How to Make Bubble Letters in Photoshop

By David Weedmark

With Adobe Photoshop, you can make your own bubble or balloon text to add to your photos or artwork. The trick to this is a combination of layer effects, all accessible from the Layer Style window. If you use the settings provided here as a guide to get started, you can then tweak the settings to personalize your style. Saving your bubble text as a Photoshop Smart Object lets you distort and warp the text however you wish, then if you want to use the bubble text again for another project, just change the words and transform it as needed all over again.

Step 1

Open a new Photoshop document or open an existing file and add a new layer by clicking the "Create New Layer" button at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Step 2

Select the "Horizontal Type Tool" from the Toolbox and select a font with rounded edges like Cooper Std or Bauhaus 93. Set the color to white. Set the size to 100 px in the options bar. Drag the tool over the canvas and type a word. Look for the Blend Mode menu in the Layers panel, located right beside the Opacity menu, and set this to "Darken."

Step 3

Click the "Layer" menu, select "Layer Style," then "Outer Glow." The Layer Style window opens. Set the Opacity to 50 percent and the Noise to 0 percent. Select "Softer" from the Technique menu. Set the Spread to 3 percent and the Size to 5 px. Set the Range to 50 percent and the Jitter to 0 percent.

Step 4

Select "Inner Shadow" in the Styles menu, located on the left of the Layer Style window. Set the Layer Style Blend Mode to "Normal." Opacity should be 100 percent. Distance, Choke and Noise should be 0 and the Size should be 10 px.

Step 5

Click the "Bevel and Emboss" check box. Select "Inner Bevel" from the Syle menu and "Smooth" from the Technique menu. Type "520" in the Depth field, "10" in the Size field and "15" in the Soften field. Select the "Use Global Light" option with an angle of "120" and Altitude of "30." The Highlight Mode should be "Screen," with an Opacity of 88 percent. The Shadow Mode should be set to "Multiply" with 0 percent Opacity.

Step 6

Click the "Satin" check box to soften the bubble text. Set the Blend Mode to "Normal" with an Opacity of 40 percent. Set the Distance at 70 percent and size at 20 px. Make sure that both the "Anti-Aliased" and "Invert" check boxes are selected.

Step 7

Click the "Gradient Overlay" style to add some transparency to the text if desired. Select "Overlay" in the Blend Mode menu with an Opacity of 45 percent. Use a transparent to white gradient and click the "Reverse" check box so it comes out white to transparent. Type "100" percent in the Scale menu.

Step 8

Look at the text in your document by clicking the "Preview" check box. If you're satisfied with the effect, click "OK" to close the Layer Style menu.

Transforming Bubble Text as Smart Objects

Step 1

Click the "Layer" menu, select "Smart Object," then "Convert to Smart Object" so you can scale and distort the text without losing any quality or data in the text.

Step 2

Click the arrow-shaped "Move Tool" at the top of the Toolbox. Click the "Edit" menu and select "Transform."

Step 3

Use any of the options in the Transform submenu to move, rotate, skew or otherwise transform the bubbles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adding a drop shadow will make the bubble text stand out from a pale background. To do this, open the Layer Styles menu and select "Drop Shadow."
  • Information in this article applies to Adobe Photoshop CC. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.