Photoshop skills: Easy
Compatibility: Photoshop (CS3 or newer), Photoshop Elements (11 or newer)

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a beautiful sunburst text effect.

sunburst text 500

Fire up Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and let's go!

If you have Photoshop, press Ctrl-N (PC) or cmd-N (Mac) to create a new Photoshop document. In the new document window, enter the preferred dimensions (in this tutorial I used 1000 x 400 pixels). Set the Resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch, the Color Mode to RGB Color 8 bit, the Background contents to Black, and hit OK to create the document:

1 create document

If you have Photoshop Elements, press D, then X. Press Ctrl-N (PC) or cmd-N (Mac) to create a new document. In the new document window, enter the preferred dimensions (in this tutorial I used 1000 x 400 pixels). Set the Resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch, the Color Mode to RGB Color, the Background contents to 'Background Color', and hit OK to create the document:

start PSE

Press T to select the text tool.
Pick a font of your choice, adjust its size (150 pt in my tutorial) and set the text color to white:

2 set font

Type your text and center it. In my example I typed the word 'evolution':

3 type text

With the text layer selected, go to the layers panel and right click on its thumbnail. Select Rasterize Type from the pop up menu (in Photoshop Elements select: Simplify Layer).

Select Edit > Fill (in PS Elements select: Edit > Fill Layer). Choose the Black color, set Mode to Screen, the Opacity to 100% and hit OK:

4 edit fill black

Select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, set the Radius to 3 and hit OK

Select Filter > Stylize > Solarize

Press Ctrl-L (Mac: cmd-L). In the Levels window, drag the small white triangle to the left, until the input level reads '130', and hit OK:

levels

Rename this layer to "Rays".

Press Ctrl-J (Mac: cmd-J) to duplicate the layer. Rename the new layer to "Outline"

Go to the layers panel and set the new layer's blending mode to Lighten and its Opacity to 70%:

70percent

Select the "Rays" layer.

Select: Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Select the second option Polar to Rectangular and hit OK:

polar to rectangular

Select Image > Image Rotation > 90° Clockwise (in PS Elements select: Image > Rotate > 90° Right)

Press Ctrl-i (Mac: cmd-i) to invert.

Select: Filter > Stylize > Wind and apply these settings:

wind

Repeat the previous step two more times (Filter > Stylize > Wind).

Press Ctrl-L (Mac: cmd-L). In the Levels window, drag the small dark triangle to the right to set the input level between 160 to 200. Hit OK:

levels 2

Press Ctrl-i (Mac: cmd-i) to invert.

Select: Filter > Stylize > Wind twice.

Select Image > Image Rotation > 90° Counter Clockwise (in PS Elements select: Image > Rotate > 90° Left).

Select: Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. This time select the first option Rectangular to Polar and hit OK:

rectangular to polar

Select the "Outline" layer.
Select: Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. Check the Colorize button and enter +40 (for hue) and a value between 40-70 (for Saturation):

hue saturation

If you have Photoshop, press Ctrl-Alt-G (Mac: cmd-opt-G). In PS Elements press Ctrl-G (Mac: cmd-G) to create a clipping mask.

Select the "Outline" layer. If you have Photoshop, press Ctrl-Alt-G (Mac: cmd-opt-G). In PS Elements press Ctrl-G (Mac: cmd-G). The Layers panel should now look like this:

clipping masks

The text effect so far:

after hue saturation

Let's smooth the rays:

Select the "Rays" layer.
Select: Filter > Blur > Radial Blur
Set the Amount between 10 to 20. Set the Blur Method to Zoom and the Quality to Best. Hit OK.
Select: Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask (in Elements select: Enhance > Unsharp Mask) and sharpen slightly the rays.

final 1

In the last step we will add a lens flare:
Select the "Rays" layer and change its blending mode to Screen.
Select the Background layer. If you have Photoshop, right click on the Background layer and select Convert to Smart Object. This will later let you double click the 'Lens Flare' filter and reposition it.
Select Filter > Render > Lens Flare and add a lens flare to your text. Choose a style, use your mouse to position it over the photo and hit OK to apply.

If you have Photoshop, you can go to the Layers panel and right-click the 'Lens Flare' smart filter. You can select 'Edit Smart Filter' to change the filter options. You can also select 'Edit Smart Filter Blending Options' and change the filter opacity and blending mode, to create a more interesting effect:

edit smart filter

Here's what I created:

final

You can tweak the layers (change the blending modes, etc) and create interesting variations:

final 2

That's it. Enjoy creating your sunburst text effects!

5.0/5 from 3 ratings.
How do you rate this?
Versatile PS/PS Elements Effect
2018/06/29
Your review
The instructions were detailed and easy to follow. I had a slight problem but contacted Panos to help. The results were amazing. I have multiple creative ways to use this effect, especially in greeting cards that I make.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sunburst - WOW EFFECT
2018/06/28
Your review
I did the tutorial and learned some PS shortcuts that I did not know existed. My trial evolution came out perfect except for the LETS SMOOTH THE RAYS - skipped that one, too blurry, and proceeded onto the rest -- Will be in my next project. TY, Kubush
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
top !
2018/06/26
Your review
great tutorial - works fine !
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
  • lorraineL 2018/06/28
    how incredible, gives me so many ideas for my next project

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