The idea is to place "transparent" text over an existing picture. The text itself is invisible but it has a glow around its' outer edges.
Because ImageFX versions 3 and 4 handle Text and Alpha buffers differently, I've done these tutorials for both flavors. If you are using ImageFX3 go to IFX3-glow if you have ImageFX4 the tutorial starts immediatly below. Naturally, you are free to read the entire article no matter which version of ImageFX you own.
You can Load up an existing background picture or Create a new Buffer. Feel free to use the small water gif I've included in the downloadable file archive text.zip which you can use to tile into a new image like I did in my examples. (Create a buffer the size you need, Load the gif as a Brush, FloodFill with Brush Tile or even Brush Warp on).Once you have a Buffer:
Stamp the brush in the New Layer and then give the Layer a blur. The text hook does a nice job of antialiasing text but some fonts still need a little more help. Plus, for this effect a nice soft edge is a good thing.
Now you can play with the BlendModes to pick the one that works best for the picture. Softlight or Subtract are good to start with. Subtract will give the text a ghostly look as it seems to float through the water. Softlight can make the text pop out of the water but in a very subtle kind of way since the bulk of the letters is the same as the background. You can also add more Blur or GaussainBlur to both the RGB and it's Alpha to get the right etherial look.script=TransparentGlow.ifx
Naturally, I made a script of this whole mess mostly because once I figure something out I'm libel to forget how I did it. (I have ALOT on my mind). For me, macros are really mnemonics! To use it load up your background picture and run the script. In the text hook type in your title. For some reason this hook likes to add a blank line after my last line. If I want my lines centered properly by the script I Delete this blank line. Keep the toggle at "To Brush".
As you can see from the illos, I made two lines of one word each. To make it look better, I shortened the space between the two lines by changing the Line Space to "-10". You have to be careful how close you force the text lines together, however, I've noticed that with some fonts there are these strange artifacts appearing around the text. Also the Center/Left/Right toggle seems to refer to the first line of text - not all your lines taken as a whole. Probably the best method is to run the Text hook before you start the script so you can experiment with the best look for your text. Then, once everything is in place, run the script and when the text hook pops up just click "OK" as everything is already in place.
After you run this script you will notice that the new layer has a glow around it's border. I happen to like this especially if I change the Blend Mode to Subtract. But if you don't want it there's a few things you can do, naturally. One is to simply scale up the text layer about 10% and Move it around to hide the edges. Or SwapAlpha and in the Alpha buffer use the FillBox tool to cover all four edges with black boxes.
Once the script has made all your layers you can do all sorts of extra stuff. With the text layer on Subtract Mode, I cloned it and changed the mode of the new layer to Absolute Subtract. This adds a little dark edge to the text. You can also make the brush, which should still be hanging around, into a layer. SwapAlpha and fill the letters with black (FeatherIn 10 should also still be on). SwapAlpha back to the RGB buffer and the text is now outlined as a glow.
Download the tutorial file archive text.zip. Load your own background picture or Make a New Buffer and Load the included water.gif as a Brush, FloodFill with Brush Tile or Brush Warp on.
Call the Text hook and make a text brush, stamp the brush on new layer - "Glow Layer" - with at least AntiAliasing on. Blur or GaussianBlur this layer if needed.
IFX3 does it's alpha buffers differently than IFX4 - in version 3 you can't perform a Negative operation on the Alpha buffer directly - at least not without crashing. Therefore, to get around this problem, select "Glow Layer" and delete it's Alpha.
Go back to "Glow Layer" and FloodFill with FeatherIN at about 10. Perform a Negative operation. and make it a MASK.
Go to "Text" and change it's BlendMode to SoftLight, Subtract or anything that you like.
This script will setup everything for you. It will even ask if you have a Main Buffer. I think I stole that bit of code from Steve Chapple. Steal from the best, I say. Of course, if you plan on using this script in a batch you'll have to comment out that part and add a few extra items that you may need for your project. And don't forget to include FlattenLayers before the save operation.
This one's a doozie. The idea here is to have the text casting a shadow in front of itself. That means we have to make a text layer, then duplicate the text layer but flip it over vertically, and pull in the top half to give it a perspective so it looks like a shadow of the text falling on the "ground".
Create or Load a background picture. I just Created a blank buffer and later FloodFilled a gradient in it but you may have a specific picture in mind. Don't let ME stop you.
