Using the Photoshop Type Tool

Get to know what the various Type Tool options in Adobe Photoshop can do to really lift your artwork.

The introduction of text and type effects in Photoshop now means that you can create cool logos or even documents with paragraphs of text in them, if you want. Although you don’t have the more complex control of text that you might have in desktop publishing programs such as InDesign, you can still produce simple text layouts, and other effects with relative ease, thanks to a set of useful tools and text controls.

You can produce normal horizontal text and vertical text if required, and you can also use both vertical and horizontal text to create masks. The only limiting factor is the number of fonts you carry on your system. The more fonts you have, the more choice you have.

Step 1 – Having opened an image, in the form of a photo of a rolling ocean, we want to incorporate it with some text in order to use it as a title graphic. To access the Type tools, we need to go to the toolbar on the right and click on the Horizontal Type Tool (T).

Step 2 – When you click on the Type tool, your options menu at the top of your screen will reflect what is available for that specific tool. In this case, you can choose your font, the weight of that font and the size you want it to be, along with some other basic options.

Step 3 – If you drag an area with the Type tool on your image, it will automatically create a new text layer and then display some default text to show you what it looks like in your chosen font and size. We can then type in whatever text we want to use; we have simply typed ‘WAVES’.

Step 4 – If you highlight your text, you can add some Warp Text effects by clicking on the icon in the options menu. Here, you can choose from a number of effects such as Arc, Bulge, Fisheye and Flag. Our example is a simple Wave effect with sliders to control Bend and Distortion.

Step 5 – That was one option. Now, to use text to create a mask, go to the toolbar again and, this time, choose the Horizontal Type Mask Tool (T). We have dragged out a text box over the flowers and typed the word ‘WAVES’ again in large text. We can move/scale the text box if necessary.

Step 6 – You will see that the area inside the text shows the image clearly. Anything shown that is outside the text is currently coloured red, which means when you move on to the next stage of the masking process, using this text mask, it will not be selected.

Step 7 – Click on the Commit Changes button, the text will turn into an active selection. At this point, you have a couple of options. You can click on a selection tool like the Lasso Tool, right-click the selection, then choose Layer Via Copy to copy the area inside the text to a new layer.

Step 8 – If you prefer, you can go to the layer options panel and choose Add A Mask. This will mask the entire image of the waves, leaving only the area inside the selection visible. When masking, remember that white reveals and black conceals.

Step 9 – As mentioned, you can also create paragraphs of text by dragging out a text box of the size you want. Placeholder text will appear in the box and you can then use the Character and Paragraph properties to format your text to suit your preferences.

Mark Frost

Mark started work as a commercial artist during the good old days of Letraset, spray mount and having to process your photos at a local chemist. Having discovered his passion for photography, Photoshop and the wonders of digital image manipulation, he has not looked back. He is well on his way to owning more cameras than he’s had hot dinners.

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