How to Make Something Look Metal With Photoshop

Use layers and filters to add a realistic metal effect to your Photoshop images.
Image Credit: IgorIgorevich/iStock/Getty Images

Adobe Photoshop CC supports custom brushes for creating metal textures, but you can achieve similar results using layers and filters that are included with the software. The effect works best with flat surfaces and letters, as these produce realistic-looking results. Working with layers allows you to blend the metal texture that you create with your existing image in a nondestructive manner. You can then make adjustments to the metal layer without changing or losing any information from the original image.

Step 1

Open Adobe Photoshop and open or create the image or text to which you want to apply the metal effect.

Step 2

Press the "Ctrl-J" shortcut key to create a duplicate layer as an extra safeguard against making modifications of the original image.

Step 3

Use the Magic Wand or Quick Selection tools to select the area of the image that you want to look like metal.

Step 4

Press "Shift-Ctrl-N" and then click "OK" to create a blank layer.

Step 5

Select the Brush tool and then click "Set Foreground." Select a gray metallic color and then click "OK."

Step 6

Use the Brush tool to fill the selected area with the gray color while making sure that you are working on the blank layer you created earlier.

Step 7

Select "Hue" from the blend mode drop-down list on the "Layers" panel. This will blend the gray metallic color with the image on the layer underneath it without changing the original image directly.

Step 8

Press "Shift-Ctrl-N" and then click "OK" to create another blank layer.

Step 9

Use the Brush tool to fill the selected area with gray color on this layer as well.

Step 10

Select "Filter" from the menu bar and then click "Noise." Select "Add Noise" and click the "Gaussian" radio button. Click the "Monochromatic" check box and then adjust the amount of noise using the slider. A value of 5% or below is sufficient for the purpose of creating a metal look. Click "OK" to apply the filter.

Step 11

Select "Filter" from the menu bar and then click "Stylize." Click the radio button next to "Wind" as well as "From the left" and then click "OK."

Step 12

Select a value of "65%" as the opacity on the layers panel to blend the metallic texture you created using the noise and wind filters with the hue layer below it. Alternatively, leave the opacity at 100% and set the blend mode to "Overlay," depending on which method looks more realistic for your image.