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Photoshop the Beauty, See the Beauty

Apr 08

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Change the Letters, See the Beauty

In today’s episode we bring you a fun technique to change letters in photographs. This can be used on ANY picture that has text such as photos of signs, billboards, etc. See what shenanigans you can come up with and share them in a comment below!

Want to see your image edited here on Phlearn? Submit your best landscape photo to our latest contest!

  • Corbin

    “Ah Fuck, I don’t know what to say about that”
    HAHAHAHA – Great tutorial Aaron.

  • john

    i’m confused. is “T” worth 1 or 2 points?

  • Pablo Rodriguez

    haha :) good catch

  • Steven Heldenbrand

    Cool tutorial Aaron. My only question is, where is the outtakes at the end?

    I love your randomness.

  • Emil Rye

    The same thing with ‘Y’ – 1 or 4 points :)

  • Mark Hoffmann


Episode Transcript

Hey guys. Welcome to Phlearn. My name is Aaron Nace. You could find me on Twitter @aknacer. Today we have a really cool episode. This is an image brought to you guys by Amy. She’s one of our contest winners in last week’s contest which is shallow depth appeal. If you guys want to have your image edited here on Phlearn, just enter one of our contests. You guys can win a Phlearn pro and have your image edited.

This is a very cool image. It’s basically like a map with some scrabble tiles on it. Really cool composition. I thought it might be really cool to have you guys learn how to actually replace some letters. Often times you’ll see a sign in an image or something like that and maybe you want to change the letters around. I’m going to show you guys some really cool things on how to warp around things … warp around your layers using transform tool, some really neat tricks with that and I’m also going to show you a trick you’d probably never seen with a healing brush tool as well.

Let’s get into the episode. I think you guys will really like it. We have Amy’s image here which is very cool and this is what we’re going to be changing here. Right now it says “See the World”, which is totally appropriate. We’re going to make it say “See the Beauty”, which is also just going to be really fun. There’s change in letters. We’ll do B-E-A-U-T-Y.

We’re going to need to add a letter and I’m going to worry about the scrabble, the numbers down here at the bottom. First thing we need to do is that we’re going to be changing these letters so we need to get rid of the existing letters that are there. I’m not just going to add one letter here at the end. We need to actually get rid of what they say on each of this tile.

To do that, you have a couple of different options. You can just try to clone stamp in from the side and things like that, but what we’re going to be doing is something a little bit different now. I think you guys are going to like it. The reason why we’re going to be doing this method is because there’s not a whole lot of texture to work with here. There’s not a whole lot of texture on either side of these letters and clone stamping could just get a little bit messy when you’re doing it and it could just take a while.

What we need is a clean slate of wood texture that actually looks something similar to that. Do a quick search in Google and I found this, just a picture of woods. You just type in wood textures, wood grain or something like that. We’re only using this as a texture for the healing brush.

All right, get it however you want it. What we really want to do is a copy of wood grain texture on to the top of this scrabbled tile. We did a quick search in Google and we pulled this guy up. This is our wood texture here. I’m just going to hold down shift and click and drag from one of it into another one. We have a wood texture here and now we’re ready to actually start transferring it onto the letters but we’re going to be using the healing brush to do so.

First thing we’re going to do is ... let’s take care of this W and first I want to make sure that this wood texture align with the W. I’m going to hit command T to transform and we’re going to rotate that around, something like that, until the wood grain is somewhat similar to what we’ve got going on here in the W. maybe we’ll just bring down and use it from right above there.

Now what we want to do, is let’s just zoom in. We’ll create a new layer and I’m going to hit the healing brush tool and I’m going to save a sample of the current layer and below, which is going to sample both this layer and what’s on the bottom. What we’re going to do is I’m going to sample this layer. Holding down alt or option we can sample this texture here. Let’s just sample right there. I’m going to start painting over my W. we’re actually going to be painting in wood from the wood that we have over on the left and when I let go it’s going to match the colors for us.

