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Working With Type

Lesson 25 from: Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

25. Working With Type

Lesson Info

Working With Type

Previously I mentioned a number of times that one of the decisions we have to make is when you go to do something in Photoshop, should I add a blank layer or not? Type is one of those examples where you don't need to cause it automatically, when you use the type tool, it's almost like you're saying the type layer tool cause it happens automatically. Now it's not a terrible thing if you did make a blank layer and then use the type tool. I mean, it's not necessary, it's just, ya know, it's not gonna be a big deal. So I take my type tool. Now here is one of the few tools where there's a bit of an exception to this whole check the options bar first rule because type is always editable. So unlike other tools where the settings and the options bar will affect the tool and you can't change your mind, here you type whatever and then you can go in and change it so it's one of the few examples where you don't have to worry quite so much. I still tend to look up there first, just to make sure, bu...

t it really isn't as important. So, there's actually four type tools, but one you only really need to care about and that's the first one called horizontal type tool, unless you have any reason to ever think you want vertical type, which, to me is just, aesthetically does not look pleasing and no matter how you do it. So the other ones, don't even look at those, don't even worry about them. So, the horizontal type tool which, to me, we talked before about the whole shortcut thing, T for type. Pretty simple. So if I'm working, oh, I wanna add some type I tap load or T, I have the type tool. I did have a question on single letter commands to select the tools, and this is a good example, where there's more than one single letter is there a way to get the one you want when you select that? Thank you for asking that. There are a couple of options, the first one is any time where there's a set of tools, that have the same letter, the first time you tap the letter, it will activate, which ever the last one you used, if you hold down shift and tap the letter, it'll cycle through all the other ones. So, for example, I'll show you up here so you can see. See how there's three lasso tools. So, if I type L, it means go to the previous one, shift L, now I'm cycling through the various lasso tools, and whatever one I leave it on, that's gonna become the one that will be activated. Now, just so you know. I personally like this. I just got used to holding down shift. There is a preference you can change, to say don't use the shift key. Then you can just go L, L, L, and it'll switch through them. I found when I do that, that I kept ending up with the wrong one, a lot of the time. So, I just like the fact of knowing, I have to do shift letter, to cycle through them, kay. So, in this case T for type. There's a couple options for adding type, on your page. It depends, what you wanna do. So, again, you have to think about where you're at. I wanna add two different pieces of type here. One that's just gonna be a couple of words, or maybe one large word, and another one that's gonna be slightly different. So, I'm gonna click up here somewhere, and type something. There's nothing like the pressure of typing, with all these people watching, is when you're a bad typist like I am. (Instructor laughs) I was gonna say, and I'll deliberately make an error, to show you how easy it is to edit. (Instructor laughs) So, once I have the type there, I just double click to select all of it, and then here all of the settings, I can now change. I could've changed these before, but with type again it's different, you don't have to worry about it, so, I want it to be white, so, I just clicked on this little, anytime you see what looks like a colored square, that's like a color picker type thing. I also want to be align center. So, I'm just clicking on different buttons up here, I want it to be a bigger size. Now, here's something that throws people off at first if you didn't know about scrubbing sliders, if you pull down this menu, it looks like it's giving you those choices. Like, which one of those do you want. Well, of course you don't want to be limited by that. I just wanna make it this big. So, I position my cursor right on top of letter T, I get those scrubby sliders, and now I can say, that's how big I want it. Oh, it's 95.92 perfect, that's what I was going to say, and then of course, you can change font, size, all this kind of stuff. Photoshop CC has a really nice advantage, depending on the plan you're on, because they're different creative cloud plans, but there's something called type kit, which means there are a whole bunch of fonts out there, that are available for you to add to Photoshop. I'm a bit of a font junkie. So, I have probably way to many than I should, but anyway, (Instructor laughs) so, it might look like I don't have very many fonts available to me, that's cause I'm only showing the ones, that I have in type kit, that's what these little buttons up here do. So, right now, it's filtering to say only show me my type kit fonts, cause I actually have a few more than that, and I know, can you see underneath, where my thing is, as I'm pulling down, it's actually changing. So, if you're unsure, you can see, look at the little preview, but you can also pick one. It also, remember, if you're commonly used type faces. So, if you have ones you use all the time, they will appear near the top, and you can even, favorite