Iron Man Text Effect in Photoshop

Skill level

If you haven’t seen the Iron Man 3 trailer, it looks quite spectacular! So, to celebrate the upcoming release of Iron Man 3, let’s create a neat Iron Man inspired text effect in Photoshop!

The Document

For this design, I’m starting big! 1920 x 1080 pixels, which will make a great wallpaper! Of course, you can start at any size that you like. Keep in mind, that if you choose to design at a smaller or larger size, you’ll need to make adjustments to your Layer Styles to get the exact result you’re looking for.

Once the document is up, you can either fill the background with black, or use a dark texture. As always, I was able to find a nice, high quality texture over at, but for those who may not have a subscription over there, has a nice selection, as well.

The Text

The Font

I found a great Iron Man style font over at, which is where I get a good portion of my fonts. The font is: CGF Arch Reactor. Of course, you can use any font that you wish, but a nice, thick font usually works best for these designs.

There are going to be two text layers that make up this design. One for the foreground, and one which will give a bit of depth to our design. Both will be the same size and shape. Based on the size of the document I’m working with, I’m going to type out my word(s) of choice in the center of the document, in a very dark red (#251103). This will act as ‘background’ text.

Once your first type layer has been created, you’ll want to perform a simple duplication. This will leave you with two identical type layers, right on top of each other. You can easily duplicate a layer with the following shortcut. Command + J (Mac) or Ctrl + J (Windows).

Layer Styles

Now that you have two identical text layers, we’re going to focus on the top layer, which will contain our ‘main’ effect. Here are the Layer Styles for that layer.

When these Layer Styles have been applied, you should have something that looks like the image below. Again, if you are working with smaller text, you may need to adjust the Layer Styles.

3D Shape

So that deals with the top layer, now what about the text on the bottom? This one’s going to be simple. First off, it needs to be revealed. At the moment, it’s right below the current text.

If you still have the top type layer selected, move it upwards until the bottom layer is poking out the bottom. If the bottom layer is selected, move it down. To better see the change, I’ve slightly increased the brightness of the bottom type layer.

Once you have the positioning just right, adding a drop shadow will help bring it off the background a touch.

If you altered the color of the bottom type layer, make sure to set it back to #251103.

The Texture

The text is looking nice, but quite boring! Textures always seem to spice up your designs. For a design like this, a texture that contains scratches and grunge will be great! Again, I’m using a texture I found over at When you have your texture selected, place it overtop of all your type layers.

Once it’s exactly where you want it, we need to create a Layer Mask to hide everything outside the text. In your Layers Panel, hold down Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and click on the top type layer’s thumbnail. This will turn your type layer into a selection.

Once the selection has been made, click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of your Layers Panel to hide everything outside the selection.

Finally, to better blend the texture in with the previous layer, set the Blend Mode to Soft Light and decrease the Opacity as needed. If your texture is lighter or darker, you may want to experiment with the other Blend Modes that are available, to get the best blend.

Finishing Touches

Light Flare

To add a touch of lighting to the design, you may want to add a simple spotlight towards the top. On a new layer, with a soft white brush, place a single spot above the text.

When the light is where you want it, change the Blend Mode of that new layer to Soft Light or Overlay, depending on your personal preference.


The last element I’m going to add to this design, is a slight shine overtop of the text. Back in your Layers Panel, create a new layer right on top of your type layer, and then turn that type layer into a selection, just like you did earlier (Command/Ctrl + click on the type layer’s thumbnail).

When the selection has been made on a new layer, fill it with white. A quick way to do this is to press D on your keyboard to set the default colors (black foreground, white background), and then use the Command+Delete (Mac) or Ctrl+Backspace (Windows) shortcut to fill your selection with the background color (white). Command/Ctrl+D will deselect the selection.

Now, you need to decide which part of the shine layer you want visible. With your Polygonal Lasso Tool, or any selection method that you may prefer, box out what you want to keep. In the image below, the area that’s selected (at the top), will remain visible.

When that selection has been made, click on the Add Layer Mask icon in your Layers Panel to hide the area outside of the selection.

Now if you want the shine to fade off towards the left or the right, you can use a black to transparent gradient on the Layer Mask to do so. Select your Gradient Tool, choose the Foreground to Transparent gradient, then drag out a gradient from the end of the shine you want transparent, to the end you want visible. *Make sure the Layer Mask is selected!

Finally, once the Layer Mask has been finalized, set the Blend Mode at Soft Light, and decrease the Opacity as needed.