Instructables
Picture of Wordy Art: A Picture Worth 1000(+) Words
C:\Documents and Settings\Kyle\My Documents\My Pictures\instructables\wordy art\DSCN0208.JPG
This will show you how to make a picture worth more than a thousand words (literally). I've always been a fan of large scale art that takes a collection of small objects to make a large image, and so in high school I created this self portrait using the text of Thoreau's "Walden".
 
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Step 1: Picture

First, you're going to need a picture. Anything will work, but those with high contrast work the best. In highschool, I took pictures of my face with a light bulb right next to it to increase the amount of shadow.

I'm sick of my face, so lets use my roommate's.

Step 2: Tweeking Your Photo

Picture of Tweeking Your Photo
C:\Documents and Settings\Kyle\My Documents\My Pictures\instructables\wordy art\Grayscale.jpg
C:\Documents and Settings\Kyle\My Documents\My Pictures\instructables\wordy art\Posterize.jpg
Open your photo in Adobe Photoshop or a similar program. I have limited experience in some of the similar free programs, so for this instructable we'll be sticking to Photoshop.

First, Grayscale the image. Hint: play around with the contrast/brightness of your image, or Equalize the image to make the shadows and relief more pronounced.

After you are satisfied with the Grayscale, Posterize the image. REMEMBER HOW MANY LAYERS YOU DECIDE UPON. The less layers you posterize with, the easier the following steps will be. The more layers you use, the more impressive the effect will be. For this case, I chose 4 layers.

Play with your image until is just as your heart desires.

Step 3: Text

Now select the text you want your image to consist of. Keep in mind how large you want your image to be. As we format the text, the size of the entire selection will grow.

Open your text in Microsoft Word or a similar program. Remove all paragraphing so the text is uniform. I used a long exerpt (a chapter from Thoreau's "Walden"), but for this example I'll use something shorter, but of the same philosophical and poetic caliber, the lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, repeated.
Minmin42251 month ago
SO cool
Heyentah5 years ago
Okay, I've tried three of the ways mentioned here in the comments section and I've decided This one qualifies as "ART" the others qualify as "craft" and they all have their strengths! thanks for all the really good ideas!!
treehousee6 years ago
I love Walden, and this kind of art.
Genetastic6 years ago
I tried this technique and added extra effects to make a signature tag for a forum. The effect isn't as good because of the small size and my lack of color judgement. =/
typography sig.png
Grey_Wolfe6 years ago
Lol, step 7. Fresh Prince of Belair. That's great.
Darkaef7 years ago
I know a better way to this effect, it's much easier and just uses Photoshop. To make it just open a document with 3 layers: your photo, a background and the text(must be the top layer, folowed by you photo). Then apply a mask to your photo with the text layer, delete the text layer and...tacham! Tips: Use a high resolution photo and document.
Darkaef Darkaef7 years ago
uh and i almost forgot do this after you apply the desaturation and posterization...
netxtc7 years ago
What a cool idea.....im gonna do my wife pix with a love poem(s).....because I love her.
Toulouse7 years ago
the gimp can do this as long as you have the aalib package installed on linux. it's a direct export to text
This is a sweet instructable, but I hate to burst your bubble, but http://www.text-image.com/ does the same thing and can even do color
Falaco Soliton (author)  TheCheese99217 years ago
i figured this was too simple and cool of an idea for me to be the first to come up with. That is really cool (and much faster), but you do loose some control with the text (like placement, spacing, exact color, and such) and i feel like this method (though comparably time consuming) produces a crisper result. Or, maybe i'd just rather be a struggling artist. really cool though!
I'm going to have to agree with you. Text-image.com does not allow for blank backgrounds, and although you could use print screen and then delete all of the numbers, it's a ridiculously round-about way and won't give you the kind of quality that comes from manual labour.
I don't think the pictures that that website does are anywhere near as cool. The website just take your imagine and essentially pixelizes it, using characters instead of pixels. I think part of what makes this art is that the text is a poem or song or something else of significance to the person in the portrait, not just a bunch of '1s' and '0s' I'm sure that photoshop could convert any color photo to '1s' and '0s' in color if it wanted to, but that's totally lame if you ask me. I'd much rather have the original photo than an image made of '1s and 0s'. In fact, I'd sooner use any of the photoshop effects (cubism, pixelize etc.) on my photo than convert it into a bunch of colored numbers. That's not art, that's cheese. So, no, the website does not do the same thing and the color is a turn-off if you ask me.
no you can do text also, the 1's and 0's are only in the samples make one and you can change what it says, this can also do black and white and some other options I think
Chanmachine7 years ago
that websites not bad, but it's hard to print off the image
is there any way to get that photo shop for free? if u can tell me the website!
sandalian7 years ago
that's cool but I'm thinkin' of using bmp2html application.
beckinacea7 years ago
Thanks for the step-by-step! I've been doing alot of vector art recently and have been looking for a new style to try. I thought of doing this exact effect, but wasn't sure how to approach it. :)
nagutron7 years ago
Neat effect! If Step 6 (manually changing the style of the text on each line mark the underlying regions of color) is too tedious, an alternate method would be to: 1. Create multiple layers of rasterized text in Photoshop, set to a low opacity. Put them above your grayscaled, equalized image. 2. Using the Magic Wand, select a region of color. Invert that selection and delete it from one of the text layers. 3. Repeat for each of your color regions (you'll need one text layer per color region) 4. Play with the opacity of each text layer so that it achieves a darkness that corresponds with the color region below it. Done! Of course, this method will create color regions that go through single characters in your text. You can go OCD on it again and modify your selections so that they go between characters. It may still be faster than selecting lines, but maybe not. If you use masks instead of selections in step 2, it might be pretty fast...
I really like it too! I'm going to give it a try, but I don't have much experience w/ photoshop and I don't have the program. But I do have the gimp. Can you maybe explain how to do the color selections and "invert" them to another layer? I've never done it before...I'm sort of a beginner at "the gimp". I do know how to do selections, but not sure how to "invert".
I've been meaning to learn how to use the GIMP, but I've been lazy. Maybe someone else will come across this and write up more detailed, GIMP-able instructions.
PKM nagutron7 years ago
My spider sense is tingling! Give me a while and I'll do an Instructable on how to do this with GIMP/Photoshop. I should probably do at least one non-photography-related Instructable at some point :)
Falaco Soliton (author)  nagutron7 years ago
I thought about doing that. The first time I went about doing this I wasn't that photoshop literate. Plus, I want each specific letter to be its own color, in entirety. Selecting a swatch would work, but I think some letters would be cut in half, one color and another. Great idea though! I'm always looking for an easier way.
ll.137 years ago
nice.
skeksil7 years ago
Has anybody tried combining this the rasterbator?
http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator

I wonder if they would work together?
CameronSS7 years ago
Cool! Heh heh...I was looking at the wrong part of the finished picture and thought it was lousy, and then I stepped back, and wow! Awesome!
bumpus7 years ago
this is so cool talk about getting an A+ in art class...