Paint Type with Color and Gradients - dummies

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Changing the color of text in Photoshop Elements 10 is as easy as highlighting it and selecting a color from the Color Picker. But what if you want to do something a little less conventional, such as apply random brush strokes of paint across the type?

It’s really easier than it looks. Again, as with applying filters to text, the only criterion is that the type has to be simplified first. After that’s done, select a color, grab the Brush tool with settings of your choice, and paint.


In this example, the Granite Flow brush is used; this brush is found in the Special Effect Brushes presets. A diameter of 39, 15, and 6 pixels was used and the type was just swiped a few times.

If you want the color or gradient to be confined to the type area, select the text by either Ctrl-clicking (Command-clicking on a Macintosh) the layer containing the text or locking the layer’s transparency on the Layers panel.

You can also apply a gradient to your type. Here are the steps to follow after simplifying your type:

  1. Select the Gradient tool from the Tools panel.

  2. On the Options bar, click the down-pointing arrow next to the Gradient Picker to access the Gradient Picker drop-down panel.

  3. Choose your desired gradient.

  4. Position your gradient cursor on the text where you want your gradient to start; drag to where you want your gradient to end.

    Don’t like the results? Drag again until you get the look you want. You can drag at any angle and to any length, even outside your type. In the bottom image shown, the copper gradient is used and just dragged from the top of the letters to the bottom. The transparent pixels were locked on the layer to confine the gradient to just the type area.