Putting a Name to the Face

I first saw this Photoshop tutorial here. It was wonderful but used CS4, a program that I can't afford. I knew I could do this with PS Elements (it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles as the CS series or the cost) and went about adapting and hopefully simplifying this lesson. There are a number of steps and photos so bear with me.

Take your photo and cut out the background. Make it black and white (remove color). Use levels, if necessary to provide a bit of contrast if your photo, like mine, is a little washed out. Posterize this to 4 levels. It should look like the above; black, dark gray, light gray, white.

Open a new document and type the person's name. Duplicate the name twice more, using a different typeface for each layer. After some experimentation I found that simpler typefaces were better so don't use script, old english, or any of those fun fonts. I found a heavy, a medium and a fine font to use.

With the rectangular marquee tool select a name then go to EDIT>DEFINE BRUSH and name your brush (in this case - aj3). Do this for each layer (name).

Go back to your posterized photo and select just the black with the magic wand. (make sure you haven't clicked "continuous" in the options bar)

Add a new layer above the background layer. Click the eye off the background layer so that just the transparent layer with the selection "marching ants" show.

With the brush tool select the boldest name brush. Resize it by clicking on the bracket keys to enlarge it or make it smaller. Click the brush all over the picture to fill the black areas with the name. The letters will only fill in the selected areas, so no need for precision here. Change up the size to add variety and even though the majority of the letters should be bold, you can add some of the other name brushes as well. Fill it in fairly well. SELECT>DESELECT to remove the marching ants.

Make another blank layer. With the magic wand go back to the background and select the dark gray areas.  Click the eye off of the background and bold layers. Use the medium name brush (as opposed to the bold or fine name brushes) to fill in those areas in the new blank layer. Mix up the sizes and intersperse some of the other brushes as well. Don't fill it in as densely as the black areas. SELECT>DESELECT.

Make a new blank layer and the magic wand for the light gray areas and, using the lighter name brush as above, fill this selection even sparser. Don't forget to turn off the other layers by deselecting the eyes so that all you have showing is the light gray areas. SELECT>DESELECT.

Click the eyes on on all of the layers except the background. Merge all of the lettered layers together then add a few random names around the edges. Add a new blank layer beneath this merged layer. Fill it with white. Discard the original background. Leave as is if you like the black and white graphic look.

To add some color, use the magic wand to select all of the white areas. Go to SELECT>INVERSE to select all of the lettering. Make a new blank layer above the black and white merged layer. Select the gradient tool. Go to the options bar and on the left you will find a bunch of color bars. Choose one, then with your mouse, drag a line from the top of your picture to the bottom. The letters will become different colors. Flatten your image.

What a colorful child.


Kelli said...

That is so cool! I love it!

AUDRA said...

This is so awesome. Thanks for sharing a tutorial at Socialize with me Monday til Sunday. I'm going to have to try this.

MMB Creations said...

I'm not sure I'm up for this, but I would like to try. Beautiful!!!!

Catch A Falling Star said...

I am highly impressed!

Pamela Rosenberg said...

Love this. Can't wait to try it and plan to feature it next week. Thanks for sharing it on BeColorful

creativejewishmom/sara said...

Great tutorial, thanks so much! And wonderful to see you back on Craft schooling Sunday! I know I was only gone a month, but it feels like a reunion! all the best!

Lisa said...

This looks fun! I have CS4 here at work so I can definitely try this! Thanks!

Maria Gridley said...

That is really awesome! What a fun idea. It looks so cool! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

Melissa said...

What a neat idea...Thanks for sharing it!!

DigiMom said...

Amazing! I love this...thanks for sharing. :)

Laurie said...

Wonderful job! Thanks for sharing the process w us!

Chris Wooten said...

Hello did the linking party too. I love your blog.


Giveaways I have are April Showers cricut cart, Scal Software, 1yr Paper Crafts Magazine, 36ct Bic Markers. I will keep a log of her facebook page of all who sign up for me.

I am trying to win a cricut for childrens art department, so I am offering up these prizes.



Jennifer Juniper said...

I seriously can see an Etsy shop built around this very thing! You should consider it because this is fantastic! You could call it "Love Letters"! Fantastic!

Judy @ In His Grip said...

This is totally awesome and I will be using this tutorial. I got a new camera for Christmas and have been wanting to do something creative. Thanks, I will let you know how I do.

Donnie said...

I don't have Photoshop but that is a cool treatment.

Jill said...

This looks fantastic! And you make it sound so easy on your tutorial! I'm still struggling with the basics of photo editing, maybe one day I'll get to this!

