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This chapter is from the book

PlayStation Type Trick

I actually saw this technique at the end of a TV ad for a game built for Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console, and I thought two things: (1) hey, that is pretty cool, and (2) I’ll bet I can figure that one out. As it turned out, it was easier than I thought. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Step One: Press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to create a new blank document (I made mine 800×600 pixels at a resolution of 72 ppi). Press D to set your Foreground color to black, then press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill your Background layer with black. Next, add a new blank layer above your black Background layer by clicking on the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Get the Polygonal Lasso tool (press Shift-L until you have it) and draw a long, thin diamond shape like the one you see here (this tool draws straight line selections, so it takes just five clicks to create this diamond shape).
  • Step Two: Now click on the Foreground color swatch and set your Foreground color to a purple in the Color Picker (I used R: 98, G: 95, B: 166), then fill your selection with this purple color by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace). Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D). Next, go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. For your Radius, enter 10 pixels (as shown here), then click OK to soften the diamond shape.
  • Step Three: This time, set your Foreground color to a medium gray, then get the Horizontal Type tool (T). Click inside your image area, then type in your text. (I used the font Mata, which, besides having a version of it used for PlayStation, is the same typeface used for the movie Spiderman, which automatically makes it cool. At least to my son.) Also, the PlayStation version is in italic, and while I don’t have an italic version of the font Mata, you can actually have Photoshop “fake it.” Select your text, then go to the Character panel (found under the Window menu), click on the down-facing arrow at the top right, and from the flyout menu, chose Faux Italic to create a fake italic version of the font. Now, with the Move tool (V) position this text in the center of your blurry purple diamond (yes, that’s its official name, but you can call it BPD).
  • Step Four: Make a duplicate of this Type layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J). Now press Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T) to bring up Free Transform, then Control-click (PC: Right-click) inside your image and choose Flip Vertical from the contextual menu, which flips your duplicate layer’s text upside down. Press-and-hold the Shift key and click-and-drag the upside down text straight down until the bases of the two Type layers line up, creating a mirror reflection like you see here. Press Return (PC: Enter) to commit the transformation.
  • Step Five: At the top of the Layers panel, lower the Opacity of this duplicate layer to 40% to help it stand out from the original Type layer above it. Now, click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. With your Foreground and Background colors set to their layer mask defaults of white and black, take the Gradient tool (G), choose the Foreground to Background gradient in the Options Bar, and click-and-drag from the top of your flipped type layer down to almost the bottom of the type to make it fade away (as seen here).
  • Step Six: In the Layers panel, click on the diamond shape layer (Layer 1), then get the Rectangular Marquee tool (M), and click-and-drag a rectangular selection right along the baseline where the text meets, to down below the bottom of the diamond (in other words, select the bottom half of the diamond), and then press Delete (PC: Backspace). This leaves only the top of the diamond visible behind the regular text—not the reflected text (as seen here), which kind of gives you that “planet rising” effect. Now you can deselect, because we have to tweak a few things to finish this puppy off.
  • Step Seven: The glow looks a little too high (we want it fully contained behind the letters—not sticking out the top), so bring up Free Transform again. Click on the top-center handle and drag straight downward to squash your glow a bit, so it isn’t quite as high as the letters (like you see here), and then lock in your changes.
  • Step Eight: When I looked at the final image (shown here), I thought the reflection was a little too pronounced, so I went back to the reflected-type layer and lowered the Opacity from 40% down to 20%, for the look you see here, which is a bit more subtle. Also, I added the line of text near the bottom using the same typeface, but I went to the Character panel and turned off Faux Italic. By the way, that’s a good thing, because the one “gotcha!” about using Faux Italic is that it doesn’t automatically turn itself off. It’ll stay on, faux italicizing every typeface until you remember to go turn it off. Now, does this make any sense to work like that? (I’m not a good guy to ask, because my answer may contain words not fit to print.)
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