ghostly blur text effect

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to create ghostly blur text effect in Photoshop similar to how we ghosted a picture. We’ll be giving a supernatural look to the text using only a few blur filters.

ghostly blur text effect

To create ghostly blur text effect, you’ll need:

  • Any recent version of Photoshop (I used Photoshop CS5)

Step 1

Let’s start by typing the text in white on a solid black background using the font Arial Bold.

 ghostly blur text effect type

Make sure the type layer is selected and then choose Layer > Rasterize > Type.

 ghostly blur text effect rasterize

Now, make three duplicates of the type layer by pressing Command+J (Macs) / Ctrl+J (Windows) thrice.

 ghostly blur text effect three duplicates

Step 2

Select the original text layer, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and use the settings shown.

 ghostly blur text effect motion blur

 ghostly blur text effect motion blur result

Now, select the layer above it, press Command+Option+F (Macs) / Ctrl+Alt+F (Windows) and change the Angle of the Motion Blur.

 ghostly blur text effect horizontal motion blur

 ghostly blur text effect horizontal motion blur result

Merge both of the motion blur layers by pressing Command+E (Macs) / Ctrl+E (Windows).

 ghostly blur text effect merge blur layers

Step 3

Let’s soften the edges of the blur text effect by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and using the value shown.

 gaussian blur

 gaussian blur result

Step 4

Let’s add a glow effect around the text by selecting the layer above the merged layer, pressing Command+Option+F (Macs) / Ctrl+Alt+F (Windows) and increasing the Radius of the Gaussian Blur.

 glow effect

 glow effect result

Now, select the topmost layer and merge it with the glow effect layer by pressing Command+E (Macs) / Ctrl+E (Windows).


Step 5

Select the Layer Mask option.

 layer mask

 layer mask result

Grab the Gradient Tool, press D to set black and white as the foreground and background colors respectively, and then press X to swap them. Now, open the Gradient Picker by control-clicking (Macs) / right-clicking (Windows) inside the document window, and choose the Foreground to Background gradient.

 gradient picker

Select Reflected Gradient in the Options Bar at the top.

 reflected gradient

While holding the Shift key, drag a straight line from the horizontal center to the top of the text to draw the gradient.


 gradient result

Step 6

Duplicate this layer by pressing Command+J (Macs) / Ctrl+J (Windows) to make the glow effect more intense.

 ghostly blur text effect duplicate

 ghostly blur text effect duplicate result

You can make the glow effect even more intense by duplicating the layer again.

 ghostly blur text effect intense glow effect

 ghostly blur text effect intense glow effect result

Step 7

Finally, we’ll add some color. Select the New Adjustment Layer option.

 ghostly blur text effect new adjustment layer

Select Hue/Saturation from the list that appears and make the following changes to the adjustment layer.

 ghostly blur text effect hue saturation

And we’re done! The ghostly blur text effect tutorial is complete!

 ghostly blur text effect