How-To Make Chalkboard Images Using Photoshop
When we posted the 5 easy dinners (to help with meal planning) on our blog, many people asked us how we did the chalkboard effect.
(I wish I could say that I have such a beautiful handwriting, but alas no!) We created that chalkboard image using Photoshop with the help of images and fonts that are freely available on the internet. Since we got a lot of queries, we decided to create this tutorial to show you how to make a chalkboard image using Photoshop. For an in-depth explanation, please read on. You can use the method described here to create your own chalkboard images.
To create chalkboard images using Photoshop, you will need
- Adobe Photoshop and a basic understanding of how to use it.
- Background Image (this will be the chalkboard on which you will add your text and other graphics).
- Chalkboard fonts (to create the writing).
- Fonts to create additional decorations or graphics.
- A design (rough paper sketch) of the final image.
Before We Begin…
We recommend the use of Layers for adjustments in Photoshop. This way, you can try out different options; go back and edit the layers at a later time. If you make changes to the same layer, editing something later on becomes more difficult.
We have also provided a .tif file (Download the file) that contains all the layers of this image we created. This will allow you to open the file in Photoshop and look at what we did in each layer, while you follow the instructions below. We have grouped them into layer groups and named them accordingly so that you can easily identify what each layer is for.
The Final Image
Before we get into the finer aspects of the tutorial, let us show you the final chalk board image (chalkboard art as we would like to call it) we created for the upcoming Mother’s day blog post.
In this tutorial you will learn how we created this image using Photoshop. It is not rocket science, with a basic knowledge of Photoshop, you too can create beautiful images.
You can refer to the sections below to identify what images and fonts we used and the corresponding links to where we downloaded them from.
For the purpose of this tutorial and ease of explanation, we have broken down the final image into the following sections.
- Background Image
- Fonts (text portions of the image)
- Main Text (Happy Mother’s Day)
- Big Red Heart
- Three little Hearts
- Final Touch-ups.
We used a chalkboard background from deviantart check out the bacgrounds we used in Why I Blog? and My Blogging Journey). On deviantart, artists submit their artwork and many of them allow their work to be used free of cost for personal use. And if you have a commercial need, you can always buy the rights to use those artwork. (Another option is to check pixabay). If you need a lot more options, but don’t mind paying for these background images, then the best option is to look at shutterstock.
Once we had the background image, we opened it in Adobe Photoshop (this is the lowest layer – named “Chalkboard Background”). Since the chalkboard was too light, we added a curves layer to darken the chalkboard a little bit (named “Curves to darken the chalkboard background”).
Curves is one of the most useful tools in Photoshop. If you are not familiar with Curves, there are tons of Youtube tutorials that help you learn how to use this tool.
The next item we looked for were fonts. There are tons of free fonts on dafont. If you are using Windows, you can download any font and install it by double clicking the font file (most often you download a zip file, so remember to unzip and double click on the font file within the zip file).
We used the following fonts to create the Happy Mother’s Day Chalkboard Art:
- Chalk Hand Lettering Shaded and Sunshine In My Soul to get that handwritten text.
- For the additional decorations, we used KG Heart Doodles and KG Flavor and Frames.
- For the big red heart, we used the font KR Heartalicious.
Main Text in the Image
The next step after installing the required fonts was to create the text layers (Select the Horizontal Type Tool from the left panel (shortcut is T)). The handwritten fonts mentioned above were used to create the three lines of text in two different colors (all in different layers so that we could reposition them the way we want). The text layer “Mother’s” was transformed (Edit → Free Transform) and rotated a bit to get the slant. You should experiment with different font styles and combinations and pick the one you liked the best.
To give it more fancy feel, instead of the simple apostrophe, we added a heart symbol (use the font KG Heart Doodles; the text ‘o’ generates the heart symbol). Since the heart symbol was on a separate layer, we could position it between the ‘r’ and ‘s’ letters.
You may have noticed the two white boxes with a red cross in the text layers “Mother’s” and “Day”. Ignore them for the time being. These are layer masks we added later on and we will explain why this was done.
Big Red Heart Around the Main Text
For our image, we wanted just the outline of a heart symbol (to include the text inside of it.). Select the font KR Heartalicious to create the red heart (text ‘G’ creates the heart symbol). We increased the size of the Red Heart quite a lot because we wanted the heart symbol to occupy almost the entire image.
You will see that the big heart symbol is woven through the text (look at the letters ‘M’, ‘o’ and ‘t’ in the text layer ‘Mothers’ and the letters ‘D’ and ‘a’ in the text layer ‘Day’. This was done by adding a layer mask to the text layer group “Main Text” (this is the white box you see on the right side of that layer) and painting on the mask with a black brush. Black on the layer mask hides the contents of that layer (in this case, the text) and shows what is in the layers below (in this case, the heart symbol). You can Alt-Click on the mask to see the black and white mask we applied.
With just the heart symbol and the text, the image looked a bit empty. We wanted to add some celebratory decorations at the top and bottom of the main text and to fill up the empty space and add some pizzazz to the design.
We started by adding a pennant string at the top. For this, we used the font KG Flavor and Frames (the letter ‘t’ creates a pennant string). Since the color for all the 4 triangles in a pennant string will be the same, we duplicated the layer with a different color. Again, layer masks were applied to show only some portion of the duplicate layer so that the other color from the bottom layer shows through. Alt-Click on the mask next to the layer “Pennant String – Color 2” to see the mask (remember – white reveals and black hides what is on the current layer).
Once we had one pennant string (using two layers), we grouped them together into “Decoration at top left”. We duplicated that entire group (both layers inside the group) to create the second pennant string – “Decoration at top right”. Then it was just a matter of moving and positioning it the way we wanted.
For the bottom part, we added the three little heart symbols on the left side using the font KG Heart Doodles (the letter ‘V’ creates the symbol you see here). We also added a banner using the font KG Flavor and Frames (the letter “i” creates the banner you see here) and added 2016 to that.
Finally all the foreground was merged into a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+E) and a small amount of Gaussian Blur was applied so that the text and the graphics don’t look too sharp.
And once this is done, all you have to do is export the image as a jpeg file (Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S) and specify the dimensions. And there you have it – a chalkboard image.
Have fun creating your chalkboard images using Photoshop. We would like to hear about your experiences about creating the chalkboard art. And feel free to post a link to the images you create using this method.
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