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Design

How to Create a Typography Photo Effect Action in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to create an amazing typography effect. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time. 

The effect shown above is the one I will show you how to create in this tutorial. If you would like to create the even more advanced typography effect shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Typography 6 Photoshop Action.

Action final result

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. Let's Get Started

Step 1

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
Checking image size and mode

Step 2

Now we need to expand the canvas on the top so we have more space around the subject on this side. Go to Image > Canvas Size and use the settings below:

Expanding canvas

Step 3

We are going to do the same thing for the right side of the canvas. Go to Image > Canvas Size and use the settings below:

Expanding canvas

Step 4

Now we are going to do the same thing for the bottom side of the canvas. Go to Image > Canvas Size and use the settings below:

Expanding canvas

Step 5

Finally we are going to do the same thing for the left side of the canvas. Go to Image > Canvas Size and use the settings below:

Expanding canvas

2. How to Create the Background Typography

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the background typography. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Background Color, and choose the color #f2f2f2 as shown below:

Creating new solid color fill layer

Step 2

Now choose the Horizontal Type Tool (T) and set the font to Arial, font style to Regular, font size to 29 px, alignment to Left, and color to #000000. Then, click anywhere inside the canvas and go to Type > Paste Lorem Ipsum to paste some random text. Feel free to use your own text and font settings.

Creating text layer

Step 3

Right-click on this layer in the Layers panel and choose Convert to Paragraph Text. Then, Double-click on this layer thumbnail and transform the Text Box as shown below:

Transforming text box

Step 4

Now go to Type > Paste Lorem Ipsum and repeat this step until you've covered the whole canvas with text. Again, you can use your own text—just make sure it covers the whole canvas.

Adding text

Step 5

Press Control-A on your keyboard to make a selection of the canvas and choose the Move Tool (V). Then, click on Align Vertical Center and Align Horizontal Center to align the text both vertically and horizontally, and press Control-D to deselect.

Aligning text

Step 6

Change the Opacity of this layer to 25% and name it Background Text.

Changing opacity

3. How to Create the Subject Typography

Step 1

In this section we are going to create the subject typography. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Temp.

Creating a new layer

Step 2

Now hide the Background Text and Background Color layers. Then, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the subject as shown below:

Brushing into layer

Step 3

Control-click on this layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then, hide this layer, select the Background layer, and press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection.

Creating new layer using selection

Step 4

Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights and set the Shadows Amount to 20% and Highlights Amount to 20% as shown below:

Adjusting shadows and highlights

Step 5

Now go to Image > Adjustment > Threshold and set the Threshold Level to 128 as shown below:

Adjusting threshold

Step 6

Name this layer Temp 2. Then, select the Background layer, go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, and name it Temp 3.

Creating a new layer

Step 7

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and then X to exchange them. Then, go to Edit > Fill, and set Contents to Foreground Color, Blending to Normal, and Opacity to 100% as shown below:

Filling layer with foreground color

Step 8

Now select the Background Text layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it. Then, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that reveals the whole layer.

Adding layer mask

Step 9

Go to Image > Apply Image and use the settings below:

Applying image

Step 10

Now press Control-I on your keyboard to invert the layer mask. Then, show this layer, set the Opacity to 100%, and name it Subject_Text_1.

Changing opacity

Step 11

Right-click on the Temp 2 layer and choose Delete Layer. Then, Control-click on the Temp layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Select the Background layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection.

Creating new layer using selection

Step 12

Now drag this layer just above the Temp 3 layer in the Layers panel. Then, hide the Subject_Text_1 layer, go to Image > Adjustments > Threshold, and set the Threshold Level to 150.

Adjusting threshold

Step 13

Name this layer Temp 2. Then select the Temp 3 layer and press Control-I on your keyboard to invert this layer.

Inverting layer mask

Step 14

Now select the Background Text layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it. Then, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that reveals the whole layer.

