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Photoshop Top 40
Illustration by John Hersey

38. Vector type


From:

Photoshop Top 40

with Deke McClelland

Video: 38. Vector type

(Music playing) Deke's Photoshop? Deke's Photoshop? Top 40! Feature #38 is a vector based type inside of Photoshop. Now this is a big deal, because Photoshop is all about pixel-based manipulations. You are changing the colors of pixels in order to transform the appearance of a photographic image, but where text is concerned, it's all vectors. Just like it is inside of an illustration program or a page-layout program, meaning that you can edit the text anytime you like. You can scale and rotate the text and keep it super-smooth.

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Photoshop Top 40
7h 13m Intermediate Dec 21, 2009

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There's nothing people love more than lists, and Photoshop Top 40 offers a great one, highlighting the best features in Photoshop. Deke McClelland counts down to #1 with a new video each week, detailing one great feature after another in this popular digital imaging application. The videos cover tools, commands, and concepts, emphasizing what's really important in Photoshop.

This is an ongoing course that will be updated monthly.

For the newest updates please go to our blog entry for Deke's Photoshop Top 40.

Topics include:
  • Assembling multiple pieces of artwork with layer comps
  • Creating a black-and-white image from a color photograph
  • Merging multiple channels to create an alpha channel with calculations
  • Selecting images with the Pen tool
  • Masking images using the Brush tool
Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

38. Vector type

(Music playing) Deke's Photoshop? Deke's Photoshop? Top 40! Feature #38 is a vector based type inside of Photoshop. Now this is a big deal, because Photoshop is all about pixel-based manipulations. You are changing the colors of pixels in order to transform the appearance of a photographic image, but where text is concerned, it's all vectors. Just like it is inside of an illustration program or a page-layout program, meaning that you can edit the text anytime you like. You can scale and rotate the text and keep it super-smooth.

You can output the text at the full resolution of a PostScript printer. So those of you who are working with commercial grade output devices know this. Photoshop is PostScript savvy, an interesting and very little known feature of the software. So what that means is we can assemble something like a magazine cover, because Photoshop is uniquely suited to integrating texts along with photographic imagery, as we're about to see. We're going to start with this image here. It comes to us from photographer Andrejs Pidjass, and this image is going to serve as the backdrop for a cover, for a fashion magazine that I am calling Pout.

That I think is going to be all the rage with the kids. All right! Notice here inside the Layers palette that I have this folder here that's called 365 elements, I'm going to go ahead and turn it on. And I'm going to click the triangle in order to expand that group, so that we can see the layers inside of it. And each of these layers represents one of these text objects here inside of the Image window. I'm going to go ahead and double-click on this T that's associated with this Mix and Match layer, and that will do a couple of things. First of all, when I double-click on a T thumbnail, I'll automatically switch over to the Type tool here inside of Photoshop and I'll go ahead and select the contents of that text layer.

Now this text layer happens to be set inside of a frame and you create a frame by dragging with the Type tool, when you are first creating the text layer. Once you've created a frame, you can drag the handles for that frame in order to change the wrap of the text. So this is very much the same way things work inside of a vector-based program, something like Illustrator or InDesign, one of those, except that we're working directly inside of the photograph, which provides us with a lot of opportunities. All right! But I was happy with the text the way it was before. So I'm going to go ahead and press the Escape key, in order to restore the text to its original appearance.

Now I've got a couple of other text layers here that advertise other articles inside my magazine. And I want this text-block that says Make Him Love You In Under 5 Minutes. I want that to wrap on the inside of the model's arm. And I am going to do that by putting the text inside of the path, so that we're creating area text. Something that we normally associate, once again, with illustration and page layout programs. So I'm going to start things off by double-clicking on this T, right there in order to select the contents of that layer. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or I could press Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac, in order to copy that text to the Clipboard.

