Working With Type in Photoshop CS6

Excerpted from Adobe Photoshop CS6 Classroom in a Book. Copyright © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. Used with permission of Pearson Education and Adobe Press.

In addition to the HTML version of the excerpt below, you can also download the excerpt as a PDF that retains the full design of the printed book.

Typographic Design

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

• Use guides to position text in a composition.

• Make a clipping mask from type.

• Merge type with other layers.

• Format text.

• Distribute text along a path.

• Create and apply type styles.

• Control type and positioning using advanced features.

This lesson will take less than an hour to complete.

Photoshop provides powerful, flexible text tools so you can add type to your images with great control and creativity.

About Type

Type in Photoshop consists of mathematically defined shapes that describe the letters, numbers, and symbols of a typeface. Many typefaces are available in more than one format, the most common formats being Type 1 or PostScript fonts, TrueType, and OpenType (see “OpenType in Photoshop” later in this lesson).

When you add type to an image in Photoshop, the characters are composed of pixels and have the same resolution as the image file—zooming in on characters shows jagged edges. However, Photoshop preserves the vector-based type outlines and uses them when you scale or resize type, save a PDF or EPS file, or print the image to a PostScript printer. As a result, you can produce type with crisp, resolution-independent edges, apply effects and styles to type, and transform its shape and size.

Getting started

In this lesson, you’ll work on the layout for the cover of a technology magazine. You’ll start with the artwork you created in Lesson 6: The cover has a model, his shadow, and the orange background. You’ll add and stylize type for the cover, including warping the text.

You’ll start the lesson by viewing an image of the final composition.

1. Start Photoshop, and then immediately hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift (Mac OS) to restore the default preferences. (See “Restoring default preferences” on page 4.)

2. When prompted, click Yes to delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings file.

3. Choose File > Browse In Bridge to open Adobe Bridge.

4. In the Favorites panel on the left side of Bridge, click the Lessons folder, and then double-click the Lesson07 folder in the Content panel.

5. Select the 07End.psd file. Increase the thumbnail size to see the image clearly by dragging the thumbnail slider to the right.

You’ll apply the type treatment in Photoshop to finish the magazine cover. All of the type controls you need are available in Photoshop, so you don’t have to switch to another application to complete the project.

6. Double-click the 07Start.psd file to open it in Photoshop.

7. Choose File > Save As, rename the file 07Working.psd, and click Save.

8. Click OK if the Photoshop Format Options dialog box appears.

9. Choose Typography from the Workspace Switcher in the options bar.

The Typography workspace displays the Character, Paragraph, Paragraph Styles, Layers, and Paths panels that you’ll use in this lesson.

Creating a clipping mask from type

A clipping mask is an object or a group of objects whose shape masks other artwork so that only areas that lie within the clipping mask are visible. In effect, you are clipping the artwork to conform to the shape of the object (or mask). In Photoshop, you can create a clipping mask from shapes or letters. In this exercise, you’ll use letters as a clipping mask to allow an image in another layer to show through the letters.

Adding guides to position type

The 07Working.psd file includes a background layer, which will be the foundation for your typography. You’ll start by zooming in on the work area and using ruler guides to help position the type.

1. Choose View > Fit On Screen to see the whole cover clearly.

2. Choose View > Rulers to display rulers along the left and top borders of the image window.

3. Drag a vertical guide from the left ruler to the center of the cover (4.25”).

Note: After you type, you must commit your editing in the layer by clicking the Commit Any Current Edits button or switching to another tool or layer. You cannot commit to current edits by pressing Enter or Return; doing so merely creates a new line of type.

Adding point type

Now you’re ready to add type to the composition. Photoshop lets you create horizontal or vertical type anywhere in an image. You can enter point type (a single letter, word, or line) or paragraph type. You will do both in this lesson. First, you’ll create point type.

1. In the Layers panel, select the Background layer.

2. Select the Horizontal Type tool, and, in the options bar, do the following:

• Choose a sans serif typeface, such as Myriad Pro, from the Font Family pop-up menu, and choose Semibold from the Font Style pop-up menu.

• Type 144 pt for the Size, and press Enter or Return.

• Click the Center Text button.

3. In the Character panel, change the Tracking value to 100.

4. Click on the center guide you added to set an insertion point, and type DIGITAL in all capital letters. Then click the Commit Any Current Edits button in the options bar.

The word “DIGITAL” is added to the cover, and it appears in the Layers panel as a new type layer, DIGITAL. You can edit and manage the type layer as you would any other layer. You can add or change the text, change the orientation of the type, apply anti-aliasing, apply layer styles and transformations, and create masks. You can move, restack, and copy a type layer, or edit its layer options, just as you would for any other layer.

5. Press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS), and drag the “DIGITAL” text to move it to the top of the cover, if it’s not there already.

6. Choose File > Save to save your work so far.

Posted on: July 27, 2012

Mike Rankin

Mike is the Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and He is also the author of several video training series, including Font Management Essential Training, InDesign FX, and InDesign CC: Interactive Document Fundamentals.

1 Comment on Working With Type in Photoshop CS6

  1. When I Click on the path where the horizontal line crosses the type tool image I get a small circle about .25 inch to the right and no text can be entered. Tried all sort of ways but can’t make the text appear. What a bummer!

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