Vancouver Island Sunrise

Placing an Object in a Container

This tutorial shows you how to place an image inside a container. This technique can produce an interesting effect for a magazine or webpage heading.

The instructions below are merely guidelines. You can experiment with the sizes and settings to suit your taste, but for the sake of project marks, try to stay close to the suggestions.

Vancouver Island Sunrise

Getting Started:


Open the image you plan on using for the background.

Save the file into your PhotoShop project folder.

If not already displayed, go to the Window menu and select Show Tools and Show Layers.

By default, PhotoShop locks the background layer.

Right-click on the background layer to bring up the Properties box.

Rename the layer. Once you rename it, you can use the Clone Stamp Tool to remove imperfections in the photo, if necessary.

Type the text you want to use for the mask. Choose a large enough font to allow enough of the image to show through. I used Britannic Bold.

Use Command+T (Mac)  or  Ctrl+T (Windows) to bring up the Free Transform Tool to resize the text as large as possible. 

The visual effect will be much better showing through a large, wide text than with a small, narrow one.

You Need to move the photograph layer above the text layer. Click on the photo layer and drag it upward above the text layer.

Once the Clipping Mask is created, only the portion of the image contained within the text will show through.

To create the Clipping Mask move the cursor between the image and text layers and hold down the Alt key (Windows), or the Option key (Mac).

You will see the cursor change shape.

Click the mouse button when you see the cursor change shape.

This is the result so far.

Add a new layer below the text layer in the Layers palette. Since PhotoShop automatically places the new layer at the top, you can use a shortcut to place the new layer at the bottom where it needs to be.

Select the text layer then hold down the Ctrl key (Windows) or the Command key (Mac). This will place the new layer at the bottom.

Next you need to fill the new layer with a background colour.

Press the Ctrl + Backspace (Windows) or Ctrl + Delete (Mac) keys to change the background from transparent to the current background colour.

Right-click on the text layer to bring up the Blending Options.

Select Drop Shadow and add the settings to the right, or feel free to experiment to get the desired effect:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply

  • Opacity: 75%

  • Angle: 120

  • Distance: 25 px

  • Spread: 0 %

  • Size: 35 px

The result so far. You can see how this effect can add some excitement to a publication.

It's not too late to add a little more information to the project. Here I added two more text layers, but I had to do some preparation so as not to lose my mask effect.

All I had to do was hide the photo layer and white background layer, then add a text layer.

After I was satisfied with the text dimensions and placement I went to Merge Visible under the Layer menu. p>After that, it's just a matter of un-hiding the hidden layers and re-applying the mask. (Click here if you forget how).

Vancouver Island Sunrise

The finished result!