Want a free year on Tuts+ (worth $180)? Start an InMotion Hosting plan for $3.49/mo.
Pixelmator is an easy-to-use, fast, and powerful image editing app for the Mac. In this tutorial, I will give you a brief introduction to the Type Tool in Pixelmator and show you how to create a nice letterpress effect. Let's get started!
1. The Type Tool Settings
Let's start off by creating a new document. (File > New...). For this tutorial a document of 800x400 pixels will suffice.
Select the Type Tool from the Tools Palette. On the Tool Options bar, click on the Font Selector and choose the font Arial. Next to the font selector we see the Type-Face Selector. The names here are different for each font. For the Arial font we will choose the Bold style. At the right of the Type-Face Selector is the Font-Size Selector. Here we can choose a font-size or enter the font-size manually. For our project a font size of around 120 would work fine.
We can add a Type Layer with a text box in three different ways in Pixelmator. We can click on the Add Text button in the Tool Options Bar. We can just click anywhere on the canvas to add a text box. Or we can click and drag on the canvas with the mouse, in order to draw a text box in a specific size. You can try each-method mentioned. For this tutorial it will work best if you draw a pretty large text box yourself. Align the text box at the centre of your document. You can do this by clicking inside the text box and moving it around. The Auto Alignment Guides will help you centre the box.
After adding the text box you’ll see that Pixelmator adds the word TEXT automatically. Select the text just like you would do in a text editor and type the word Letterpress.
2. Aligning Text
On the Tool Options Bar there are 7 buttons for aligning and distributing text inside the text box, horizontally and vertically. The buttons marked in the image below are for aligning the text horizontally. Hold the mouse over each-button to see its function. Press the Centre Text Button to centre the text horizontally in the text box.
The other three buttons for aligning text are marked in the image below. These buttons align the text vertically. Make sure the Align Text in the Middle of the Text Box is pressed.
On the right of the alignment buttons there are two settings that let us adjust the letter spacing both vertically and horizontally. Let's bring the letters closer together by setting the Horizontal Spacing to -5%.
To create the actually letterpress effect we are going to apply a Layer Style. Click on the Styles Button on the Tool Options Bar to open the Styles Palette.
It is beyond the scope of this tutorial to cover the styles palette in detail. We will, however, use one of the predefined styles Pixelmator ships with. Click on the style marked in the image below. This will already give us a letterpress effect.
We're going to change the style a little in order to make the effect look more interesting. Turn of the shadow in the Styles Palette. Leave the Inner Shadow selected. The fill we will change to a Gradient. As you see, Pixelmator inserts a default blue-tinted gradient.
Click on the Color Box next to the Fill to open the Gradients Palette. Choose a transparent to black gradient. Use the gradient handles in the document window to adjust the gradient in such a way that it goes from white to a slightly dark-grey color.
4. Final Touches
Let's add some finishing touches to our letterpress effect. Select the Background Layer in the Layers Palette. Go to the Edit Menu and choose Fill. Choose any color you want. In our example we used a slight pink color. For those who are into hex-colors, the color-code we used is:
In the Effects Browser under the Stylize Section, we find the Noise Effect. Double-click on it. Add a few percentages of monochrome noise to the background layer. This will give the whole image a little bit of texture.
We’ve now created an interesting letterpress effect while going through the options of the Type Tool. I hope that this tutorial has given you a good introduction to the Type Tool in Pixelmator and can help you to create interesting effects of your own.