Use the Text Hook to make your text layer and rename it "Text". Then Clone this Layer and name that one "Text Reflection".
Select the Layer "Text" and [Move Layer] up so the word is near the top of the buffer. And I don't mean move the Layer's position relative to other Layers - that's the Menu items Layer Up and Layer Down. I mean manually change the Offset of the Layer relative to the "canvas" or the basic position of the background buffer. It's when you see that Hand as it moves the elements of the Layer around. So, turn on the Hand and move the text up to the top of the page. ok?
The other Text layer - Text_Reflection - needs to be flipped over Vertically. Remember to Swap to Alpha and do your flipping there because the "mask" for the text is only in the Alpha channel.
Now it's time to add a little perspective rotation to this layer. You can use the "Perspective 3D Rotate" in Transform. I think a Rotation of about 50 degrees on the "X" axis is fine.
Swap the Alpha and you can [Move Layer] to a more appropriate place under the original letters so it looks like a reflection. You may also find that it needs to be scaled up just a little (say about 10%). You can Undo the last perspective operation and run in again. Scaling is one of the abilities in 3D Rotate so increase the scale in both x and y the same amount. Or just run the normal Scale operator.
Instead of 3D Perspective you can instead use the new Distorter Hook. Again, this operation must be done on the Alpha channel. You can move the Grid right on the buffer. Just make sure that Y1 and Y2 end up with the same values or the reflection wont have a straight line at it's top edge. And keep "Alpha" at "Ignore".
Add a New Layer - named "FadeAway" - and move it [Layer Down] to just above the Background Layer. Here's a subtle little touch that should help make the reflected text have a more shadowy feel. That is, the farthest part of the shadow is less intense and this new Layer will do this for us. We are going to FloodFill this Layer with a black to white gradient.
Go to the Palette and toggle on Range 8. This selects the first two color registers - which in the default palette, as you know, are the colors we want.
Return to the Toolbox and click on the FloodFill tool. Change the fill to Vertical and the Range to "R8".
After you have filled the Layer, perform a Negative operation. Then in the Layers Manager make this layer a MASK. Scale this layer so the Height is halved while the width is left the same. [Move Layer] down so it covers the second half of the buffer. It's only supposed to affect the reflected text layer.
I've arranged my Layers in this order, just to get you orientated. But it's only important that the FadwAway Layer is somewhere under the Text Reflection Layer. It doesn't have to be directly under.
If you came here from IFX3, you can now Return. If you are reading the IFX4 version, it continues:
Here is where you can really get creative. The "Text Reflection" layer can have Blend Modes like hardlight or darken or even colorize. You can Clone the "Text" Layer and [Layer Down] so it's under the "Text" Layer. This is to make a more typical text shadow. Change its' offset so it's just slightly off from the original Text layer. Then change the Blend Mode to hardlight. Now you'll have two shadows cast from this text. Strange but possible.
The script will make all your basic layers but once done you'll have to go in and Move them with the Hand individually. Which is why I name all my layers.
In the Layer Manager Menu, choose [New Layer From Brush]. Move Layer up to the top half of buffer.
The Brush should still be the selected Region at this point. Do a Vertical operation on the brush. [Transform/Flip Vertical].
Now start [Perspective 3D Rotate]. Rotate X can be about 50, uncheck "Lock Scale" and if you wish increase Scale x and y both about 10. This really depends on the font you are using.
Perform another [New Layer From Brush]. This will be the reflected text layer. Move Layer to bottom half of buffer.
Open the Alpha Menu and [Copy To Alpha]. The Transform operations did something "bad" to the original alpha channel and we want it back, thank you.
Using this sort of gradient fill can also be used on a text layer to tint it gradually. That is: have a text layer, above that the gradient mask layer and above that a layer with an image or single color. The Mask Layer will allow the top layer to gradually show through on to the Text Layer. This is a simple example, naturally. But the only thing stopping you from having multiple Mask layers is the amount of your RAM.Script=ShadowText-IFX3.ifx
Follow along and when the script has stopped, Move the Layers with the Hand. The reflected text layer can have Blend Modes like hardlight or darken or colorize, whatever works for you. Did we have fun? I know I did. We'll do this again next time. Same Bat-Time, same Bat-channel.
Need help with this topic? Email Me