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Pythosart's avatar


For my Computer Graphics class. Well. Sort of. I was supposed to do a typographical portrait of a famous person, so I picked David Tennant (of course). Anyway, I wasn't supposed to do it this way, but I think it looks better than the way I was supposed to do it. It's better looking and easier to see who it is.

Here's the "proper" one, for anyone interested. [link] It's kind of smallish D:

Oh, and I definitely cheated a lot with this one. I wasn't supposed to write any of the letters myself or alter them in any way, but all of the small letters re handwritten and a lot of the large ones have bits erased to smooth things out.

Typography is an interesting art and I will probably look into it more in the future. I'll buy myself a wrist brace first, though. Two and a half straight hours of clicking and dragging = OWWW.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 - Approx. 3 hrs.
David Tennant © His mother
Art © Me

Photo used--> [link]

Now ~Draikairion and I are Typography-Doctor buddies! She made a portrait of Matt. Go show some love!
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© 2011 - 2021 Pythosart
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Shi-Yin's avatar
Can I ask which font and letters you used to make the eyes?  It's really good!! *^*
Mistress-Fluffeh's avatar
Tutorial! This is brilliant!

Pleeeease for a tutorial ;w;
Pythosart's avatar
It would take me a good while to make one with pictures (and I probably will eventually), but I can give you written instructions. As long as you have a tablet, a decent photoshop, and a photo with good strong light, it's not too hard.
Mistress-Fluffeh's avatar
I've got two out of three!
X3 CS5 Extended, and a wacom tablet.

I'd LOVE some instructions of any kind, this is just amazing.
Pythosart's avatar
Alright, I'll do my best to outline it here:

1. Find a picture with a relatively strong light source (preferably only one light source) [link] Something like this. It doesn't have to be high-res, but that's always better. Place it on your canvas in Photoshop and resize it to match (hold shift when you resize, so that is doesn't stretch the image)
2. In Photoshop, grayscale the photo and cut out the area you want to make into typography. Delete the rest.
I can't remember exactly how I did this next bit, but I'll try to explain.
3.Use the magic wand tool (set to a medium tolerance) to select your shadow area. Then, on a separate layer, use the paint bucket tool to fill in the selected areas with a dark color. Repeat with midtones and highlights, until you have a sort of simplified portrait. It will be rough, but as long as you can tell what's what and as long as it still looks like your photo, you're good. At this point, use your tablet to touch up the simplified image and better define where you want the shadows to go.
4. Turn down the opacity on this layer and lock it. It will be used as a guide for your typography.

Now for the text.
5. Create a new layer for each letter of the alphabet. You can use whatever font you like, but rounded, sans-serif fonts work best, and capital letters are better than lower case. This is the one time when Comic Sans is actually a good choice. Don't change the color on the letters. They should be black. Make your letters pretty big, but not huge, and place them around the portrait, not in it.
6. Turn off the visibility on all the letter layers.
7. When you want to place a letter, duplicate that layer however many times you need it, and turn on those layers. Do NOT turn on/use the original letter layer. You want those letters to stay in their original condition.
8. Drag each letter to a spot in the shadow shape you think its shape would fit best, and use the rotate tool and the warp tool (lightly. You don't want to make the letter unrecognizable) to make the letter better fit its spot. If it doesn't fill in the whole thing, that's fine. You can add different letters to that spot. If a bit is hanging off the edge, rasterize that layer and erase the bit that's hanging off, making sure to round it or make it flush with the edge, so it doesn't look too out of place.
9. After you've placed a few letters in the portrait, you can merge those layers so you don't have so many letter layers floating about. Just keep merging layers after you've placed a few letters.
10. When placing letters, make sure to work from LARGE to SMALL. Fill in large gaps, but don't worry too much about smaller ones. Those will be taken care of at the end.
11. Once you've filled in your shadow layer to a satisfactory level and you've got all your edges pretty well defined, turn it off and move it down to the bottom of your list of layers so it doesn't get in the way.
12. Start a new layer of typography and repeat the above process, this time using both the shadow and midtone layers of the stencil portrait.

13. Once you've filled in your midtone layer to a satisfactory level, turn off the guide layer and hit command+u (or ctrl+u on a PC) and drag the "lightness" bar down until the letters are a middle gray. If some of the letters are still black, that means you haven't merged them to your midtone layer.
14. Turn on the shadow layer and drag it so it's in front of the midtone layer. Make sure you can still recognize the face you're making. Use your tablet to fill in any large gaps (you can write things that pertain to the subject of the portrait. For example, I wrote "Doctor Who" or "TARDIS" or "Hamlet" or something else that had to do with David Tennant in the gaps. Try to copy the font you're using as best you can. Again, your handwriting shouldn't stand out too much. And don't fill in gaps too completely, lest you get dark splotches. You also want to be able to somewhat see the midtone layer through the gaps in the shadow layer.
15. Make corrections until you are satisfied and the portrait is recognizable.

16. Make a new layer between your shadow layer and midtone layer.
17. Click on the gradient tool (in the same slot as the paint bucket) and set the colors of the gradient to something you like. Try not to have more than three colors.
18. On your new layer, drag the gradient all the way across the canvas
19. Set your gradient layer's mode to "overlay". This should make it show the color only on the letters of the midtone layer, and not the white background.
20. If your color is too light, go to your midtone layer and hit command+U again, and drag the "Lightness" bar until the color looks right.

21. Sign your name on the midtone layer, and you're done!

If you've got any questions, feel free to ask. I know that's a long explanation, and I'm not the best at making tutorials.
iheart100monkies's avatar
so very cool. i think your version is cooler as well. It feels more artistic. The other feels more poster/ad like and it's harder to see davids lovely form :) well done!
Pythosart's avatar
Thank you! I agree. There's a reason I never follow the rubric for art assignments XD
iheart100monkies's avatar
yeah what do they know? :p they are the teachers not the doers. never heard of the "greats" teaching... they threw you in the deep end and told you to swim. :D
Pythosart's avatar
Correction, the "greats" almost always had students, and plenty of them. Rembrandt had an entire workshop.

But I get what you're saying XD
EchoNola's avatar
I would sooooo put this on my wall.
iNeyraei's avatar
At first I went like 'SHAUNSHAUNSHAUN!' but then waaaait.....*looks at title* Oh you bastard.
Pythosart's avatar
Sorry, David Tennant. Just as good, if not better, in my humble opinion :D
iNeyraei's avatar
You should try out more of these typography thingies.
Pythosart's avatar
I have, actually. Just haven't uploaded them.
iNeyraei's avatar
shinobidrako's avatar
i like the colors the composition the passion
u r a genius, a fucking genius
Pythosart's avatar
Why thank you C:
FidellaCao's avatar
You're right. I like this version much better. But they're both very well done.
Pythosart's avatar
Pythosart's avatar
I don't mind C: You wouldn't be the first, but you're certainly the first to ask. Thanks for that :D
JaggidArt's avatar
That's fantastically clever! :D
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