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.

Step 1

Open Pixelmator and create a new document (The size I used was 1440×900 pixels). Then fill the background layer with black.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 2

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).

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 3

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.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 4

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.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 5

Add more text, changing font sizes. Always create shadows, as we did in the previous step.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 6

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.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 7

Put the photo layer on top of the other layers and change Blending to Linear Burn.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 8

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.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 9

The Displace filter will make the text look weird, especially the edges, so go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 6 for the radius.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Step 10

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.

Creating a Typographic Portrait in Pixelmator

Conclusion

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.

Download Pixelmator File

Click here to download the Pixelmator file.

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.