Published on January 23, 2023
Stretch text with a gradient overlay
In this blog I’ll show you how to stretch a text with a gradient overlay in Adobe Photoshop.
Rather watch the video with instructions? Scroll down to the end of this page or click here to open the video.
Step 1: Create file and text
Create a new file. It doesn’t matter what size your file is. My file is 1600×900 pixels and I make the background black.
Select the horizontal type tool. Pick a font and text color and type your text.
Then press CTRL+A to select the entire text. Increase the tracking to 25. If the letters are too close to each other, they might touch when stretching them.
When you’re done, click on the ✓ icon.
Press CTRL+T to activate free transform. You can now resize and move the text. Leave enough space below the text to stretch it.
Step 2: Stretch text
Press CTRL+J to duplicate the text layer. Then select the bottom text layer. Change the color of this text. It doesn’t matter what color you pick, as long as it’s different from the original text (so you can see it).
With the bottom text layer still selected, press CTRL+T to activate free transform. Now press the arrow down key about 5 times to move this layer down a bit. You should see the text appear at the bottom. If you look closely, you see a bit of green below my white text.
After doing that, click on the ✓ icon or press your ENTER key to save the changes.
Press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+T to repeat the last action (moving the text down). This will create a stretched text effect! Keep pressing CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+T until the stretched text is long enough.
You have a lot of layer copies now. Select all the text layers, except the top one (this is the one with a different color). Navigate to ‘Layer > Merge layers‘ or press CTRL+E to merge these layers.
You have 2 layers left now, the one with the original text and the one with the stretched text.
If you like the effect like this, you can continue with step 3 now.
If you want to stretch the text all the way to the bottom, select the layer with the stretched text. Press CTRL+J to duplicate this layer and then press CTRL+T to activate free transform. Move this new layer down to make the text longer. You can also use your arrow down key to move it down (this way you’re sure that you move the text straight down).
Your stretched text might not be long enough to do this at once. As you can see in the image below, the lines of the stretched text get interrupted (the V and Y).
If that happens, move the text up (press the arrow up key) until none of the lines get interrupted. They should all go straight down.
Then click on the ✓ icon or press your ENTER key to apply the adjustments. Press CTRL+J to duplicate the stretched text layer again. Now press CTRL+T again and use the arrow down key to move this new layer down. Continue this until the text is stretched all the way to the bottom.
Select all the layers with stretched text. Make sure you don’t select the top text layer. Navigate to ‘Layer > Merge layers‘ or press CTRL+E.
You should have 3 layers now (a text layer, a stretched text layer and the background layer).
Step 3: Gradient overlay
Select the layer with the stretched text. Then click on the fx icon below your layer panel and select ‘gradient overlay‘.
You can find the settings I used in the image below. Click on the gradient to change the colors. You can use one of the presets, but you can also create your own gradient (which I did).
Click OK. The stretched text is now colored! If you want to adjust the gradient, double click on the gradient overlay layer. The window shown in the image above will then open again.
And that’s how you stretch a text with a gradient overlay in Adobe Photoshop!
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