Tutorial Type: text tutorial
Skill level: any
Program used: PS7
Notes: This tutorial teaches you how to create your own tiny text as well as introducing the character palette.
The goal of this tutorial is to teach you how to create your own tiny text as well as introduce you to the character palette. This affords you more control over your text! I have dontlickit to thank for teaching me how to do tiny text and introducing it to me but since I'm impatient I'm writing the tutorial instead of her. ;) Anyway, on with the tutorial.
This is the character palette. If you don't have it visible, click Window>Character to bring it up. As you can see there are some things here you are likely familiar with and some other things you may not be familiar with. I'm going to do a quick rundown on each of the items just to help you feel a little more comfortable.
(1) This is where you choose your font face. I'm sure everyone here knows how to do that. ;)
(2) This is where you choose the style of your type. That is you choose if it's Regular, Italic, or Bold. Some fonts have other options here as well.
(3) This is where you choose your font size. The size is measured in pixels. Note: If you notice your font is very small, even when the size is like 454px then make sure your resolution is set to 72.
(4) This is where you set the leading. Leading refers to the space between lines of text.
(5) This is where you set the kerning. Kerning refers to the spacing between specific characters pairs.
(6) This is where you set the tracking. Tracking means that you are setting the spacing between characters to be equal throughout the whole set of characters. This will come into play when creating tiny text so you will see it a little later on.
(7) This is where you set the vertical scale. This just means you can scale the text taller or shorter.
(8) This is where you set the horizontal scale. This means you can scale the text wider or more narrow.
(9) This is where you set the baseline shift. The baseline is where your text sits. If you enter a higher number here (than 0) then the text starts up higher than it normally would.
(10) This is where you choose the colour for your text.
(11) Here you can choose many options for your text. You can choose faux bold (bolds text that normally wouldn't be able to be bolded), faux italic (italicizes text that normally wouldn't be able to be italicized), all caps (capitalizes all the letters), small caps (large cap first letter, small cap for the rest), superscript (like this), subscript (like this), underline (underlines the text) and strike through (puts a line through the text).
(12) Set the language.
(13) Set the anti-alias. Note: You will almost always want the anti-alias on (either sharp, strong, crisp, smooth) - the only time you may not want it on is if you are using a bitmap font.
The beauty of the character palette is that you don't have to have the text you are working on highlighted to make changes. This was something I learned from dontlickit when she introduced it to me. You simply have to have the layer selected in the layer palette and then make any changes you wish to the text! Now, on to making tiny text.
I used tiny text brushes for the longest time and I have no qualms about using them now, nor do I begrudge those that do use them but I wanted to know how to make tiny text myself so I learned and now I want to share it with you. You may be surprised at how easy it is. ;)
Let's say you've got an icon that's just about finished but it needs something... tiny text!
The first thing we do is slap any old text on there. It doesn't really matter what it says - it can be lyrics or porn or random cuss words or just a bunch of jibberish - make sure you stick some spaces in there too! And for right now, it doesn't matter what font you've used either. You can use just about any font to make your tiny text!
You can see I've labeled the layer there that is going to be my tiny text. The font is currently Cooper Black BT because that was the last font I used (for the R) and it is set to the same size I had used as well. (My text says "this is going to be my tiny text okay?")
The next thing I do is set the font size to 2px. You could perhaps use 1 or 3 but this is what I was taught and haven't bothered to change it because it works! I have also set the text to subscript and that makes it even smaller. Sometimes you don't need to do this but because I still have it set as Cooper Black BT it should be smaller - but this is my opinion. These settings can be changed to fit what you like.
As you can see by the above picture the text looks just like a blurry line or something. Where's the texture that gives it that extra kick? Well this is where the tracking that we talked about earlier comes in.
Here I have set the tracking to 500. The settings only go up to 200 but you can manually enter any number you want. 500 is kind of my default number. You can set it higher or lower, again, it's based on your preferences. Sometimes I set it to 750 or 600. :D
The last thing to do is to move the text into place. Well that's the last thing I've done, you could have done that at any time. I decided that I wanted more space between the letters so you can see I've increased the tracking to 600. Here is the finished icon:
Now like I said in a previous step, you can use any font you want and different fonts will give different looks to the tiny text. Here are a few examples of just tiny text. They all say the same thing (tiny text test) and the ally use the settings I used above unless otherwise marked.
So go forth and create your own tiny text! Remember to play with the settings because they will change how the tiny text appears! And if you like the icon feel free to use it, no credit required! :)