We’re sampling actual wood and I’m literally just painting that in. if you have anything that doesn’t look perfect you can just start to paint it in a little bit more. Very cool. You can see it’s a little bit too well defined so what I’m going to do is hit delete. I’m going to go to Gaussian blur in .2 pixels it should match quite a bit better. Let’s try that again. A new layer, we’ll grab our healing brush tool and we’ll just paint this on you can see with that little bit of a blur things should just look a little bit better now. There we go. Take care of our edges. Very cool. We’ll do the same thing with our O and as I do this what I’m looking to do is hopefully try to match the actual wood grain.

Like the R here is rotated so what we’re going to do is click on this layer, hit command T and then rotate that around. There we go. Now we have wood grain that’s going in the same direction as the R. we’ll go back to this layer, use our healing brush tool again and we’ll sample that and it’s going in about the same … well, it’s not perfect with the direction so we’ll just hit command T, rotate it around, there we go and now we have a better [inaudible 00:05:25].

This is from one wood texture to another but if you guys are using like brick, if there’s an area in your image that is brick and you need to recreate some of it, you can grab brick from other images and apply this unto your images as well. It’s the same technique that you would be using for basically any different texture. This one just happens to be wood.

If you really want to match up like if you wanted to get that grain pattern a little bit tighter, you would want a sample from an area that has other type grain product or you command T again and just try squishing this. There we go. Let’s try squishing that texture there using the healing brush and now we’ve got a tighter grain pattern. There we go. Let’s try from right over here.

You should be able to get this really, really close. This is a tutorial, I can’t spend a ton of time on it but you can see already pretty nice and that’s using a piece of wood that’s not even original scrabble tile. This is not even Parker Brothers approved scrabble wood. There we go. It didn’t take too long. This is a couple of blank scrabble tiles now what I want to do is transfer. We just need to create a new layer.

I’m just going to clone stamp this tile. We’re going to hold down alt or option, we’re going to clone stamp over here and I’m going to clone stamp another scrabble tile over here because we’re going to spell out a word that requires one more letter than we had originally. If you wanted to join everything down at the bottom you could do that as well. All right.

It really depends on … when you guys are doing this thing, it’s going to totally depend on how perfect you need it to be. Trust me, you can make this, you can do this very, very flawlessly. Even things like the road where it doesn’t line up, like a quickle … quickle is not a word apparently.

A quick example of that color with a brush tool and just paint over here. Hold alt or option and stamp it with a brush tool and just paint over there and then that area that didn’t match the road. Now it matches. It doesn’t look like we clone stamp something else. All kinds of really cool tricks that you can use to make things look like they actually should be there.

Let’s go ahead and group those. Let’s group our piece of wood and we can see already we’re off to a good start. The next thing we want to do is take care of the actual letters so I’m going to show you how to do that. Let’s hit our type tool so T for the type tool and what I’m going to do is just type in B. We have our letter B let’s just go ahead and get it to about the right size that we wanted. We’ll just do a rough comparison here. That looks a little bit too big so let’s just cut it down a little bit. There we go.

Now what we’re going to do is just go ahead and change the colors. [Inaudible 00:08:13] down here to character and we’re going to click there make it like a pretty dark gray. We don’t need it completely black but a pretty dark gray should do that. The next thing I want to do is create a square. I’m going to use the square to … there we go. We’re going to use the square to actually size our tiles. I just want this to be pretty close to the original size of a tile. If you want spend more time on that, a little bit bigger I think would work.

If you want a little bit more time getting your size exactly right, by all means do so but I’m just going to get it pretty close in this case. I’m holding down shift to make that about the size that we want. Make it just a little bit smaller. There we go. We’re just going to fill this with a color. Let’s think color whatever really it doesn’t matter.

Let’s put our B over top of our letter here. Let’s just make sure that’s above the right side and it’s probably just a little bit too big. There we go. Now I want to center this with each other. I’m going to shift click the two of those and here on remove tool I’m going to center them vertically and then fit them horizontally so we’ve got a full center here. We’re going to hit command G and we’re going to group those.

What we’ve got now is we’ve got a B that’s centered inside of a square. What we can do with the whole group is I’m going to hit command T with the whole group which is going to bring up our little warps here. We’re going to line up one of our corners then I’m going to hold down the command key and click this little guy. What it’s going to do is it will allow me to do a prospective warp.

We’re going to click here and I’m going to align that area there and then I’m going to click here and we’re going to align that area just like that as well. Not very hard guys. I’m going to hit command J and we’re just going to do this a couple of times each time you can hit command T and line this up.

