Adobe Photoshop - How to turn text into a "hole" in a layer, so I will see the background through it.


Okay, this should be super easy to do but I just can't find the way.

I have a background image with a solid colour layer on top of it, and I would like to add text on top of everything in such a way that the filling of the text is the image in the background. I have tried selecting the text shape and deleting that selection shape in the solid colour layer, but it just looks wrong.

Can anyone help me with this? Many thanks in advance.

5/16/2012 7:40:00 AM

Accepted Answer

I assume you mean something along the lines of this:

Text with image fill

Where the background is solid, and the text appears to be an image.

This is fairly simple to set up.

Place the color layer at the bottom of the layer stack, then the text layer, then the image you want to use as the top layer.


Hold down the Option/Alt key and click the line between the image layer and the text layer. This will cause the text to operate as a clipping mask for the image. (You'll see the little downward arrow)

You can then edit the text further if you need to, it is still live text.

5/16/2012 8:08:00 AM

I use a different (and IMHO simpler) technique to achieve the same result (making text "dig" through a solid layer and show the background underneath) using Blending Options:

  • Place the layers in this order: text layer, solid layer to pierce, background layer
  • Right-click to the text layer and choose Blending Options...
  • In the Advanced Blending panel, set Fill Opacity to 0% and Knockout = Shallow

The end result will look like that (the "A" capital letter is the pass-through text):

enter image description here

You can also read this post for additional info.