190. Fill Text with an Image
Before You Begin
183 Add a Text Caption or Label
184 Bend Text
187 Create Metallic Text
188 Create Text That Glows
189 Emboss Text
You can make your text more interesting by filling it with another image rather than a color. When you do this, the image is visible only inside the letters of the text. In effect, your text becomes a frame that holds the image. The process of creating this wizardry is amazingly simple: You choose either the Horizontal or Vertical Type Mask tool and type your text; a selection is created, in the exact shape and size of the text you typed. You can do anything you want with this text selection, including making modifications to it using any of the selection tools (such as the Selection Brush), filling it with a gradient or pattern using the Paint Bucket or Gradient tool, and even saving it for reuse.
You can fill text with an image using one of two methods: In the first method, you can paste all or part of an image into a selection (a process that resizes the image to fit as much as possible into the selection you've made). You can create a text selection using this method and then paste copied data into that shape. But you have little control over what portion of the image shows up within the text "frame," and manipulating the image so that the exact portion you want to see shows through is difficult because you can't see the image as you make your adjustments (see 90 Copy Data into a Selected Area).
You can also fill text by creating a text selection and using that selection to copy the portion of the image you want to fill your text (as explained in this task). The advantage is that you can maneuver the selection over the image and copy exactly the data you want. If the image doesn't fill the selection adequately no matter where you move it, you can change the selection text's size or font to find a better fit.
Select Type Mask Tool
In the Editor, in Standard Edit mode, open the source image you want to use for the interior of your text. On the Layers palette, select the layer below which you want the text layer to appear. The text layer will be inserted above the layer that contains the data you choose.
Click the Horizontal Type Mask tool or the Vertical Type Mask tool on the Toolbox.
For my source image, I typically pick something that's dense with texture or color. You're probably not going to be able to make out a lot of the image detail within the text, so the criteria for selecting a source image is just the overall look and how well you think the image will fill the text.
On the Options bar, select a fairly wide Font and a large Size. Set other options such as Anti-aliased (which helps soften any jagged curves in the text selection).
Type Text Selection
Click on the image in the area you want to use to fill your text and type the text. A red mask appears over your image, and the text is revealed as you type. This red screen (the mask) helps you see how the image below will fill the text.
Edit the text if needed; because this is a selection and not actual text, you won't be able to go back later and make changes to it after you commit. See 183 Add a Text Caption or Label for more information on adding text.
When you have created a text selection that's the size and shape you need, click the Commit button (check mark) on the Options bar. At this point, you have only created a selection.
If the text-shaped selection is not positioned to select the exact area of the image you want to use, move the selection after committing it by clicking any selection tool (but not the Selection Brush), enabling the New Selection option on the Options bar, and dragging the selection marquee.
Copy and Paste into Final Image
Select Edit, Copy to copy the data within the text selection. Select Edit, Copy Merged instead if you want to select all visible pixels within the selection and not just those on the current layer.
Open the image in which you want the text to appear and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. On the Layers palette, select the layer above which you want the filled text to appear. Select Edit, Paste. The filled text appears on its own layer within the image, above the layer you selected.
View the Result
When you're satisfied with the image, save the PSD file. Then merge the layers together and resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image unflattened so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want.
In this example, I started with a photograph of my daughter, selected a fat font, and used the Move tool to position the selection so that it was centered on her face. I copied the text selection to an image of me leaning against a railing, changed the Joy layer's blend mode to Luminosity, and found the result I was looking for.
You can move the filled text because it's on its own layer. See 99 Move, Resize, Skew, or Distort a Layer.
You can also rotate the filled text layer if you like; see 89 Rotate the Data in a Selection or Layer.