How do you make text blend into a photo? In Photoshop, you can use something called masking.
We will be using the same image that we added text to and then played with the font colour. In this example, I will show you how to make sure the leaves appear to be over the text, giving the impression that the photo was taken with the text already on the page.
WHAT ARE PHOTOSHOP LAYER MASKS?
Layer masks allow you to protect parts of a photo from the effects of a layer, without permanently changing the contents of the layer.
For example, you can have a photograph on one layer and a brightness layer above that. By doing this, you increase the brightness of the whole photo below.
That photo, however, may already have an areas that are perfectly exposed. You only want to brighten the underexposed areas.
To do this, you add a layer mask to the brightness layer and ‘paint’ out the area of the photo that is already bright enough. This will mask out the effect of the brightness increase on just that particular area of the photograph. The remaining parts of the photo will still have their brightness increased.
Imagine the mask is protecting parts of the layer below - the photo - from the effects of the brightness layer.
The area you mask out can be any size or shape. Masks can be applied to any type of layer, from adjustments like brightness and contrast to text and shape layers.
Mastering layer masks will really add a whole new level of creativity to your photo editing.
SO, WHAT DO I MEAN BY BLEND IN TEXT?
In this example, the stock photo has a blank notebook with a few plant leaves overhanging. If we simply add the text to the photo, the text will appear on a layer above the photo. As such, the text will appear over the leaf. Not terribly realistic.
What we want to do is give the impression that the text was already on the notebook before the photo was taken. We want it to appear as notebook - text - leaves.
One way to do this is to rasterise the text (turn it into pixels) and then erase the text sitting on top of the leaf.
This way will work, but it means you can no longer change the text (rasterising means it is no longer a font) and erasing the overlapping text means it's gone forever. If you change your mind, you will have to start again.
A better way to do it is with a layer mask. Add a mask to the text layer and then ‘paint’ out the text you want to hide. The text remains editable, the text you painted out is still there, it’s just hiding, and you can amend the layer to your heart’s content.
This video will show you how to:
* add a layer mask to a text layer;
* how to use the brush tool to paint a mask; and
* how to amend a layer mask.
THE STEP BY STEP
CREATING A LAYER MASK
With your Text Layer selected, click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layer stack (a white rectangle with a black circle in the centre).
This will add a white rectangle to the right of the Text icon on your text layer. This is the mask.
Make sure you have the mask selected by clicking on it. You will see a white line around each corner to indicate it's selected.
Select the Brush Tool from the Tool Bar on the left of your screen (shortcut B).
Set the Brush Size on the Options Panel at the top of the screen. (Hovering over the photo will show you how big the brush is.)
Choose a Hard Round Brush.
Set the Brush Opacity and Flow to 100%.
Set your Brush Colour to Black Foreground and White Background at the bottom of your Tool Bar (shortcut D).
PAINTING A MASK
Double check you have the Layer Mask selected on your Text Layer (the white line should be around the Layer Mask not the Text Icon).
Paint over the text you want to hide. You will see black appear on the Layer Mask thumbnail wherever you paint.
AMENDING A MASK
To hide paint in black, to reveal paint in white.
Switch your foreground and background colours with the shortcut X. You are now painting in white.
Paint over the area you want to correct. You will see anything hidden reappear.
Switch back to black (shortcut X) to carry on masking if you need to.
Switch between black and white to hide and reveal.
BEFORE & AFTER
Although this is a simple example with just a tiny overlapping area, you can see what a difference a little masking can do. It looks far more realistic. The bigger the area you mask, the more impact this technique has.
WANT TO TRY MASKING?
If you want to improve your photo editing, start playing with masks.
You can download this stock photo from the Resource Library if you don’t have an image to practice on.
Once you have the black/white hide/reveal sussed, you will start to understand the potential of using masks for editing.
And, they don’t only work with the brush tool. You can use selections, shapes and gradients to mask. These masks can then be finessed with the opacity slider. For a mixed effect, you can paint in black and grey on one mask. The possibilities are endless!
And the best thing of all? Masks are simply hiding things, so everything you do is non-destructive. Powerful, flexible photo editing.