Photoshop Tutorial: Speech Bubbles

Image © Richard D. LeCour

It’s about time I did another Photoshop tutorial. This time, I’ve jotted down instructions on how to create speech bubbles for comics.

  1. Set foreground color to black.
  2. With the text tool, type some text that you’d like to display in a bubble.
  3. Use the elliptical marquee tool to create a bubble around the text.
  4. While holding down the SHIFT key, create a second, overlapping bubble — optional.
  5. Select the polygonal lasso tool.
  6. Hold down the SHIFT key again.
  7. Starting inside the existing bubble, use the lasso tool and click three points to make a downward-pointing triangle. The second point should be below the bubble. The third point is back up inside the bubble.
  8. Click the first lasso point again to close the lasso. You should now have a selected marquee in the shape of a speech bubble. Oh, yeah, you can let go of the SHIFT key now.
  9. Create a new blank layer.
  10. If it’s not already there, move the blank layer below the text layer.
  11. Select the blank layer.
  12. Select the paint bucket tool.
  13. Fill in the bubble. Yes, it looks completely black!
  14. Go to Select > Modify > Contract and contract the selection by 2 pixels.
  15. Set foreground color to white.
  16. Fill in the bubble again. Voila!

4 Responses to “Photoshop Tutorial: Speech Bubbles”

  1. Ken Patterson

    Well, I’ve recently converted over to using the MacBook Pro and they have this nifty program called Comic Life, and it will do the speech bubbles for me…

  2. Chris

    Once you have the selection the way you want it, you can easily convert it to a work path by right-clicking it and selecting Make Work Path.. You can then stroke the path with whatever brush you like. No need to create another layer, fill the selection, contract it and fill it again.

  3. richard

    Mostly true. You still need a layer on which to apply the stroke. In the example above, I started with a blank canvas with no layers. Personally, I think that brushes are complicated for beginners which is why I went with the steps above. However, using a path will allow greater flexibility for different brush strokes, making dotted or dashed lines, and other effects. So, if you want to use a path instead, replace the steps starting at #9 above with the following:

    1. Right-click the selected marquee and choose Make Work Path with a tolerance of 2 pixels.
    2. Create a new blank layer.
    3. Select the blank layer.
    4. Select the Paths window, and then select your working path.
    5. Select the Brush tool and set up whatever brush you want.
    6. Click the circular Stroke Path with Brush icon at the bottom of the Paths window.
  4. therapy

    I found I had to bring the text layer to the front at the end, but then again I’m a bit drunk. Otherwise, great tutorial!


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