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Merging Text and Images in Photoshop

Maintaining the editability of text with a fill image By Dave Nagel
When people ask me where to begin learning Adobe Photoshop, I respond, "Learn by trying." Training materials are good for reference sometimes, but you're never going to learn the program thoroughly unless you learn how to find the right answers--more often the right questions--for yourself. However, as I've learned for myself recently, once you find the answer, it's sometimes beneficial to keep looking for new answers for the same problem. Hence today's tutorial.

Now, like many of you, I've been using Photoshop for longer than I'd care to confide. And--I'll admit it--I have become somewhat stuck in my ways, as I'm sure many of you have. Take, for example, the very common design technique of placing an image inside text in Photoshop.

"No problem," I would say. "Select your text. Choose Edit > Paste Into. Position the pasted image." That's just the way I've always done it.

But there is, in fact, a problem. Namely, if you decide to change the text, you have to do it all over again because the vector mask that's automatically created on the "Paste Into" command does not sync up with any changes in the text layer. So, in effect, the text in this scenario is not editable. And by now you know how I am about editability. For those who don't, I'm all about it.

So here's an embarrassingly simple technique to solve this problem that will hopefully help beginners as well as the old timers out there who've become as stuck in their crotchety ways as I have.

1. Begin, of course, by creating your text layer.

2. Paste your image on top of the text layer. Do not choose "Paste Into." Just do a regular paste.

3. Select your image layer in the Layers palette, and choose Layer > Group with Previous. (Or type Command-G on the Mac or Control-G on Windows.)

4. Apply any effects you want to the text layer. This includes any layer styles that you would like to see respecting the boundaries of the text.

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  • Merging Text and Images in Photoshop by DMN Editorial at Aug. 03, 2004 11:32 pm gmt (Rec'd 2)

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