Image-based Typography in Photoshop

Wonder how an image is turned into texts? Using texts with varying fonts, sizes, colors and opacity into an image or to your photo is something you’ll enjoy with such amazing results! With simple steps, you can turn your photo into a colorful stuff, done in Photoshop.



Step 1. Open photo in Photoshop

Image below is a picture of Scarlett Johansson and can be can be found here. You may use your own photo if you prefer to.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Step 2. Creating the shadows

What we are trying to do here is to make a dark contrast out of the photo so that the texts that we’ll be typing on will be effective as we apply layer mask into it. That will follow in the next couple of steps.

To do this, go to Select>Color Range… then select Shadows. As a result, a selection of the dark parts is loaded and you can see kind of running ants on the photo. Now, press Ctrl+J to create a layer (Layer 1) for this.



Shadows Layer

Shadows Layer

Step 3. Midtones

There are areas where it’s not totally black nor white, they are gray actually, and we will include it along with the shadows that we earlier made. This is so because as as we type the texts later, the effect will be lighter in opacity compared to that of the shadows (which is black), and that will give an added highlight to the image outcome.

So, go back to your background layer, then like as we did to the previous step, but this time select Midtones. When done, press Ctrl+J to create its own layer (Layer 2).


Step 4. Shadow Fill

Activate Layer 1, then go to Edit>Fill… and select Black. Ba sure to check Transparency. You’ll notice that the shadows is enhanced and now more pronounced.

Fill Dialog Box

Fill Dialog Box

Fill Result

Fill Result

Step 5. Midtones Fill

Ok, like we did to Shadows, we’ll fill the midtones layer also but, this time, fill it with 50% gray. To do this, be sure to activate Layer 2 (midtones layer) first.

Gray Fill

Gray Fill

Gray Fill Result

Gray Fill Result

Step 6. Creating Text Brushes

We now need to create text brushes as we will be using in the next step. So, meantime, we’ll leave our work temporarily and create a new document. The size of the document is not that important really because we can adjust anytime the brush size as we go along. But to minimize, small size is better.

New Document

New Document

So, after a blank document is done, type the text that you want, preferably short. After this, go to Edit>Define Brush Preset…

Text and Brush Name

Text and Brush Name

Text Layer

Text Layer

Make plenty of text brushes, one at a time, with different font style and sizes. The more is better (and merrier!).

Step 7. Brushing Time!

Before we start the fun, create a new layer first above all the layers. This will serve as our brushing area.

Brush Layer

Brush Layer

Now, go grab your Brush Tool and select Brush. Click Brush Tip and adjust the Size and Spacing. Drag left or right to adjust. Brush all over the photo. It’s okay if not all filled with text brushes as that will be fixed later.

Brush Settings

Brush Settings

Step 8. White fill layer

Create a new layer below the topmost layer. Fill this with white (with white set to FG, click Alt+Backspace).

White Layer

White Layer

Step 9. Copy and Paste Merged Shadows and Midtones

Hide layers 3 and 4. Activate layer 2, select and copy (Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C).Unhide layers 3 and 4 now, then make a layer mask on Layer 3 (that one filled with texts).

Paste the copied layer (eg, Layer 2) into the layer mask by pressing Alt+Click. Hold Ctrl then press V, D, I simultaneously.







Step 10. More brushing

As mentioned earlier, we’ll fix the text brush area by applying more brushes until fully filled or contented. But first, click layer mask thumbnail (not the mask, but the one filled with text brushes). Okay, go on and brush more to the image as you wish. Give particular attention to the eyes and edges of the model.

Here’s how it should look like after rebrushing:



Step 11. Finishing touches

Enhance your work by applying Curves and/or Levels, Color fill, hue/saturation or maybe gradient overlay to make your product colorful and even more interesting.

Here’s how I came up:

Final Image

Final Image

2014 New Year Poster

With new year just around the corner, it is but timely to greet our friends and loved ones a cool poster or wallpaper via your favorite social media websites. Or, you can make a print out of it, kinda like a greeting card, and put your most lovely note into it. Ain’t that nice eh?

This tutorial shows you how to make such one, in a simple, easy-to-follow instructions below.



