Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create a Powerful Text Portrait from a Photo

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create a Powerful Text Portrait from a Photo

Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you how to create a powerful
text portrait. This is an update of a tutorial I did quite
awhile ago on an earlier version of Photoshop. This version is more streamlined and efficient. Open a photo you’d like to use for this project. I downloaded this one from Shutterstock. The first step is to remove the background from the subject by making a selection around your subject. There are many ways to do this, but for this
example, I’ll use the Quick Selection Tool. I’ll drag the tool over my subject to make
a selection around it. To remove areas outside the selection, I’ll
press and hold Alt or Option as I drag over those areas. If you’re working on version earlier than CC 2015.5, go to Select and Refine Edge. I did an in-depth tutorial on Refine Edge,
so if you’d like to watch it, I provided its link in my video’s description. If you’re using version CC 2015.5, “Select
and Mask” replaced Refine Edge. Click the button or go to Select and Select and Mask. I also provided a link to my in-depth tutorial on Select and Mask, so I won’t be going over it in detail here. I’ll check “Smart Radius” and click “New Layer”. Then, I’ll click OK. Remove its color by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + U. We’ll create a new layer below the active layer by Ctrl-clicking or Cmd-clicking the New Layer icon. We’ll fill the empty layer with black, but
first if your foreground and background colors aren’t black and white respectively, press
“D” on your keyboard. Since black is your foreground color, press
Alt or Option + Delete. Next, we’ll crop our document. Open your Crop Tool and click “Width, Height
and Resolution”. Make the Width and the Height 1000 pixels
each and the Resolution: 150 pixels per inch. Drag a corner in or out to size your subject
within the Crop bounding box. To slide it up or down, press the Up or Down
arrow key on your keyboard. To accept it, click the check-mark at the
top or press Enter or Return. To fit it back onto your canvas, press Ctrl
or Cmd + 0. Next, we’ll prepare our subject to use as
a Displacement Map. This will warp out text to wrap it around
the contours of our subject’s entire face. First, make your top layer active. Click the icon at the upper right corner and
click “Duplicate Layer”. Open the document list and click, “New”. Name it, “Displacement” and click OK. Go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. Blur it 3 pixels and click OK. Go to File and “Save As”. Navigate to your Desktop, save it as a Photoshop
PSD file and click, “Save”. If you see this message, just click OK. We can close the Displacement PSD file, since
we already saved it. Open your Move Tool. We’re ready to add text. You can either type it out on a notepad or
word pad application or find a poem or lyrics that you can ultimately copy and paste. Highlight it, and press Ctrl or Cmd + C to copy it. We’re going to create a word cloud from our text. There are many free websites that do this,
however, the site that I like the best is called “”. Unfortunately, sometimes Chrome and Firefox have had
problems creating word on Wordle, but the good news is that Explorer does open them,
at least for me. I’ll open Explorer and type in “”. Click “Create”. Click inside the text box and press Ctrl or
Cmd + V to paste your text into it. Then, click “Go”. Open “Language”. I’ll tick, “Leave Words as Spelled” and “Remove
common English Words”. Open “Font” and choose an easy-to-read font
from your list. I’ll choose “Steelfish”. Open “Layout”. I’ll use “Straighter Edges” and “Mostly Horizontal”. Open “Color”. Click “WB”, which is white text on a black
background. Then, click “Save as PNG”. Save it to your Desktop and click “Save”. Go to File and “Open”. Access your Desktop, locate your Wordle file,
click it and click “Open”. Open your Channels panel. if you don’t see it, go to Window and Channels. Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the thumbnail of the
