effect used in the recent Sky logo version. While you can see this type treatment on posters around the UK I first discovered the beautiful glossy typography in their ads on TV. I loved it instantly so I decided to write a tutorial on how to create this type effect in Photoshop. A little knowledge of the program is required, though I believe you should be able to follow the step by step instructions whatever your degree of expertise.
You will learn tricks about selections, blending modes and colour overlays. If there’s any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to address the issue. I hope you enjoy it.
Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial Preview

1. Document Setup

As always we’re gonna start by creating a new document. Make it 1440px by 900px large and fill the background with black.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

2. Insert the Text

Next we will enter the text. Choose a word you like, I went with “skyline”. The font I used is called “Diavlo” which can be downloaded for free here. If you wish you can use a different font, just make sure it’s a bold one and make it relatively big and centred. Use the screenshot below as reference. Don’t worry about the colour, it’s not important.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Next we’re gonna add the following Layer Style to the text. Notice that the Fill Opacity is set to 0 so that the colour of the type is obsolete. Next add a White Inner Glow to the type layer.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

3. Prepare Inner Highlights

After you’ve added the layer style your text should look similar to mine. Next step is preparation for the inner highlights. First you have to select the pixels of the text. In order to that you simply hold cmd (ctrl on Win) and click on the layer in the layers palette. Then go to Select > Modify > Contract and choose 5px. Hit OK.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

4. Add Highlights to the Text

Now that we have the new selection contracted by 5px we will create a new layer on top of all other layers. Call it “highlights” and fill the selection with black (Shift + F5). Now you can deselect by hitting cmd (ctrl) +D.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Finally set the opacity to 0 and add Bevel and Emboss to the layer using the settings shown below.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

5. Colour me up

Finally it’s time to add some colour to the design. Create a new layer on top, set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and the reduce its Opacity to 50%. Then choose a large circular brush with 0% hardness (shortcut for the brush is simply B). Paint over the text with all kinds of different colours until you’re happy with the flow. The second image shows you how my colour layer looks like in normal blending mode with 100% opacity. Use it as a guide.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Since the colour is still pretty weak we’re gonna duplicate the layer. Easiest way is to hit cmd (ctrl) + J. Change the opacity to 40%. If you wish you can paint over some areas with different colours if you wish to make any amends. Play with it until you’re happy.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

6. Add more Depth to the Text

At this stage I realised that the text still looked too flat for my taste and I decided to give it some more depth. To do so all I did was duplicate the “highlights” layer. I also duplicated the text layer and changed its layer style as shown below. It’s these subtle changes that add to the overall feel of the text effect. I could have told you at the beginning to duplicate the layers, but I wanted to give you a better insight into the process. You might like the effect as it was before, it all comes down to personal preferences.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

If you followed the steps carefully (and if I didn’t make a mistake) then your image should look similar to this one.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

7. Final Tweak: Playing with Patterns

Last but not least we’re gonna overlay a line pattern. I made it easy for you. Here’s the png that you can download: Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial Lines Pattern PNG. Open it in Photoshop and go to Edit > Define Pattern. Call the pattern “diagonal lines” in the dialogue box. Now go back to your tutorial file. Create a new layer on top off all others. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 80%. Fill the new layer with the “diagonal lines” pattern. Change the opacity setting of the layer to your liking.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

Hit cmd (ctrl) + T to enter the transform mode and select Warp Mode. Using your mouse drag some anchor points around to distort the pattern slightly. You can use the image below as reference. Once you’re happy with it simply hit Enter.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial

8. That’s it folks

So there we go. You’ve now learned how to easily create this shiny lightning text effect in Photoshop.

Sky Logo Lightning Typography Photoshop Tutorial Final

Written by Franz Jeitz

Franz Jeitz is a freelance designer and owner of Fudgegraphics. Originally from Luxembourg he now lives in London. Franz loves design, music and is a tea enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter.

Join the Discussion:

24 Awesome Responses so far
  1. Nice typography logo design, thanks for share the tutorial…

  2. Nice job, Franz! Picked up a couple of tricks here. Love the outcome.

  3. Very good.thanks

  4. Hi, I’m learning new photoshop program would be very helpful for me thanks

  5. Waawww very beatiful.Thanks

  6. The tutorial is very easy to use. And very helpful for web designers. You can visit GFXBD for graphics lessons, video tutorials and various graphics related free tools and software. There are also free vector graphics, icon, wallpaper etc free to download. thanks again for this wonderful post.

  7. belive me , it is very very very useful

  8. Interesantisimo, son esas cosas q uno no cree que le podra servir, gracias a quien subio ete material…

  9. jorunswithscissors September 23rd, 2010

    Just found your site while perusing Smashing Magazine (another great site) — and have enjoyed your tutorials/downloads!! I feel it was time well spent! :) Thank You!!

  10. Great outcome. Really nice logo design.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  11. Luv the SKYLINE effect, get the SKY mag monthly with the subscription and noticed that the LOGO changes over time . . . their logo can sit on virtually any background/any colour and keep it’s effect . . . you’ve laid a lot of curiosity to rest . . . Thanks again! Gr8 tutorial.

  12. Excellent work, Keep it like this!

  13. RoyBatty June 6th, 2011

    Absolutamente bello… tomo nota para incorpoarlo a mis cosillas… Gracias Maestro!

  14. sigit dwipa July 19th, 2011

    nice tutorial thx!!!

  15. Nice one, many thanks for your time in sharing.

  16. Thanks for this great tutorial!

  17. Nice tutorial Franz, a clean logo.

  18. The skyline effect is amazing and pretty cool. The work done using skyline is so good in appearance. Thanks for posting the on tricks about selections, blending modes and colour overlays. The step by step tutorial is really helpful for even a layman like me.

  19. hi, great tutorial. I want to make the background as transparent instead of the black. When I do that the color layer is shown completely. Is there a way to hide that.

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