Text as art

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of creating text, I want to share a few ideas to inspire you to see text for the creative playground that it can be. Combine the new powers of the Photoshop 6 type tool with the program's effects, filters, paint and edit tools, and layering features, and you can create an almost unlimited array of text effects to enhance your images — even produce text that stands alone as a powerful image in its own right.

With that flowery speech out of the way, allow me to provide some examples of the kind of things you can do with your text:

4 Create translucent type: Because Photoshop automatically creates type on a new layer, you can change the translucency of type simply by adjusting the Opacity value for the type layer in the Layers palette. Using this technique, you can merge type and images to create subtle overlay effects, as illustrated in Figure 15-1.

4 Use type as a selection: By creating a type mask, you can use type to select a portion of an image and then move, copy, or transform it. To create Figure 15-2, for example, I used my text to select the vintage photo. Then I dragged it into a different stock photo background and applied the Multiply blend mode from the Layers palette. You'd be hard-pressed to tell that there's a parade inside those letters, but it serves as an interesting texture.

Figure 15-1: After creating some white type layered against a vintage photo, I lowered the type opacity to 70 percent. Though child's play in Photoshop, this effect is virtually impossible to create in most drawing programs.
Figure 15-2: Photoshop is virtually unique in permitting you to select an image using type. Here I selected the image from Figure 15-1 and dragged the selection into a different background.

♦ Apply layer effects: Photoshop's layer effects are fully applicable to type. In Figure 15-3, I replaced the industrial background from Figure 15-2 with a back ground texture created with the Clouds and Emboss filters (see Chapter 11). Then I applied a pillow emboss effect to the text layer using Layer S Layer Style S Bevel and Emboss.

Pillow Emboss Text Effect
Figure 15-3: I used the Bevel and Emboss layer effect to apply a pillow emboss effect.

♦ Edit type as part of the image: After rasterizing text (by choosing Layer S Rasterize S Type), you can paint type, erase it, smear it, apply a filter or two, or do anything else that you can do to pixels. In Figure 15-4, I embossed the type, flattened it against its background, applied a few effects filters, and made it sway with the Wave filter.

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