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Lesson 12 of Zonia's PSP 8 Lessons  >
Using the Text Tool
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Using the Text Tool
Created by: Zonia

In this lesson we will explore the Text tool. Along the way we will learn a little more about the advantages of using vectors and about the Color Replacer. Other features used are Vector Properties, the Object Selection, the Selection and the Crop tools and the Layer palette.

New Image
Create a new image: Go to File || New (Ctrl+N):
– Width = 200 pixels
– Height = 200 pixels
– Resolution = 72.00 pixels/inch
– Background = Raster Background
– Color Depth = 16 Million Colors (24 Bit)
– Transparent = checked

Text Tool

Click on the Text tool (T). In the Tool Options palette, make sure that:
– Create as = Vector, and
– Stroke width = 0.0

Choose a Font and Size you like. I chose Commons with Size = 48.

Materials Palette - Materials Box

In the Materials palette, set the Foreground Material to Null and the Background Material to a color, gradient, or pattern you like.


Click into the image to open the Text Entry dialog. Type in your name or any word you want. I typed "Hello".

Note: Where you click into the canvas depends on the Alignment you chose in the Tool Options palette. Therefore if you have "Align Left" selected you need to click to the left of the canvas, if you have "Align Center" selected click in the center of the canvas, and if you have "Align Right" selected click to the right in the canvas. I am talking about where x is. For y click where you want the bottom of the text to be.

You should have a red dashed rectangle around your text with little red boxes because Vector was selected in the Tool Options palette. You can left-click on the boxes around the outside, hold down the button and drag the box to resize the text. The little box inside will let you rotate the text. The circle in the middle will let you move the text.

You can accomplish almost the same thing with a raster layer using the Deform tool, but you may get some distortion if you used a pattern. Vector layers allow resizing without any distortion because they are "drawn mathematically" instead of resizing pixels like a raster layer.

In the example on the left, the block to the left is a raster layer that has been resized using the Deform tool, and the one to right is a vector layer that was resized. These are swatches of a sesame seed bun. See how the seeds were distorted in the raster image.

Resizing is just one of the features that makes vectors much better to work with than rasters. Let's explore some more.


Object Selection Tool

The Object Selection tool (O) and the options on the Object menu only work on vector layers. For some of the options you need to have multiple vectors selected. There are all kinds of neat little features you can use such as Align, Distribute, and so on. You will need to come back and experiment with some of the features.


Back to the vector text we were working on. Say you want to change the font, add an outline to your text, and so on you can do that without having to delete what you have and restart from the beginning.

Let's make some changes. Click on the "+" sign beside the 'Vector 1' layer in the Layer palette. Right-click on your text layer and choose "Edit Text" from the pop-up menu. The Text Entry dialog box will pop up with the text already selected (highlighted).

With the Text Entry dialog box open and your text selected make some changes in the Tool Options palette. Try to change the Font and/or Size. If you had several words and decided to change one of the words or letters you can select just what you want to change in the Text Entry dialog by using the mouse or holding down the Shift key and pressing the arrow keys to select what you want.


Let's add an outline to our text. In the Materials palette, set the Foreground to a Color, Gradient, or Pattern of your choice. Then in the Tool Options palette, change the Stroke Width to at least 1.00 depending on how big of a outline you want. I used 2.00 so you could see it. Click on Apply.

I think my text is still rather plain-looking so I am going to jazz it up some. Right-click on the text layer in the Layer palette and choose "Convert Text to Curves || As Character Shapes from the pop-up menu. If you click on the little plus sign that is now in front of the text layer you will see that each letter is on its own layer now. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.


Double-click on one of the letter layers in the Layer palette or right-click on it and choose Properties from the pop-up menu. I chose the H. Try to change the Stroke, the Materials, or whatever you want until you get something you like. I turned off the Stroke (removed the check) and changed the Fill to a pattern.

I am going to do the same thing to all the letters, choosing a different pattern each time. Just play around and see what you can come up with that you like. Here's what I came up with.

I know it isn't a work of art but this is just to give you some idea what you can do using the Vector Properties dialog.

Object Selection Tool

Click on the Object Selection tool (O), then click on one of the letter layers in the Layer palette. The letter will now be selected. You can move, resize, and/or rotate the selected layer. I moved my letters around.

You can select more than one letter (vector) at a time by holding down the Shift key and clicking on the layers in the Layer palette. Try that and try some of the features on the Object menu where you can get an idea what they do. Just play around until you get something you like.

  If you want you can right-click on the main text layer and choose "Create Raster Selection" from the pop-up menu, then right-click on the 'Vector 1' layer in the Layer palette and choose "Convert to Raster Layer". Once you converted to Raster Layer you can apply various effects such as Inner Bevel and Drop Shadow.

Selection Tool  Select Area = Opaque - Merged

Click on the Selection tool (S), and in the Tool Options palette click on the Merged Opaque button. Go to Selections || Modify || Expand: Number of pixels = 5. Then go to Image || Crop to Selection (Shift+R).


Click on the 'Raster 1' layer in the Layer palette and flood-fill with a background of your choice. If you want it to stay transparent save it in PSP format. If you are then going to use it on the web you will need to save it as a gif. To save it as a gif go to File || Export || GIF Optimizer. When using the GIF Optimizer you may need to play around with the settings to get what you want. If you added a background or want a white background just save it as a jpg. That's it!