I discovered a pretty neat trick! Having had a good play with the tools needed to make the digital alphas I knew I couldn’t rest until I was able to make something like that original ones that I liked so much. Now, a true digital pro would probably knock this sort of thing out in a flash, but it took me ages to work it out. But along the way I had an idea – I didn’t want to have to do a new set every time I wanted a different colour or font, so I made myself a master sheet of boxes. I created the boxes in black, laid out in a grid, as many as I thought I would need for a basic set of letters. I overlaid that with some freebie textures, sort of splotchy old paper de-saturated to B&W, that I downloaded, then Grouped With Previous. I went ahead and applied an Inner Glow to give it the look of inked edges. That was then all merged into one layer, boxes, filled with texture and the inner glow effect applied.
Then the hard work – I typed out the font in white and laid the letters over the boxes – there has to be a faster way to do this using Guides or Grids or something, but I don’t know what that is. I hid the boxes layer and Merged Visible alllllll the letters.
That gave me something that looks like this:
It is two layers only, boxes and letters. This is saved as a MASTER which I then duplicate when I want a new colourway.
Please keep in mind that these images are much reduced .jpgs so the quality is not very good, nothing like the actual .pngs.
OK, so now having that master, it is a simple process to create a new set with any colour I want. I simply open a duplicate of the file and rename it usually the colour I am using. I add a New Layer between the letters and the boxes. I hide the letters then fill the in-between layer with colour. I Group with Previous so the colour layer fills the boxes only. I play about with the opacity of that layer, until the correct (for me) amount of the box texture shows thru. Turn back on the letters and SAVE as a .PNG while leaving the MASTER safe, with just the original black boxes and letters, and the letters can be changed for any other font if I want, although given the different spacing of fonts that isn’t going to be a fast process.
Again, the quality of THIS image is crap but the .png is fab. I could have added a drop shadow if I wanted to use them as proper digital elements but as I don’t, there was no need.
I actually feel a real sense of accomplishment at this. One thing I will def. do is create another master of just the black boxes – that way I can add any font, and any texture, with ease.
Hope the idea helps someone else streamline their process.