Step 1: Background Setting

Create a new document, about 1280×800 pixels (can be bigger for wallpaper, smaller for cards) and fill it with any solid color of your choice. This is because we are applying a chromatic color scheme here (meaning, the same color family which varies only by their lightness and darkness (e.g., hues). Just be sure that the color is bright and lively as we are about to make a new year greeting. The one i use here is almost like a burnt umber (be7032).


Step 2: Creating the rectangular shapes

There are 2 types of rectangular shapes that we will make – vertical and horizontal, with different width (of
which the former is thinner).

First off, create a new layer above the background layer. Pick the Rectangular Tool and draw your first rectangle. We will do the vertical first. Fill this with your background color. You’ll notice that as if there’s nothing changed, as a result. Don’t worry, the next step will make it visible.

Applying the layer styles.

Still on the same layer, click the fx icon below your layers palette then select Blending Options. Check Drop Shadow then input the following settings:


With the first one done, create 2 more rectangles by duplicating twice the first rectangle layer. When done, position them evenly parallel with each other using the Move Tool (refer image below).


Yay, we’re done with the vertical rectangles! What we’ll do next with these is to group it altogether and merge them. To do this, create a new layer group (name it ‘Vertical’) and drag each of the shape layer under it then Merge Group. This is how your layers palette should look by now:


For the horizontal rectangles, do the same process as with the vertical. Create a new layer under the vertical layer, draw a fatter horizontal rectangle this time, then fill it the same color as the vertical rectangles. After this, apply the layer styles, duplicate the layer twice, and you’ve completed the 3 horizontal shapes! Group them together and then Merge Group.



Step 3: Making the numbers

The numbers ca be a little bit lighter or darker, it’s all up to you. Mine is #ca8232, a little bit lighter than the first we used. Having decided for yourself what color to use, we’ll proceed in making the numeric characters.

First, create a new layer above all the other layers, then type your first number. I used the font Gill Sans MT Condensed here, size 100 pt. See below the values used for the Drop Shadow in the Blending Options (2nd figure).



Now that we’re finished with the first number, right-click that layer (‘2’ layer), then select Copy Layer Style. Click the other number layers (0, 1, 4) then apply the layer style by right-clicking the layer and selecting Paste Layer Style. Do this each of the layer.

This is how it should look by now:


You can opt for the above image now or, if not yet satisfied, you can add more layer styles like the one below which is added with Bevel and Emboss in its default values.



Step 4: The finishing touches

To complete our work, select a color again, a lighter or darker one than the previous ones. I chose lighter hue here (#eeac32).


Type ‘Happy New Year’ using a Vivaldi font, size 18. Apply Drop Shadow, Opacity to 100, check Anti-alias, Ok. Position the text using the Free transform Tool on the right side vertically. Done!


Colorful Image Typography


In this tutorial, we’re going to make a typographic poster from a simple photo using Photoshop techniques. I haven’t done something like this before despite the fact that I started doing typography both in GIMP and Photoshop. Filling out an image with different fonts appears so cool to me and it inspires me to do one.

The described effects look nice on portraits or any other images with good contrast and light background, but you can easily adjust the contrast and make the background lighter using the different tools and filters in Photoshop.

Step 1 : Choose your photo

In Adobe Photoshop, open your chosen image and adjust the contrast (Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast…). The image used can be downloaded HERE.

Step 2 : Create various text brushes

Create a new document (File>New) in a size that’s smaller than your photo: the specifics don’t really matter. Press D to set the Foreground color to black. Use the Type tool (T) to type several different words in various fonts and sizes (in this case we used a person’s name). One at a time, draw a selection around each word with the Rectangular Marquee tool (M), and from the Edit menu, choose Define Brush Preset. Name each brush in the Brush Name dialog and click OK.

Step 3 : Selecting the shadows

Switch back to the photograph (Background layer). From the Select menu, choose Color Range. From the Select drop-down menu in the Color Range dialog, choose Shadows and click OK. (In our example, nothing in the background was selected. If parts of the background are selected in your photo, see the next step for removing those selected areas.)

Then, press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selected pixels onto a new layer. Press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selected pixels onto a new layer. Click back on the Background layer in the Layers panel to activate it.

Step 4 : Selecting the Midtones

Go back to the Select menu and choose Color Range again. From the Select drop-down menu in the Color Range dialog, choose Midtones and click OK. If (as in this example) some of the background is selected, use the Lasso tool (L) with the Option key (PC: Alt key) held down to circle the areas you don’t want selected. Then, press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selected pixels onto a new layer.

