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In Photoshop, the text tools are used far more by graphic designers than by photographers. Many photographers add text only as a watermark, such as a copyright notice or Web site URL. When you use the Horizontal Type or Vertical Type tool, the type is created on its own layer so that you can edit the text later without altering the underlying image. (Text layers are merged with other layers whenever you flatten the document, including exporting to formats that don’t support layers, such as JPEG.)

If you want to add a lot of text to a document, it’s usually better to bring the Photoshop document into a page-layout program such as InDesign. To save text as part of the Photoshop document, we have a few tips.

Making Text Blocks. You can add new type by clicking a type tool on an image; you can then start entering text. This is called point type because the text alignment is relative to the point you clicked. If you’re going to type more than one line of text, the click-and-type procedure is a pain because you have to manually break lines by pressing Return or Enter. Instead of clicking, drag out a rectangular text frame with a type tool; this is called paragraph type. Then, when you enter text longer than a line, Photoshop automatically wraps it to fit the frame, and you can always reshape the frame by dragging its corner or edge handles, or rotate the text block by dragging outside of the frame.

You can change paragraph type to point type (and vice versa) by making sure no text or text blocks are selected (clicking on the text layer in the Layers panel will do this), then choosing Convert to Point Text or Convert to Paragraph Text from the Layer > Type submenu. You can also select these commands from the context-sensitive menu you get when right-clicking or Ctrl-clicking (Mac OS X) with a type tool.

When you’re done creating or editing text, you can apply text changes and deselect the text frame by pressing Command-Return (Mac OS X) or Ctrl-Enter on the main keyboard (Windows), or press Enter on the numeric keypad. If you press Return (Mac OS X) or Enter above the Shift key (Windows), you’ll type a return character instead. If you want to discard your latest text editing changes, press Esc instead.

Editing Type Layers. Once you have created some text on a type layer, there are several ways to edit it:

  • Double-click the type layer’s thumbnail icon in the Layers panel. (Double-clicking on the name lets you edit the layer name, and double-clicking outside the layer name opens the Layer Style dialog.)
  • Click the text with a type tool. You know your cursor is in the right place when the tool’s cursor changes to an I-beam. However, if you click in the wrong place, Photoshop will create a new type layer; in this case, press the Esc key to cancel the new layer.
  • When you have both a type tool selected in the Tools panel and a type layer selected in the Layers panel, right click or Ctrl-click (Windows) and then choose Edit Type from the context menu.

As long as one or more type layers are selected in the Layers panel and a type tool is selected, you can use the Options bar, the Character panel, or the Paragraph panel (see Figure 11-33) to apply formatting to the entire text block, without having to select the text characters themselves.


Figure 11-33 Formatting text

Text (Usually) Gets Rasterized. If you want high-resolution text, be careful about the file format you use when saving. In many cases (such as if you save as TIFF), the text gets rasterized—if you’re working with a 225 ppi image, any text you add to that image in Photoshop is similarly 225 ppi. That’s high enough for most images, but it looks crummy for hard-edged type. (See Chapter 12, “Image Storage and Output,” for more information about saving files with text layers.)

Using Text as a Mask. There are two tools in the Tools panel that create text masks rather than text (that is, as you type, Photoshop makes a selection in the shape of text rather than actual text). However, when it comes to making selections in the shape of text, we would rather create a normal type layer and then Command-click (Mac OS X) or Ctrl-click (Windows) on it in the Layers panel. By actually creating a type layer, we can preview it in the image before clicking OK, we can edit the text later, or we can use the type someplace else (even in another image). If we had simply used a type mask tool, we’d have nothing but an ephemeral group of marching ants.

Rendering Type Layers. Because text layers are vector-based (like shapes, you can’t paint or run filters on them or do anything else that relies on pixel editing. If you need to do something like that, you have to render them (turn them into pixels) by selecting Layers > Type > Rasterize. For maximum quality, it’s best to apply all the transformations (rotating, scaling, positioning, skewing) and layer effects (drop shadows and so on) that you need before rendering the type layer.

Text on a Path. Need to run text along a path? Simply draw a path with the Pen tool (see “Creating and Editing Paths,” earlier in this chapter) and then click on it with a type tool. Note that a type tool’s cursor changes when it’s on top of a path, and when you click and then start typing, the text begins from the point you clicked. To adjust the starting and ending points for the text on the path, switch to the Path Selection tool (press A); as you hover the cursor over the start point or endpoint, the cursor changes to a vertical line with a thick black arrow. If you click and drag with this cursor, you adjust where the text begins or ends on the line.

The direction in which you draw your path determines how Photoshop draws the text. If you draw a path from left to right, the text flows on the top of the line; if you draw from right to left, the text flows from right to left—upside down. To flip the text over, use the Path Selection tool and drag the beginning or ending point to the other side of the line.

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