Aug 20, 2014

How to Add Text to Anything in Photoshop

How to Add Text to Anything in Photoshop

Ditch the struggle to try and figure out perspective manually! In today’s episode, we show you how to use the vanishing point filter to lay text anywhere in a realistic way.

Vanishing Point Filter

After typing the desired text, make sure to copy it onto the clipboard (Cmd+C). This way, when we go into the filter, we can paste it back in (Cmd+V).

To get to the Vanishing Point Filter dialogue, go to Filter –> Vanishing Point. Now, we can define the area that we want for our perspective. After that, the perspective is a breeze. Just drag, drop, and resize the text into the defined area.

Layer Effects

Now that we have the proper perspective, it’s important to create layer effects on the text so it looks more realistic. By double clicking on the layer, we can adjust the layer styles. These will change depending on what you want your image to look like. For this episode we choose to give the text a beveled and chiseled look to blend into the stone. We also give the text an inner shadow. Make sure to have the “Use Global Light” box checked in order to keep the light source consistent.

We can adjust the color in the Layer Style Panel as well. We can sample color from the actual image to get a great match.

If things don’t look correct right away, don’t worry! This process is truly just a lot of playing around with the layer effects to see what looks the most natural.

Adding wear & tear

Often times, text that is placed into an image has a much higher quality resolution and may look too sharp. To create a more realistic and worn look for our text, there are a couple of steps we can take:

Gaussian Blur: Make a duplicate of the layer that holds all of the layer effects (Cmd+J), and then make a new layer and merge those two together (Cmd+E). This strips the layer effects away,. Now we can go to Filter –> Blur –> Gaussian Blur and choose a relatively subtle amount of blurring to help the text appear to be the same quality as the image.

Motion Blur: Duplicate the layer again, then go to Filter –> Blur –> Motion Blur. We can choose an angle and distance that suggests rain has caused the letters to erode. Then, we can create a black layer mask (by holding Opt + clicking on the layer mask button) and paint with white only where we want the “erosion” to show up.




user image You
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  • user image

    Good stuff! I love that perspective tool, thanks for letting us know how to use it! I probably would never have known about it (and other tools) if you didn’t include it in your tutorials. 🙂

    • user image

      Great tutorial — a little know but valuable tool for those of us who do a lot of composites. Thank you.

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    Keith Law

    you on
    Creative Live was so great. Now I am saving up to buy the three day with all layers and images so I can watch it at my own pace. You put out so much information it takes me a while to get just half of it. 🙂 Thanks for being who you are…

  • user image

    Great tutorial. Thanks for the tips! Looking forward to learning more cool stuff.

  • user image

    Great tutorial again. I love your work. Just an idea: you often see dancers with artistic coloured swirls around their arms and legs to create sense of movement. What is the best way to create these?

  • user image

    Great tutorial . Your tutorial’s are always special ! Looking forward to more amazing tutorials

  • user image

    Hey Aaron I had an infant shoot the other day and I was trying to find the ones you did on youtube. Cant seem to locate them? Have they been removed?

  • user image

    Just a little info, what measures is the black frame of the picture you have in the back during the tutorials?

  • user image
    Jim Darracott

    I have PS3 and some of the episodes seem to be geared toward more recent PS software. I would like to see how to make a graphic line drawing from a photographic image. I enjoy your tutorials and the way you talk to those of us still learning.

    Keep doing it and thanks.

  • user image
    phred angelofstone

    i would really love it if u could show how to increase muscle size in photoshop

  • user image

    Hi Aaron and the PHLearn team.

    Would these principles work for adding the text, as if it were a tattoo, onto the body of a model..?

    I guess that there would also be some WARP to go with the contours of the body as well.

  • user image

    I have been trying to follow your tutorial for hours, but I can’t seem to be able to copy anything to the clipboard. The copy and paste options on Photoshop (CS6) are grayed out and cannot be selected. Ctrl C does nothing. I am rasterizing the text. I also tried transforming it into smart object, nothing gets pasted into the Vanishing Point screen. I don’t know what else to try.