PI7 X-Ray Glow Text

Here's a way to make positively radioactive, glowing x-ray text for a special header graphic.

This technique converts text to softened selections, filling with color and then using Gaussian Blur to create a glow effect. It works best on a black background. Start with a new image 400 pixels wide by 200 pixels high with a black canvas. Before we go any farther, make sure your foreground and background colors are set to the default of black and white.

foreground/background colors

Select the Text tool and choose the desired font. A narrow font works best for glow text (I'm using Americana BT), and a font Size that will allow the text to almost stretch across the image (I'm using Size=54). The color of the font doesn't matter, any color except white.  Click in the base image with the Text tool to open the Text Entry Box. Type in the desired text, e.g., x-ray glow. I'm using black text because if you use white text, you can't see what you've typed in the Text Entry Box.

type in desired text

Click OK to close the Text Entry Box. You won't be able to see black text against the black background, so while the text is active, in the Attributes toolbar, click in the Color box and select white. Now your text is white. Copy the text into the Clipboard by hitting Ctrl+C or clicking the Copy button.

Select the Pick tool. To align the text in the exact middle of the base image, look up at the Attributes toolbar and click on the "Center Both" option.

center both option

Select the Text tool again. In the Attributes toolbar, from the Mode options choose Selection.

selection mode

This option has turned your text object into a selection. Let's expand the selection by choosing Selection, Expand/Shrink. Expand the selection by 15 pixels, choosing the Shape=Circle option (keeps rounded corners round).

expand/shrink selection box

Click OK to close the dialog box. You should see a greatly expanded selection now. Right click and choose Soften. Soften the selection by 5 pixels and click OK.

soften the selection

Now you'll find out why it was important to have the foreground and background colors set to the defaults. Hit the Delete key and the softened selection should fill with white.

selection filled with white

Right click and choose None to deactivate the selection. To soften the glow, choose Effect, Blur & Sharpen, Gaussian Blur. When the Gaussian Blur dialog box opens, select the most extreme thumbnail, the one on the right in the bottom row.

select this thumbnail

Hit Ctrl+V to paste the text previously copied into the Clipboard back into the base image. Select the Pick and choose the Center Both option again from the Attributes toolbar.

Select the Text tool and from the Attributes toolbar's Mode options, choose Selection.  From the Selection menu choose Expand/Shrink. This time when the Expand/Shrink box opens, expand the selection by 7 pixels and click OK to close the box. Right click and choose Soften. When the Soften box opens, soften the selection by 5 pixels and click OK. Your image should look like the one shown below.

softened selection looks like this

Let's fill this selection with a glowing green color (but magenta or orange or any other vivid color could work well too). Hit Ctrl+F (or choose Edit, Fill) to open the Fill dialog box. From the Color tab, select a bright yellow green by clicking in the Color box to open the Ulead Color Picker. I'm using a green with RGB values of 153, 255, 0.

fill dialog box

Click OK to fill the selection with green. Right click and choose None to deactivate the selection. It will look like this now.

selection filled with green

To soften and blur the green, choose Effect, Blur & Sharpen, Gaussian Blur. When the Gaussian Blur box opens, select the thumbnail highlighted below.

blur with this thumbnail

Click OK to close the dialog box. This setting will blur the green and further blur the white fill. You've a pretty nice glow going on now.

green selection blurred

Hit Ctrl+V to paste the original text back into the base image. Choose the Pick tool and use the Center Both option again to center the text. In the tool panel on the left side, hit the double-sided arrow for the Foreground/Background colors, so that black becomes the background color.

reverse foreground/background colors

Select the Text tool. Make sure the text is still active. In the Attributes toolbar, choose Selection from the Mode dropdown list. Hit the Delete key to selection with black. Right click, Convert to Object. Now let's add a fine white glow around the edges of the black text. Choose Effect, Creative, Type Effect. Select the Neon effect thumbnail, and edit the Parameters so that the Color is white, select "Outside" and Width=5.

edit creative type parameters

Click OK and you'll get two choices of how to apply the effect. Select the first option, "Apply Current Frame Effect to Image." Hit the space bar to deactivate the object. Right click Merge All. Your glowing x-ray text is finished.

As you experiment making glowing text with other fonts and colors, you may find that you'll need to edit some of the Expand/Shrink and Gaussian Blur values given in this tutorial. As always, my goal is to show you a technique so that you can edit it and make it your own.

This tutorial uploaded 4/26/02

Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.



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