Step 5 : Fill the layers with black and gray

Click the Eye icon next to the Background layer in the Layers panel to hide that layer from view. Click on the midtones layer (Layer 2) and from the Edit menu choose Fill. Use 50% Gray, check the Preserve Transparency box, and click OK. Then, activate the shadow layer (Layer 1) and use the Fill command again, except this time use Black with Preserve Transparency checked. You should have a very basic portrait made from black and 50% gray.

Step 6 : Fine-tune the results and merge down layers

If necessary, show the original Background (click where the Eye icon used to be) and use the Brush tool (B) to paint with black on the shadow layer, gray on the midtones layer, or use the Eraser tool (E) to completely remove areas. (Note: For gray, click on the Foreground color swatch, enter R:128, G:128, and B:128 in the Color Picker, and click OK.) In this example, we added a little more definition to the ears by painting with gray on the midtones layer. Once you’re satisfied, click on the top layer (the shadow layer) and press Command-E (PC: Ctrl-E) to merge it with the midtones layer.

Step 7 : Adjust brush settings and apply some texts

Click the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Press D to set your default colors. Press Command-Delete (PC: Ctrl-Backspace) to fill the new layer with white. Choose one of your custom brushes from the Brush Picker in the Options Bar, and in the Brushes panel (Window>Brushes), click on the words “Brush Tip Shape.” Adjust the Spacing so there’s space between each word. Under Shape Dynamics, vary the size and rotation of the brush. As you paint on the white layer, experiment with the Shape Dynamics. Repeat with your other custom brushes. For now, just get some “text paint” on the layer—we’ll continue painting in a moment.

Step 8 : Copy the image

Create a new layer and drag it above the black-and-gray portrait layer. Press Command-Delete (PC: Ctrl-Backspace) to fill it with white. This will provide a white background behind our image. Hide all the layers except the black-and-gray portrait layer, and then click on that layer to make it active. Press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to Select All and then Command-C (PC: Ctrl-C) to Copy.

Step 9 : Paste image into the layer mask

Show all layers and activate the layer with the painted words. Click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a layer mask. Hold down Option (PC: Alt) and click on the layer mask thumbnail (this will hide the painted text and show just the mask). Press Command-V (PC: Ctrl-V) to paste the copied pixels onto the mask. Press Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to Deselect. Press Command-I (PC: Ctrl-I) to Invert the mask (your mask should look like a negative of the black-and-gray pixel image that you pasted).

Step 10 : Add more texts with varying brushes

Activate the painted text layer (not the mask) by clicking on the layer thumbnail, and continue painting using the different custom brushes you created. You can also continue to experiment with the brush settings for Size, Spacing, and Shape Dynamics. (Although you don’t need a pressure sensitive pen for this technique, it sure helps!)

Step 11 : Add a new layer with random texts

The painted text will only appear inside the white and gray areas of the mask. To add a bit more randomness to the portrait, add a new layer above the painted text layer. Then use the same text brushes to add a few words here and there outside the boundaries of the mask.

Step 12 : Apply Gradient

With the image with layer mask active, click the New fill icon below the layers palette then select Gradient…Choose the yellow, red, blue gradient in the selection box, click Ok. Set blend mode to Overlay.

And here’s the final result:

Parchment Font Text Effect

The Parchment Font is an eye-catching, classical font originated from the Old French and late Middle English times. Derived from the ancient form of writing material like the skin (parch), yellowish paper of old, and others of this type. Bringing back the old glory like this one just interested me so much and, as such, my pleasure to share this back to life.



Linear Burn




Step 1

Make a new document, 500×500 pixels, fill it with a gray paper pattern (Edit>Fill>Pattern…). You may fill it with a plain gray color as alternative, if you prefer to. When done, duplicate this layer.

Step 2

Add noise (Filter>Noise>Add Noise…),render clouds (Filter>Render>Clouds…), then Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur…) with the following settings:

Step 3

Grab the Text Tool and type letter “T” (or any letter of your preference). A “T layer” is created as a result and the image is like this:

Step 4

It’s time to apply the layer styles. With the text layer still active, click the “fx” icon below the layers palette then set the following:

After applying the above layer styles, the result would be something like this now:

Step 5

Go back to Layer 1 copy and we’ll make a little bit of enhancement, because our background is dull. So, click Create new fill icon (that half-shaded circle) then select Gradient…

Copper Gradient

Step 6

Now, activate the text layer (the topmost layer), then click once more the Create new fill icon. This time, select Pattern then choose the brown skin.

