To download a printable version of this article (SigMask.pdf), click here
It was only five months ago that we changed our philosophy on printing titles and signaturesblog. I just came up with another way to make our titles and signatures that’s even easier to adjust and stealthier than the way we have been doing it. It turns the text into a mask for a curves adjustment layer.
Here is how it’s done –
To Make A Signature Mask
- Make A Signature Layer
On a separate layer, make a black signature the size, font, orientation, and location you need it to be. See Creating & Using A Signature File To Add A Signature To Your Photographs.
- Hide All Other Layers
In the Layers panel, hide all layers except for the signature layer.
Select the signature layer.
- Select RGB Channel
In the Channels panel, select the RGB channel (the red, green, and blue channels should also be highlighted).
- Load Channel As Selection
Hit the “Load channel as selection” button at the bottom of the panel.
- Invert Selection
Return to the Layers panel. Click Select ⇨ Inverse.
- Create A Curves Layer
Create a new Curves adjustment layer just above the signature layer. Call it “Signature Curves” or something. The layer mask will also be created. The mask should be black everywhere with a white signature.
- Unhide Other Layers
Leave the signature layer hidden, but unhide at least all of the layers below the signature layer.
- Adjust New Curves Layer
Select the adjustment icon on the new “Signature Curves” layer (to the left of the mask). Click somewhere in the middle of the adjustment curve (on the histogram) and drag it either up (to make the signature lighter) or down (to make it darker) to taste.
For more complicated backgrounds, you may want to start by lifting the little square at the end of the curve in the lower left corner of the histogram until there is enough contrast in the darkest sections, then use the on-image adjustment tool (the little hand icon with the finger pointing left just above the three eyedroppers) and adjust the curve for different regions by clicking on the signature in that region and dragging up (to lighten) or down (to darken). This may need some trial and error.
Another option for increasing the visibility of your signature in complicated backgrounds is to add a “Bevel & Emboss” to the signature.
- Double-click the adjustment layer to the right of the mask to bring up the Layer Styles window.
- Click to select “Bevel & Emboss”.
- Click OK.
See how that works for you.
- You may want to delete the signature layer and leave the curves layer. Maybe not. I use this same technique for the title, which includes the number of the print. I keep the title layer (hidden, of course) so that I can just change the number itself each time without redoing all the formatting for the other components. Then I can go to Step 2.
That’s it. Congratulations. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. Thanks.