This tutorial shows you how to add multi-colored text to an image using Photoshop
or Photoshop Elements. The text shown in the example above was colored using a copy
of the image that was pasted back onto the image.
Coloring the Text
This technique uses something called a clipping group. Here, you use one
image as a mask for another. You can do this with objects other than
text. Once you have mastered this tutorial, you can use the technique to create
the same effect with other objects.
- Open a copy of a photo that has the colors you want to use in your text.
- Click on Layers in the Pallet Well.
- Double-click on the Background layer to get the New Layer window.
- Complete the conversion by naming the layer if desired and clicking on OK.
- Resize your image by selecting Image from the Menu bar and clicking on Resize.
A smaller image will make your text larger in proportion to the picture and
will let it cover a larger area of colors.
- Select the Text tool by clicking on it in the Toolbox.
- Select a font from the Options bar. A sans serif font may work best.
- Select a large font size.
- Type your text somewhere on the image. Don't worry about the text's color at this
- Send the text layer below the image layer by selecting Layer from the Menu bar
followed by Arrange and Send to Back. If this doesn't work for you, get yourself into
the image layer and use Bring to Front.
- Click on Layers in the Pallet well.
Hold down the Alt key (Option key on Mac) and double-click with your cursor between
the picture layer and the text layer. When your cursor is over the area between the
layers and you're holding the Alt key down, you'll see two small overlapping
circles under your cursor. That is when you double-click. The image in the window
changes to show your text surrounded by a checkerboard pattern.
- Select the Move tool by clicking on it in the Toolbox. The Move tool allows you to
move the picture layer around beneath the text layer, projecting the picture through
- Once you have the text set to the colors you want, merge the layers so you can
copy your final text. You do this by selecting Layer from the Menu bar
followed by Merge Visible.
Building the Picture
You now have an image that is just the text made up of varying colors. You can copy
the text and paste it onto any other image that you open in Photoshop. When you're
finished, you'll end up with something like the picture shown at the top of this
- Select the Rectangle Marquee tool by clicking on it in the Toolbox.
- Use the tool to surround your text and then copy it by selecting Edit from the
Menu bar and clicking on Copy or by pressing the Cntrl and C keys at the same time.
- Open the picture you want to place your text on by selecting Edit from the
Menu bar and clicking on Paste or by pressing the Cntrl and V keys at the same time.
- Select the Move tool by clicking on it in the Toolbox and use the tool to position the
text where you want it on the image.
Steps 2 & 3 - Finding the Pallet Well