ones so they show up all the time, but either way. I'm just gonna use this one, and you'll see the type still looks like, it has this highlight thing. So, even though my color is white, it doesn't look like white type, and should be an indication to you, that I haven't finished yet. I have to tell Photoshop, I'm done for now. So, I can move on. So, that's what that number, there's a little check mark that for a lot of functions in Photoshop, it's like the commit button, which reminds me to say, I mentioned previously, my favorite instructor Julianne Caw, she had, I'm surprised I didn't say this earlier, talking about layers, cause she has I think it's the best line ever, she says, I use layers because I'm afraid of commitment, I just thought that was really, really funny, cause it's pretty much true. (Instructor laughs) So, I've got some type on there. So, here's what we need to know about type with layers. On the one hand, it works like any type, excuse me, on the one hand, it works like any layer, meaning I can move it. I can change the opacity. I can add a layer style et cetera. So, for example, I can take my move tool, which is our main layer tool, and I can reposition this over here, and I can say well, it's a little hard to see, because, of all that cloudy stuff, so, maybe I'll add a drop shadow, and put it up like this, and not anywhere near as big. This is the one thing you have to be prepared for, is that like a lot of dialogue boxes, this one will remember the last time you added a drop shadow it looked like this, but that was on a much bigger file. So, all the settings are probably too big. So, I need to go in, and make some changes to make this look more like I had in mind, and then click okay. So, now you see, I have a type layer. It has a drop shadow attached to it. I can change the opacity, all those things that we talked about before, but it's still type. So, unlike some other tools, like that shape tool, where once I made the shape, I can't edit the shape anymore, cause it's just pixels. These aren't pixels. Type in Photoshop is actually high quality vector. It's called vector type, which means it'll print beautifully. It'll look wonderful, and you can edit it, and resize without losing any quality, cause it's not, it's got really nothing to do with pixels, other than if you add something like a layer style, those are pixels, but the type itself is really high quality. In fact, if you were to enlarge this photograph, the photograph would lose quality, but the type would still look good, because it's still high quality, kay. Not suggest you would want to do that, but just so you know the difference. So, the type tool does two things. It adds type, it also let's us edit the type. So, if I decided there was something else I didn't like, or I wanted to add to it or something, I just tap the letter T to get my type tool, and then go back in here, and make whatever change I want, add some more type, commit that, now I need to take my move tool, and move it over, kay. So, like anything else, it's still a layer, but the nature of type, it's completely editable. So, I can change anything about it, font, size, et cetera, kay. So, in this case, I'm gonna say, I think I like that, but I think I want everything to be just a little smaller. So, I'm just gonna use that scrubby slider to make it just a bit smaller, and then anytime I make that kind of change, again, I have to make that commitment to, for now, that's not really commitment, cause it's not final, but it's like to tell it I'm finished for now. Now, here's a, something that's important to know, let me actually go back as if I was still editing this, with most functions in Photoshop, like free transform, or crop or others, if you see any kind of check mark, you can press the enter key or return key. If you did that here, it wouldn't finalize your type, it would add a character turn, and it will go all to heck. So, you don't wanna do that, but if you're just in, convinced you wanna use keyboard shortcuts, if you have an extended keyboard, that has the big enter key, not the character turn one, you can use that, or on, I do on a laptop, command return, or control enter is the same as clicking on the commit button, but don't worry about that as much as, as long as, you don't see type highlighted, you just have to make sure, that you have to hit that commit button, so, you can move on, and do something else, kay. So, to add this type, I just click once. Whenever you click once, it's called single insertion type. It means you start typing, it'll type forever, and I kept going, it would go off the screen, and come over here somewhere, and just continue forever, because it doesn't automatically go wait, that's the end of the photo, it just keeps typing. So, if you know, for example, I wanna add a sentence, that I wanna make sure it fits, like in this area over here, I'm gonna use a slightly different approach, same tool, different approach, instead of clicking once, I click and drag, to make what looks like a marquee selection, but it's actually a text box, oops, that was bad, bad, bad, typing. Now, I added some more type, and it's all on top of its self, because the previous setting I had, that worked okay for one line, don't work as well, when the type automatically wraps around. I didn't have to do anything. I didn't have to hit a character turn. It's automatically going to the next line, because of this text box. So, I have to change something here. So, I'm gonna select all my type using command A or command control A, and need to find some settings, that are gonna let me change that, and when I look in the options