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Hour 17. Adding Type to Pictures

Hour 17. Adding Type to Pictures

If a picture's worth a thousand words, how many more is it worth if we add words to the picture? Well, never mind…. The fact is, though, sometimes you have to add type to a picture for one reason or another. If you've used previous versions of Photoshop, you might recall that type was never its strong point—until now. In Photoshop 6, Adobe's engineers and programmers have finally given us the kind of control over type we have learned to expect from PageMaker, Illustrator, and other Adobe products. Now, you can add type directly onto a page, edit it, and control its leading, tracking, and kerning. You can set type vertically as well as horizontally, and you can warp it onto a predetermined path. You can set text either by clicking a start point on the page, or by dragging the Text Tool to create a bounding box and then filling the box with type. Let's start with the basics.

A few things haven't changed. Photoshop still places your type on a separate type layer. Type must still be rendered, or rasterized, before you can apply filters. You can apply layer styles such as drop shadows, bevel, and emboss, plus gradient fills either before or after type is rasterized.

At this point, a few words about type might prove helpful. There are two kinds of type that you'll be dealing with: outline type and bitmapped type. Outline type, which is also called vector type, consists of mathematically defined shapes, in either Postscript or TrueType language. Outline type can be scaled to any size without losing its sharp, smooth edges. Bitmapped type is composed of individual pixels. The sharpness of bitmap type depends on the type size and the resolution of the image. If you scale bitmapped type to a larger size, you'll see jagged edges, or ”jaggies.“

When you enter type on the screen in Photoshop, the letters are drawn as vector type. That's why you can edit them, reshape them, and play with them as much as you like. Anything you do just changes the numbers, and computers are very good with numbers. However, Photoshop is a bitmapped program. It manipulates pixels, not vectors. In order to make the type part of the picture, it needs to be converted from vectors to pixels, or rasterized.

Think of it this way—vector type that you set on a type layer is sort of floating. It's not nailed down, therefore it's easy to edit words or to move letters closer together. It's there, but it's not completely part of the image yet. When you rasterize type, you are, in effect, nailing it onto the layer. When you print a Photoshop image that has a type layer, the printer actually receives the image with rasterized text, even if you haven't rendered the layer.



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