Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create a Powerful Text Portrait from a Photo

Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you how to create a powerful
text portrait. This is an update of a tutorial I did quite
awhile ago on an earlier version of Photoshop. This version is more streamlined and efficient. Open a photo you’d like to use for this project. I downloaded this one from Shutterstock. The first step is to remove the background from the subject by making a selection around your subject. There are many ways to do this, but for this
example, I’ll use the Quick Selection Tool. I’ll drag the tool over my subject to make
a selection around it. To remove areas outside the selection, I’ll
press and hold Alt or Option as I drag over those areas. If you’re working on version earlier than CC 2015.5, go to Select and Refine Edge. I did an in-depth tutorial on Refine Edge,
so if you’d like to watch it, I provided its link in my video’s description. If you’re using version CC 2015.5, “Select
and Mask” replaced Refine Edge. Click the button or go to Select and Select and Mask. I also provided a link to my in-depth tutorial on Select and Mask, so I won’t be going over it in detail here. I’ll check “Smart Radius” and click “New Layer”. Then, I’ll click OK. Remove its color by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + U. We’ll create a new layer below the active layer by Ctrl-clicking or Cmd-clicking the New Layer icon. We’ll fill the empty layer with black, but
first if your foreground and background colors aren’t black and white respectively, press
“D” on your keyboard. Since black is your foreground color, press
Alt or Option + Delete. Next, we’ll crop our document. Open your Crop Tool and click “Width, Height
and Resolution”. Make the Width and the Height 1000 pixels
each and the Resolution: 150 pixels per inch. Drag a corner in or out to size your subject
within the Crop bounding box. To slide it up or down, press the Up or Down
arrow key on your keyboard. To accept it, click the check-mark at the
top or press Enter or Return. To fit it back onto your canvas, press Ctrl
or Cmd + 0. Next, we’ll prepare our subject to use as
a Displacement Map. This will warp out text to wrap it around
the contours of our subject’s entire face. First, make your top layer active. Click the icon at the upper right corner and
click “Duplicate Layer”. Open the document list and click, “New”. Name it, “Displacement” and click OK. Go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. Blur it 3 pixels and click OK. Go to File and “Save As”. Navigate to your Desktop, save it as a Photoshop
PSD file and click, “Save”. If you see this message, just click OK. We can close the Displacement PSD file, since
we already saved it. Open your Move Tool. We’re ready to add text. You can either type it out on a notepad or
word pad application or find a poem or lyrics that you can ultimately copy and paste. Highlight it, and press Ctrl or Cmd + C to copy it. We’re going to create a word cloud from our text. There are many free websites that do this,
however, the site that I like the best is called “”. Unfortunately, sometimes Chrome and Firefox have had
problems creating word on Wordle, but the good news is that Explorer does open them,
at least for me. I’ll open Explorer and type in “”. Click “Create”. Click inside the text box and press Ctrl or
Cmd + V to paste your text into it. Then, click “Go”. Open “Language”. I’ll tick, “Leave Words as Spelled” and “Remove
common English Words”. Open “Font” and choose an easy-to-read font
from your list. I’ll choose “Steelfish”. Open “Layout”. I’ll use “Straighter Edges” and “Mostly Horizontal”. Open “Color”. Click “WB”, which is white text on a black
background. Then, click “Save as PNG”. Save it to your Desktop and click “Save”. Go to File and “Open”. Access your Desktop, locate your Wordle file,
click it and click “Open”. Open your Channels panel. if you don’t see it, go to Window and Channels. Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the thumbnail of the
RGB channel to make a selection of your text. Open back your Layers panel and press Ctrl
or Cmd + J to cut and copy the text onto its own layer. Drag your text onto your tab of your subject
and without releasing your mouse or pen, drag it down onto your subject and release. To move it, just drag it. Name the layer, “Word Cloud”. Make a copy of it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J. Double-click its thumbnail to open the Layer Style window. Click “Drop Shadow”. The Blend Mode is Multiply, the Opacity is
75% and the Angle is 30 degrees. The Distance is 5 pixels, the Spread is 0
and the Size is 5 pixels. Then, click OK. Since we’re going to have many layers of our
text, let’s save space in the Layers panel, by collapsing the Effects. The effects are still there; they’re just hidden. To see them again, just click back on the arrow. Click the eyeball icon next to the original
word cloud layer to temporarily hide it. As I mentioned, we’re going to create multiple
layers of the text that will ultimately cover our subject’s entire face. To resize and position the word cloud, open
your Transform Tool by pressing Ctrl of Cmd + T. Go to a corner and when you see a diagonal. double-arrow, press and hold Alt or Option
+ Shift as you drag it in approximately this much. Drag it to a corner of the face and press
Enter or Return. Make a copy of it and drag the copy to another area. We’re going to flip the copy 90%. To do this, go to a corner and when you see
a curved, double-arrow, press and hold Shift as you rotate it clockwise 90 degrees. It’ll snap in place because we’re holding
Shift as we rotate it. Position it over your subject and press Enter or Return. Continue to make copies of your text and feel
free to resize and position them over your subject. We’re going to create a copy of this entire
block of word clouds and then flip it 90 degrees. First, we’ll place all the word cloud copies into a folder. To do this, scroll to the bottom copy and Shift-click it. Make sure you’re not Shift-clicking the original word cloud. This makes all the copies active. Press Ctrl or Cmd + G to place them into a folder. Make a copy of the folder, open your Transform
Tool and rotate the copy 90 degrees. We’ll convert our text into a Smart Object,
so we can apply a Displacement map to our entire word cloud. To do this, Shift-click the bottom folder
to make it active as well and click the icon at the upper, right corner. Click “Convert to Smart Object”. Make a copy of it and hide the lower Smart
Object word cloud . Name the top layer, “Displacement”. Go to Filter, Distort and Displace. Make the Horizontal and Vertical Scale 10,
“Stretch to Fit” and “Repeat Edge Pixels”. Then, click OK. Click the “Displacement” Photoshop file and click “Open”. Immediately, our text wrapped itself around
the contours of our subject. Collapse the Smart filter and hide the layer. Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the Displacement text
layer to make a selection of its shape. Scroll to your subject’s face and make it active. Click the Layer mask icon to make a layer
mask of the selection next to your subject. Make a composite snapshot of your visible
image by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E on Windows or Cmd + Shift + Option + G on a Mac. Hide the layer below the composite snapshot
and drag the composite snapshot to the top of the layers panel. Make the Displacement layer visible again
and change the Blend Mode of the composite snapshot to “Linear Burn”. Next, we’ll add subtle text behind our subject. Make the lower Smart Object word cloud visible
and drag it to the top. Scroll down and Ctrl-click or Cmd-click your
subject to make a selection of its shape. Scroll back up and Alt-click or Option-click
the Layer Mask icon to make an inverted layer mask of the selection next to the top word cloud. Click off the chain-link icon to unlink the
layer and the layer mask. Doing this allows us to resize and/or re-position
either of these independently from the other. Make the layer active and reduce its opacity
to between 15 to 20%. Open your Transform Tool, go to a corner and drag it in. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on “Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create a Powerful Text Portrait from a Photo

