Adobe Photoshop

The way text is modified changes from program to program. In Adobe Photoshop you *can not* create new fonts for general use. You do however have a multitude of tools to help modify existing fonts for specific uses.

Modifying Raw Text

The actual workflow in Photoshop involves making use of 3 main tabbed palettes, all are accessable by the "Window" drop down if they are not already shown in the interface. They are "Character", "Paragraph", and "Character Styles". There is also a "Paragraph Styles", and the only difference is that the Paragraph Styles must be applied to an entire paragraph, whereas character styles can be applied to characters within a text object.

Some things to keep in mind about styles.

  • When selecting a text layer, if a style is applied, it will be highlighted in the character or paragraph style tab.
  • Character styles will override paragraph style settings. So if your paragraph style is not changing, make sure the character style tab is set to "none".
  • If you change a character's property after applying a style it becomes an "override", denoted by a plus sign next to the name of the style in the style tab. To clear an override click the "clear override" button in the style tab, this appears as a curved back arrow.

Making Text Editable

If you want to be able to edit the actual lines and shapes of a text then it first needs to be converted to an actual shape object (just like a basic square or ellipse is a shape object).

PLEASE NOTE: It is strongly recommended that if you do this you keep a duplicate of your text object (right click the layer and select "duplicate layer"). This will allow you to go back and edit the original raw text if so needed.

To convert a text layer to a shape layer simply right click on the text layer (the layer name, not the preivew icon) and select "convert to shape". It will now be an editable that which you can grab, push, and pull the points and handles of.

You can also find the same command under the "Type" drop down menu at the top of the screen.

Making Fonts Within Photoshop

You can't.

Ok, let me expand on that.

It is not possible to output, from Adobe Photoshop, a file that can be used by other programs as an actual font. For that you'll need either a special plug in or, better, dedicated font software that can output such a file.

What you can do is start the process. This is useful especially if you're more used to the workflow of a program like Photoshop or Illustrator and not the curve / corner process of a program like FontCreator. This works because, usually, there will be some way of transferring the glyphs to the specialized software and *then* adjusting important properties like height and kerning.

Typically for a program like "FontCreator" you can actually just CTRL-C (in Photoshop), CTRL-V (In FontCreator) the actual path once selected.

So what can you do to make this process easier? At leat two things come to mind.

  • Combining / Optimizing shapes.
  • Set up guides to maintain sizing.

Combining shapes should be evident. When finalizing a glyph try to keep all the shapes of one glyph on one layer. Try not to use multiple colors on one glyph as only the lines will be considered.

Using either the built in guides or making your own guide lines is helpful in maintaining constant heights, x-heights, ascender, and descender heights between glyphs.

Using the built in guides is as simple as clicking and pulling down/over from the ruler (and ctrl clicking to move them after that). But Photoshop guides don't allow for different styles so you won't be able to make the "dashed" line usually seen to denote the x-height.

If you're not aware of how to make a dashed line it is fairly simply. Go ahead and make the two solid lines that will Denote the baseline and Cap Height of your glyphs. You can use either the line tool (found under the shapes tool on the left, typically the square by default) or just use the pen tool and click twice to make a line without curves.

In either case it is suggested you bring up a grid first (CTRL-') and turn on snapping ("Veiw > Snap") to make the lines evenly spaced and parallel to one another.

Now to make the dashed lines

  1. Select and draw a line with two clicks of the pen tool. I do not recommend the "line" tool in photoshop as it does not make a line but a very thin square.
  2. Once the shape is made look to the tool specific options bar at the top. Because the "dashed" look is a product of the edge stroke and not the fill we need to turn off the fill altogether. Click the fill color and select the "No Color" option (the white square with a red slash over it).
  3. To the right of that make sure that the stroke color is *Not* set to "no color". This will be the color of your line.
  4. In the drop down to the right of that option you'll see where you can select the look of the line. By default it is a solid line through a rectangular dropdown icon.

The lines should now be dashed.


Just remember, as with anything, use multiple layers so that your letter shapes and background lines are not on the same level, and also to take advantage of the "lock" button in the layer browser to ensure you don't accidentally select the background lines when you don't want to.