RGB channel to make a selection of your text. Open back your Layers panel and press Ctrl
or Cmd + J to cut and copy the text onto its own layer. Drag your text onto your tab of your subject
and without releasing your mouse or pen, drag it down onto your subject and release. To move it, just drag it. Name the layer, “Word Cloud”. Make a copy of it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J. Double-click its thumbnail to open the Layer Style window. Click “Drop Shadow”. The Blend Mode is Multiply, the Opacity is
75% and the Angle is 30 degrees. The Distance is 5 pixels, the Spread is 0
and the Size is 5 pixels. Then, click OK. Since we’re going to have many layers of our
text, let’s save space in the Layers panel, by collapsing the Effects. The effects are still there; they’re just hidden. To see them again, just click back on the arrow. Click the eyeball icon next to the original
word cloud layer to temporarily hide it. As I mentioned, we’re going to create multiple
layers of the text that will ultimately cover our subject’s entire face. To resize and position the word cloud, open
your Transform Tool by pressing Ctrl of Cmd + T. Go to a corner and when you see a diagonal. double-arrow, press and hold Alt or Option
+ Shift as you drag it in approximately this much. Drag it to a corner of the face and press
Enter or Return. Make a copy of it and drag the copy to another area. We’re going to flip the copy 90%. To do this, go to a corner and when you see
a curved, double-arrow, press and hold Shift as you rotate it clockwise 90 degrees. It’ll snap in place because we’re holding
Shift as we rotate it. Position it over your subject and press Enter or Return. Continue to make copies of your text and feel
free to resize and position them over your subject. We’re going to create a copy of this entire
block of word clouds and then flip it 90 degrees. First, we’ll place all the word cloud copies into a folder. To do this, scroll to the bottom copy and Shift-click it. Make sure you’re not Shift-clicking the original word cloud. This makes all the copies active. Press Ctrl or Cmd + G to place them into a folder. Make a copy of the folder, open your Transform
Tool and rotate the copy 90 degrees. We’ll convert our text into a Smart Object,
so we can apply a Displacement map to our entire word cloud. To do this, Shift-click the bottom folder
to make it active as well and click the icon at the upper, right corner. Click “Convert to Smart Object”. Make a copy of it and hide the lower Smart
Object word cloud . Name the top layer, “Displacement”. Go to Filter, Distort and Displace. Make the Horizontal and Vertical Scale 10,
“Stretch to Fit” and “Repeat Edge Pixels”. Then, click OK. Click the “Displacement” Photoshop file and click “Open”. Immediately, our text wrapped itself around
the contours of our subject. Collapse the Smart filter and hide the layer. Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the Displacement text
layer to make a selection of its shape. Scroll to your subject’s face and make it active. Click the Layer mask icon to make a layer
mask of the selection next to your subject. Make a composite snapshot of your visible
image by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E on Windows or Cmd + Shift + Option + G on a Mac. Hide the layer below the composite snapshot
and drag the composite snapshot to the top of the layers panel. Make the Displacement layer visible again
and change the Blend Mode of the composite snapshot to “Linear Burn”. Next, we’ll add subtle text behind our subject. Make the lower Smart Object word cloud visible
and drag it to the top. Scroll down and Ctrl-click or Cmd-click your
subject to make a selection of its shape. Scroll back up and Alt-click or Option-click
the Layer Mask icon to make an inverted layer mask of the selection next to the top word cloud. Click off the chain-link icon to unlink the
layer and the layer mask. Doing this allows us to resize and/or re-position
either of these independently from the other. Make the layer active and reduce its opacity
to between 15 to 20%. Open your Transform Tool, go to a corner and drag it in. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create a Powerful Text Portrait from a Photo

