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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

13.About The Text Tool

Photoshop Standard Text Dialog Box

PhotoTools™ Text Dialog Box

PhotoText is surrounded by an array of tools to add, manipulate and position text. The editing is done in text blocks of any size and number.

Color Picker
Use it to pick a color directly off the image. It also has a magnifier to zoom in to find that exact color.

The RGB read-out gives exact values. Switch back to the pointer and the RGB read-out changes to precise X and Y coordinate values.

Point Size

The height portion of a type face determines the point size. Ascenders, descenders, and width are not considered. So depending on these other factors, type can be taller, shorter, wider, or narrower.

* Helvetica 23 point Font

* Times New Roman 23 pt. Font

* Brush Script MT Italic 23 pt. Font
* Microsoft created Arial to replace the classic Helvetica.


Times New Roman 12 point font is considered a good default size for body copy. Notice that if Helvetica or Brush Script MT Italic 12 point fonts were used in place of the Times New Roman, the body copy area would change affecting the layout.

Many children, senior citizens, and adults with reading glasses prefer a larger type size than Times New Roman 12 points for their body copy.

* 12 points in a pica
* 6 picas in 1 inch

Kerning: Tracking or Character Spacing

Kerning is an aesthetic regard for the negative space between characters. Study the two kerned samples to the left. The difference is subtle.

I prefer the letter spacing of the lower sample but kerning is a personal judgment call. The only difference between them is the kerning pair "Ty".

Most computer fonts today are proportionally spaced, meaning they are pre-kerned. Custom kerning is very labor intensive and it is usually reserved for use on large display type. Courier is the infamous non-proportional type carried over to PC's from the typewriter.

Many DTP applications use the term "tracking" for kerning. Microsoft Word™ refers to kerning as "character spacing."

Unfortunate Discovery

When I began this tutorial, I was using PhotoTools™ 1.0. Extensis gave me an upgrade to PhotoTools™ 2.0 after I discovered a bug.

Unfortunately, it still has a critical flaw. It discounts the font's kerning pair information. This cripples the power of PhotoText. Extensis is working to correct the problem in future upgrades.

The PhotoText example given at the beginning of this Text section still gives a strong idea for how text might be handled in future Photoshop upgrades. I still recommend Extensis™ PhotoTools™ for their other power packed components:

* PhotoBevel
* PhotoEmbos
* PhotoGlow
* PhotoCastShadow
* PhotoButtons, and more.


The space between lines of type, measured base-to-base in points. A 14-point type has a standard leading of 18 points (120%). Leading is a term left over from the hot-metal typesetting days, in which strips of lead were inserted between lines of type.


A typeface can include many fonts. Helvetica is a typeface. A 16-point Helvetica is different from a 24-point Helvetica and from a 16-point Helvetica Italic. A font includes all of the type capitals and lowercase letters, numerics, and punctuation marks of one typeface in a specific point size.

Serif and Sans Serif Fonts
Serifs are the ornamental finishing strokes at the end of the main strokes, such as the "feet" at the bottom of the Times New Roman "F".

Sans is the French word for "without". It is a blend of Latin sine and absentia, in the absence of. It also has another name, Gothic. Compared to Gothic, Serif has more of a Romanesque presence. This sans serif example is Helvetica.


Left justified This is a text block. This a a left justified text block. This a left justified text block.

Center justified This is a text block. This is a center justified text block. This is a center justified text block.

Right justified This is a text block. This is a right justified text block. This is a right justified text block.

Fully justified type has all
its .lines . the .same . length
(unless they're . indented or
end of a paragraph.), ..pro-
ducing even left . and . right
margins.The word spacing
varies, .and hyphenation is
used as necessary.

Comment: As a graphic element, fully justified type looks great. Unfortunately, it is hard to read. The default ragged left justified setting works for most general purpose uses. Compare and make your own judgment.

This completes this section. The next section is the Real World Example. You might take a breather before moving on. The following section is fun but intense.

12.What Are Filters and Plug-ins

Photoshop Filters

Photoshop has plenty of powerful built-in Filters. Apply special visual effect to your images using Filters. Look at the long list in the drop down menu sample to the left.

A very effective way to learn Filters is to play with them. Start with a few that sound familiar to you.

Before you use any of the filters, create an image in your mind's eye of what you expect to see. This is important for building your skills and your mental reference library.

Reference Library

I have Zip disks labeled Graphics Library 1 and 2. They contain numerous sub-folders. One of the sub-folders is labeled Filters.

I suggest that you might do something similar. Save some of your key test images and related text files into that folder. Review these files periodically for insight, or their value will become meaningless.

Filter Tests

Start your testing and play by using the default settings or create your own starting points when necessary. Use the same filter and settings on several other images with differing range and characteristics such as:

* Color.
* Tone.
* Contrast.
* Sharpness.

Also try out filters on various size images; value settings are influenced by image size. A larger image will require higher value settings.

Cheap Insurance

Always start with a duplicate image on a new layer. This will keep your reference image handy and unaltered. Relabel the Background Copy layer to something relevant.

I may label the layer GusBlur_5 if my major action on this layer is the use of the Filter Gaussian Blur set to the value 5.

Renaming A Layer

Double clicking on a layer opens the Layers Options dialog box where the layer can be easily relabeled.

Blur Of Choice

The plain Blur and Blur More have no controls. Use Gaussian Blur, it has controls and a real-time preview.

In Windows "..." after a menu selection indicate further options such as a dialog box or controls. The following options all launch control windows.

* Motion Blur...
* Radial Blur...
* Smart Blur...

Try these functions on your own. They will probably help solve some graphic conundrum in the near future.

Expectation and Predictability

Start with a mental image or some other measurable expectation. Play and experiment based on those expectations. Review the result in comparison to the original mental picture.

Play with the Filters as you would with a new lens or color films. Get to know their characteristics. After you gain an inner sense through trial and error, you can select the right tool and use it "just so" to give birth to your inner ideas.

Save and Review

Write down your expectations and insights. Write down the results and discoveries. Be sure to write down your conclusions gained from matching the mental image with the concreate results. Save the text file, along with the image files, to your reference library.


Review these files periodically for insight, or their value will become meaningless.

Anything That Works

For some people, this method may be a turn-off or a waste of time. Do whatever it takes to keep your inspiration cooking.

Plug-ins: Fun Just Got Turbo-charged

Photoshop, like most other professional tools, supports Plug-ins. This allows the use of Filters developed by other software developers.

Once installed, they appear at the bottom of the Filters drop down list as shown above. I use Kai's Power Tool 3.0 and Extensis Photo Tools because they work for my needs. There are many other Plug-ins such as:

* AlienSkin
* Andromeda
* Chromatica
* DigiEffects
* Factory
* Fastcore
* Digital Frontiers
* Picture Man Collection
* The Flux Collection
* Visual Manipulation
* And more...

Cautionary Note:

There is a tendency among many photographers to become overly fixated with the gear. They can end up with so much new unfamiliar gear that their reaction time becomes snail slow. Some have even given up on picture taking altogether because they are too tired of lugging their technical burdens.

Do not let your photograph or the message get lost behind fancy or cool tricks. I use Filters to create an effect that adds to the message. I also use Filters that logically combine effects to save me production time.

Go Next to the last part of this section, Text Tool

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