Thanks for linking to A Round Tuit. Hope you have a lovely week.

Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Honey at 2805 said...

That looks great. Thanks for the tutorial!

Joy Beadworks said...

This is beautiful!

Robin said...

You are so smart! The photo is just amazing! And your processing is brilliant. I use PSE and I'm gonna try this!

Nikki said...

That is SO COOL! Thanks so much for linking it up to gettin' crafty on hump day! :)

me said...

totally amazing, thank you so much for sharing!

BabyDealsDujour said...

I am so missing out by not having photoshop!

Now following from
We list all of the daily baby deals in real-time. Love for you to stop by and follow back!

Stacey @ Mom's Daily Insight PR said...

You are so talented. I love what you did. I'm still trying to figure out photoshop myself. Your tutorial will come in handy when I'm ready to take the plunge!

I'm following your blog from the blog hop.

~ Stacey ~

Mom's Daily Insight PR
Follow Us on Twitter
"Like" Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Networked Blogs

Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma said...

Photoshop is on my bucket pics are amazing...


Thanks for linking up to Creative Juice Thursday...

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

what a cool effect - thanks for sharing!

new follower via hop


Sweet T Makes Three said...

Neat! Thanks for the tutorial.
New blog hop follower
Sweet T Makes Three

Katrine said...

Very cool! I just bought photoshop elements 3 days ago so this will be fun for me!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

This is a great Tutorial... I see all kinds of ideas.
Another friday's favorite for sure :-)

sugarswings said...

very cool! nice tutorial, saw you on tidy mom :)

Pamela said...

That is truly unique and utterly cool! Thanx for sharing!

Vanessa@Southern In My Heart said...

Way cool! Thanks so much for sharing it at Inspiration Friday this week!

Southern Fried Gal said...

That is so cool! Thank you for sharing!

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

You did's a masterpiece. I have PSP, now I'm wondering if I could do this. Gonna try someday.

Come on over to my show n tell [link]

Happy Weekend!! said...

This is VERY neat! Thanks for the tutorial!

Thanks for linking up!


Chelsea said...

That's awesome!! I want to try that!
I found you on HoH link party!

mommy2luke2008 said...

This looks awesome! I would love to see this blown up and in a frame! Thanks so much for the tutorial! I'm featuring it on my friday favorites!

Alisa said...

That's awesome. Thanks for the great tutorial!

Ginger said...

Beautiful!! I just love it! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

Ginger said...

Just became your newest follower!

LambAround said...

Wow! You always have such impressive tutorials here. I want to decorate a wall with portraits like this :)

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Great idea and it came out amazing- very creative! Thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

Kirsty Vittetoe said...

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

Lorie said...

Okay, that is SO FUN!! I am going to have to give that a try! Thanks for linking up your tutorial to Show and Tell Saturday!

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

So cool! I need to learn more about photoshop

Jami said...

What a cool idea! I can't wait to give it a try. This is definitely going on my To-do Tuesday Post!

AmieAnn said...

This is awesome! What a great way to really personalize a picture! And he shot of your little guy is amazing! Thanks for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party!

Ruthanne said...

This is awesome! Thank you!!a I just tried it on pictures of my boys and I LOVE how they turned out. Here's the link if you want to check it out. (I linked back to you in my post)

Ashley said...

This is such an awesome tutorial. I also did something I have never done before in Photoshop!
I featured your tutorial and posted my efforts here:

Thanks again!

Brambleberry Cottage said...

So cool! Instant personal art. I have a number of really cute pics of my little pixie granddaughter I need to try this on.

Thanks for joining the party.

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

bella (roz) said...

Wow, you are so talented! What a super post on photography and Photoshop! Thanks for sharing last week on Fresh Clean and Pure Friday! Roz

Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma said...

Thanks for linking up last week. This is reason #324 I need photoshop. STAT.

Great tute...

Hope to see you back this week at Creative Juice Thursday


Crystal said...

that turned out amazing. Great tutorial.

Holly said...

What a neat idea. That looks really cool.

Sweet Little Smoothie said...

Insanely awesome - what a great art piece! Thanks so much for including a tute!!

Cara @ Whimsy Smitten said...

New to this blog... just LOVE this idea. Absolutely amazing!!

Emskyrooney said...

Love it! Here's my version:

emilyjordan said...

Is it possible to do this with gimp? It's a free photoshop and I'm having trouble :/

Nohely said...

This is the best tutorial ever! I made this (kind of, couldn't add the gradient color to text) in an hour!!! :D thank you! :D

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