Note: I’ve uploaded a skin pattern here then loaded it in the Patterns (Edit>Define Pattern) lists.

Mode: Hard Light

Here is the outcome, another variant of the images shown above:

Shiny Chrome Text Effect


Here’s the final image we are going to make:



Step 1. Make a scanline background.

To do this, create a new document, 1×6 pixels. Set foreground color to gray (50%) to fill the layer created. Next, set the foreground color to a lighter gray than the first one (35%), pick the Pencil Tool and shade one-third of the rectangular shape we made (e.g., the top part).

Step 2. Create a new document.

Open a new document, 1200×600 pixels, fill with the scanline pattern you’ve just created, then fill layer with blue color.

scanline (gray)

scanline (gray)

scanline (blue)

scanline (blue)

Step 3. Type the text.

With the foreground color set to white, type the text you want to work with. You can use the serpentine font like the one I used here.

serpentine font

serpentine font

Step 4. Applying the layer styles.

With the correct settings and values in applying the different layer styles, we will be able to create a beautiful and shiny chrome text effect here. Using a different font and color background may give different results. Experiment value variations to meet the desired outcome. Afterall, your own creativity and originality is the most important and which this tutorial hopes to give inspiration.

The following guides you through the process of the layer style application.

4.1 Bevel and emboss

Bevel and Emboss

Bevel and Emboss

4.2 Contour



4.3 Stroke



4.4 Drop Shadow

Drop Shadow

Drop Shadow



You can do your own style and variations, like the ones I did below. To do it, create a new layer above all the layers in the layers palette, fill that with any background you want (Select>All, Edit>Copy, Edit>Paste), then make a clipping mask (by right-clicking the layer, then select Create clipping mask).



Grunge Metal Text Effect


First, you will need to download the two textures below and convert them into Photoshop patterns later. To do this simply open each image then go to EDIT >> DEFINE PATTERN in the menu.



Create a new transparent document 670px * 400px at 72dpi as seen below.

To keep our psd file organized first click on the folder icon in the layer pallet 3 times to create three folders and name them FRAME, TEXT, and BACKGROUND respectively.

This step up to step 6 involves with the making of a frame with a footer-like signature of your website resembling a watermark.Let’s proceed…

Create a new layer within the FRAME folder and name it frame. Activate the shape tool by typing U, make sure the rectangular shape tool is selected, then draw out a square similar to the one below, leaving a little room on the top and bottom.

Activate the layer styles dialog box on your shape layer by double clicking on it or by going to LAYER >> LAYER STYLE >> BLENDING OPTIONS in the menu. Then enter the settings below.

Create a new layer above the frame layer by going to LAYER >> NEW >> LAYER in the menu, activate the text tool by typing T, then type in your title using the settings below:

Within the BACKGROUND folder create a new pattern fill layer by going to LAYER >> NEW FILL LAYER >> PATTERN in the menu and choose the grungy corrugated metal texture you either installed or created in step #1 as seen below.

Open the layer styles dialog box by going to LAYER >> LAYER STYLE >> BLENDING OPTIONS in the menu and enter the settings you see below:

Above the grungy corrugated metal texture layer create a gradient fill layer by going to LAYER >> NEW FILL LAYER >> GRADIENT in the menu with the settings seen below.

Open the layer styles dialog box on the gradient layer you just created and enter the settings you see below.

Within the TEXT folder now activate the text tool by typing T then open the character pallet and choose Arial Black at 310pt with a vertical stretch of 110% as seen below and then type in some text.

Duplicate the text layer you just created by going to LAYER >> DUPLICATE LAYER . Then activate the layer styles pallet on the top text layer and enter the settings you see below.

Open the layer styles dialog box on the bottom text layer now and enter the settings you see below.

Duplicate the background layer, click the fx icon and select Pattern Overlay. Select the pattern shown here or any metal texture you’ve downloaded earlier to your lists of patterns.

That’s it!