First of all, you need to know about fonts! Where do you get them? How do you install them? These questions are answered in this entry. I hope that's helpful! (But FYI? Kevin and Amanda have probably the best collection of scrapbooking fonts on the planet - and they're free. Dude.)
Ok. So. Text on a layout.
I'm only familiar with how text works in Photoshop 7.0, so I'm going to write about what I know. And hopefully it will be close to what you're working with or at least give you an idea on how to figure things out. I'm trying here. :)
And also? Really understanding the Text Tool takes a lot of playing around . . . I can't explain everything to you. I'm just going to give you the basics and the rest will come to you as you work.
First, the obvious: the Text Tool is the "T" in the Toolbar (it's the selected tool in the toolbar example at right.) Click on the "T" and you're in Text mode. When you're in text mode, don't try to use keyboard shortcuts . . . because dude, you'll just be typing letters. I STILL end up with "Z"'s in my layouts all the time because I'm trying to Zoom. 'Cause I'm bright that way. To get out of Text mode, you have to use your mouse to select another tool.
So once you select the Text Tool, then what?
And now I have to explain what those things do, eh?
Well, the white boxes in the middle are really self-explanatory. They're just like the ones you use in a Word document -- "Century Gothic" is the font, "Regular" drops down for "Italic," "Bold," and "Bold Italic" choices, "19 pt" is the type size, and the "sharp" with the two a's? No idea. The drop-down on that is "Sharp," "Crisp," "Strong," "Smooth." (Maybe it has something to do with coffee? No? Well then I don't know.) If you want to use one of these to change your text: if the layer is selected in the Layers Palette but not "opened," making a selection in these boxes will change the text. If the active text layer is "opened" but none of the text is selected, no changes will be made -- you need to first highlight your text for the changes to take place.
Wait, let's back up.
If you want to create a text layer, choose the Text Tool and click once in your layout. This creates a new layer and gives you a cursor to start typing. When you have that cursor? That's what I consider the layer "opened." If you want to go back and open a previous text layer, choose the Text Tool and hold your mouse directly over some of the text, then click. These SHOULD open the existing layer, but sometimes if you don't click just right, it starts a new layer.
The T with an arrow on the far left? I have no idea what it is. I've never used it. You'll probably be ok without knowing right now.
Next, the button that has a T with the arrow to the left and underneath is to "change the text orientation." Clicking on that will make your text change from its regular left to right, to up and down. (Hint: if you want text to be sideways -- like the journaling in the layout at right -- the easiest thing to do it write it normally, then when you're done go to the Move Tool and open the text layer by clicking on a Bounding Box corner. Then in the rotate box (in the bar below the File Menu, after Width and Height -- it has a picture of an angle next to it), type in "90" and that will rotate your text 90 degrees. That's what I do.
After the white boxes we just talked about, there are three buttons with lines on them. You probably recognize them from word processing programs -- they're justification. Left-justified, centered, right justified. No worries.
The black box after those? (Well, it's black in my example.) That's text color. Remember in the "Color Dropper" entry when I talked about the Color Picker? Clicking the text color box totally just opens a Color Picker window. I think a layer just has to be active, not necessarily "opened" for changes made here to take.
The button that has a T over a curved line will "Create Warped Text." Again, I've never used this, so I can't explain it. (MAN, I'm helpful today!)
The last button? Looks like a bulleted list? That's the best one. Clicking on that box will "Toggle the Character and Paragraph Palettes." (Did you know that when you hover your mouse over a button, the button's function usually pops up in a text blurb? That's the only way I get anything done around here.) Ok, so clicking on that button makes this Palette on the right magically appear. Clicking on it again hides it.
The Character Palette has the font and point size and color just like the bar at the top does, but it also lets you set the leading and the tracking. (The what? Yeah, I heard you. It's ok, I didn't know what they were called either.) Ok, the leading is the space between the lines of text. It's on the top right, the button has two stacked "A"'s and an up and down arrow. This is a tool that can only be used if a text layer is "opened" and the text in question is highlighted. You can choose a number from the drop-down menu, OR you can click once in the field (where it says "18 pt" and from there use your mouse scroll to go up and down. The tracking is the space between letters in your text, and it works with the same rules as the leading. It's the button under leading, with an A and V and a side to side arrow. (And these two tools are AWESOME for when you're trying to fill a certain journaling space but can't get it right -- along with font size, you can make the text take up more space up and down, and left to right. Good stuff.)
Ya know how in Word, when you're trying to choose a font, you can look around in the drop-down and see what all the different fonts actually look like? In Photoshop, by default, you probably won't see what the fonts look like in the font choices -- you'll just see them all as font names in the same generic font. But an easy way to make a decision about font is highlight your text, then click once in the font white box -- this should highlight the current font name. From here you can scroll up and down with your mouse or use the keyboard arrow keys to go through the fonts and see how each would look with your text.
Oh, and if you want your text to be crooked -- like in the layout at right -- first complete your text in the Text Tool, then choose the Move Tool. Using a bounding box, just rotate the text until it's at the angle you want.
Also, you need to know about Rasterizing Text. If I wanted to use some text for something else -- like making it a cut-out of patterned paper -- first I have to make it a non-text layer. Right click on your text layer from the Layers Palette, and choose "Rasterize Layer." It's a good idea to make a copy of your text layer before doing this (and hiding it on the bottom pile of all the layers) in case you need to edit the text after rasterizing.
I'm sorry that's all the help I have for you with this (totally just told you everything I know, LOL), but hopefully it will get you started!!! Good luck!