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Sally Jane Photographic Art

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial


Adobe Photoshop Tools - Text

Adding text to an image is not just simply a matter of adding a caption in Photoshop. the program offers a wide range of text manipulation features so that the text can become as much a part of your image as the original photo. This is going to be another long topic so I shall cut it up into separate tutorials. In this first one I'll just be discussing the basics.

adding textThe text tool is located in the tools pallet. If you click and hold on it you will see there are 4 options. Horizontal type, Vertical type, and the same again as mask type. The first two are straightforward text but the mask options simply creates a mask instead of text. When you type with one of these options selected you will see the image turns read to show the mask and your text will cut through this. Once you finish typing the red mask disappears and the text is highlighted with a dotted outline to show the selection is active. You can use this as a clipping path or fill it with colour or anything you would normally use a selection for. I'll talk about this in more detail in another tutorial.

For now I will look at adding normal text so will stick with the first option of the horizontal type tool. By the way, the 'T' at the far right of this box means that you can use the 'T' key on your keyboard to select the type tool and by continually pressing it it will scroll through all 4 different options.


adding text

Once you have the text tool selected the menu bar will show you the various setting that are available to you. There are drop down lists for type faces, style and font size. Then there is a fourth one for rendering. These options define how the edges are rendered and only notice when you zoom right in on the characters. Some settings make the edges appear clearer while others have a softer appearance or may even appear jagged. Select which ever suits you most. Sharp normally suits me fine. After that there is the justification options. This is just the same as in any word processor. I'll discuss this further down the page.

The black box shown here is the colour selector for your type. By default is will set itself to the foreground colour you have selected in your tools pallet but by clicking on it you can change it to any colour you like.

The 'T' on top of an arc is the icon that brings up the Warped Text option. It only becomes active once you have some text to warp so I discuss this later.

The last icon brings up the text editing window where you can change the spacing and size of text, the dictionary it uses for spell checking as well as make further justification changes to your paragraphs.

adding textadding text

When you have the text tool selected you can as I have mentioned just add your insertion point anywhere on your page by simply clicking on it and start typing. The other option is to first create a text box. This is useful if you know you have a few lines of text to add and not just a couple of words. Any text you add in a text box will remain within the confines of the box and you can later resize the box and the words will be re-arranged to fit in the new shape.

adding text

To create a text box, click on your image where you want the top left corner of your text to be and hold the mouse button down while you drag the box out and down. The size and shape does not have to be exact as you can change this at any time by just grabbing the corners and dragging.


In these next three images I will show you how the three justification settings work. In each of them my insertion point remains the same and you can see it in the image as a small grey square which in this first image is at the bottom left of the first capitol A. The grey underline is just there to show you that this line of text is active. It will go as soon as you accept the text.

adding text

The text in the image above has been added with the left justification option selected. Hitting return places the next line directly underneath the initial insertion point.

adding text

The image above shows the same text added with the centre justification added. Now when you hit return the next line of text is also centred and moves out in both directions as you type.

adding text

the image above has it's text added with right justification. Now as you type the text flows out to the left of the insertion point so you can align it perfectly to anything on the right.

adding text

In the image above you can see how the text appears when it is added inside a text box. Once again, you can select any of the justification methods mentioned above.

adding text

When you add text it is created on a separate layer. Once you have finished typing your words you need to click on that layer to accept the text. You can then add further areas of text if you wish which will be created on separate text layers. Having the text on separate layers allows you to move the text about on the page as well as add layer effects to it.

Being able to move the text freely about the page helps to fine tune exactly where you want it to appear and how you want it to line up. By either selecting the move tool from the tools pallet or by holding down the ctrl key down you can then drag the text to anywhere on your image.

If you have several different layers of text and you want to quickly edit one of them, assuming you still have the text tool active, you can simply hold the Alt key down and click on the text you want to edit and it will instantly switch to the correct layer rather than you having to hunt for it in your layers pallet.

All the time the text layer is a text layer and it has not been rasterised you can edit the text to your hearts content. In the image below I have changed the colour and added some layer effects. To change the colour drag the text tool over the text to highlight it and then go to the text colour swatch on the top menu bar. clicking on it will bring up the colour picker window where you can either select a colour from the within the window or use the eye dropper tool to select a colour out of your image. I have selected the light green from the leaves on this branch.

adding text

The embossing and outer glow were added by clicking on the layer effects option at the bottom of the layers pallet. See Layer Effects tutorial for further details. You can also warp the text using the Text Warp options previously mentioned. You might think that it would be easier to use the Edit-Transform-Warp option but for this to work you would first have to rasterise the text and once that is done it is no longer editable so if you later discovered you had a spelling mistake you would need to start from scratch again.

adding text


This tool is not the most controllable and I struggle to get it to do exactly what I want but it does give you some flexibility.

adding textSpell checking -

Once you have added all the text you are going to use you will want to make sure you have not got any spelling errors. Photoshop has included a very handy spell checker which you will find under Edit-Check Spelling. It will run through all the editable text on your page and highlight any words it thinks are spelled incorrectly. The dictionary it uses can be set in the text options window. By default, if you are running Photoshop in english it will default to US english so for normal English speakers you will need to reset this English UK in the drop down list. Once you have reset this it should remain reset although it might occasionally need checking as I've noticed a tenancy for it to revert to US on occasions.

Rasterising Text

There may be occasions were you need to rasterise your text to be able to manipulate it further. This is quite simple to do but once done can only be undone by going back in your history pallet. To rasterise it you need to right click on the text layer and select rasterise from the pop up list. Once rasterise it will act the same as any other layer.

Further on adding text will be added over time, see below.

- Adding text on a line

- Type Mask Tool (to come)



Recommended Further Reading for Photoshop

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