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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week we're going to take a portrait shot and we are going to render that photograph in type, and you can see how the type is actually wrapping around the contours of our scarf here. It's wrapping around her skin. It's going in various directions. Her eyes are filled with type. We've got type over here in the background--text all over the place here. Let me show you exactly how it works. All right, gang! Here is the final version of the effect.
I wanted you to see it on-screen so you have a sense of where we're going. I am going to switch over to this base composition. It contains this portrait layer that comes to us from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you learn more at fotolia.com/deke, and then we have three text layers all of which are variations on the exact same words. I'll go ahead and turn on the first layer so that you can see how it runs at in angle. I'll be using this text to fill in the face. I also have this next layer up, by the way, which we'll also use to fill in the face, so that we can get as much detail going as possible.
Notice that this time the text is rotated in the opposite direction, clockwise instead of counterclockwise, and I've gone ahead and warped the text around the face as well using the Character Warp function, by the way. If you were to click on that layer and then press the T key in order to switch to the Type tool, notice that you have this Warp icon up here in the Options bar. You click on it, and then you'll see that I've gone ahead and applied a Style of Arch with a Bend value of -30%. Anyway, I am going to go ahead and cancel out--I just wanted to show you what was up. And then finally, we have the top layer, which we'll use to fill in the background.
Now the one thing I want you to notice, the attributes that all of these text layers share in common are the fact that the text is white, which is very important for this technique to work, and the leading is extremely tight, as you can see. I'm just leaving a little bit of space around the X height of the characters. The ascenders and descenders actually overlap each other, and while that comes at the expense of the legibility of the text--it doesn't altogether ruin it, by the way; you can still read these words-- it does ensure that we're filling in as much detail as possible. All right! I am going to zoom back out.
If you're working along with me, here is what I want you to do. Go ahead and turn on both the big words and small words layers. We'll end up with this cacophony of white text all over the place. Then click on the portrait layer to make it active. Press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and drag that layer and drop it above the big words layer like so in order to create a copy of that portrait layer on the fly. Now we are going to be filling in the white text using the Multiply Blend mode, so I am going to change the name of this layer to multiply, just so I can keep track of it.
And then I'll go up to the Blend mode pop-up menu there in the upper-left corner of Layers panel and I'll choose Multiply, like so. Normally, what you do is you turn off this portrait layer down here at the bottom so that you're filling in the text and you are leaving the background black. I have a little bit of a problem with this effect, however, because we're chewing these letters into the whites of our eyes and I just don't think at the end of the day that's a particularly aesthetically pleasing effect. So, what I am going to do is fill in some of the highlight details using this portrait layer down here at the bottom of the stack.
So I'll start by turning it on by clicking on its eyeball. Then I am going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on this eyeball, so that we are viewing the portrait layer exclusively of the other layers inside the image. Now, I'm going to go ahead and switch over to the Color Sampler tool, and the reason I'm doing this is I want to evaluate the color composition of the whites of those eyes. So I am going to click in the white of the right eye for starters here. That will automatically bring up the Info panel, by the way. Now I'll set another sample point here inside of the left eye. And notice we can now see the RGB composition of both of those points.
And in each case, the biggest, and therefore brightest, luminance level is found inside the blue channel. So in other words, the white of the eyes are brightest inside the blue channel, and therefore the blue channel will serve as a perfect mask for this portrait layer. So I am going to go ahead and hide the Info panel. Now that I know what's going on, I am going to click on the Clear button up here in the Options bar to get rid of those sample points. That brings up the Info panel again, so I guess I'll have to hide it. Anyway, now I am going to switch over to the Channels panel, and I am going to load the Blue channel as a selection outline by pressing the Ctrl key, or the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on that channel.
Now switch back to the Layers panel, click on the portrait layer to make it active, and then go ahead and click on the Add layer mask icon down here at the bottom of the Layers panel. That will mask away everything but the brightest details inside of this portrait layer. To bring back the other layers, press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click on that eyeball once again in front of portrait. Now I am going to press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 to center the image on screen. I want to exaggerate the contrast of this mask just a little bit, so I am going to go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and then choose the Levels command--or you can press Ctrl+L or Command+L on a Mac.
I ultimately came up with a black point value of 100, a white point value of 200, and then I change this midpoint so- called Gamma value to 2, and then click OK in order to accept that modification. You can see here inside the Layers panel that we have a much higher-contrast mask. Now to give you a sense of the contribution of this portrait layer now, I'll go ahead and turn it off. This is what the effect looks like if we rely exclusively on the text layers, and this is the effect if we add a little bit of highlight boost. Finally, we need to fill in the background with the side words, and I am going to do that by selecting the Background using the Color Range command.
The Color Range command works from the composite image. So in order to see the portrait once again, I need to temporarily change the Blend mode for that multiply layer back to Normal, and then I'll go up to the Select menu and choose the Color Range command. Now, because black is my foreground color, Photoshop goes ahead and automatically selects this background, as you can see indicated here inside the dialog box. So anything that's white is going to be selected; anything that's black is going to be deselected. My Fuzziness value is set to 40 as by default. I am just going to go ahead and click OK in order to accept that selection.
Now, it needs a little bit of work, so I am going to switch over to the Quick Mask mode by pressing the Q key, and then I'll press the tilde key, which is that key in the upper-left corner of an American keyboard, in order to view the mask by itself. All right! Now I am going to switch over to the Brush tool, which I can get by pressing the B key, and I'll right-click inside the image so you can see that my Size value is set to 200 pixels; my Hardness is maxed out to 100%. All right! I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to accept that change. My foreground color is black, so I am going to click right about there. Notice I am not clicking directly on the edge of the mask, just next to it like so, and now I'll click and Shift+Click my way up to the top here, maybe paint away some of this eye, paint down here just a little bit.
Then I'll go ahead and zoom out, press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, go ahead and marquee the left portion of the image, press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that selection with black, and now I've successfully selected the background and only the background. I'll press the Q key in order to leave the Quick Mask mode. Go ahead and zoom in a little bit here. Actually, at this point, I have the background selected. What I need to do is select the foreground, so I am going to go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command. Then I'll click on the Background layer to make it active, and I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+J, or Command+Option+J on a Mac, in order to jump that selection and name the new layer.
And I'll call it face, and I'll click OK like so. All right! Now what you need to do is go ahead and take these other layers here, portrait all the way up through multiply-- so click on one, Shift+Click on the other--and you need to clip them inside the face layer. And we do that by going up to Layer menu and choosing Create Clipping Mask, and that will go ahead and clip all those guys inside face. Now I want to grab that side words layer, drag it down the stack so it appears below the face layer, and then turn it on, so we can see that text exclusively in the background.
Then I'll press the 5 key in order to reduce the opacity of that layer to 50%. All right! Now let's go ahead and restore the other text effects by clicking on that multiply layer and switching the Blend mode back to Multiply like so. The final thing that I decided to do was create a little bit of darkness around the edge of the woman's scarf, so that we have some distinction between the foreground text and that background text. I did that using a drop shadow. So I'll click on the face layer, click on the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, choose the Drop Shadow command, increase that Opacity value to 100%.
I changed the Angle value to 180 degrees, and then I took the Distance value up to 50 pixels, and I increased the Size value to 200 pixels like so. Then click OK to accept that shadow. All right! This is the final version of the effect. I am going to go ahead and press the F key a few couple of times to fill the screen with the image, I'll zoom in as well, so that you can see the final version of the effect: a portrait rendered in text layers here inside Photoshop.
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