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Want Fries?


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I can't blame  anyone but myself for this one...

I just figured everyone does gel text, but what about ketchup?

Actually, the basic technique works for more than just ketchup- it will work for just about any wet, semisolid substance= glue (with or without glitter), peanut butter, slime, toothpaste, oil or acrylic paint, etc.

If you'd like to see a few variations, click HERE



1. On the Resources page, you'll see a link for French Fry Photo. We'll use that as our background layer. Save it to your computer, then open a copy to work on.

2. The font that I used for the ketchup is one I found at www.fontfreak.com called Fast 99. A number of other fonts would also work. What you're looking for here is a thick font that has rounded edges, rather than right-angled corners. The "softer-looking" the original font, the less work you'll have to do with the warp tools later.

3. With Fast 99, I laid down the text FRIES smack dab in the center of my photo with the following parameters: Stroke color #800000, Fill Color #FF3D01
(it's also Bold and centered, but I chopped off the tool options bar for size so that I could keep the numbers legible)

 Once PSP created the new vector layer and placed my text, I grabbed a corner handle and made it HUGE (the nice thing about vectors is that you can do this without loss of quality) so that now the proportion looks more like this>

That 5 point stroke doesn't look so heavy-handed any more, does it?

4. With the text still selected, choose Selections> From Vector Object. You should now have a marquee around each of your letters. We're going to save this selection to the Alpha Channel by choosing (duh) Selections> Load/Save Selection> Save to Alpha Channel. When the dialog box opens, it will look like THIS (those of you who have seen these dialog boxes a zillion times can breeze on by.  Newbies, if you click the "THIS" links, you'll see the PSP dialog boxes as they would appear on your screen. Use your back button to return) Give your selection a name (I was really creative and named mine "Text.") and click the Save button.

5. You can now Deselect. (CTRL+D or Select None from the selections menu). Now your selection can always be recalled from the alpha channel by choosing Load/Save Selection> Load from Alpha Channel. (try it if you like)

Did you know..... that if you need a specialty font for a project, PSP will let you use a font, even if it isn't installed via the Windows control panel?

All you need to do is open the TTF file and minimize it. Check your PSP font list. Surprise! there it is. When you close the TTF file, it vanishes.

HOWEVER-- if you don't rasterize the text during the course of the project, the next time you open the image you're likely to get a "font not found" error message.  How can you keep the vector properties without installing the font? Simple! Choose Objects> Convert Text to Curves. It won't be TEXT any more, but it will still be a vector.

What's an alpha channel? It is a kind of invisible storage place within your image where you can hide masks and selections for later use. It's very useful and we're going to use it a lot in this tutorial.

TIP: If you choose "selection from vector object" with vector text that has only a stroke but no fill, PSP will create a selection of the stroke only- a kind of "coloring book-type" outline. This is great when you want it and annoying when you don't. As a workaround, create the text with a fill (or not) and then create your selection. After you've made and saved the selection, you can go back and remove (0r add) the fill back in.


6. In the layers palette, right click to duplicate the layer, and then click the eye icon to  hide the original copy.

7. Right click to rasterize the visible text layer. Make sure the raster text layer is the current active (highlighted) layer.

8. Choose Load/Save Selection> Load from Alpha Channel to place a marquee around the raster text.

9. Choose Adjust>Blur> Average. When the dialog box opens, enter a value of about 25. (this will vary if you are using a different font or different size text) This will blend the dark red stroke color into the lighter orange body layer and create a very soft bevel with a semitransparent edge. The higher the value, the more transparent the edges become. (and the more "watery" your ketchup looks) Do not deselect.

10. Choose Adjust> Add/Remove Noise> Add Noise. When the dialog box opens, add 25%  Random Monochromatic Noise. Now your texture should look like the illustration at right (size reduced). Then choose Blur>Gaussian Blur and when the dialog opens, set the value to 1, and click OK, Now you've got the slightly clumpy texture of ketchup. but it looks a little dry

11. What makes things look "wet"? Shadows and Highlights! Let's add some!.  If you accidentally deselected, don't worry, just reload your selection from the alpha channel, then choose Selections> Modify> Contract. When the window opens, enter a value of 20, or whatever it takes to reduce the selected area by about 50%.

12 Add a new raster layer.

13 With the new top layer active , set your foreground color to color #FF845 ( a pale peach color) and fill the selection. At this point, it will look like this>>

14. Deselect, then re-load the selection in your alpha channel.(Told ya we'd be using it a lot!) Then choose Adjust>Blur> Average again. Use 25, or the same value you used in step 9.  When you average blur into a selection that has "empty" areas, it spreads the pixels out, making them opaque in the center, and transparent at the edges. 

15. Change the layer blend of this layer to Dodge, and reduce the opacity to 80%. Look at what happens! You get wet, golden highlights, and the texture is still visible, but now we need to adjust the color. '

16. You should still have a hidden vector text layer, now hide the background, too and then click on one of the two remaining layers and, in the layers palette right click and choose Merge>Visible. When you've merged the highlights and textured layer, you can unhide the background photo again.

17. Choose Adjust>Hue and Saturation> Hue/Saturation/Lightness and adjust the color of your ketchup "to taste" (groan) I chose to edit the reds only to a lightness of -28. All other values were set to the default.

18. Reload your selection from the alpha channel then choose Selections>Modify> Inside/Outside Feather. When the window opens, choose Inside Feather and a value of 5, Click OK.

19 CTRL+Shift+I to invert the selection, then press the delete key.

20 Make the hidden vector text layer  visible again. Convert it to a raster layer, and apply Blur>Gaussian Blur. When the dialog box opens, set he value to 5 and click OK.

21. Change the layer blend mode on the layer you just blurred to Multiply and reduce the opacity to 75%


The texture's better, but it doesn't look wet enough yet, and the color
 might be a little too bright. Click thumbnail above for the full-sized illustration


 "What is she doing? This looks awful!"
Patience, people!













22 Merge the top two layers.  Now grab the warp brush and "mess up" your text a little, so it doesn't look so even. You can even use the smudge if you like to really smear the edges.

23. Pick white text and a traditional font and add the text "Do you want" and "with that?". I applied a default drop shadow to mine.

Merge layers. You're done!


























Copyright(c) 2003 J Kabala, Kabala Portfolio Design. All rights reserved.