Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Stroke Tutorial II

This tutorial is an update of my Adding a Stroke/Border post from 2013.

Judging from my blog-statistics, people are interested in this technique, but i felt the original post was really ugly and needed an overdo.

So here it is. If you like what you see, please post a comment. Always interested in feedback !

Whenever we want to add an outline to a text, we do that by stroking a path.
The reason is quite simple: if you stroke a selection instead of a path, your result will not look smooth.
Here you can see the difference:

Stroking a path is easy:
a) convert the text into a path (option in the right click menu)
if you dont have the original textlayer anymore: Alpha select your text, then go to 'Edit → To Path'
b) a path will appear in your paths tab
c) with the path selected, you stroke the path on a new transparent layer

Now what if you want a stroke made from a gradient ?

a) Stroke the path as above.
b) Lock the alpha-channel of the stroke layer.
c) Drag your gradient over it.

And if you want your stroke to be made of a texture (an image) ?

a) open the texture as a new layer and scale it to your needs
(im using a sandtexture from texturemate.com here)
b) alpha select your text
c) with the textlayer active, add a layermask from selection

d) shrink the selection depending how thick you want your border
e) with the layermask active, fill the selection with black, then deselect

This technique has certain disadvantages.
If you look very closely, you will see the textlayer bleeding through at the edges.
We can fix that by alpha selecting the text, shrinking by 2px and then apply a layermask from selection to the textlayer.

Also there are no sharp corners where the selection has been shrinked.
Plus the jaggy edges inside...

Here is a different technique, that may be a better solution. 
I will use a gradient layer this time.

a) alpha select your text and save it to a channel
b) activate the quickmask (Shift + Q) and stroke the path with white (!), but at double the size you want your border to be !
So if you want your border to be 8px, stroke the mask by 16px !

c) deselect the quickmask (Shift + Q), a selection will appear
d) go to your channels tabs and choose 'Intersect with Selection'

e) fill the selection with a gradient/colour on a new transparent layer
d) alpha select the base text, shrink by 2 and apply a layermask from selection to prevent the bleed

Want the gold-gradient ? Download here !

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