  1. Nice tutorial but you movin too fast for me. Certain steps I can’t follow exactly due to different versions of Ps plus not everything goes my way here lol

  2. Very good narration and showing us which key combination to use on Windows or Mac. You make it look so easy, so now time to try this! Thank you for a wonder explanation!

  3. Oh Martin !!! This is astonishing!!! I am just in pure delight )))Huuuuge like an subsribe ))) With love from Russia Sainkt-Petersbourg )) Thanks for fantastish tutorials!

  4. This was incredibly easy to follow, nicely paced, and didn't assume too much prior knowledge, unlike so many tutorial vids. This was great, thank you!

  5. You can actually speed up the video and still hear a clear instruction, but only faster.

  6. I'm becoming Photoshop expert because of this channel and your extremely helpful videos 🤗 can't thank you enough 💜💜💜

  7. Thanks so much for this tutorial !! Question: Is there a way to change the black background color and make it transparent ? Thanks !

  8. I'm going to try this another simpler way. I'm going to take a photograph and image trace it in AI as a grayscale. This will lessen the nodes and paths. I will create a layer mask then save patterns of text in my swatch library and use them as fill and stroke. Then I will separate my image into thirds and fill them individually. I will use my original photo to manipulate the outside stroke lines to contour to the subjects face. Using the pen tool I will re-path eyebrows, lips, eyes, etc so that they are fillable paths and use my gradient tool to add texture. Bam. Great tutorial.

  9. This is exactly what I wanted but there is a lot of steps to this. Is there a simpler way?

  10. Had never seen his face in my life but I always loved his tutorials. Thanks Marty for making such a cool tutorial.

  11. Excellent toturial, thank you so much, i show my result to my friends and they said "So cool!!!!!!!"

  12. One of the Best Tutorials I've ever watched… Sorry it took so long to find you…

  13. awesome video it's very helpful for me & for everyone whose are interested to learn Graphic design.

  14. after linear burn, everything became black, can you help me fix this??? Thanks a lot!!!!

  15. Great Job Marty! Clear instructions. I will be checking out your other videos as well.

  16. Oye viejo, yo ni se hablar inglés y te entendí, si eres bueno…

  17. when i press alt + delete everything become black i can not see my pic it is all black

  18. Wordle doesn't work in any of my browsers and this other site that you provide is somenthing about education, couldn't find anything about cloud words

  19. Hey Marty. Could not get wordle to open at all but found this site that works –

  20. Use CheerPJ extension in chrome to run java applet… So that you can use

  21. Awesome tutorial… Will definitely try. Thank you so much for the video

  22. 4:15 haha the poem is there in our syllabus in English subject!

  23. Is their any other easy way for doing this.. Too hard to remember…..

  24. hey Marty, do you have any suggestions for this when the subject's face comes out too dark so you see the words but barely the eyes and smile?

  25. I tried many times.. but idk why is it not good as yours.. am using cs6..

  26. This is a true master class tutorial! I dare to say – old school style. Astonishing narration! I truly miss this in the sea of halfwit YouTube narrators these days…
    Thanks for reminding me what's normal.
    And, yeah… Great tutorial! Thank you.

  27. Sir you are really the best narrator. I salute your efforts!! Thanks for explaining it slowly by allowing us to do it side by side.Thanks you so much for the tutorial!

  28. U r the Grand Father of P.S in this Age.. Superb and excellent video…

  29. such detailed instructions. Thank you for your dedication Marty!!!!

  30. Love this tutorial! Such a creative way to spread a powerful message. Great inspiration for my social awareness poster for my class @mediaartssbcc.

  31. Ohh Sir I love your Videos ! Best Regards ! and Please Keep it Up and Make some videos on our Trending Graphics Designing ! Love the way you explain !

  32. Neat effect. Thank you for a clear tutorial with a calm considerate pace. I really appreciate your kind teaching style where you obviously are trying to help others understand rather than dazzle with prowess. Excellent. Much appreciated.

  33. amazing!! I'm a programmer but I can't hold myself from loving to create beautiful stuff in photoshop from time to time

  34. Your videos are very helpful really🙏🏼😩 i am very interested in photoshop and i wish to be creative👍🏼 thank you

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