Typographic portrait: How to create one

If you’ve ever wanted to create a graphic portrait like the one below from type, you’ve come to the right page. You need a good black and white image, then follow the steps underneath. Thanks to Valerie Tracy for the image, and to Kimberly Hines for the instructions.

How to create typographic portraits

If using a PC – Replace (Command) with (Cntrl)

1. Select a portrait photo with good contrast & a light background.

2. Go to image>adjustments>brightness/contrast and adjust the contrast to 40

3. Go to Select>Color Range [choose shadows & click OK]

4. Copy the selected pixels in a new layer [Command +J]

5. Go back to the photo layer

6. Go to Select>color range again and choose mid tones

7. Copy to a new layer [Command + J]

8. Click the shadow layer & apply Edit>Fill (use black color with preserve transparency selected & click OK)

9. Click the mid tones layer & edit>fill with 50% gray [this makes a portrait from black & gray color]

10. Click on the shadow layer & press [Command + E] to merge it with the mid tones layer

11. Merge the Shadow layer with the mid tone layer

define a brush made from type

12. File>New Document. Set Foreground Color to black [press D]

13. Use the type tool to type different words in various fonts & sizes

14. Ctrl-click on type layer to rasterize type for each word

15. Click on each type layer and go to Edit>Define Brush Preset (may want to hide other type layers while you do this). Name each brush so you can keep track, and click OK

apply the type brush to the portrait

16. Go back to the portrait document; create a new layer & make sure that black is the foreground color [ press D]

17. Select the brush tool [press B] and select one of the brushes you created
You can adjust the spacing between each word by going to window>brushes to adjust spacing—clicking on brush tip shape in the brushes panel

18. Brush across the photo and repeat with all brushes

19. Fill it up really well and try to follow the areas where it makes sense on the picture—sort of leave empty areas clean—more or less play around until you get something you like.

create a mask and paste the type inside the mask

20. Create a new layer & press (Command + Delete) to fill it with white

21. Drag this layer under the brush layer

22. Hide all the layers except the black and gray portrait layer & then click on the layer to activate it

23. Select All (Command + A) of the layer & then copy (Command + C)

24. Activate the layer brush & click on Add layer Mask

25. Hold <option> & click on the layer mask thumbnail

26. Paste the content of the black & gray portrait layer in the mask (Command + V)

27. Deselect (Command +D) & then invert the mask (Command +I)

28. Activate the brush layer by clicking on the layer thumbnail (not the layer mask) & the text will appear inside the white & gray areas of the mask

29. Create a new layer & add more text brushes outside the mask

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