Adding layer mask

Step 15

Go to Image > Apply Image and use the settings below:

Applying image

Step 16

Now show this layer, set the Opacity to 45%, and name it Subject_Text_2.

Changing opacity

Step 17

Select the Temp 2 layer and Control-click on the Temp 3 layer to select both layers at the same time. Then, Right-click on any of these two layers and choose Delete Layers. After that, show all the layers in the Layers panel except the Temp layer.

Deleting layers

4. How to Reveal the Subject's Details

Step 1

In this section we are going to reveal the subject's details. Select the Temp layer and Control-click on this layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then, select the Background layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection. After that, drag this layer just below the Temp layer in the Layers panel.

Creating new layer using selection

Step 2

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights and set the Shadows Amount to 20% and Highlights Amount to 20% as shown below:

Adjusting shadows and highlights

Step 3

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2 px as shown below:

Adding gaussian blur filter

Step 4

Now go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Sketch > Photocopy, and set the Detail to 5 and the Darkness to 20 as shown below:

Adding photocopy filter

Step 5

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and use the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 6

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Multiply and set the Opacity to 80%. Then name this layer Subject_Details_1.

Changing blending mode and opacity

Step 7

Now select the Temp layer and Control-click on this layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then select the Background layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection. After that, drag this layer just below the Subject_Details_1 layer in the Layers panel.

Creating new layer using selection

Step 8

Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights and set the Shadows Amount to 20% and Highlights Amount to 20% as shown below:

Adjusting shadows and highlights

Step 9

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Threshold and set the Threshold Level to 75.

Adjusting threshold

Step 10

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Multiply and set the Opacity to 55%. Then name this layer Subject_Details_2.

Changing blending mode and opacity

Step 11

Now select the Subject_Details_1 layer and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask that reveals the whole layer.

Adding layer mask

Step 12

Set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the edges where needed to make the subject blend better.

Brushing into layer mask

5. How to Create the Edge Typography

Step 1

In this section we are going to create the edge typography. Select the Background text layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it.

Duplicating layer

Step 2

Change the Opacity of this layer to 100%. Then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer.

Adding layer mask

Step 3

Now set the foreground color to #ffffff and Alt-click on the layer mask to open mask view. Then, choose the Rectangle Tool (U) and start drawing rectangles where you want to reveal the text. Feel free to use different rectangle dimensions. After that, Alt-click on the layer mask again to close mask view.

Brushing into layer mask

Step 4

Set the foreground color to #000000 and Control-click on the Temp layer thumbnail to make a selection of this layer. Then, go to Edit > Fill, and set Contents to Foreground Color, Blending to Normal, and Opacity to 100%.

Filling layer mask with foreground color

Step 5

Now set the Opacity of this layer to 70% and name it Edge Text.

Changing opacity

6. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section we are going to make final adjustments to the design. Select the Subject_Details_1 layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it Color_1.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting curves

Step 3

Select the Subject_Details_1 layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color to create a new selective color adjustment layer and name it Color_2.

Creating new selective color adjustment layer

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting selective color

Step 5

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and select the Color_1 layer. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall Contrast.

Creating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 6

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 80%.

Changing blending mode and opacity

Step 7

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer and name it Overall Saturation.

Creating new hue and saturation adjustment layer

Step 8

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel, set the Saturation to +19 as shown below:

Adjusting saturation

Step 9

Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px as shown below:

Adding high pass filter

Step 10

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 60%. Then name this layer Overall Sharpening.

Changing blending mode and opacity

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

Final result

If you would like to create the even more advanced typography effect shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Typography 6 Photoshop Action.

The action works so you simply brush over your subject with a color and play the action. The action will do everything for you, giving you fully layered and customizable results. You can use your own text, change the font, adjust the font size, or make any other text changes! The action also creates 20 preset color looks that you can choose from.

The action comes with a detailed video tutorial that demonstrates how to use the action and customize the results to get the most out of the effect.

Action final result

For more amazing typography photo effects, check out my Typography 5in1 Photoshop Actions Bundle.

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