bar, I don't see any setting, that has anything to do with spacing. So, this is where you have to look elsewhere. So, the simplest way to do it, if you go under the window menu. You'll see there's an option called character, and this gives me way more type settings, including this one right here, a second one, this is called leading, which is the space between lines of type. So, generally speaking, the leading needs to be at least as large as your font size, if not a little bigger, and right now, it's telling me my font size is 85, and this is .4, so, it needs to be more. So, as I pull this to the right, you'll see now, it's adding more space, and maybe the font size should be a little smaller, kay. Then again, I hit commit. Now, when I click away from it, you don't see that box anymore, that's just sort of the holder for it, but it's just a visual thing. So, now I've got two different type layers, that I can turn to edit, and if decide anytime, I'm not sure about this box, if you use the handles, that are a common thing in Photoshop, just like free transform, but in this case, we're not transforming the text, we're transforming the box, that holds the text, in effect the paragraph box. So, I could take this, and if I drag it wider, you'll see at a certain point, it'll re-orient the type, re-wrap if you will. Again, finalize it. So, it's still type. There's no difference in that regard, but the difference is you just decide on a case by case basis, does it make better sense for one or two words, to click once, or do I wanna make like a paragraph or some sentences of type, ya know, add more, you can just click and drag, to make that paragraph box, and then it's very easy to change that on the fly. So, you can edit every setting, like, still, font size, et cetera, but also changing the size of the box itself, which will make he type re-flow inside that. Now, as I said before, everything else about this is still the same. If you had multiple layers of type, and you need to change the order of them in the layers panel, there wouldn't be much point in this case, cause they're not overlapping, but if you had other elements, you would have to consider that, but this is the way that you can start building elements that work together, type and other. So, I want to put some kind of a shaded box behind this other piece of type, or I should word it this way. I wanna end up with a shaded box of type, behind where it says, you should try this. So, how do I do that? Well, I need, since I'm adding pixels, I need to add a new layer, I'm gonna take my rectangular marquee tool, and make a box, which is hopefully around the right size, go to edit, fill, and we'll talk more about selections in a while, where we, how they work, and how you can work with em, but for now, I just want basically a rectangle, and let's just say black. I want to de-select it, so I can move on, and things are not looking very good, because I blacked it out, but the first step of course, is just look at the layers panel, are the layers in the correct order? No, cause I put the box on top, it needs to be underneath, the layer. so, I just go to my layers panel, and drag it down, and now it's underneath, and I get the effect that I want. This is of course still a layer. So, I could lower the opacity a bit, if I want it to be more like this, or whatever I want. Now, touch on this briefly, but let's kind of review for a second, I wanna keep all these elements separate. Cause I wanna be able to edit the type. So, if I make the type big, I have to make the box bigger, or make it smaller, et cetera, but at a certain point, if I wanna move them, I don't wanna move one and then the other, so, I look in my layers panel, and say well, the two layers I want are this one, and then shift, this one. So, now I have layers activated. Now, if I get my move tool, as I click and drag around you can see that I'm positioning both of them together. They're still Independent, which is important. I still wanna be able to edit the type, and edit the box if necessary, but from a moving standpoint I can do that. We talked earlier about putting things in groups. I could put these two in a group. I don't tend to do that if there's only two layers, but there were maybe two or three more, it would be easier to do that, but some people like to say, well, I've got five type layers, I wanna put them all in a group, so, it's easier to turn them all on, off, that's a personal choice. The main thing is I have talked so far, about some of the things I would advise you never to do, or think seriously before you do in Photoshop, one of them, sorry, on of them is flatten, we talked about when you flatten layers, that means you're throwing everything away. Merge is only slightly worse, or slightly better I guess you could say. So, for example, I take this layer, the type layer, and I think, well, I wanna get these two layers together, and I choose merge down. Yeah, it looks great, but now I can't edit the type anymore. Cause it's not a separate type layer. So, that just doesn't make sense to do that. We'll look at other solutions later on, that might help you for that, but the other one is, every so often, you'll be doing something with type, and I'll give you an example of something where this would happen. If I went to do something, like, blur, it gives you a warning message, that says this type layer must be rasterized, or converted to a smart object, we're gonna talk about smart objects later, but this term rasterize, this used to be the only way to do it, when this would happen, this dialogue box would come up, people would day oh, I guess it's okay, when you