Photoshop Tutorials
The Design Center, Photoshop Department: Type In Your Face  

This year's Font Festival is proud to present Al Ward's wonderful "Type over a Face" tutorial from his latest book Photoshop for Right-Brainers: The Art of Photo Manipulation. Al has been on the Photoshop scene for some time with other books like the Photoshop Productivity Toolkit; and Photoshop Most Wanted (two editions) with other leading authors like Colin Smith and Scott Kelby.

TYPE... in your face

with Al Ward

I tell this story quite often, but font effects are what first interested me in Adobe Photoshop years ago. Fire Type, Metal Text, you name it: I was drawn like a moth to the proverbial graphics flame because I had a desire to learn to create these effects. Fast forward to today, and I'm writing books about and teaching the use of the software that, during those humble beginnings, was used merely to promote a hobby. It is strange how the world turns sometimes.

As a natural progression, I now work with actual photos rather than type effects. I do, however, still hold a fondness for type. So when I was writing Photoshop for Right-Brainers, it occurred to me that I could merge the worlds of text and photo manipulation into something new. This tutorial is an offshoot of an effect in that book: I hope you enjoy it.

The premise is this: digital "things" are simply ones and zeros, correct? Why not represent that by creating a photo that represents this visually as well as literally?

I'll begin this excursion with a close up, half face shot loaned to me from The background is our foundation, so we won't touch that other than to duplicate it. (Figure 2)

Once the background layer is duplicated, the type can begin taking shape.
Hit the "D" key to set the foreground color to Black. Select the Vertical Type tool.
You may want to run a few tests with the font and the font size. In this instance, the image I'm using is 300 ppi, so a font size of 50 px is required for even small type. If you are using a lower resolution image then you will want to use a smaller size for the font. (Figure 4)

setting the type I'll begin typing my ones and zeros in the upper left corner.
Note that, in the capture at right, I set the justification to Top align text. Now I'll just start typing ones and zeros randomly down the page.

I love shortcuts -- I don't believe in taking too much time in things if it can be avoided. With this small font it would take awhile to type across the entire face. However, if I were to simply stop at the bottom, duplicate the type layer, and move it over, the sense of randomness would be defeated as I'd have rows or ones going across the image, then a row of zeros, then ones, etc. I can maintain the random appearing occurrence by extending the type in the first column beyond the bottom edge a few characters. (See Figure 6) You will see what I mean ion a second if you haven't deduced it yet. Ok, now I can duplicate the type layer in the layers palette.

Selecting the Move tool and sliding the second type layer to the right with the arrow keys, you can see what I mean about the same characters being repeated horizontally.

setting type Since the type was extended beyond the edge a few characters, I can now use the move tool/arrow keys to move the second line up on the page, giving some variation in the order of the numbers both horizontally and vertically.

Granted, in the example at right it appears only a single character has changed, but trust me, more than that has happened.

I'm repeating the process for a third character string, again moving it up a character or two to increase the illusion of randomness.

You can continue this for as long as you like, but I'm content to run with three rows of numbers. Now I am going to rasterize the type layers and merge the three rows together.

Face covered When merging the three type layers after rasterization, simply select the top most and hit Command/Control+E until all three are lumped into a single layer. Be careful not to merge the text with the face layer.

Now it is a simple matter of duplicating the type layer, moving it over and so forth until the entire image is covered with ones and zeros -- afterwhich you then merge all the type layers into a single layer again. (Click the photo for an enlargement.)

Face becomes type... continue to the next page


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