Photography: Write your text portrait

Episode I: A New Technique

Before we get into this project, it's important that we find a character for our image and our powerful message that will go with it, and make our image stand out a lot more powerfully. As we're getting close to Star Wars day, here at Tutpad we've decided to dedicate this tutorial to Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia, and we'll choose one of her dialogues from Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

You guys can choose whatever photo you want from another film, or even of another theme, like music for example. In the attachment section you'll find the image I used to make this tutorial, or you also have the option of downloading it here. Also, I'll leave a .zip file other images of Princess Leia here, so that you can try out with other images if you want. 

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Episode II: Attack of the Settings

Step 1

It's importan that, before you start with the document, you keep in mind a series of considerations first. Is your project going to be just for web and social media? If so, you'll need an RGB document at 96 ppp; but, if not, and you are looking to print the project, you should adjust te color mode to CMYK at at least 254 ppp in resolution.

Don't forget to define what I just said up there so that you don't get any surprises later and you can see this in the most accurate way possible. 

Step 2

Let's open up a new document. Firstly, you have to create a new document (Ctrl/Cmd + N) with the measurements of the image that you're going to use, or the measurements you want to use for this image. In this case, I've decided to create a document that takes up the same space as the image (2000x2400 px) and after, I'll cut it to adjust it to my needs. After, to introduce the image on the artboard, you can click on File → Place Incrusted Elements, or you can also drag the image on to the document while having it open.

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Episode III: The Text Strikes Back  

Step 1

Activate the Text Tool (T) and write in the phrase you've chosen for your image: "Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you will never make it through the night — Leia Organa". For the text, I've used the font Bebas Neue Bold, that you can find in the attachments section. This font is a Sans-Serif font with a large X height and it has some generous strokes, with no modulation, and this really favors the design and eases reading with the image, seen as we're going to be working with a short text. Also, this is going to allow use to see a large portion of the original image.

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Now, with the Character panel open, go along adjusting the size of the characters and spacing, always making sure that our text is legible and the space is enough so that, when we add in the window effect, you can see the most possible of Leia’s face.

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Step 2

The next step is to go along modifying the text so that it adjusts to Leia’s silhouette; but, for this, we have to define first, up to where we want the face to be covered, using Photoshop’s rulers. If you don’t have the rulers on, press Ctrl/Cmd + R and drag the ruler to where you want to delimit the image. Now, I’m going to delimit the image up to the nose.

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Step 3

Once you’ve delimited the space and know up to where you want the color fill to cover the image, create a smooth color layer and put it in between Leia’s image and the text. You can do this by clicking on Layer → New Fill Layer → Smooth Color…

Another way to create this smooth color layer is to click on the bottom, that corresponds with the circle. For this layer, I’ve used the color #d56f59, which I’ve we’ve gotten from the actual gradient of the original image and that I’ve adjusted a little in order to optimize the readability of the text.

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Step 4

Activate the rectangular frame (M) and select the visible area of Leia, that corresponds with the right part of the image, from the ruler we’ve defined.

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And, with this selection done, create a mask of the layer so that what you’re doing is visible underneath the color fill that, in this case is the image of Leia. Select the mask and, with the brush tool, paint the area we want to be visible in black.

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Step 5

So that we can see on what part of the image we’re going to be working on, try deactivating color fill layer, and crop the image with the Crop tool (C).

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Step 6

I’m going to leave the image like this and, with the color fill layer still deactivated, I’ll adjust the whole text so that it extends around the silhouette of Princess Leia, on the part that’s not visible. 

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To adjust it like this, I’ve used the text at 182.36 pt and the line spacing at 146 pt. Once you’ve gotten the text adjusted to the Princess’ silhouette, activate the color layer again and, while you’re holding Ctrl, click on the layer where the text is.

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You’ll see when you do this how the text will still be selected. Now, so we can see our character through the color fill, we have to first deactivate the text layer.

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And, keeping his selection there, we’ll click on the fill color layer mask and, as we did before, we’ll color it in black so that the selection we’ve made on the color layer stops being visible.

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With this, we could say that we have our image done, but I’m not super happy with the result, so I’m going to adjust the image a little, putting it in black and white and I’m going to edit the background of the original image so that it’s in a flat color.

Episode IV: The Last Touch-ups

Step 1

From the Settings panel, click on the black and white option. But this settings layer right on top of the princess. Put the cursor between the setting layer and the image of the princess and, keeping the Alt key held, click. In this way, the settings layer in black and white will adjust itself to just one of layer of the princess.

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You can make sure that this is done right because there will be an arrow just in front of the setting layer, this indicates that the effect has only been applied to the lower layer.

Step 2

Now, to balance the background, activate the Quick Selection tool (W), that is in the same button as the magic wand, and select the space that’s around Leia, as with all of the spaces that are visible in the background.

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With this selection made, click on the option select and mask… and polish the selection until it’s the best it can be.

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Adjust the parameters to improve the selection. One of the most powerful tools and one that can aid you the most in this is the Settings Brush, the second one in the bar on the left, which will help us adjust the outline of the image. When you’re happy with the result, press OK. With the selection done and adjusted, click on the mask on the fill layer and paint it again.

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Step 3

If you look at this image closely, you’ll be able to see that there are parts of the text that have been lost a little with the background, like, for example, part of the U letter and part of the T. To fix this, keep Alt held and click again on the original text layer, with this we’ll make the selection. After, with the Brush tool (B) and on a new layer, color it in white.

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Now, take this layer and lower the opacity about 30%. With this, we can consider this image done. But don’t get cocky kid.

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Episode V: The Projects Awaken 

Now you can stop being a Padawan and show your master that you’re ready to make your own designs with this technique. If you feel like the dark side is creeping up on you at any point of this tutorial and you couldn’t find your way back to the light, don’t worry, ask us whatever you need in the forum. Also, make sure you share your results using the Project button in the tutorial so that it can be seen by all of Tutpad’s users to see how strong the force is in you. Don’t forget: “Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” May the force be with you!

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What’s your opinion of this tutorial?

Carlos Mérida Benamrane
Carlos Mérida Benamrane
Carlos Mérida BenamraneAdmin

Currently I'm a video editor for Tutpad. I have a degree in Media Studies from the University of Malaga and a certificate in Editorial Design. I've worked as an events videographer and editor for various companies, applying my knowledge in video, typography and the recording process.

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