Actually, you know what? This happens is when I hit command J and duplicated it now we’ll hit command C and it’s rotating the entire shape. It’s not going to be as easy for us to warp it because it’s not actually using the corners because it’s a redefined shape.

What we’re going to do as we’re I’m just going to go back in time, I think you guys know what I was saying. Here I can actually grab the corners and just work before I wasn’t as accurate because we already did the transformation. What we’re going to do is I’m going just to change it. We’re going to go B. I’m just going to hit command J for each one of these groups, there we go, and we’re going to do them each separately. Each of them is going to get its own transformation.

Here we are with group three. We’re going to hit command T. Hold down the control or command T. the control or the command button. There we go, we’ve got B. if you wanted to go in here and the background color that we’ve chosen is like magenta color. If you wanted to go and change the opacity on that so that you could see through a little bit better, that will make it a little easier as well

All kinds of really cool tips on matching things up as far as perspective goes and getting rid of background colors and things like that. Each of these … you couldn’t use the same perspective for each of these because they’re not the same. They’re rotated around differently and things like that, it would just wind up looking really off. There we go. I’m using this square a reference point so I can actually measure the Bs or whatever they are on the actual letters.

We’re going to start right back with group number three. We’re going to double click here and that is a B so we’re going to make that invisible there. We’re going to open this one. This is going to be an E, right? An E and we’re going to make that invisible. We’re using … this is going to be an A.

We’re using those pink areas to define where on the actual tiles these are going to be and have them warped in the exact right perspective. This is going to be a U and now we’re just making those backgrounds invisible when we don’t need them anymore and we’re stuck with just our letters which is exactly what we want. This will be a Y. There we have it.

We have our letters and they conform exactly to what we want. They’re conforming to the actual shape of the tiles. I’m going to go one step further. We’re going to group all those. Those are all my letters. I’m going to duplicate the group and then hit command E which is going to make the entire group, which is like the original group, it’s going to make the entire group into one layer. Now we have no group.

What we’re going to do, we’re going to give it a little bit of a blur. We’re going to do filter, blur and the Gaussian blur. That’s again just to match everything else that’s going on in our image, right? It wasn’t perfectly well defined before. We’re going to need that bit of a blur and then I’m going to double click on here. We’ll just put a quick double emboss as well just to make it look like these are actually inset

I’m going to click down. We’re going to bring our size down to one. There we go. You can see this is looking like they’re inset. Our color here, we don’t want white because the tiles aren’t white. We’re going to choose a very light colored wood, there we go, and we can see that [inaudible 00:13:29] highlights are showing up now and our global light we can just choose around where we want these to be. Let’s just fill in the opacity.

We’ve got double emboss on there that’s working pretty well as well. Let’s put outer glow on here and we’re just going to choose a color and this is going to look like they’re burned in because that might be how they do the letters. Outer glow and we’re going to change this from normal down to multiply. We’ve got that outer glow there and let’s just change its color. Looking pretty good. Our size we’ll just bring down so it’s quite a bit smaller. Our opacity we’ll bring down as well. It’s just got a little bit of that glow on there that helps the letters bleed out a little bit with that double emboss. Double emboss is just a little too strong so we’re just going to change that. Lower [inaudible 00:14:24] just a little bit more. They’re not doubled in very much.

There we go guys. Instead of saying “See the World”, which wouldn’t … nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to show you guys a really cool example on how you could do something like change letters. We went through and we replace the original wood with something we just basically grabbed off the internet. We completely replaced the texture from a blank texture sample which is very, very cool.

We created letters and we warped them all into place and then we added a couple of layer effects on those letters to get them looking perfect. This really does look like a great image. You can use basically the same techniques to replace lettering or symbols or things like that on anything you can think of.

Guys, thanks so much for watching this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot. I can’t wait to see your edited images. If you guys did this I would recommend street signs, things like that, make is say something funny and absurd and then Instagram them and people are like, “Wow! It says that?” You’re like, “Yes, it does. I made it say that.” Have fun with it guys. Thanks so much for watching Phlearn. I’ll Phlearn you guys later. Bye everyone.

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