This is cover for Keith Laumer’s A Plague of Demons designed by Alan Aldridge:

A Plague of Demons, Cover by Alan Aldridge

(Here is an article about Aldridge's work which got me interested in his work in the first place: A Plague of Demons)

I would like to digitally recreate the effect Aldridge created for the title:

Cover Title Close-Up

I tried doing this by using the Wave Effect in Photoshop under Filter→Distort→Wave. So far this does not yield satisfying results, the effects I’ve been able to create do not have the same visual impact.

Can someone help me out with creating the effect and possibly point me in the right direction?

Wave-Effect Applied to Type

3 Answers 3


There are a couple of options that will achieve a similar look:

1. Wave Effect

You were on the right track in your original post by suggesting the wave tool, however in taking a closer look at the font in question, you'll notice that there really isn't much continuity of the wave effect between letters (take the 'N' and 'S' for example) and there are repeated letters that are identical:

enter image description here
^ In this sample I've superimposed the first instance of each letter over the next instance.

This evidence leads me to believe that this is either A) an actual font or B) this effect was achieved on a letter by letter basis. So, if we use the Filter > Distort > Wave effect, it's just a matter of adjusting the settings a bit in the dialog box until you get the desired result:

enter image description here ^ Here are the settings I found to be pretty close for the letter A

enter image description here

Repeat this for each letter (adjusting unique letters and duplicating letters that repeat) until you get a result that is cohesive across the full body of text. As I said before, the original post was close, just narrow it down to applying the wave effect to the letter instead of the entire word to have more control of the final outcome.

2. Nervous Font

As alluded to in part one of this answer, the sample in the original post could very well be a font based on the evidence presented. I wasn't able to track down an exact match, but I did find a font called Nervous that comes close to the same effect:

enter image description here

Again, it's not an exact match, but if you're satisfied with a similar effect it's not a bad route to take if you want to save some time.


You could use a displacement map in Photoshop to do that - find an image of some water ripples, and use that for the displacement map. There are tutorials available online if you search like this one: http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/displaced-shadows/

Here's one I made in GIMP using a displacement map, but the same is possible in Photoshop - sorry, not at my own PC at the moment, so only had access to GIMP.

enter image description here


Not exactly what you're after, and not in your app choice, but this is where I got to with a quick twiddle in After Effects:

enter image description here

In the screenshot the Effects Controls panel is shown. In this control panel are the names of the Effects applied ("CC Griddler" and "Offset") to the text object, and the settings of each of the parameters changed to influence the outcome on the right.

  • I hardly resisted the urge to downvote this "answer" cause while I could try to understand your reasoning, this is not an answer. This is simply filling up space and it may very well prevent this question from actually being answered properly...
    – Alin
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:03
  • read my comments, the entire point of the original minimalist commentary, and the strong point about it being in an app that's not desired, is to inspire others to try with Photoshop, the DESIRED app of the op @Alin, by setting the bar low, and showing the stacking of effects.
    – Confused
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:17
  • And the first words are "Not what you're after..." @Alin --- I'm conceding, from the get go, that this isn't an answer, so the pressure is off ANYONE attempting to recreate this effect. Otherwise others might feel compelled to not answer unless they can get it absolutely right. The combination of a ripple with short horizontal waves impacting vertical edges and the variation in horizontal tearing is not an easy trick. It's going to take several effects, done absolutely right, possibly upon multiple layers, possibly compounding the effects with manual processes.
    – Confused
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:19

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