Photoshop CS4: Image Compositing for Photographers

Combining text and images with clipping masks


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Photoshop CS4: Image Compositing for Photographers

with Jan Kabili

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Video: Combining text and images with clipping masks

In this chapter, I'm going to suggest some ways that you can use your photographs along with text to create some interesting composites. A classic way to use text and photos together is to apply a clipping mask to fill some bold text, like the sky text that you see here, with photograph as its content. For example, I have a photograph of the sky on this image right here and I'm going to bring that image of sky into the image that contains the text. So, I'll get my Move tool and I'll click in the sky image and drag up to the Document tab for the clipping image.
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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4: Image Compositing for Photographers
2h 47m Intermediate Dec 15, 2009

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In Photoshop CS4: Image Compositing for Photographers, Jan Kabili demonstrates how to take photographs to the next creative level using image compositing techniques in Photoshop. Jan starts with a basic compositing workflow: how to choose images, move layers from one file to another, use Smart Objects to transform photos, blend photos with layer masks, and resize and sharpen the results. She then reveals her methods for blending images into a composite for a seamless look. Photoshop's powerful blending features, including Auto-Blend, the Advanced Blending sliders, and layer knockout, are explored. Jan also shows how to handle common multiple-image situations, such as panoramas, bracketed exposures, and HDR photos. Exercise files are included with this course.

Topics include:
  • Preparing photos in Adobe Camera Raw
  • Customizing color settings for compositing
  • Compositing with selections and masks
  • Extending depth of field with compositing
  • Creating panoramas and photo montages
  • Incorporating text in photo composites
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Jan Kabili

Combining text and images with clipping masks

In this chapter, I'm going to suggest some ways that you can use your photographs along with text to create some interesting composites. A classic way to use text and photos together is to apply a clipping mask to fill some bold text, like the sky text that you see here, with photograph as its content. For example, I have a photograph of the sky on this image right here and I'm going to bring that image of sky into the image that contains the text. So, I'll get my Move tool and I'll click in the sky image and drag up to the Document tab for the clipping image.

Then I'll move down into the clipping image until I see this gray bounding box and I'll release my mouse. That created a layer named sky. It came in with the layer name that it had in the original image. I have my sky layer at the top of the Layer Stack. If your sky layer isn't there, then click on that sky layer and drag it up to the top of the Layer Stack until you see a dark line there, and then release your mouse. So right now, the sky layer is obscuring everything below it, including the text. I can fix that by clipping the sky layer to the text.

Then it will appear only where there is text on that text layer. To do that, I'm going to move my mouse over the border between the sky layer and the text layer. I'm going to hold down the Option or Alt key, as I do that. When I get just in the right place, the icon will change to this double circle icon that you see in my Layers panel now. Holding the Option or Alt key, I'll click on the border between the sky layer, and the text layer. That clips the sky layer to the text layer so that the sky image appears only inside of the text.

You'll notice, in the Layers panel, that the sky layer is slightly indented and has this crooked arrow, meaning that it is clipped to the layer below it. One of the nice things about working with a clipping mask like this is that I can move the sky photo around until I get just the image that I want showing in the text. To do that, I'll make sure I have the Move tool selected, and I'll just click-and-drag, moving around until I have just the right mix of clouds and sky to make the image the way that I want it.

Now, I see that the Y and the S are a little bit difficult to make out. So, I'd like to add a layer effect inside of the text. To do that, I'm going to double-click on the sky type layer, and that opens the Layer Style dialog box. I'll move that over a bit, and here in the left column, I'm going to check Inner Shadow to apply an inner shadow inside the text. That sets the text off just a little bit more. I'll select Inner Shadow, and that brings up the Inner Shadow options here in the middle column.

I can tweak those to taste. So, I might increase the Size of that shadow, maybe its Choke, or its Distance. I might even change the color of the shadow, because most shadows aren't really black, they reflect the colors around them. So, I'll click in a Color field here in the Inner Shadow options, and that opens the Color Picker. I'm going to click anywhere in this middle bar to bring up some colors. From here, I'm going to click on a dark blue, and then I'll move the bar in the middle down to get an even darker blue.

When I'm happy with the color, I'll click OK. I'm going to accept those changes by clicking OK in the Layer Style dialog box, and I've now set off my text a little bit. I could still click back on the sky layer and with the Move tool play with exactly where that photo is showing up inside of these letters. So, that's how you can use a photo with text. You might want to make a logo for your photo studio, or perhaps you're creating an ad for a client, or doing some personal work. In any event, this is a good technique to know.

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