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Learning Photoshop - How To Get Digital Masterpieces Out Of Your Images


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The use of photographs as a way of expression has traversed a long and creative route. From scintillating images that were once considered the forte of niche artists, to using images as a captivating means to bring everyday necessities like calendars, e-cards and even online albums to share with the rest of the world, the modern-day perception of this art is indeed multifarious. When it comes to the more unconventional applications of photography, you may often find that a few words of wisdom, or humor as the case may be, often packs in a lot more punch than simply using the images themselves. In the days of yore, this option was considered a veritable taboo, in light of the tacky effect a caption or a tagline brought about. With Photoshop, however, this qualm is wiped away with the plethora of alternatives which have literally revolutionized the way the world views digital image editing.

With Photoshop, captioning your images is no longer restricted to plastering a few lines of text across them. Instead, you can blend the text in and have it merge with the image, so that what you have as a final product is a harmonious confluence of text and image, and not two separate entities. Photoshop uses a ground-breaking technique called Anti-Aliasing, to attain this effect. Anti-Aliasing works with the pixels of the text you type in, partially filling in the edges to keep them from standing out. You can also choose how sharp or smooth your image appears, by selecting the most appropriate alternative from the array that Photoshop allows you. ‘Strong', for instance would make the text appear heavier than the rest of the image while ‘Sharp’ would define the edges, while also making sure that they are in-sync with the background.

If you are working with very small text that is below the font size of 10 or 12 points, then as Photoshop specialists recommend, steer away from using Anti-Aliasing by setting the preference to ‘None’. This keeps the text from being modified inconsistently, a factor that comes into play when working with images of a very small size, or of a low resolution. The ‘smooth’ and the ‘sharp’ alternatives live up to their name with the effects they bring about, but if you are looking for something in between, try the ‘Crisp’ option which, as the name suggests, makes your text appear decisive. To work with Anti-Aliasing, choose the option you intend to work with from the menu, which you will find in the ‘Type’ layer segment of the Layer Palette. You can move to this menu either by selecting it from the ‘Options’ bar, or from the ‘Character Palette’.

To work with the ‘Type’ tool, you first need to bring it to the ‘Options’ bar. You can do this by hitting the letter ‘T’ and then choose the options as per the effect you are looking to create. Of all the options that the bar offers, the first two are to create a Type Mask or a Type Layer. You can base your preference on what you are more comfortable working with. For large bodies of text which may be difficult to fit in at the first instance, you can create a Type Layer, click and size a rectangular or square box and create a text column, which you can fit into the portion of the segment you want to feature the text in. when typing directly on the image, watch out for the I-beam on the image, the small horizontal line across which is the baseline for your text. Paying attention to this baseline allows you more precision even as you work on the image, thus saving a lot of time and effort on resizing after the damage has been done!

While Photoshop does allow you to preview the font and the character size of your text before you type it in, sometimes it can be quite difficult to figure out what the final product's going to look like at the very outset. And if you are befuddled about which font you want to stick with for your text, you can simply fill it in, highlight in and then choose the font and style that seems most appropriate to your text and overall image. Color is yet another avenue where you can let your imagination run wild. Photoshop lets you coordinate the color of your text from character to character, or even hue your image in an assortment of colors, all within a single layer! You can either choose your color from the Color-Picker window or from the image itself by moving over the pertinent segment of the image while the Color-Picker window is still open.

Once you added your text and granted it all the enhancements you could think of, you may want to take a minute to gloat over your accomplishment. To do this, exit the type mode with the ‘Enter’ key on the ‘Numeric Keypad’. You can also exit the ‘Typing mode’ by selecting any other tool in the toolbox or clicking on the checkmark in the Options bar. And if you still aren't satisfied with the text you've added, you can re-enter the Editing mode by double-clicking on the ‘T’ icon in the thumbnail area of the Layers Palette. For a quick-fix job where you just want to resize the text or move it around, remember to hold down the ‘Shift’ key while dragging the text to adhere to the proportions. Not doing so will lead to your text becoming taller or wider than it originally was and if that's what you're looking for, proceed the same way you would with the exception of holding down the ‘Shift’ key.

No longer a marvel confined to the realm of the seasoned pros Photoshop is also a very handy tool for the nervous beginner once he gets over the initial learning curve. The trick here lies in getting as much practice and as creative as you can and let the software work its charm for you the masterpieces that you churn out will be well worth the toil!

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