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Please take a look at this image. It's the logo of the charity Childline.

enter image description here

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How can I achieve this bubble wrapper effect around text in photoshop?

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The answers below are spot on for automated, easily edited effects. But it should be obvious that the nice cloud-like treatment over ChildLine was created by handaligning circles. And this was probably done in a vector app like Illustrator, not P'shop. –  plainclothes Apr 30 '13 at 23:56
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

this effect is achieved by using multiple stroke FX's

  • Create your text
  • Click the Layer FX icon in the bottom of the Layer palette
  • Choose stroke and create the inner stroke area- for a bubbly effect you will want the size to be fairy large
  • Then create a copy of that layer
  • Go back to the original layer you created and increase the size futher and change the colour to create the second stroke

Stroke FX example with layer screenshot

if you also want to add a shadow effect, it would be best to do this to the largest stroke layer

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thanks .. this really helps. –  user2168042 Apr 18 '13 at 10:01
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You can do it (very roughly) by selecting the text and then go to Select>Modify>Expand. Then enter the value you want to expand it by and hit return. Then add a stroke to the selection.

However this will give you a jaggy result. You are best doing this in a vector package such as Illustrator.

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There's a neater way. I'd personally always recommend avoiding duplicating layers for effects like this - it's a pain to maintain when (inevitably) someone wants a small change to the text or something needs to move.

Photoshop doesn't allow multiple strokes like in Illustrator, but you can effectively have up to three:

  • In Layer FX, set a Stroke for the inner stroke (white)
  • On the same layer, create a stroke-like Outer Glow with these settings:
    • Spread: 100%
    • Blend-mode: Normal
    • Size: Slightly bigger than the stroke

If you need a third stroke, use Drop Shadow with similar settings (spread: 100%, blend mode: normal). Or, you can save it for an actual drop shadow.

enter image description here

If you also want that plastic-y reflective sheen, you can get that with a Bevel & Emboss effect with a steep gloss contour and large size...

enter image description here

...though (hopefully...) the actual Childline logo designers placed theirs by hand (and hopefully using a vector design package).

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