hit rasterize, rasterize is a term for take this nice editable type, and turn into pixels you can no longer edit, that happens to look kind of like type. So, rasterize is never a good idea, I can't even thing of any reason anymore, why you have to. There used to be a few where, in a pinch you might have to, but rasterize means take it away from being this nice, beautiful, editable type, into pixels that look suspiciously like type, but isn't really, kay. So, if you ever run into that, quickly cancel, and say oh, wait a minute, I, Dave said, don't rasterize, so, let me find some other solution. Cause there are some now, which we'll talk about, in a later segment, but just so you're aware, that I built a list of what I call the five forbidden fruits of Photoshop, and rasterize, merge, flatten are three of them, and we'll talk about two more in a bit, so. Got a question from David, could you please explain what the right hand, what the menu, right hand to the type size menu does, the one that says sharp as the default option? Ah, okay. This is something called anti-aliasing, and basically what it does, when you add type at first as I mentioned, it's vector quality, high quality type, but if you ever were to convert it, say I was gonna save this as a jpeg, so the type in effect becomes pixels, there's a term called anti-aliasing, which is a way that it does something to the edge of the pixels to try and make them still look nice and sharp and crisp, and, I hate to say it this way, but it was more of a concern, in the good ole days of the internet, where we had to worry about making our files so small, that we would be scaling things down, and type would look kind of fuzzy. I haven't changed that setting in five years, so, technically it's called anti-aliasing, and the only time I'd worry about it is if you had saved out something as small little jpeg, and you though ooh, my type doesn't look quite as sharp, you might go back, and turn this off to non, or put it on strong, but I mean, to me, it's less, I haven't changed it in a long, long time, and I haven't found it to be any problem, kay. So, it's another example of something, that back in the day it was an important thing to worry about, it's not even been in the conversation I've had up until now, for a number of years, cause it's not really as necessary, kay. Okay. So, I'm gonna try something else here. I'm not 100% convinced about this semi-see through black box thing. I think I might, but I'm not sure. So, I wanna experiment. So, I'm gonna temporarily hide that, by clicking on the eyeball. I kind of like the way the drop shadow looks on the top type. So, I'd like to see what that same drop shadow would look like on the other type. So, rather than, I guess option one, would be go and click on this drop shadow, and write down or take a photo with your phone, of all the settings, but that would be kind of the hard way. You may recall, earlier, we talked about the whole interesting modifier keys, and we talked about that key called the make better key, as my student used to call it, which is the option or alt key. This is a recurring theme here. Any time you time you do some function in Photoshop, it works okay, often quite well, but might not give you what you want. So, let me show you an example here. This existing layer, that has the drop shadow, if I take, click right on this drop shadow, and drag it up here, it moves it from one layer to the other. Well, I didn't want that, I want it to be copied. So, if I undo that, I wonder what key I might hold down, to make it copy instead of move. I'm gonna guess and say the make better key, option or alt. So, if option or alt drag it copies the exact same layer style. So, now they both have the same style. That works quite nicely, with one little note, that's important to note. As soon as you copy it, they no longer have any relationship with each other. Meaning, if I edit one drop shadow, the other won't also edit. So, if I decide that both of these drop shadows are a little off in some way, right now, I had to edit them both, which is okay, but just so you know, there is another plan, I'll tell you in a second. So, at that moment, you know, I know that's exactly, what I want, that drop shadow to be copying it like that works fine, but because in the back of my head, I'm like yeah, what if later on, especially if I had like say, five type layers, I don't think I'd wanna go to each layer, and copy or edit those settings over and over again. So, let's do this. I'm gonna throw this all away. So, I can show you another option. So, here's my two type layers, that I know I want to have them both look the same way, in terms of layer style et cetera. So, I shift click on both of them, and I use that thing we talked about briefly, new group from layers. So, that's like putting them in a folder, call it type, so, you can see what it is, so now, that I've done that, if I add a layer style, to the group or folder, any layer inside that group, automatically has the layer style. So there's my drop shadow, I click okay, look underneath the group, and see how it says affects drop shadow, but that means by nature, the two type layers inside already have that. So, if I decide to edit the drop shadow, I don't have to go to two different places, I go to one place, and it will affect every layer inside the group, so, many people refer to this as a group style to remind us, that anything we put in the group will automatically have that style. So, for example, if I twirl this open. So, you can see, inside this group, if I take my marquee selection tool again, and just make I don't know, a box, and we'll