Type masks on the march

The most obvious use for a type-based selection is to select a portion of an image. In a matter of seconds, you get type filled with photographic imagery. While nifty in theory, finding a use for photographic type is another matter. In the following steps, I created a type mask to select a portion of an image, send it to a new layer, and then modify brightness values to distinguish the text from its background. Though very easy, this technique yields some interesting results.

STEPS: Selecting Part of an Image Using Character Outlines

1. Assemble the image you want to mask. In my case, I start with the classic eel erupting from a clock pictured in Figure 15-24. I know, you're thinking, "Deke, how do you come up with such attractive stuff?" It's a knack, I guess. Try not to be jealous.

Figure 15-24: I created this image by selecting an eel, layering it against a clock, and using a layer mask to blend the two images. Then I flattened the image and saved it.

2. Create your text. Select the type tool, click the Type Mask button, and click in the image window. Enter and format your type as usual. To reposition the mask, move the cursor away from the type until you see the move cursor and then drag in the image window. When you're happy with the mask, press Ctrl+Enter to convert the text mask to a selection outline.

3. Modify the selection outlines as needed. I chose Select ^ Transform Selection and then Ctrl-dragged the corner handles to distort my character outlines, as in Figure 15-25. (The character outlines are hard to see so I've added a translucent white fill to make the text more legible. The fill is there merely for the purpose of the screen shot.)

Figure 15-25: The Transform Selection command enabled me to apply a perspective effect to my character outlines before using them to select the image.

4. Send the selected text to a separate layer by pressing Ctrl+J. The selection outlines disappear so the image looks like it did before you started. But rest assured, you have characters filled with imagery on a separate layer.

5. Return to the background layer and create a new layer by clicking the page icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. The easiest way to distinguish text from background image is to darken the background image and lighten the text (or vice versa). This new layer is just the ticket.

6. Fill the layer with a dark color. Then choose the Multiply mode (Shift+Alt+M) and lower the Opacity value. For my part, I added a black-to-white gradation starting from the lower left and ending in the upper-right portion of the image. Thanks to the Multiply mode, just the area behind the text was darkened, as shown in Figure 15-26. I also lowered the Opacity to 40 percent.

Figure 15-26: To darken the area behind the type, I added a black-to-white gradation on a new layer and set the layer to the Multiply mode.

7. Switch to the type layer. Next, we'll make the type a lighter color.

8. Create a new layer and fill it with a light color. Set the blend mode to Screen (Shift+Alt+S) and adjust the Opacity value as desired. I filled my layer with white and set the Opacity to 80 percent.

9. Press Ctrl+G. This groups the light layer with the type below it, as demonstrated in Figure 15-27. The light area outside the type goes away. Now the type stands out clearly from its background, even though you can see the image both inside and outside the letters.

Figure 15-27: To lighten the text, I added a layer filled entirely with white and grouped it with the type layer.

10. Apply whatever additional effects strike your fancy. I returned to the type layer and chose Layer S Layer Styles S Bevel and Emboss. Then I selected the Outer Bevel setting to create the letters shown in Figure 15-28. I also applied the Drop Shadow effect to the text in the upper-right corner and the Pillow Emboss effect to the Jelly-Vision logo.

As the enlarged view of the Jelly-Vision logo in Figure 15-29 shows, Photoshop's layer effects can work super-fast miracles on type. In a matter of seconds, I was able to transform the top example in the figure into the bottom one.

Figure 15-28: I managed to transform a strange, drab composition into this mighty attractive poster art using nothing but text.
Figure 15-29: Creating the Jelly-Vision logo was as simple as distorting the text and applying a Pillow Emboss layer effect.

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