  1. Kalash Jain says:

    Best tutorials sir. just love to see your vidios

  2. Jose Diaz H says:

    Se agradece!

  3. L3TH4L1TY says:

    Always wondered if Marty was actually real…

  4. thien tranvuong says:

    Excellent toturial, thank you so much, i show my result to my friends and they said "So cool!!!!!!!"

  5. James Butler says:

    One of the Best Tutorials I've ever watched… Sorry it took so long to find you…

  6. ชาตา นนทสุวรรณ์ says:


  7. M Azharul Islam says:

    wow it's amazing video. thanks for sharing.

  8. Emdadul Haq says:

    awesome video it's very helpful for me & for everyone whose are interested to learn Graphic design.

  9. Tuong Nguyen says:

    after linear burn, everything became black, can you help me fix this??? Thanks a lot!!!!

  10. YASSER AL NADAF says:


  11. Brandon Assoon says:

    Where t do you get the displacement file ?

  12. radya adhi pratama says:

    The best Tutorial, Easy to learn👍
    Im From Indonesia✋

  13. NAA 1212 says:

    In where we can find displacement file Photoshop? Where we can download it?

  14. Shane Neil Alcain says:

    One of the best tutorials. Thank you for making this☺😊😇

  15. BLΛСK SИOW says:

    Thank you, Sir! It's a very useful tutorial!

  16. ZoomBar Go says:


  17. Jamal Ahmed says:

    who else is searching for the same poem he searched..??

  18. Michael Lindsay says:

    Great Job Marty! Clear instructions. I will be checking out your other videos as well.

  19. Anurag Gupta says:

    was the png image of high resolution?

  20. Alex Sauceda says:

    Oye viejo, yo ni se hablar inglés y te entendí, si eres bueno…

  21. iamharwinderrr says:

    when i press alt + delete everything become black i can not see my pic it is all black

  22. Al-Imran Nayeem says:

    wow u made it look so easy 🙂

  23. dean yash says:

    All I get is scratch disk is full
    Whatever that means ?? 😞😩

  24. AASHISH KUMAR says:

    not to much god video

  25. Атабеков Леонид says:

    Thank You! Beautiful!!!

  26. yongrui liu says:

    i like your videos ,very nice like it

  27. Syed Ahmad Ali says:

    Sir is not working

  28. Hirusha Polkumbura says:

    superb i learned a lot. thanks!

  29. UC creations says:


  30. ithinkican79 says:

    Mine left a slight shadow after I did the RGB thing

  31. eye Candy says:

    well did

  32. Pratik Sharma says:

    Where to find displacement file

  33. Carlos Henrique says:

    Wordle doesn't work in any of my browsers and this other site that you provide is somenthing about education, couldn't find anything about cloud words

  34. Irfani Aziz says:

    up nc tutorial

  35. Mohammed Hasen says:

    Very nice

  36. niftay says:

    where is the displacement psd file found?

  37. Freddy The Frog says:

    Love it Marty

  38. Freddy The Frog says:

    Hey Marty. Could not get wordle to open at all but found this site that works –

  39. Subhradwip Ghosh says:

    Use CheerPJ extension in chrome to run java applet… So that you can use

  40. Sarvesh Bhalerao says:

    Awesome tutorial… Will definitely try. Thank you so much for the video

  41. Şükriye says:

    thank you

  42. #Benito says:

    I wish all photoshop tutorials are this detailed. Great job!

  43. Sulis Mastech says:

    Matur sembah nuwun, Thanks you Master..

  44. AssaultOPS says:

    4:15 haha the poem is there in our syllabus in English subject!

  45. Elias Redux says:


  46. Harshith Kumar says:

    Is their any other easy way for doing this.. Too hard to remember…..

  47. Kings Editing Club says:

    Creative work of 2019 … AMAZING WORK 😍

  48. Kissinger Kiss says:

    I'm going to surprise my daughter with this piece of art.

  49. ShadowakaBigG says:

    this is really cool thanks man.

  50. ALL IN ONE GUY says:


  51. LY CHANNEL says:

    mampir woy semua… i love it

  52. Hasto7 Trisno says:


  53. ShadowakaBigG says:

    hey Marty, do you have any suggestions for this when the subject's face comes out too dark so you see the words but barely the eyes and smile?

  54. John says:

    that's some amazing shit.

  55. Arun kumar says:

    I tried many times.. but idk why is it not good as yours.. am using cs6..

  56. Luka Koprivica says:

    This is a true master class tutorial! I dare to say – old school style. Astonishing narration! I truly miss this in the sea of halfwit YouTube narrators these days…
    Thanks for reminding me what's normal.
    And, yeah… Great tutorial! Thank you.

  57. [ WTF ] WhatTheFuture says:


  58. vikas ratudi says:

    Awesome tutorial thanks for the tutorial.

  59. Yash Kshirsagar says:

    Sir you are really the best narrator. I salute your efforts!! Thanks for explaining it slowly by allowing us to do it side by side.Thanks you so much for the tutorial!

