Sunday, 7 August 2011

Project: Using type tools

Photoshop has type tools...and they can do lots of whizzy things. I have used them in the past but probably haven't touched half of what they can do. Because Assignment Two is the production of a book cover the basics need to be covered in order to complete the assignment. A few handy links are

John Nack on Adobe : 12 Tips for Photoshop Text

Adobe - Photoshop CS2 tutorial : Working with text in Photoshop

In the spirit of learning more I have dipped into a book on Photoshop, I say dipped into because it has over 1000 pages and at the moment I think some of the tricks, tips, tools and techniques are not what I need to know. Having said that how do you know until you find them? It's the Adobe Photoshop CS4 Bible, Cates, Abrams and Moughamian, Wiley Publishing 2009 and looks like it maybe something I will be needing to keep nearby to flick through every now and then.

I never knew that it wasn't until version 7 that text became fully editable vector text and there is a spell check command as well as Find and Replace! I've never found that before....goes to look.....

Now I've looked of course I knew it was there, but never really THOUGHT about of those menu commands I have seen but not used.....on with the exercise.....

Type is placed on a new text layer.

There are three ways to accept the text...
  • Click the check mark icon in the Type Options Bar.
  • Press Enter on your numeric keypad or Ctrl+Enter on your keyboard.
  • Click on a different layer, tool, or panel.
Once accepted the layer changes name to the first 30 characters entered, but you can rename the layer by double clicking on it.

To edit text make sure the Type tool is selected and do one of the following:
  • Hover the I-beam over the text in your document. It changes from having a box around it to being a simple vertical bar to show that you can edit the underlying text.Click on the text to enter Edit mode.
  • Drag the cursor over text in a Photoshop document to highlight it, just as you would in a word-processing document.
  • Double-click the T in the thumbnail of a type layer to quickly select all the text on a layer and enter Edit mode.
Text can either be horizontal or vertical with other effects such as warp added for special effects. Enabling Standard Vertical Roman Alignment displays each character the right-way-up, while disabling it rotates each character by 90 degrees.

Handy hint if you want to change how font appears on a book spine....

There are three different ways of entering text in Photoshop, point text, paragraph text, or text on or in a path.
  • Point text is useful for adding short bits of text to a design, such as a title or caption.
  • Paragraph text, which is text that flows within a defined rectangular frame, is more suited to adding a larger amount of text to a brochure or Web page design.
  • Finally, you can use a vector path or shape to create typography that flows around a free-form shape.
Understanding fonts and typeface

We often use the terms “font” and “typeface” interchangeably, but in truth a font is a complete set of characters that contains letters, numbers, and symbols, and that has a common weight and style, such Helvetica light. Whereas a typeface is a collection or family of fonts which shares an overall aesthetic appearance....something to bear in mind when creating my book cover! As stated already there is so much more you can do with fonts but at the moment I'll leave my reading and research at this point.

Exercise: Getting started

Make a new Photoshop file A5 and type a heading using Verdana Bold 72pt, centre the heading at the top of the page.

With the type tool selected click and drag to create a box, type into the box having first changed the typeface to a serif font and reduced the size. Having entered some simple text I also experimented with the character thumbnails.

Text can be copy pasted in from other applications such as Word. Experiment with the alignment of the text by using the Paragraph panel. There are seven different thumbnails on the paragraph panel and they align the text either to the left, right, centre or justify.

The first three icons are the alignment controls, and they are used to control how the text flows in its bounding box. In the case of horizontal type, these buttons control whether text is left,centre, or right-aligned. When using vertical type, they control the alignment relative to the top, center, or bottom of the text box.
Used with point text, the alignment buttons control how the text flows relative to the point that the text originates. Left-aligned type flows outwards from the point to the right, while right-aligned type flows out to the left.

You can also remove hyphenation which is another important point to note.

Left align

Left justify

Centre justify


Right justify

Right align

Justify all

Justified text is fully aligned against both the left and right sides of the bounding box, or in the case of vertical type, it’s aligned against the top and bottom of the bounding box. The three justification options control how the last line of type in each paragraph is treated. In the case of horizontal type, justify left aligns the last line of type to the left side of the text box, justify right aligns it on the right, and justify center centers the last line between the two sides of the text box. The fourth option, justify all.

left align and left justify
I am guessing that you cannot see any difference in the align and justify options because of the amount of text used, it not being a paragraph. To demonstrate the buttons properly I repeated the task with a paragraph.

