Put That Picture In Text

This is our goal. The image appears to be revealed by the text

Most of you that know me know that I like things to be fully editable after the fact. I hate destructive techniques and avoid them whenever possible. Why? Because it inevitably happens that after I finish a project for a client two months later it’s “Can we change the picture?” or “Well, we have a new ad campaign and we like the picture but the text is for winter. Can you change it?”

Open a photograph in Photoshop, double-click the background layer, and click OK to convert this layer to a regular layer. Click the Horizontal Type tool, click on the photo, and type the text on a text layer. (Choose a font with thick, solid letters so there’s plenty of room for the photo to show through.) Don’t worry about the text color; when this effect is complete, you won’t see the color anyway.

Your workspace when all is said and done

Drag the text layer below the photo layer. Position your mouse pointer over the border between the two layers and hold down the Alt . When the mouse pointer changes to two overlapping circles click once to create a clipping mask. This is the equivalent of clicking the topmost of the two layers and choosing Layer > Create Clipping Mask.

The photograph is masked by the text, so only those areas of the photograph that appear over the text are visible. One benefit of this technique is that it’s editable, so you can move the photograph or the text around on its respective layer. As you do, the visible portion of the photograph on the screen changes. You can also click the layer containing the text and change the text or its format—choosing a different font and font size, for example.

To undo the clipping mask, position the mouse pointer over the border between the two layers and Alt-click.