Photoshop Tutorials: Hand Lettering

This blog post contains two tutorials that will teach you how to manipulate hand-drawn designs in Photoshop.
If you plan on using Photoshop, you MUST complete one of these tutorials and post your original images and your completed tutorial to your blog.

Using Blending Modes to add hand-lettering to different surfaces

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the blending modes in Photoshop to realistically add hand-lettering to different surfaces, like the example below:
move_part_of_lettering

To complete this tutorial, you will need a photo of your desired background surface and an image of black and white hand lettering:
notebook_paper-1155x1077   letters_say_things_bw_small

How to Use Blending Modes

  1. Open both your desired background image and your hand-lettering image in Photoshop.
  2. Make sure your hand-lettering sample is in true grayscale. (Image -> Mode -> Grayscale).
    See the before and after photos below to see how this makes a difference:
    letters_say_things_small   letters_say_things_bw_small
  3. Click on the rectangular selection tool rectangle_selection on the toolbar on the left side of the screen.
    Click and drag to select the desired text:
    select_original
  4. Copy (Edit -> Copy or control-click C).
  5. Go to your background image file and paste. (Edit -> Paste or control-click V).
    paste_origiinal_lettering
  6. Go to the top of the layers palette. Change the blending mode from “Normal” to Multiply:
    multiply_layers_palette
  7. Now your file should look like this:
    multiply
  8. If you want, adjust the size and rotation of your lettering using the free transform tool.
    (Edit -> Transform -> Free Transform)
  9. To create a slightly more realistic effect, go to the top of the layer palette at the bottom right side of the screen and slightly lower the opacity:
    opacity_layers_palette
  10. Now we will separate the hand-lettered words so we can adjust them individually.
  11. Select the rectangular marquee tool rectangle_selection from the toolbar.
  12. Click and drag until you have selected just the part of the text that you would like to move:
    select_part_of_lettering
  13. Cut the text (Edit -> Cut).
  14. Paste the text (Edit -> Paste). Photoshop will automatically paste it onto a new layer for you:
    paste_part_of_lettering
  15. Go back to the top of the layers palette and adjust the blending mode and opacity to match the other hand-lettered layer:
    opacity_layers_palette
  16. Now your design should look like this:
    multiply_opacity_2
  17. Select the move tool move_tool from the tool bar on the left side of the screen.
  18. Adjust the placement of the text until you are happy with it:
    move_part_of_lettering
  19. When you are done, save the file as both a psd and jpg.
    Back up the Photoshop file to either your Google Drive or USB.
  20. Create a new blog post with the following: the photograph you started with, the image of hand lettering you started with, and your final image with the lettering over the text.

White hand-drawn lettering on a photo background

In this tutorial, you will learn how to add hand lettered details to a photograph and change the color of the lettering, like the example below:
photo_w_text

To complete this tutorial, you will need an abstract or low contrast photo and an image of black and white hand lettering:
abstract_ice hand_letttering_scan

How to add hand lettering to a photograph:

  1. Open the image of hand lettering in Photoshop.
  2. Click on the magic wand tool on the toolbar on the left side of the screen. magic_wand
    It may be hidden below the quick selection tool, so you may need to click and hold on the quick selection tool until the magic wand tool appears below it, then select the magic wand tool. magic_wand_quick_selection
  3. At the top of the screen, set the tolerance to 50.
    This may need to be adjusted, but this is a good starting point. magic_wand_tolerance
  4. Click on any black area of the text image to select that part of the text.
    To select the rest of the text, Select -> Similar.
    select_similar
  5. Now we will remove the white background. Select -> Inverse.
    select_inverse
  6. Edit -> Cut or Control + x.
    Your image should now look like black text on a transparent checkerboard background:
    no_bg
  7. Now we will make the text white. Image -> Adjustments -> Invert:
    image_adjustments_invert
    Your image should look like white text on a transparent checkerboard background:
    white_text
  8. Time to add the white text to the photograph. Open the photograph in Photoshop.
    Then click and drag the white text into the photograph file, and move it until you are happy with the placement:
    photo_w_text
  9. When you are done, save the file as both a psd and jpg.
    Back up the Photoshop file to either your Google Drive or USB.
  10. Create a new blog post with the following: the photograph you started with, the image of hand lettering you started with, and your final image with the lettering over the text.

If you are working in Photoshop, by the end of today’s class, you will create a new blog post with the following:

  • the original background photo you started with, as well as a photo of your hand-lettered text
  • the final image with text over a background photo
  • a paragraph describing which, if any, of these techniques you plan to use in your final infographic design
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