go fill, to make a new layer, Dave, did that deliberately, so you'd, someone would shout out make a layer, but I did it first, fill it with white, click okay, and you'll see it, can you see as soon as I've done it, it already has a drop shadow on it. Because it's inside that group. So, from a consistency standpoint, if you're trying to so something, you wanna make sure every layer looks the same, put them inside a group, apply the layer style to the group, and then automatically anything you put in there will be affected by it, and if you edit the layer style, you're editing in effect all of them. If you decide later on, eh, maybe I don't want this one to be, you just pull it out of the group, and then you can edit it separately. And it would work the same way if you have an existing layer, that you would add in the group? Yes. So, if you drag anything, and the act of putting anything in a group, whether it's new or existing will automatically mean it becomes part of that group layer style. So, I'm gonna ask you in house people a question. I have been working on this image for a while, but there's something I haven't' done yet, that I might want to do fairly quickly, what might you think that be. Save it, right. Cause I'm working away, going oh yeah, I got layers, I got groups, but I mean, what, not that this would ever happen, but what if suddenly photos just went bloop, and just went away, I'd have to try and re-create all that from scratch. So, this started life as a jpeg. In fact if you look at the name, in the top corner it's saying jpeg. So, that means I can just use the regular save command is gonna automatically prompt me to save it as a PSD file, because it sees layers. Once I've done that, I'm gonna say yes please from now on, if I make any change to this document, I just hit that save same save command, it updates that PSD file. So, always a good idea to make sure, that you're doing that, because the worse thing in the world is to have done work, and then something happens, and you realize I didn't save it recently, and you have to re-create things you've already done, that drives me nuts when that happens, not that my machine ever crashes, cause Photoshop doesn't crash ever. (instructor laughs) On the rare occasion where it does, I wanna be prepared for that. Now, just so you know, let me just check and see, if it actually is a built in preference. Where is it? There is a setting, which I think is in Word, is I haven't checked it for awhile, but there are somewhere in here. Oh, here it is. In file handling, there's a thing that says, automatically we save recovery information every x minutes. So, even if you don't save it, Photoshop makes every effort to try and save your stuff, using this automatic, so that I think is on by default, but you wanna check your preferences under file handling, just to make sure, because if you happen to get on a roll, and forget to save, and then crash, when you relaunch Photoshop, you'll see a file, hopefully open saying, name of your file dash recovered, and it will attempt to bring back as much as it can. It doesn't always work, because just of the timing of where things are at, but for the extra effort it takes to make sure that checkbox is turned on, it's not bad idea just to make sure, that you're not gonna lose work that you've done, kay, and that's in anything you're doing. I mean, keeping layers is important, but obviously, it all depends on saving all this, as part of a PSD file. Any questions about type and type layers, before we move on, question? If we have a situation where I want to type my first layer in English, and go on a second layer in a different language. Mmmhmm. For instance how to make Indian, Hindi, Right. is there mechanism in Photoshop to do that? Not automatically, unfortunately, I mean, you could, if you want to look the same, you can duplicate it, so at least you're starting with the same font, and everything else, but then you'd have to manually type in, ya know, and that assumes having your keyboard on your operating system, have the ability to type those characters et cetera. So, Photoshop, type in Photoshop is very closely tied to your operating system. So, in other words, and I'm glad you asked that, cause it reminded me to say, cause sometimes people ask questions like, how do I install fonts into Photoshop, you actually don't, you install the fonts on your machine, your operating system, then Photoshop can use them. So, it's the same thing. If you have in your operating system, the ability to type in different languages, Photoshop will accept that, but it doesn't do it automatically. So, for example, in this case, let's just hide this other layer for a second. If I wanted to make sure I, take this exact same type layer, the one says, photography is fun, and make it look exactly the same in different language, I would use a command called duplicate layer, and then use my move tool to drag it down. So, now at least I know I'm starting with everything look the same, and now I have to manually take my type tool, and type in whatever the translation is, kay. There are some applications That have more ability, but Photoshop will just accept whatever your operating system does, in terms of what fonts are available. So, if you have special, you know, like Arabic characters, or something like that, it will certainly accept those, but it's up to you to know, ya know, how to enter those characters et cetera.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Quick Notes Guide
Landscape Image for Practice Edit
Senior Portrait Missing Element for Practice Edit
Senior Portrait With Element for Practice Edit

