“Check” It Out

Recently, I’ve added images to my iStockphoto.com portfolio of various people interacting with one of those giant promotional personal checks you see contest winners holding, or in similar situations.  I thought these would be a great way for someone to illustrate tax rebates or payments, bank loans, etc., by adding your information to the check image.  However, you may need help doing this, so a tutorial follows…

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Ok, for the Photoshop tutorial, let’s use the image above, and an image of the personal check.  The check image below was used to create the large personal check, so it will be useful as a template to create our text.

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1. Open your copy of the man holding the check, and then the image of the check (below) in Photoshop.

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2.  Make sure the image of the check is active.  Use “Image->Image Resize” to resize the check to about 3500×1604.  Create a new layer, and “Edit->Fill” the layer with white.  Adjust the opacity of this layer to 1%.  You’ll see why later.  Now we can create our text in the right places and then flatten the whole thing to drag over to the image of the man.

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Alternatively, you could also handwrite  information for the fields onto a piece of paper, scan it in at a high resolution and paste the bits into the right place on the check .  However, if you do this, be sure that you upsize the check document  before pasting in your text.  This is to keep the resolution on your scanned text high to look good when we move it over to the high resolution guy image.

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3.  In the layer editor, drag the “background” image of the check to the trash.  In the layer options, flatten the image so it becomes just one layer.  Select that layer, hold the button down, and drag it over on top of the image of the man.  If Adobe asks you about converting from sRGB color to aRGB color, just go ahead and say yes.  We aren’t worried about the color of the text.  Now, you can see the text layer with a white background that we’ve dragged over (and my big watermark on the guy’s head).  Change the “blending mode” in the Layer Editor from “normal” to “multiply”.  The white background will disappear, but when we go to resize it, Photoshop will remember the size of the check.  Sneaky!

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4.  What we are going to do now, is transform the text layer to match the giant check.  This would be easy if the check were perfectly square to camera, and it is pretty close in this example, but for other images, you might have some perspective in the image.  Also, we can do this resize, because we made the text layer very large and can size it down – sizing up would start to make the text look jaggedy.  To resize this, use the transformation tool – “cntrl-t” .  The text will get a box around it, with tiny boxes on the corners.  What we will do is hold down the cntrl key again and pull each corner point seperately to match the perspective of the check in the original image.

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Once you have the corners correct, just hit “enter” to make the change permanent.  While you are transforming, you can use “cntrl +” and “cntrl -” to zoom in and out, and the space bar to pan about, so you can make precise adjustments.

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There you go!  I like to drop the opacity of the text to about 90%, especially if I’m using scanned text, to let some of the lower check show through.  Here is an example from iStockphoto of an image where I added text.  Let me know if you have any questions about the procedure.

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3 thoughts on “Check” It Out

  1. Shouldn’t that be “cheque” it out? Or is this another one of those words you Americans don’t spell properly. 🙂

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