JJMack's Linked Letters [Logo or Monogram ] Tutorial

Created using Photoshop Text Layers, Layer Masks and Layer Styles
With Additional touch up Photoshop Layers

This Tutorial was inspired by myJanee.com -> Photoshop -> Janee's PS Tutorials -> Linked Letters
[ myjanee ]
Janee's Example Logo or Monogram

The images in this tutorial have been scaled down to 800 x 600 pixels. To see the full size 1600x1200 screen capture, you can click on the quarter sized version.

I did this tutorial because I wanted my "JJMack" file layers to be text layers. Photoshop seems to scales text layers perfictly for, I believe, Photoshop's fonts which are vector based. Scaling text layers may be better then scaling a raster image even if the raster image is transformed as a smart object. I felt Janee's textured letters created using selection, displacement maps and lighting effects could easily be duplicated using text layers with Layer styles. The layer styles would be reapplied to layers if any re-sizing was done. Aso felt that Janee's method that copied background shadow layers and moved them higher in the layer stack did not fall on the lower textured letter correctly. The shadows that fell on a textured letters would be better done by hand, painted using the background shadow as a guide.

If you are a true artiest you could use the pen tool. Create letter paths and turn these into Shape layers. Use these shape layers where I use text layers in this tutorial.

Start open a new document your screen size

I chose not to color manage this document and plan to save it as a layered PSD file.

Link to large Version

Pick Letters, Fonts, Arrange and Size

Plan your Logo or Monogram and a text layer for each letter and letter group. I will use four text layers "J", "J", "M" and "ack" for this tutorial. The "M" text layer will be the bottom layer because M will be Logo's lower level letter. The "J", "J" and "ack" text layers will be my Logo's upper level letters. Edit the Text Layers test using different fonts and font sizes. Position the text layers to form your Logo or monogram. I used two fonts "QuigleyWiggly" and "Adobe Caslo Pro" and three font sizes 300 pt, 350 pt and 400 pt. I also wanted the letter group "ack" text layer to be closely spaced so I use the text character tab and played with the AV setting and settled on -83 for that text layer.

Link to large Version

Duplicate Text Layer for Textures and Shadows

Now that you have formed your Logo or monogram, select all the text layers and drag and drop them on the new layer icon in the bottom of the layers pallet. This will duplicate all the text layers and appends "copy" to the layer names. Move the copied layers to just above the empty bottom layer. Change "copy" to "Shadow" in the layers names. Turn the visibility of the text layers without Shadow in their layer names off. Add a drop shadow layer style to the to top text layer with shadow in its name. When to have the drop shadow set up the way you like, click OK to close the Layer Style dialog. Then collapse that layers layer style stack. Hold down the "alt" key and drag and drop that layer's layer style on each of the other shadow layers.

Link to large Version

Set the Fill of Shadow Layers to Zero

Set the Fill of Shadow Layers to Zero.

Link to large Version

Turn Shadow Layers Off, Turn Letter Layers On and Add Style to Letters

Turn the visibility of the shadow text layers off, turn the other text layers visibility on and add a layer style to these text layers. The layer style I chose to use for this project is named shiny metal. This is one of the layers styles I downloaded from Adobe Exchange. It was in included in the Shiny & Glossy Surfaces Photoshop Styles download. However I did not want the drop shadow that is in this shiny metal style in my text layers. So after adding that style to the top text layer I dragged the "Drop Shadow" component in it to the trash can in the layers pallet. Then collapsed that layer's layer style stack, held down the "alt" key and dragged the modified layer style onto the other none shadow text layers. After that I expanded the layer style on the "M" text layer for I wanted the M to be gold not silver. Doubled clicked on the "Color Overlay" layer style component changed its blending mode from overlay to hard light and its color from a shade of gray to a shade of yellow.

Link to large Version

Turn All Layers Visibility On, Fill bottom with White and Make Selection

Turn the visibility of all layers on, fill the bottom empty layer with white. Next, I wanted to make a layer mask to mask the top text level layers to have the lower level "M" pop-up through them. I started to create the mask by holding down the "ctrl" key and left clicking on the M icon in the M text layer. This selects the transparency of the M text layer. The selection is a little smaler then I need for a good layer mask because the layer style strokes a two pixel wide stroke around the text layer. So I used menu Select and selected "Modify Selection" then selected "Expand Selection" and in the Expand Selection Dialog set 2 px and clicked on OK.