Ratings and Reviews


I really like Dave's methodical teaching style. Step by step works best for my learning processes. He also has a lovely voice to listen to during his classes, that is important if you have to listen to someone talk for any length of time. I also like the "dance" he does by explaining what he is going to do, then does it, and then comes back to explaining the choices he made and why. Very, very easy to follow him in his straight forward explanations. He increased my understanding of so many tools I use and so many I have never used. Wow! Photoshop with Dave took away a lot of "fear"! (Wish I had a "happy face" to place here!) I bought this class today because I don't think I can get along without it!


A writer and an old person (over 60), I rarely use neat exaggerations like "great" or "fantastic," and never say "awesome" in the currently fashionable manner. However, I would call this class both great and excellently planned. Cross is well-spoken and a consummate teacher with a rarely non-irritating voice. It is information packed, clearly presented, well-organized, and extremely helpful. I wish I could afford his others.

Jim Bellomo

I was so lucky to get to attend this class in person here in Seattle. I have been a fan of Dave's for years and own a number of his courses from Creative Live. When this class was announced I almost decided to skip it since it was listed as a "beginners" class but decided that it "might" be worth it. One of the reasons I wanted to take it was that I am self-taught. I had started with Photoshop 5 (not CS5 but 5) about 15 years ago (at least). I figured it I took this class I might learn a little something that would help me in my work. Well, two days later I have 18 pages of handwritten notes, a whole new way to work and it has already paid off in a huge way in my daily workflow. I bill out my hours at around $100 an hour as a graphic designer and marketing person. That means in the two days that I spent 10 hours a day taking the class and commuting to it, it cost me about $2000 in working time. But it didn't. I can guarantee that I am way ahead on this one. I l learned so much. The real world things I learned will pay off for a very long time. Within one day after the class I had already started changing my workflow to be more non-destructive and faster. Dave is an awesome teacher and I can't say enough good things about this class. Even if you think you know Photoshop, you don't. I teach it in my small world but I learned so much.

Student Work