  60. Maya Script says:

    U r the Grand Father of P.S in this Age.. Superb and excellent video…

  61. Jaime E. Campuzano T. says:

    Thank you Marty, you are great!!!!

  62. 이선빈 says:

    Thank you

  63. Anh Thư Trương Hoàng says:

    such detailed instructions. Thank you for your dedication Marty!!!!

  64. Cy Jo says:

    When Baymax learns how to photoshop.

  65. skyline 17 says:

    Use» Wordart«, if you don't want to use explorer

  66. Luis de la Rosa says:

    it's awerome the explanation. thanks so pinche much!

  67. DJ Jacops says:

    This is how tutorials should be made.

  68. Daniel Omolewa says:

    whats the displacement file location

  69. Ahmed Mohmmaed Arbed says:


  70. Muhammad Alvariz says:

    Thanks, it so helpful

  71. Jangkar Tekno Digital says:


  72. Chloe Harrah says:

    Love this tutorial! Such a creative way to spread a powerful message. Great inspiration for my social awareness poster for my class @mediaartssbcc.

  73. Siva pandi Vignesh says:

    Love you bro ❣️👊 exalant

  74. am_duc I says:


  75. Ronit Dhorda says:

    Ohh Sir I love your Videos ! Best Regards ! and Please Keep it Up and Make some videos on our Trending Graphics Designing ! Love the way you explain !

  76. AJ Thompson says:

    Neat effect. Thank you for a clear tutorial with a calm considerate pace. I really appreciate your kind teaching style where you obviously are trying to help others understand rather than dazzle with prowess. Excellent. Much appreciated.

  77. Omri Shooshan says:

    amazing!! I'm a programmer but I can't hold myself from loving to create beautiful stuff in photoshop from time to time

  78. The Owl Channel says:

    Your videos are very helpful really🙏🏼😩 i am very interested in photoshop and i wish to be creative👍🏼 thank you

  79. michael hollanshed says:

    Oh my. How did you figure all of that out Marty? Are you a computer?

  80. michael hollanshed says:

    Had to watch again! You’re so awesome Marty! Make a template that I can Apply to my own photos and word-clouds please😘

  81. Raja Interiors says:

    Didn't get the expected result😞😞

  82. ONGKI pradana says:

    ini orang indonesia?

  83. John Roth says:


  84. NikoVanAthand says:

    Good for you to explain why you opened explorer. You'd be judged so harshly. haha

  85. Md. Golam Rafsan Jani says:

    You are awesome

  86. Luci لوسي says:


  87. Brym says:

    very detailed nice tutorial

  88. 王欢 says:


  89. Ammar Tarig says:

    Guys i need another website to crate word cloud

  90. Srivastava says:

    Thank you

  91. Muhammad Abdulfaqih says:

    Im froom indonesian 🇮🇩

  92. RIYA says:

    thank you sir to share this video…..


    i love you so much 😍

  94. Jessie gibson says:

    Good video


    Dear concern, i appreciating you tutorial. You explain very easily. But recently i have falled in a problem. I have lost my windows and now i can not download the photoshop cc 2019 free version with crack file. If you can share it with me the cc 2019 link or tell me way ! i will share my email to sent. Please response asap.

  96. Joseph Asiedu says:

    This is powerful

  97. Zpeedy XD says:

    I have one problem: If I displace my word cloud, it only got pixeled and glitched. It didnt take the shap of the face to it

  98. Shahad Mufthak says:

    When i come up with the select and mask … and after pressing ok the background ends up with nothig… Any solution ?

  99. Kevin Butler says:

    This is so cool! However, I have Photoshop Elements 14. Can I do this with that? Thank you.

  100. Art & Design says:

    Woow!! I LOVE the way u presentate it. So clear, not too fast but not too slow either (so perfect), your articulation, your intonation, n u also gives us the close up look screen everytime u are clicking on something n u explain detailly what u r going to do, n over all.. Makes me not boring to listen n to watch your video. Very useful, helpful, knowledgeful. Please keep making lots of another photoshop tricks for us. I wish u always in a good health n condition. Bless u… 😉

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