They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. I suppose a picture combined with words is worth even more, and we can use it to tell a story… In this tutorial, we’ll combine letters with pictures, and the finished product may be used however we want — in a background, web page banner, or scrapbook just for fun.
Photoshop’s clipping mask does the job, and does it fast. You can take any picture, maybe one from your favorite childhood memory, and incorporate it into your text. The clipping mask clips away (or hides) areas you don’t want people to see, and reveals areas you want them to see.
In addition, you can use any font and size. I prefer wider fonts with large letters that accentuate my text’s background. The text’s color doesn’t matter here since its background will eventually change.
Although we’re working from the main photograph in this tutorial, you can insert the photograph into another document as well, and customize the letters there.
Step 1: Open the image you want to use as a background in Photoshop.
Step 2: Go to the Layers panel (press the “F7″ key to open the panel if it’s closed).
Step 3: As a side note, when you open the file, Photoshop may lock the background layer (lowest layer) containing the image.
Check if the layer containing the picture is locked and if it’s on the background layer. If so, there will be a padlock to the right of the background layer, as shown in the diagram below:
To unlock the layer, double-click it in the Layers panel. Click “OK” in the New Layer dialog box that opens, and the layer will unlock for you.
Now, if the image you’re working with is a GIF, the previous method won’t work. You’ll need to select the image (CTRL + A), copy it (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL + V) the image to a new or different document instead.
Step 4: Select the Text tool in the toolbox or press (T) to activate it, then select a font and size from the Text options bar.
Step 5: Click anywhere on the canvas and type the text you’d like to customize. The text is automatically added to a separate layer.
Step 6: Return to the Layers panel and drag the the layer containing the photograph above the layer containing your text. The text will be completely covered by the top layer.
Step 7: With the layer containing your photograph still highlighted, select “Layer” and “Create Clipping Mask” from the menu. If all goes well, the background of your text will be replaced with your picture, similar to the image below: