[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For those of us with combined interests in Photoshop, photography and also writing, the calligram is a technique worth trying.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_single_image image=”1600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

Tutorial

Here, I’m using someone else’s tutorial to create a very simple version of the effect, using Photoshop’s ‘Displace’ filter. To save me the hassle of creating all those screenshots, here’s the link to the tutorial by Chris Spooner. If you fancy having a go yourself, just click on the image below:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”1629″ img_size=”medium” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/how-to-create-a-text-portrait-effect-in-photoshop”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]It’s quite interesting looking at the comments section underneath the tutorial. Many people trying this out seemed to get stuck at the final stage, when the ‘Copy Merged’ function only seemed to grab an outline of the text rather than all of it. I couldn’t replicate this error, so the instructions were fine for me. Having written instruction manuals for a living a few years ago, I understand that it’s quite a difficult skill. Perhaps the problem here is something to do with the version of Photoshop being used.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_single_image image=”1600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

Getting my hands dirty

For my image, I thought I’d better use a picture of myself so that permission issues were bypassed completely. For my font, I tried something very clear (Avant Garde) and something a little more writerly (American Typewriter). Results are shown below for each font, in both colour and mono.

Settings I played with were the contrast added during the colour to mono conversion (as recommended by Spooner), the amount of gaussian blur, the font, size, kerning, leading and anti-aliasing of the text, and also the size of the original image.

Since blurring affects a small image much more than a large one, the image size and quality dictates how much to blur it, and therefore no one-size-fits-all guideline can be offered. However, the blur (combined with the contrast in the image) is the main factor in how crazy your displacement contours are going to be, so a high resolution image is definitely a good starting point. Then it’s down to trial and error.

For my text, I used the words from a recent post, Rise Of The Preposterous: The Truth About Lies. This was because it’s quite a long post, so there was plenty of text, not because I think deceit defines me, or even that I’m particularly preposterous.

Here are the results of my efforts, which took around half an hour to create if you include all the fiddling with various settings:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_single_image image=”715″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_single_image image=”716″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_single_image image=”717″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_single_image image=”719″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm”][vc_single_image image=”715″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm”][vc_single_image image=”716″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm”][vc_single_image image=”717″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm”][vc_single_image image=”719″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_single_image image=”1600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

Where next?

The most obvious use for a calligram is sheer narcissism, using a sort of tag cloud in which your most defining words are given greater emphasis by size or position. Obviously, this can be employed to great effect when creating one for or of someone else, positively if you admire them or negatively if you really can’t stand their guts.

Here’s a clever example with Steve Jobs the subject, by Dylan Roscover (there are many more great examples at theexperiential.com):[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_single_image image=”722″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm”][vc_single_image image=”722″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” onclick=”img_link_large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row]