• Using Type to Change Shapes in Photoshop and PSE

    The past few weeks, we’ve been working through our series of video tips on using shapes to create interesting accents for your digital projects. This week’s tip combines shapes with your favorite fonts to create personalized page elements.

    Get started by opening a new document in Photoshop or Elements. Set the Foreground color to a color that contrasts with your background.


    Get the Rectangle tool and make your choices in the Options bar. Select the Create a New Shape Layer icon. In the full version of Photoshop, also select the Shape Layers icon, then click and drag out a rectangle.


    To make the shape editable, choose Layer > Rasterize > Layer in Photoshop or Layer > Simplify Layer in Elements.

    Next, get the Type tool and choose a font you like in the Options Bar. Set a very large size and a color that contrast with your shape. Click on your document once and press a letter on your keyboard. Drag the letter into place and click the checkmark to confirm the type.

    Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) the thumbnail of the type in the Layers Panel. It will look like a T in a box. This makes a selection around your letter.


    Now click on the shape layer in the Layers Panel and press Delete or Backspace on your keyboard. This cuts a letter shaped hole out of the shape layer.


    Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to remove the selection and then delete the text layer by dragging it to the trash bin in the Layers panel.

    In Elements, apply a drop shadow layer style. In Photoshop, double-click the shape layer in the Layers Panel and create a drop shadow from the Layer Styles dialog.


    Get creative with this idea by using a shape other than a rectangle like circles, flowers, or hearts. Try using a dingbat font to cut out an image instead of a letter. You can even type a whole name or use a Text Byte to make a circle of letters to cut out.


    Use the shape as a clipping mask with photos or digital papers on your next project. This is a great way to use the digital kits you purchase and customize the templates you get.