Saturday, 20 November 2010

Digital Manipulation: Type

As you're all smart people, I'm sure you'll have guessed from the title (that and you're all in the same class as me, so know exactly what the homework is), our next manipulation task was to include some type in a photograph. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling Marie that I have a bit of experience with photoshop. This does mean I feel obligated to try and do something a little more complex than just adding a new layer and plonking some writing down (damn my pride!) Well, they say pride cometh before a fall, so brace yourselves.

I've tried a few tutorials before that involve the manipulation of a typeface, but most of them involve other peoples photo's. Not being able to use those, and not having time to take similar ones myself, I've had to find one that I could modify to fit my purpose. I eventually decided to use this one: Smoke tutorial, All be it with a few steps taken out, or changed. I'm aware it doesn't look as good as the website example, but I'm still learning, so there's bound to be some rough edges.

Having picked my photo, I then opened it in photoshop:

 I knew I was going to need more space than the photo allowed, so I dragged the background layer down to the create a new layer button, which makes a duplicate layer, I then checked the show transform controls box and dragged the picture down, revealing the black of the previous layer.

Selecting the type button, I chose Reservoirgrunge as the typeface and wrote the word smoke. I then went to filter-blur-motion blur and set the angle to 90 degrees and the distance to 40 pixels. Stick with me if I get too technical, but this blurs the word.

 Open the filter menu again, and go to distort-wave. Set the generators to 3, the wavelength to 10 and 346, and the amplitude to 5 and 35. After you've done this, go to filter-blur-gaussian blur and change the pixel radius to 10. From now on I'll start to deviate from the tutorial a bit and need to make it up as I go along.

Having downloaded and installed the smoke brushes, mentioned in the tutorial, I set about trying to blend the word in to the photo. I wanted to make the smoke appear to come from the candle, so after first making sure the foreground colour was still set to white, I placed the first brush stroke in the flame itself. The writing wasn't quite in the right place, so I again used the transform tools to move it further down and to the left.

After placing as many brush strokes as I wanted, I merged the paint layer and type layer together, before clicking on the layer styles button. Selecting the outer glow option, I picked a light blue colour (#bddfe9) and lowered the opacity to 60%.

Finally I flattened the image and saved it as a jpg.

I'll leave it up to you to decide whether it works or not (just be gentle!) Personally, I don't think it came out too badly, but it could improved. If I were to do it again, I could probably spend a bit more time trying to blend the letters and the smoke together, I'd also make the shade of the smoke a little more realistic.

Just a quick edit to show you how someone can really use type to make an amazing picture:

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