photoshop creative

How to combine photos with type for artistic effects

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
June 28, 2013

Get stuck into our free typographic tutorial for combining the Eiffel Tower and type

Step 1

Find your favourite holiday snapshot. Here we’re using the one of the Eiffel Tower taken on a trip to Paris. Open up a new document in Photoshop, place the image on a new layer.





Step 2

Using a Foreground colour of a light black (#121212) and a Background colour of pure black (#000000), select a radial gradient (G) and draw onto a layer below the tower. The effect should be quite subtle.



Step 3

To help you stay within the Eiffel Tower’s shape, it’s a good idea to draw the outline. To do this quickly, select the Pen tool (P) and create a large shape, bearing in mind it doesn’t have to be perfect.



Step 4

To be able to see the intricate designs below, make both layers opaque by changing the transparency to around 40% each and then lock the layers (click on the padlock icon) so they don’t accidentally move while you work.







Step 5

Start by inserting some text at the base of the designs. Choose a blocky font like Impact so the characters are quite meaty and can withstand being tampered with.



Step 6

Here comes the fun bit – transforming the type into shapes. To do this make sure the text layer is selected, click on Layer>Type>Convert to Shape. You’ll notice it transform into a shape layer.



Step 7

As the layer is no longer text based, you can start warping and manipulating the shape. With the layer selected click Edit>Transform>Warp. The shape then turns into grid, which you can manipulate in any way you want.




Step 8

For individual characters we can turn a letter into a shape layer and then play with the anchor points. With the layer selected, click the Direct Selection tool (A) and pull or push on the individual anchor points.




Step 9

Just like the engineer Gustave Eiffel, gradually build your tower from the bottom up. Notice how we’ve used a combination of different characters and effects. You can even play with different fonts to achieve a unique style.


Step 10

Instead of having all the shapes filled with a single block colour, you can add some variation and just have some text outlined. To do this, select the shape layer, Ctrl/right-click and select a stroke in the Layer Style menu. Choose your colour and thickness and press Enter. To remove the inside fill, change the Opacity to 0%.


Step 11

Another handy technique is to draw on a path. This means you can wrap text around a shape that curves. Select and unlock the guide layer we drew earlier, then grab the Type tool (T) and hover over the shape. You’ll notice the mouse arrow change. Type the text as it follows around the guide.


Step 12

Now select all the text layers and group them all into one folder (Layer>New>Group From Layers). Now duplicate this folder and hide one (so we can keep the original layers safe). Ctrl/right-click the new group we’ve just created and merge them into a single layer. Hide the guide layer and photo as well.




Step 13

Now add a gradient overlay to your text. Select the newly merged layer and go to Layer>Layer Style>Gradient Overlay. You can choose any colour you like, but this example uses #c37d04 to #d8bd08.



Step 14

It’s time to name your creation. Use whatever title you wish to sum up the image and try placing it in different positions around the page to see which one works the best. Remember the gradient colours you used in the previous step? You can use the same on the text as well!



Step 15

To take your creation to the next level, add a light texture to the whole document. Place the texture layer over your work, desaturate the image by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U and then change the blending mode to Overlay.





Step 16

We need to add a bit more vibrancy to the document. Create a new layer and select #ffd200 for the Foreground colour and #000000 for the Background. Go to Filter>Render>Clouds and set the layer to Overlay at 40% Opacity.



Step 17

Just before you finish, create another layer and change the Background colour to #ffffff. Go to Filter>Render>Clouds and this will fill the layer with gold and white clouds. Change the Opacity to around 40% and you’re done!