Link to large Version

Add Layer Masks to Top Level Letters Text Layers

The selection is now good for a layer mask. However, I need a mask of the M not the layers transparency. So a used "Shift+Ctrl+I" to invert the selection. Then I targeted the top text layer and clicked on the add layer mask icon in the bottom of the layers pallet. Need to add the same mask to the two next lower text layers. Held the "Alt" key and dragged the Layer Mask and dropped it onto the next two text layers. The "M" has surfaced.

Link to large Version

Paint with White on Layer Masks to Link Letters Together

Use the Paint Brush tool set the brush to 100% hard and 100% opacity white paint. Then target one by one the three layer mask added. Zoom in and paint on the layer mask to create the illusion that the letters are interlinked the way you envisioned.

Link to large Version

Hand Paint Shadows that should Fall On any Letters

Add a new empty top layer named "Hand Painted Drop Shadows". Select the Paint Brush tool, set the brush 100% hard, 100% opacity and use black paint. Zoom in and paint black shadows where they would fall on lower level letters and on the letters themselves. You can use the background shadow as a guide but the shadow that fall on lower level letters should be smaller/shorter then the shadow that fall on the background. Because the lower lever letters are closer to the upper level letter then the background is, they have a shape a texture that would influence the shape of a shadow. The "QuigleyWiggly" font also have letters that loop over themselves. This would produce shadows on the letter itself. This shadow would not be created by a layer style drop shadow. After you are satisfied all the missing shadows have been painted in, lower the hand painted drop shadow layer opacity to match the other shadows.

Link to large Version

Draw Pen Paths if Needed for Inner Strokes

Because the layer style I used for this project stroked the text layers outlining the letters, I would also like to the "QuigleyWiggly" font letters that loop over themselves loops be stroked. No layer style is going to stroke these Interior loops. Use the Pen Tool create the "Path" for the strokes that are missing.

Link to large Version

Stroke Pen Paths Black 2 Pixel wide

Add a new empty top layer named "Strokes" and leave it set as the current targeted layer. Now that the missing paths have been penned, switch to the "Paths" pallet. Rename the work path so the penned path will be saved with the PSD file. Set the paint brush to 100% hard, two pixel in size and mode Overlay. Set the foreground color to "Black". Use the Icon in the bottom of the Paths pallet the stroke the missing paths. Switch to the Layers Pallet and set the opacity of the "Strokes" layer to match the layer style strokes. Use menu Image select Image Size in the Image Size Dialog make sure resample is not checked. Set the resolution to 300 DPI and click OK. Use the Rectangle marquee tool and drag out a selection a little larger then your Logo or monogram. Use menu Image select Crop. Turn the visibility of the bottom white layer off. Save the document as a PSD file.

If you want to check out my file download it here.

Link to large Version

Why not save a Ping Fill too

You can save the document as a PNG file with a transparent background and display it on any color background in a web page. You can even use HTML to scale the image. My tutorial image document size is 1374 pixels by 760 pixels too big to fit in a web page if the user is using a display that only displays 800 pixels by 600 pixels. Cutting width and height in half will display it quarter size 677 x 380. This will fit on their display. You would code the HTML like this:
"<.IMG src="TextTurorial.png" alt="[ JJMack ]" width="677" height="380" border="0">."

Here I'm displaying it quite small 344 x 190 with a border. It is also a link. If you click on it will open up a new browser window that is 800x600 with a gray background. The PNG image quarter size will be in it.

[ JJMack ]

Test the PSD file Placed on it a Background

Open a new document with the same number of pixels that your display displays, RGB, resolution 300 DPI, with a sRGB profile. Use the gradient tool to fill the background layer with color. Use menu File select Place. Use the Place dialog to locate and select the PSD File you just save and click on the "Place" button. Hold the Shift and Alt keys and pull out a corner of the transform bounding box to size the image. Then press enter. Save this document as a jpeg file. Set this file as your screen background. If it looks good your done. Close the open documents and Exit Photoshop.

Link to large Version