Feb 28, 2010
In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a typographic portrait using only Pixelmator. But what does that mean? A typographic portrait is a portrait composed of text. The technique is pretty simple. We will also play with Blending and basic filters.
Open Pixelmator and create a new document (The size I used was 1440×900 pixels). Then fill the background layer with black.
Import the photo you want to use (The one I selected was courtesy of Shutterstock. You can get it at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-46756228/stock-photo-sweet-girl.html).
Duplicate the layer image and go to Image>Desaturate. Then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 15 for the radius. After that, go to Image>Invert. We will use this image later on, so you need to export it. Go to File>Export and export a JPG version of it.
With the Type Tool (T), add text until the whole screen is filled (For the font, I used Georgia Italic, size 18). After that, duplicate the layer and change the text color to black. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use 4 pixels for the radius. Move this layer down 2 pixels; that will create a shadow. You will not see it because the background is currently black, but it will will be visible as we start adding more layers. The shadow is important because it will give a nice depth to the composition.
Add more text, changing font sizes. Always create shadows, as we did in the previous step.
Now below all the other text layers, add more text. Fill the screen with text, but using a smaller font, such as size 13. After that, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use 3 pixels for the radius.
Put the photo layer on top of the other layers and change Blending to Linear Burn.
Select all text layers and go to Layer>Merge Layers. After that, go to Filter>Distortion>Displacement. The filter box will open. Here, you will need to use the image we exported in step 2. Just drag it from where you saved it to the filter box. Increase the scale to 120.
The Displace filter will make the text look weird, especially the edges, so go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 6 for the radius.
Duplicate the photo layer and change Blending to Multiply and the opacity to 50%. You can also group all layers and duplicate them. After that, merge them into one layer and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 15 pixels for the radius and then change Blending to Screen and the opacity to 60%. That will add a little glow to your typographic image.
This is a very handy technique. You can even try it using different shapes instead of text. The technique is quite simple. However, it might take a little time to add text and find the right position for big keywords. Such little details will make all the difference, giving more style to your design.