How to create a 'Stranger Things' inspired text effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use Photoshop to create a text effect inspired by the opening titles of Netflix's hit show, 'Stranger Things'. To create the effect, you'll make use of some subtle Layer Styles and I'll show you some cool tricks with filters that will help you to really nail it.

Step 1 - Set up your document

Create a new 1366 x 768 px document. Set the Resolution to 72 pixels/inch, the Color Mode to RGB Color, and the Background Contents to black (#000000).

Step 2 - Add some text

Add some text using the Type Tool (T) or paste in the logo that you want to apply the effect to. I'm going to use a vector version of the original 'Stranger Things' logo, which I got from Brands of the World. If you're wondering what font was used for the logo, it's called ITC Benguiat.

If you're going to use multiple text layers, be sure to Group them (Cmd+G) before you continue, and for the rest of the tutorial, treat this group as if it were one single layer.

Step 3 - Stroke your text

Select your text by holding Cmd and clicking the layer thumbnail.

Create a new layer and name it 'Red Stroke'.

Follow this by going to Edit > Stroke and entering the following settings:

Width: 2 px
Color: #9f1113
Location: Inside
Blending: Normal
Opacity: 100%

This will add a dark red stroke to your text.

Create another new layer and name it 'Orange Stroke'.

Again, go to Edit > Stroke, but this time, enter:

Width: 1 px
Color: #ff6631
Location: Inside
Blending: Normal
Opacity: 100%

This will add a slightly smaller orange stroke to your text.

Step 4 - Style your text

Press Cmd+D to deselect your text, then hide both the 'Orange Stroke' layer and the original text layer.

Double click the 'Red Stroke' layer to open the Layer Styles dialog box, then add a Bevel and Emboss effect:

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 200%
Direction: Up
Size: 1 px
Soften: 0 px
Uncheck Use Global Light
Angle: -122°
Altitude: 20°
Gloss Contour: Cove - Deep
Highlight Mode: Normal / #FFFFFF
Opacity: 0%
Shadow Mode: Multiply / #000000
Opacity: 100%

Follow this by adding an Outer Glow effect:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 90%
Noise: 0%
Color: #b11315
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0%
Size: 13 px
Contour: Linear
Range: 50%
Jitter: 0%

Click OK, then create a new layer called 'Clouds' and set the layer's blending mode to Linear Dodge (Add).

Make sure that the foreground color is set to #9f1113 and the background color to #000000, then apply the Clouds filter (Filter > Render > Clouds) immediately followed by the Difference Clouds filter (Filter > Render > Difference Clouds).

Right click the 'Clouds' layer and select Create Clipping Mask. This will clip the 'Clouds' layer to the 'Red Stroke' layer below it, giving your text some random bright spots.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and increase the brightness of these areas by moving the grey input slider slightly to the left. For me, the following settings work best:

Input Levels: 0 / 2.30 / 255
Output Levels: 0 / 255

Once you've done that, make the 'Orange Stroke' layer visible and set the blending mode to Linear Dodge (Add).

Now, double click the layer to open the Layer Styles dialog box and add an Outer Glow effect:

Blend Mode: Linear Dodge (Add)
Opacity: 75%
Noise: 0%
Color: #ff5331
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0%
Size: 5 px
Contour: Linear
Range: 50%
Jitter: 0%

Add a layer mask to the 'Orange Stroke' layer, then with the layer mask thumbnail selected, run the Clouds filter (Filter > Render > Clouds) immediately following by the Difference Clouds filter (Filter > Render > Difference Clouds).

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and adjust the black and white input sliders to increase the intensity of the orange. You may need to play around with things a bit in order to get the right look, but I found that the following works pretty well:

Input Levels: 55 / 1.00 / 120
Output Levels: 0 / 255

Step 5 - Add the finishing touches

Select the three layers that make up your effect.

Press Cmd+E to merge the layers, then change the name of the flattened layer to 'Final'.

Apply a 0.2 pixel Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).

Then add some noise (Filter > Noise > Add Noise):

Amount: 2%
Distribution: Gaussian
Check Monochromatic

Finally, add a Gradient adjustment layer.

Set the Style to Radial and check the Reverse option.

Then open the Gradient Editor and create a gradient with two opacity stops and one color stop:

Opacity stop 1 - Opacity: 100% / Location: 25%
Opacity stop 2 - Opacity: 0% / Location: 55%
Color stop 1 - Color: #000000 / Location: 0%

Click OK, then set the opacity of the layer to 30%.

The result

Your text should now look like it was lifted straight from the opening titles of 'Stranger Things'.

Feel free to share your results in the comments section below.

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