Would you like to get more creative with your text? Today’s tutorial will show you how to give the impression that text is intertwined, using Photoshop layer masks.
Layer masks sound complicated but they’re really not. Once mastered, they give you control over one of the most powerful editing tools in Photoshop.
This tutorial is a fun and easy way to start playing with masks, so why not have a go!
USING LAYERS MASKS IN PHOTOSHOP
Layer masks are a powerful tool in Photoshop. For this tutorial, we are using them as a way to ‘hide’ sections of one layer so that the layer below shows through.
Layer masks are also non-destructive. This means any change you make can be reversed as nothing has been deleted. It has simply been hidden.
In this example, we are hiding rather than erasing sections of one text layer to reveal the text layer below. If we change our mind, edit or reposition our text, or make a mistake and paint too far, we can easily correct and start again.
EXAMPLES OF MASKING
Here are a few examples of intertwined text.
In the first example, I’ve simply used two layers with very different fonts and masks so the script font looks like it is wrapping itself around the other word.
In the second example, I’ve used initials in the same font, overlapping and masking to give the impression the J is wrapping itself over and under the letter H.
The final example is slightly more detailed. I’ve used a calligraphic font and positioned the letters individually, including various glyphs, to give me maximum flexibility in terms of overlaps and masks.
LAYER MASK TIPS
If you’re not sure which letter/word to put the layer mask on, think about which letter you are trying to ‘hide’. That’s the layer with the mask.
Use as many separate layers, one for each individual letter if necessary, to get the most flexibility. For the Be Still example above, I used 7 separate layers and 5 masks, as I wanted to position each letter individually.
I find it helps to reduce the opacity of the layer you are masking, so you can see the edges of the letter you’re trying to reveal below.
It takes a little while to get used to painting accurately. Just zoom in, slow down and reduce the size of your brush where necessary.
Made a mistake? Just flip your brush from black to white and repaint.
This video will show you how to:
Create a layer mask.
Paint on a layer mask.
Amend a layer mask.
THE STEP BY STEP
Creating a Layer Mask
Select the Text Layer you want to mask (hide bits of).
Click on the Layer Mask Icon (white rectangle with black circle) at the bottom of your layer stack.
You need to make sure you paint on the layer Mask, not the layer itself.
Click on the white Layer Mask once. You’ll see white corners appear. This means the mask, not the layer, is selected.
Painting on the Layer Mask
Select your Brush Tool (shortcut B).
On the Options Bar at the top, choose a Hard Brush.
Have your Foreground Colour set to Black.
Hover over your text to set your Brush Size using the left and right Square Brackets [ = smaller, ] = larger.
Paint over the areas you want to ‘hide’.
Reduce the Opacity of your layer, if that helps you find the ‘edges’ of the letter below.
Amending a Layer Mask
To amend, you simply paint in White rather than Black.
Flip your Foreground Colour between black and white by hitting your X key as you paint.
If you find you don’t keep within the lines easily, just zoom right in and make your brush much smaller or use the opacity tip above.
Changing the Text Colour
You can change the colour of the text after the mask has been applied.
Use a colour overlay or select the text and use the colour swatch.
The layer mask will not be affected.
TIME TO PLAY
Like I said, this is a great way to play and practice with Layer Masks.
It’s also a great way to practice painting and developing a steady hand!