Intro To Alphas

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I think you have just made it much easier for me to apply effects to the different letters I like to create, thanks for the great tip

Thank you for the help!!
What photo shop are you using in this tutorial ??

Photoshop CS6 I think.

I've been playing with this for about an hour now and I just love this! Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just have one question. Do you have to create a new action for each font or is there a way that I'm missing where you can change it within the same action?

I usually just make a new action, or change the part where I select the font.

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Sounds like this is more advanced than I am for now. Will come back to it.

Thank you for sharing - going to give it a try smiley

yes I also have Elements so this does not apply either, but sounds like a good tut

I just used this today. smiley

I'm not sure if it's me or what happened, but a few of the letters (a, n, J and I think smiley had issues running the action - "set" is not available...I rewrote the action a couple of times, but it kept happening. I was getting super frustrated!

Until I realized that they had both the background and the text layer selected when they opened. Once I selected only the text layer, the action ran perfectly.

Thank you for the tutorial. Wwwaaayyyy easier than doing each letter individually!!!

Thanks Deb!

thank u

Thank you so much, I love creating alphas but they are so time consuming. This is a great idea and I can't wait to get started with this tutorial.


note to self:: if you don't have a fast computer, you might want to make sure you set the action to CLOSE the file as well, otherwise you'll end up with 80 opened 10-12MB

*edit* oh, choose SAVE and CLOSE option from drop down on the right side......

On another note....once you know how to create an action and a style you can customize it indefinitely. My action goes like this: change font, apply style, trim, save.

I'm giggling like a school girl! lol. I created a pattern using some brushes, then clicked Edit:define pattern. Then I opened a bevel style i liked and added the pattern overlay. then i saved the style.

ofc, i do see that the font is a bit jagged but the process is so simple that it would take me minutes to chose another font and try again vs HOURS of doing each file one at a time....

Thanks, I will have to give this a try....haven't tried to do a batch process. I really need to learn how, it would come in handy when working in PS.

This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this! I only came across two problems. 1) I didn't tell the action to close the file so I had about 40 files opening up which slowed my dinosaur computer down. 2) I found that some of the letters for the new font didn't fit on the canvas from my original PSD file and some characters were cut off (I couldn't download Marisa's template since I'm not a patron). I had to resize all of the PSD files, and guess how I did that? That's right, I just created another action! Thanks so much for introducing me to this! smiley

Thanks for sharing this post on FB. I hadn't read it yet & would love to try!

One other way to create alphas (that might actually be much faster and useful in most programs) is this:

- create a whole sheet with the alphabet - space the letters enough to give you some room and space the lines too
- convert it to a raster
- apply whatever effect you want; it will apply to ALL the letters at once
- once it is all done, use your favorite tool to select each letter, copy, paste as a new image and save as a PNG or, you can use a tool that will separate individual letters (some action in PS or script in PSP)

And voilà. You can even keep a copy as a single sheet for those who want to offer that instead (smaller file size for those who can).

I would like to add a note that I find helpful when saving png's.


You can save it as part of your action and it will trim away all of the extra transparent pixels. Many times, I find that some designers keep extra transparent space around their items so when using the PLACE option to add an item to your design, it can often get scaled smaller. I use FILE > PLACE to add elements into my templates, designs, or scrapbook pages rather than drag & drop, so any scaling gets noticed. So, I just thought I'd mention this in case anyone wants to learn a new tip they're not aware of yet.

To try this, simply go to IMAGE > TRIM
A pop up box appears and you can now select your preferences. Here's a little tutorial I made (11 x 8.5 at 300ppi for printing), you should be able to right click and open in a new window or tab to download/rt click save.

The problem with using the trim option without a stroke is that it can cut off the "softer" parts of rounded edges, creating a harsh look. That's the whole reason I advise adding the stroke before trimming. I'm unclear how a bit of extra space would affect the "place" option. That seems like it should be related to the resolution of an item, rather than a few extra pixels.

I agree that you should trim once you've completed your graphic. I create watermarks and logos for photographers (mostly) almost every day and save with and without drop shadows. Once I trim and export as a png, I have never had any of my soft edges or drops shadows cut off.
I'm recently learning to create them as vectors in Illustrator but that's an entirely different conversational topic!

Here are a couple of screenshots showing the extra space I'm talking about. It has nothing to do with the resolution, it's just lots of transparent pixels that were never trimmed or cropped.

Thanks for all of the helpful tutorials btw!! I love this site!! I'm here almost every day - even if just quiet and poking around.

Btw.....I don't save as a PNG, I use the export instead, eliminating the high compression rate that saving as a PNG will give. I do know that if you compare the difference between a graphic that has been saved as a PNG using the "save as" feature the edges become rougher and choppy - due to that high compression rate I mentioned. You can see the difference for yourself if you save both ways then go back and compare.
Save as offers only a PNG-8 file.
When you EXPORT or EXPORT- Save for Web (Legacy) you can select a much higher PNG quality file (PNG-24) and will get much smoother edges and a better overall quality of a PNG. For older versions of photoshop, this would be Save for Web & Devices option, and select PNG-24.

In the past I was always told that the trim function can take off some slightly transparent edges, particularly around rounded edges. Of course, I haven't verified if this is still the case with Photoshop CC. They are always changing things and improving, so it could be that now this step is unnecessary.

As I understand, this will make the alpha template in whatever font(s) you wish. Since this is template that is to be batch processed using another action(to apply styles, etc...), I would not trim it when saving them. Then when I went to use the templates, I would use trim in my action that is turning these templates until the final alpha product.

Also when choosing a letter to make the templates, I would choose the uppercase W as it is the widest letter and therefore the most likely letter to get cut off.

Just my 2 cent!

Thank you for the tutorial!

Good tips Jody!

I always base my letter size on the uppercase W too! I use Elements, so can't create actions, and PS actions don't always work in PSE. I do all my alphas manually, as individual files, which is time-consuming, but not difficult once you get into a rhythm.

Is this for PSP or Photoshop Elements as this looks totally different to me lol

This is an older version of Photoshop.

That would be why it looks confusing to me lol. It dont take a lot though my biggest designing is for facebook pages the banners and profile pics I would love to show anyone who would like to see them xoxox

Great tutorial. I look forward to trying it.