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X-Files Effect

By Nick Ustinov You've seen X-Files, haven't you? And you liked the effect they use for their title? Something very mysterious, right. Well, it isn't as complex as you might think. All you need is Photoshop and a little bit of patience.
x_1.gif (1698 bytes) Start with a RGB image and make the background black. Type something. If you are using Photoshop 4.0, hit Ctrl-E (Cmd-E on Mac) to merge type layer down. Now, open Channel Palette (Window>Show Channels) and drag any of the channels to a New Channel icon. This will create channel #4. Double click it and rename it to "original type".
x_2.gif (4134 bytes) Drag original type channel to a new channel icon to duplicate it. Double click channel #5 and rename it to "white". Then Ctrl-click (Cmd-click on Mac) on the channel to load it as a selection. Now we have to expand it a little. Use Select>Modify>Expand with setting of 2 pixels. Edit>Fill with white. Remove the selection (Select>None).

Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur... with setting of 2

x_3.gif (6163 bytes) Drag the white channel to a new channel icon so we can have one more channel. Double click channel #6 and rename it to "yellow". Ctrl-click it to get the selection. Again, Select>Modify> Expand... and enter value of 2. Fill it with white and remove the selection and gaussian blur it all by 3.
x_4.gif (12451 bytes) Finally drag yellow to a new channel icon. Rename it to "green", Ctrl-click it, and expand by 6. Fill it with white, deselect, then blur by 10 pixels. Now, preparations are ready. Let's do it.
x_5.gif (8795 bytes) Switch to channel RGB. Select>Load Selection... choose channel "green". Now pick some nice green color as foreground color. Here, this setting is used R:0 G:255 B:0

Edit>Fill... with foreground. Do the same for the "yellow" channel but use R:128 G:255 B:0 color.

x_6.gif (7395 bytes) Repeat the process for the "white" channel but use plain white color.
x_7.gif (6833 bytes) Finally, load "original type", Select>Modify>Contract by 1 pixel and fill with black.

You are X-Filed!

This article first appeared in November 1998.

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