Image Effects Image Effects by cecilia
Tricky Text Tips or

Crafty Text Cumshaws or

Astute Text Advice or

I love Playing with my Thesaurus

Tip One: The Glow Worm

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.


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.


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.

Scroll down or click here for Tip Two: Shadow Text.
  IFX3-glow script=TransparentGlow-IFX3.ifx

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.

  Tip Two: Shadow Text

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".


If you have ImageFX3 go to IFX3-Shadow if you have ImageFX4 the tutorial continues below.

I've arranged my Layers in this Layers 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  Hand  individually. Which is why I name all my layers.

  IFX3-Shadow Do the FadeAway operations. Then come back here.

Having  Returned from the "FadeAway" layer, let's continue:

Tips on the Tip:

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.


Follow along and when the script has stopped, Move the Layers with the Hand.  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.

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