The State of Type in Photoshop

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Photoshop 5 gave us something you don't see often — editable bitmapped type. Long after you created a line or two of text, you had the option of changing the words, typeface, size, leading, kerning, and so on, just as you could in other graphics and electronic publishing programs. You could also mix and match formatting attributes inside a single text block, something you couldn't do in Version 4 and earlier. In only one upgrade cycle, Photoshop made a quantum leap from grim Stone Age letter wrangling to something that might actually pass for contemporary typesetting.

Photoshop 5.5 expanded your type possibilities further, adding options for underlining text, applying faux bold and italic effects, and adjusting how the program applied antialiasing and kerning to text. But all these advances pale in comparison to the bounty of text improvements in Photoshop 6.

The Photoshop 6 type tool creates vector text instead of bitmapped text. That means that you can scale text as large as you want without any repercussions, just as you can any vec tor object. (If you're unclear as to what I mean by bitmapped and vector objects, review Chapter 3.) In addition, you can do all the following:

4 Create and edit text by typing directly on the image canvas — no more side trips to the Type Tool dialog box required.

4 Create text inside a frame and then apply paragraph formatting to control hyphenation, justification, indents, alignment, and paragraph spacing. You can even create lists that use hanging punctuation and control word and character spacing in justified text, as you can in Adobe PageMaker and InDesign.

4 Make per-character adjustments to color, width, height, spacing, and baseline shift.

In This Chapter

Abandoning your old Photoshop text notions

Creating vector type instead of bitmap type

Rasterizing text

Adding type directly to an image

Creating text inside a bounding box

Formatting text using the Character and Paragraph palettes

Editing existing text

Creating vertical columns of type

Converting text to a shape or work path

Warping text layers

Selecting an image using a type mask

Applying layer effects to type

♦ Bend, twist, and otherwise distort text using a simple Warp Text dialog box instead of wrestling with the Wave filter or other distortion filters.

♦ Convert characters to shapes that you can then edit, fill, and stroke just as you do objects you create with the shape tools (explored in Chapter 14). Alternatively, you can convert text to a work path.

♦ Rasterize the text so that you can apply any filters or tools applicable to ordinary image layers.

As you can see, the changes to type rank among the largest upgrades in Photoshop 6. And because Adobe implemented these features using controls similar to those found in page layout, illustration, and even advanced word processing programs, you should be able to make them a regular part of your text routine in no time.

I don't cover the Photoshop 6 options for formatting Chinese, Korean, and Japanese text, which become available when you select the Show Asian Text Options check box on the General panel of the Preference dialog box (Ctrl+K). Like the rest of the Photoshop 6 type controls, these options should be familiar to you if you work regularly with type in these languages. But if you're not sure what each control does, check the Photoshop online help system for details.

The five flavors of text

As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, the type tool now produces vector type. But you also can create a text-based selection outline or work path, convert each character to a separate vector object, or create a bitmap version of your text. Here's a rundown of your type choices:

♦ To create regular text, click the Text Layer button on the Options bar, click in the image window, and type away. Or, to create paragraph text, drag to create a text frame and then type your text in the frame. You then can choose from a smorgasbord of type formatting options, apply layer effects, and more. The only thing you can't do is apply the effects in the Filter menu or use the standard selection tools. As for that last one, there's no need to use the selection tools anyway — you can select characters simply by dragging over them, as you do in a word processor.

♦ To produce a text-based selection outline, click the Type Mask button on the Options bar and create your text, as I explain in the section "Character Masks and Layer Effects," toward the end of this chapter. All formatting options available for regular type work on type masks as well.

♦ After creating text, choose Layer S Type S Convert to Shape to turn each character to an individual vector shape that works just like those you create with the new shape tools (also covered in Chapter 14). You then can edit the shape of individual characters, an option explored in "Editing text as shapes," later in this chapter.

4 Choose Layer ^ Type ^ Create Work Path to generate a work path from text. One reason to use this option is to create a clipping path based on your text.

4 Finally, you can convert text to bitmapped type by choosing Layer ^ Rasterize ^ Type. After rasterizing the text, you can apply Photoshop's filters and other pixel-based features to it.

After you rasterize text or convert it to a shape or work path, you can't go back and fix typos or change the text formatting as you can while working with vector text or type masks. So be sure that you're happy with those aspects of your text before you convert it. You may even want to save a copy of the vector text in a new layer so that you can get it back if needed.

Also note that when you save images in formats that offer the Include Vector Data option, you must select that option to retain the vector properties of your text. If you turn off the check box or save in a format that doesn't support vectors, Photoshop rasterizes your text. Again, saving a backup copy of the image in the native Photoshop format is a good idea.

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