Monday, July 4, 2011

How To: Create an Outline Font in Photoshop

Note: I’m using Publisher 2007 and Photoshop Elements 8.0.

Occasionally, when you’re sewing, you might want to appliqué on some letters or numbers—a kid’s name, initials, who knows? Or maybe you need templates for letters for a craft (some textured ABCs, maybe!). For a project I’m currently working on, I need some big numbers with an outline that’s easy to cut out. I suppose I could freehand draw them, but I didn’t want to; I wanted to pick a font I liked, size the numbers, and print them out so I had a template. So I went into Publisher, picked a font I liked (Berlin Sans FB Demi), sized the numbers, and realized I didn’t want to use up all that black ink when I printed them. This is an example of what one page looked like in Publisher (you can click on the pics to embiggen):

Yikes. That’s a lot of ink. So I decided I needed to figure out a way to convert it to an outline. I have Photoshop, so how hard could it be, right? The solution was blindingly obvious, except I couldn’t find the directions anywhere when I searched Photoshop help or online; quite possibly I was using the wrong search terms, but nonetheless, just in case you, too, are trying to do this someday, here’s how you do it.

If the font you want also exists in Photoshop, just open a new document, size it to 8.5” x 11” for easy printing, type your text, and pick up with the filter below. If not, once you’re happy with your text in Publisher, save your document as a jpeg—once you convert it to an image file you can’t edit the text. In the “Save as” drop down menu, you’ll choose “Jpeg file interchange format.” 

Open Photoshop and then open the jpeg file you just created. Go to filter: stylize: find edges.

Click on it, and boom—you have your outlines.

Make sure your color palette is something dark—I think my line color is black up there. I saved my number files as Photoshop PDFs, and then, because I plan to share a how-to when I’m done with this project, I merged all the individual PDFs into one PDF document using PrimoPDF, which is a free download. (Directions to merge PDFs can be found on their website here.)

I was ridiculously pleased to have figured this out, and a little chagrined that it was, in fact, so darn easy. I typically only use Photoshop for basic photo editing, and if I knew it better, probably this wouldn’t have taken me as long to figure out as it did. But in the event that someone else out there is looking to do the same thing and doesn’t know how, here you go! Save yourself some ink.


Bells said...

my understanding of photoshop is that figuring out how to do stuff IS really tricky. I have never used it but I've seen people weep over their failure to figure stuff out. But then once you know stuff, you feel so clever!

I really must get it some time.

Jill said...

I think you are clever a) to have photoshop and b) to know how to put a screenshot in your blog. Among other things. Hope all's well today.