Now let's go ahead and turn that layer off. We don't need it anymore. And I'm going to go over to the Paths palettes and I've created a path in advance using my Pen tool. And there it is. As soon as I click on the path, I'll see it there inside of the Image window. Let's go ahead and zoom in a little bit, so that we can see that path up close and personal. And then I'll go ahead and grab my Type tool, which I can get by pressing the T key, if I like. And I'll move my cursor inside of the path and you can see now that I've got this dotted circle around my I-beam cursor, and this tells me that I'm going to put the text into the path.

So I'll just click inside of that path, and then I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Paste command or press Ctrl+V, Command+V on the Mac, and that goes ahead and pastes the text into that path. Now then I want the text to, as I say, wrap on the inside of the model's arm. So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+A, Command+A on the Mac, to select all of that text. Then I'll go up to the Options Bar, and I'll click on this option right there, Right align text, to right align that text inside of the path, and we have now created text inside of a path inside of Photoshop.

I'm going to press the Enter key on the keypad, in order to accept that modification, switch back to my Marquee tool, might as well zoom out now a little bit, and let's switch to a different layer, so that we hide that path outline. You can now see the text wraps on the inside of that arm just remarkably well. Now I was telling you that text inside of Photoshop is special, because you can integrate the text along with your photography. For example, I've got a couple of other text layers right here that represent the title of the magazine. So there is Pout, and there is the underline underneath it to serve as the magazine logo of course.

And I'm going to go ahead and select both of these text layers. Click on one, Shift+Click on the other and I'm going to put them inside of a group, by going over to Layers palette fly- out menu, and choosing New Group from Layers. They'll invite me to name this group and I'm going to call this masked text, and then click OK. Now what's so masked about it is right here on the Channels palette, I have this thing called half mask that I've created in advance. It's going to serve as a mask for that text. So there it is. All I need to do in order to load it up is Ctrl+Click on it. So I'll Ctrl+Click on this so-called alpha channel.

That would be a Command+Click on the alpha channel on the Mac. Then I'll switch back to my RGB image like so. Go to the Layers palette. I've got that masked text group selected. I'll drop-down to the bottom of the palette right there where I see that Add a layer mask option, I'll click on that icon and I am masking that text now behind her head and behind her elbow as well. That is something that would be so difficult to pull-off inside of Illustrator or InDesign. It's so easy to pull-off inside of Photoshop. Now finally you might look at this and say okay, but is this going to be enough resolution in order to print smooth text? And the answer is no.

So what do we do about that? Well, let's go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command. I could also press Ctrl+Alt+I or Command +Option+I on the Mac, in order to bring up the Image Size dialog box. You can see we've got a standard size magazine cover that's 7.75 inches wide, 10.75 inches tall. This is one of the standard sizes out there. But we have a very low resolution of 240 pixels/inch. That's not going to do this at all well. In fact, if we want really super- smooth text, why don't we just go ahead and take this through the roof to 600 pixels/pinch. Notice that I have all my checkboxes turned on, Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions, Resample Image, all very important that those are on, if we are going to scale this image.

And I want the interpolation settings set to its default, which is Bicubic (best for smooth gradients). That's what we want in this case. Then click OK in order to accept that modification now. It's going to take a few moments for that change to apply, but as soon as it does, check out the text. It is super-smooth still at this point. So Photoshop goes ahead and uses that vector-based path outline information, and scales it to the full size of the image. We can now print out this magazine cover super-duper smooth. Thanks to the power of Vector Based Type and your ability to integrate type into a photographic image here inside Photoshop.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop Top 40.


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Q: Is there a way to batch convert an entire folder of photos from the RBG color mode to the CMYK color mode without having to open and convert each individual image?
A: In the Actions panel in Photoshop, create an action that converts an image from RGB to CMYK. Then link to that action from File > Automate > Batch inside Photoshop.
Next, in the Bridge, select a folder of images. Choose Tools > Photoshop > Batch. Select the action inside the ensuing dialog box.
Or, in Photoshop, select File > Automate > Batch, and select the action and the folder inside the dialog box.
See also: Photoshop CS2 Actions & Automation, Chapter 2 “Action Essentials.”
 
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