Today’s tutorial will show you how to create two-tone text using clipping masks in Photoshop. This methods means the text stays editable and you can chop and change your colours to your heart’s content.
This differs from adding a gradient which blends from one colour to another. Here, you get a clearly-defined two-colour look.
USING CLIPPING MASKS IN PHOTOSHOP
Clipping masks are easy to create and great for creative shapes and fonts. Basically, when you clip two layers together, the top layer takes the shape of the bottom layer.
You can clip pretty much anything to anything:
You can clip a photo to a shape. For example, if you need a circular photo.
Clipping masks are non-destructive. For a circular photo, the image hasn’t been cut into a circle. It’s simply contained within the shape - like looking through a circular window. The photo can still be resized and repositioned inside the circle.
It’s a quick way to add pattern or texture like gold-leaf, glitter or metallic to text.
You can also clip photos to fonts. This works really well with chunky fonts. The clipping mask simply treats each letter as a shape.
Text can still be edited, even if something is clipped to it.
This video will show you how to:
Draw rectangles using the Shape Tool.
Change the colour of shapes.
Clip shapes to text.
THE STEP BY STEP
Drawing Blocks of Colour with the Shape Tool
Select the Shape Tool (shortcut U) and choose Rectangle.
On the Options Bar at the top, have Shape selected and choose a fill colour and no stroke (rectangle with red line through).
Click slightly above and to the left of the top corner of your text.
Drag a rectangle shape across and down, until it reaches half-way down the text and finishes to the right of the text.
Make sure the top half of the text is completely enclosed in the rectangle. Bigger is better, as any excess will be ‘clipped’ away.
Repeat with another rectangle covering the lower half of the text in a different colour.
Clipping the Colour to the Text
You should now have 3 layers - your text layer on the bottom, your first colour rectangle on the second layer and finally, your second colour rectangle on the top.
With your Text Layer selected, hold down your Alt or Option key.
Hover your cursor over the line between the text layer and the first colour rectangle.
You’ll see a rectangle with a down arrow appear.
When you see this Click to clip the first colour to the text.
Hold down your Alt or Option key again.
Hover your cursor over the line between the first colour rectangle (which is now clipped) and the second colour rectangle.
When you see the arrow, Click to clip the second colour to the text.
Reposition the Colours
To reposition the colour transition ‘line’, just click on each colour and drag up or down into place. Make sure they still touch each other and you can see any black text.
To rotate the layers for a diagonal join, Ctrl-Click each colour layer so you rotate them at the same time. Hover just outside any of the corner handles to see the curved rotation arrow. You may find you need to make your rectangles larger when you rotate them to completely cover the text.
EXAMPLES OF MASKING
Here are a few examples of two-tone text:
In the first example, instead of a single colour top and bottom, each letter alternates. This is achieved the same way as in the video but, you use small squares of colour to clip to the word rather than one large rectangle.
The second example uses two rectangles which are clipping to the word.
In the third example, both rectangle layers are selected and rotated after they’ve been clipped. You may need to make your rectangles larger for this, depending on the font.
And finally, in this example, the two coloured rectangles are duplicated and these layers are dragged below the text. The two layers above the text are clipped. The two layers below the text are rotated 180 degrees and form the background colour.
As you can see, clipping masks are one of the easiest ways to jazz up your text in Photoshop.
If solid colours aren't for you, try clipping metallics, patterns or textures. Or, a combination of colour and pattern.