image made from text photoshop tutorial

I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  What if you could create a picture made of a thousand words – give or take? I’ve put together an easy tutorial on how to replace an image with text in Photoshop.

Don’t have it? You can download a 30 day trial of Photoshop from Adobe. All keyboard shortcuts provided are for CS5 on a PC, they may vary slightly for other CS versions or Mac platform. The font used in this tutorial was downloaded from, unzipped and installed onto my computer. Find out how to do this here.

  1. Create a new document (CRTL + N) in the size of your choice for final output (mine will be an 8.5×11) with a 300 ppi and a transparent background. photo_as_text_screenshot_1
  2. Save (Shift + CTRL + S) your image as a PSD file.
  3. Place your photo in your document, by going to File > Place and selecting the photo you want to use. Click Place.
  4. Time to make your photo fit your document. Your photo layer should be active and the Free Transform box and handles should appear around the photo (otherwise press CTRL + T to make them show up). Pick a corner, wait for the cursor to change, now hold down your SHIFT + ALT keys as you drag to resize it. By doing this your proportions will be constrained and the shape will resize from its center. Hit enter to accept the transformation. Did you notice that your photo has just been converted into a smart layer?photo_as_text_screenshot_4
  5. Add an adjustment layer by clicking New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Select Channel Mixer from the menu.photo_as_text_screenshot_5
  6. Make sure the Monochrome box is checked. Adjust the sliders, ideally, we want clearly defined highlights (the lightest parts) and shadows (the darkest parts). Clip the adjustment to the photo layer.photo_as_text_screenshot_3
  7. Set the foreground and background colors to their defaults of Black and White (D).default-colors
  8. Select your Text Tool (T) from the toolbar and drag out a text box the same size as your photo. photo_as_text_screenshot_8Paste (CTRL + V) your text onto this new layer. Format your text by choosing the font family and size from the Character menu. The smaller the font size, the clearer your final image will be. Now adjust the leading to make the text as tight as possible, but still legible.photo_as_text_screenshot_7
  9. Hide your photo layer and with the text layer active, adjust your text so that it is one continuous paragraph (no breaks), if not already. Now select Justify All from the Paragraph menu. photo_as_text_screenshot_8If you need to fill more of the space, copy and paste until the whole screen is covered.photo_as_text_screenshot_8b
  10. Duplicate (CTRL + J) your text layer twice.photo_as_text_screenshot_9
  11. Go to your text copy (middle) layer and change the color to a medium gray, by clicking on the color box, and pasting #808080 into the hex code value box .photo_as_text_screenshot_10
  12. Go to your text copy 2 (top) layer and change the color to #cccccc (a light gray).
  13. Select all three text layers and rasterize them by right clicking, and then selecting Rasterize Type from the pop up menu.
  14. Now hide your text layers and show your photo layer.
  15. With your photo layer active, go to Select > Color Range and choose Shadows from the dropdown menu. Click Ok.photo_as_text_screenshot_14 You will see a line of “marching ants” outlining the Shadows in your image. photo_as_text_screenshot_14aWith the Lasso (L) tool selected, Right Click on your image, and choose Select Inverse. Show/unhide your first (bottom) text layer an make it active. Hit DELETE. Deselect (CTRL + D) the selection.photo_as_text_screenshot_15cNotice how the text is only in the Shadow areas?
  16. Repeat this process for your second (middle) text layer, but this time choose Midtones in the Color Range menu.photo_as_text_screenshot_16
  17. Repeat again for your third (top) text layer, this time choose Highlights in the Color Range menuphoto_as_text_screenshot_17
  18. Add a new layer (SHIFT + CTRL + N) above the chanel mixer layer and and fill it (SHIFT + F5) with white. Save (CTRL + S) your document.photo_as_text_screenshot_18

There you have it, an image made from text. Now give it a try!My-nephew-the-Airman_b


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