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Lesson 3 of Zonia's PSP 8 Lessons>
"WordArt" Text Effect with Mesh Warp
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"WordArt" Text Effect with Mesh Warp
Created by:Zonia

In this lesson we will create "WordArt" type text using a curve and the new Mesh Warp tool.

I have seen a lot of frustration stemming from the "Bezier curve" and Mesh warp features. It is with that I mind that I create this lesson. I can hear you groaning already (my sister did when I told her that is what I am going to cover). If you stay with me though I promise you that I will make it really easy.

I utilize the Status bar a lot. It is really a great tool. If you don't have it on go to View || Toolbars || Status. I also have rulers on. I use the rulers as much as I use the Status bar. To turn on your rulers go to View || Rulers.

I have my rulers' units set to Pixels. To set the ruler units go to File || Preferences || General Program Preferences, Units tab. There is a drop down list under rulers where you can set Pixels, Inches, or Centimeters. Also while you are there you can set the default resolution if you want. The default for web graphics is 72. Using a resolution of 72 I know that there are 72 pixels in an inch.

If you set your resolution to 200 then there are 200 pixels in an inch. Just thought I would throw that in there for anybody who ever wondered how many pixels were in an inch.

New Image
Go to File || New (Ctrl+N) or click on the "New" button in the Standard toolbar:
Width = 400 pixels
Height = 400 pixels
Resolution = 72.00 pixels
Background = Raster
Color Depth = 16 Million Colors (24 Bit)
Color = Transparent checked
For those of you who wondered where they moved Bezier curves to in PSP 8 they really don't call it Bezier curves in anymore. Stay with me though and you will see what happened to them.

Pen Tool

Draw Mode
Drawing Mode

Point-to-Point Segments
Point-To-Point Segments

Click on the Pen tool. In the Tool Options palette set:
Contiguuous = unchecked
Create as Vector = checked
Simple Mode = grayed out
Mode = Drawing mode
Segment Type = Point to Point
Line Style = Solid
Width = 1.00
Anti-alias = checked
Join = Miter
Miter limit = 10

Point-to-Point is the new Bezier curve but it will make more than just Bezier curves.

Materials Palette - Materials BoxMaterials Solid Color Option

Materials Palette - Materials BoxMaterials Null Option

Click on the Foreground Materials box in the Materials palette and set to Black. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on the Foreground Materials box and click on the black color box. Remember to make sure the flyout is set to Color.

Set the Background Materials box to Null. Remember Null only works for certain features.

Position the mouse pointer at the coordinates (x:100, y:150), click and hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse up and to the right to (x:150, y:100), then release the mouse button.

Position the mouse pointer at the coordinates (x:300, y:150), click and hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse down and to the right to (x:350, y:200), then release the mouse button.

Now creating that curve wasn't so hard, was it?

You see the arrow running through the nodes (boxes); you can click on either end of the arrow and move it around to change the shape of the curve. Play around with moving the ends so you see what I mean. When you get done playing just undo (Ctrl+Z or Edit || Undo) until you are back to the original curve.

The nodes are called Points. We put our points 200 pixels apart but you can put them close together to create a different kind of curve. You can even add more points to create a wavy sort of curve. There is lots to experiment with here and I encourage you to do so but right now let's get back to this lesson.

We could use this curve and the Text tool to create text on a path but I thought it would be more fun to create something similar to the WordArt found in another program. Text on a path will curve both the top and bottom of the text to match the curve but I want to keep the top lined up straight and just curve the bottom. For that we will use the Mesh Warp tool. I know it sounds hard but I promise you it is easy.

Text Tool

Click on the Text tool. Tool Options palette settings:
Create as = Vector
Font = Impact (or choose one you like)
Size = 36
Stroke width = 0.0
Anti-alias = checked
Alignment = align centered
Line Style = Solid
Join = Miter
Miter Limit = 10
Auto-kern = checked

(You may need to click the little black arrow at the end of the Tool Options palette to see Auto-kern.)

Materials Palette - Materials BoxMaterials Gradient Option
Set your Foreground and Background Materials. (Note: You can change between Color, Gradient, and Pattern by clicking on the little flyout arrow on the first button under the Foreground/Background Materials box.) Click on the Gradient flyout. Click into the Materials boxes and choose a Gradient you like (I chose Strawberry Jam).
Angle = 0
Repeats = 0
Invert = unchecked
Style = Linear

Click on the 'Raster 1' layer in your Layer palette (because we don't want to make it part of the vector layer), then position your mouse at the coordinates (x:200, y:110) and click. In the Text Entry box, in all capital letters, type "WELCOME" (you can type your name or something else if you wish) and click on Apply.

Your text is horizontally centered over the curve because we chose Alignment = Align Centered and x:200 which is the exact horizontal center of our image. I always create text as a vector because it leaves me so many options. For example you could have set your text at Alignment = Align Left, then go to Objects || Align || Horz. Center in Canvas.

It also beats adding a new layer and flood filling the text because Create as Vector automatically creates a new layer. You can also go to properties for that layer and change the color, gradient, or pattern. Selecting the text is easy too, just go to Selections || From Vector object.

You can also resize the text easily without losing quality. All kinds of possibilities none of which we need right now but it is nice to know they are there. Since we don't need any of the possibilities let's convert the layer to Raster Layer by going to Layers || Convert to Raster Layer, or right-click on the 'Vector 2' layer in your Layer Palette and choose Convert to Raster Layer from the pop-up menu.

Mesh Warp Tool

Click on your Mesh Warp tool. Note: In the Tools toolbar, there are black arrows beside some of the tools. Clicking on the black arrows will result in a flyout where you can choose a tool. In the Tool Options palette, set:
Mesh Horizontal = 10
Mesh Vertical = 10
Show Grid = checked
Edge mode = Background
Draft quality = High
Best Quality = checked

We are going to move the boxes I highlighted in Green. What we are going to do is left-click on each of the boxes one at a time, holding down the left mouse button, drag it down to the curve below it keeping the vertical red line above it as straight as possible.

See how the curve we created earlier seems to run through the center of the boxes now? That is our goal. It doesn't have to be perfect. This exercise is just to get you used to using the Mesh Warp tool a little bit.
Apply current tool settings When you are done moving the boxes click on the check mark in the Tool Options palette to apply the warp. Then click on any tool to turn the grid off.

Delete Layer

We don't need the curve any more so right-click on the 'Vector 1' layer in your Layer Palette and choose Delete from the pop-up menu.

Like I said not exactly perfect but I promised to keep it simple. A different-size mesh would have given us more detail but would have meant a lot more work.

Selection ToolSelect Area = Opaque - Current Layer
Okay we don't need all this work area anymore so let's get rid of it. Click on the Selection tool. Click on the Layer Opaque button in the Tool Options palette. Go to Selections || Modify || Expand and use 10 as the value for "Number of Pixels". Click on OK. Then go to Image || Crop to Selection.
Materials Palette - Materials Box

Flood Fill ToolPreset: Reset to Default Option

Click on the 'Raster 1' layer in your Layer Palette. Set the Foreground Materials to the Watercolor pattern or choose a color, gradient, or pattern you like.

Click on the Flood Fill tool (shortcut = F), default settings. To get the default settings click on the arrow beside Presets in the Tool Options palette and click on the Reset button. Left-click anywhere in the image to fill it.

Go to Layers || Merge || Merge All (Flatten) or right-click on one of the layers in the Layer palette and choose Merge || Merge All (Flatten) from the pop-up menu. Save with File || Save (Ctrl+S).