With a substantial amount of text you can see the difference between align and justify.

centre and centre justify

right align and right justify

Removing the hyphenation allows the text to flow more and using a paragraph of text has demonstrated the ragged edges of text when using the align option. There options are available to alter word and letter spacing if the justification leaves unsightly gaps.

justification options dialogue box

There is lots more about how punctuation can affect how the text appears but I won't read that bit until I actually come to needing it or I shall have information overload!

The initial Photoshop file has been created and saved for the next exercise.

Exercise: Applying a drop shadow to type

To give text a 3D appearance a drop shadow can be applied, applied properly this can be very effective. Usually when I apply a drop shadow I use the layer style option but this exercise demonstrates another technique which allows for more control.

Duplicate the heading layer
Click the lower of the two
Blur>Gaussian Blur, setting radius to 10 pixels.
With Move Tool move the layer down slightly
Set the Opacity of this layer to 50%

Experiment with different fonts,size,colours and blur.

Layer duplicated and rasterized

Gaussian blur @ 10 pixels

Shadow layer moved and Opacity set to 50%

Niagra Engraved, Times New Roman, Papyrus and Terminal @72pt opacity still 50% no blur.
Palantino Linotype, Calibri, Chiller, Vivaldi. Different pts and opacity and blur.

A typeface is comprised of a base font and a few variants, such as a semi-bold, bold, and an italic or oblique. If a certain chosen doesn’t include these variants, you can apply a faux bold or italic by using the Type palette. Most serious graphic designers avoid using faux styles as they alter the design of the font. As a rule, if a bold or italic version of a typeface is available, use that rather than faux styles. Once a font familyhas been selected, clicking the Font Style popup menu allows you to view the available font variant within the family selected.

useful terms to know.....

Leading refers to the amount of vertical space between the baselines of two lines of text; the term coming from the old days of typesetting when characters were engraved on pieces of lead, and horizontal strips of the metal were used to separate lines of text.
Kerning refers to the amount of space between individual characters in a word.
Tracking is similar to kerning, it refers to the spacing between characters, but tracking usually refers to tightening or loosening the spacing of entire paragraphs of selected text. Select a type layer, or highlight some text and choose a number other than zero from the Tracking popupmenu. You can also double-click the value in the Tracking field and manually enter a number, press Enter/Return. Or, you can position your cursor in the field and use your up or down arrow key to increase or decrease the tracking for the currently selected text.
Anti-aliasing is a rendering technique used to smooth the edges of type on-screen. The pixels that make up the type that you see on your screen are square, and therefore can’t produce a perfectly smooth curve. Anti-aliasing solves this by partially filling in the hard edges between adjacent pixels to create smooth, curved edges. If designing type for a Web page or for display on a computer screen, it’s often more legible if anti-aliasing is disabled, particularly at small font sizes. You may also want to disable Fractional Widths, which can cause irregular spacing between characters. Photoshop has five anti-aliasing options
  • None. This option disables anti-aliasing and results in text with sharp, jagged edges. Avoid this option at larger type sizes  Sharp. The sharpest type option.
  • Crisp. This option produces some sharpness.
  • Strong. Type is somewhat heavier.
  • Smooth. Produces the smoothest edges.

The effects of the different anti-aliasing modes are most obvious at small type sizes, and again, in certain cases you’re better off disabling it entirely. Play with the different options, as they tend to produce varied effects, depending on the typeface you’re using.
.....then you can talk about Fractional Widths and System Layout, Horizontal and vertical scaling, Baseline shift....but I don't want to divert too much into fonts and typography, but it is interesting to learn things I didn't know. There is a lot to consider if into serious web or layout design to ensure the production of a professional site or page layout. The exercise was fairly simple to complete and shows how important it is to make the correct font choice when planning a publication, it also opens a huge can of worms as to how far you can explore Photoshop font techniques.

1 comment:

  1. This is very nice, currently iam working on the same and covering all the options for the type from top to bottom.