Today’s video tutorial will show you how to access and use the glyphs panel in Photoshop.
There are all sorts of lovely letters, shapes, patterns, ornaments and swashes hiding away in your fonts you may not be aware of. I’ll show you how to find them and use them so you can add flare to your text or create repeat patterns, frames, logos and borders.
WHAT ARE GLYPHS?
Glyphs are individual, non-standard characters within a font. They are an extension to the basic set of letters, numbers and symbols we use every day.
Ones you may already be familiar with are letters with accents. In French, for example, there are many versions of the letter e é è ê.
Glyphs are all those extra characters you don’t see on your keyboard but can access with shortcuts.
In Photoshop these glyphs can be viewed in the Glyphs Panel.
DIFFERENT FONTS = DIFFERENT GLYPHS
Many fonts simply come with the standard set of characters, plus additional foreign-language variants. You’ll get a few extras, like the copyright symbol or mathematical symbols, but that’s about it.
When you look at some script, calligraphic or display fonts, however, you’ll find all sort of goodies hidden in the extended character set:
- Script fonts often have characters with swashes.
- Calligraphic fonts have ornate variants and additional flourishes.
- Display fonts are great for icons and motifs, from flowers to hieroglyphs.
- Some fonts have lines, arrows, scrolls, frames and borders.
Some typesets have individual font files for these additional characters. Look for words like ornaments, arrows, or extended in the file name.
EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT FONT GLYPHS
Here’s just a tiny selection of glyphs:
And, you can use them for more than just extended text:
This video will show you how to:
- Find the Glyphs Panel.
- Select and replace individual characters with alternates.
- Resize the Glyphs Panel to make it easier to view.
THE STEP BY STEP
Opening the Glyph Panel
- The first thing to do is to open your Glyph Panel, under Window-Glyphs.
- The Glyph Panel will automatically choose the font from the layer you have selected. If not, you can use the drop-down font menu at the top of the Panel.
- To make individual characters easier to see, you can use the slider at the bottom of the Panel to make them larger or smaller.
Inserting a Glyph Character into Text
- With your Text Layer selected, double click on the T thumbnail to highlight the text.
- Click inside the text area and select the individual letter you want to replace.
- When you select a letter, the Glyph Panel will automatically find that letter in the list.
- Scroll through the options for that letter and double click to replace the existing letter with the new letter.
- Repeat for each letter you wish to change.
- Click the Checkmark to confirm your changes.
Changing a Glyph Character into a PNG Motif
If there's an individual glyph character you’d like to use as a individual motif - like the heart or repeat patterns in the examples above - it’s simply a case of typing it as text and then converting it to a png (rasterising it).
- Create a new Text Layer and double click to select the character you want from the Glyph Panel.
- Click the Checkmark to confirm your changes.
- Now right-click on that layer and choose Rasterise Type.
- Your glyph character is no longer editable.
- You can now move it around, change its colour, or save it in the same way you would with a png file.
Changing a Glyph Character into a Frame or Box
There are many glyph sets containing corners. These can be used to create lovely text frames or boxes for quotes.
If you’d like to do this, you need to turn these glyph characters into pngs, as above, and then compile them into a frame before joining them together and then resizing/colouring.
- Create a new Text Layer and double click to select the character you want from the glyph panel.
- Repeat new Text Layers for each part of the frame (this makes fitting them together later more accurate, as they don’t always join perfectly).
- Now right-click on each layer and choose Rasterise Type.
- Your glyph characters are no longer editable.
- You can now move the individual layers (corners) into place, making sure that they join and there’s no white gap between the pieces.
- When all corners are in position, click on the top layer and shift-click on the bottom layer.
- Right-click on the selection and choose Merge Layers.
- Your frame/box is now on a single layer and ready to resize and recolour.
HAVE A LOOK!
Even if you don’t have a huge range of fonts on your computer, the chances are, one or two of them will have some lovely glyphs in their character set.
Now you know they are there, you can also look out for glyph options when you buy new fonts.
If you're subscribed to Photoshop CC, remember you have access to professional fonts via Typekit. You're entitled to 100 fonts at any one time. You can choose, sync and manage them via the Creative Cloud Desktop App you used to install Photoshop.