Paint.NET Filled Text Effect Tutorial

How to Make a Text Shaped Image in Paint.NET

This is a simple text effect tutorial using Paint.NET, suitable for beginners to follow. The result of this tutorial is to produce some text that is filled with an image rather than a solid color.
By the end of this text effects tutorial, you will have a basic understanding of layers within Paint.NET, as well using the Magic Wand tool and using the resulting selection to manipulate an image.
You will require a digital photo or some other image that you can use to fill the text. I'm going to use the clouds from the same image I used in my earlier Paint.NET tutorial on how to straighten a horizon.

Add a New Layer

The first step is to go to File > New to open a new blank document, setting the size and resolution to suit how you intend to use the final text.

Unlike Adobe Photoshop that automatically adds text to its own layer, in Paint.NET it is necessary to add a blank layer before adding text or else it will just be applied to the current selected layer -- in this case, the background.
To add a new layer, go to Layers > Add New Layer.

Add Some Text

You can now select the Text tool from the toolbox, represented by the letter 'T', and write some text on the page. Then use the tool options bar that appears above the blank page to choose a suitable font and set the font size. I've used Arial Black, and I would advise you to select a relatively bold font for this technique.

Add Your Image

If the Layers palette isn't visible, go to Window > Layers. In the palette click on the Background layer. Now go to File > Open and select the image that you're going to use for this text effects tutorial. When the image opens select the Move Selected Pixels tool from the toolbox, click on the image to select it and go to Edit > Copy to copy the image to the pasteboard. Close the image by going to File > Close.
Back in your original document, go to Edit > Paste in to New Layer. If a Paste dialog opens warning that the image being pasted is larger than the canvas, click Keep canvas size. The image should be inserted below the text and you may need to move the image layer to position the desired part of the image behind the text.

Select the Text

Now you need to make a selection from the text using the Magic Wand tool. Firstly ensure the text layer is selected by clicking on Layer 2 in the Layers palette. Next, click on the Magic Wand tool in the toolbox and then check in the tool options bar that the Flood Mode is set to Global. Now when you click on one of the letters of the text that you have typed in, all of the letters will be selected.
You can see the selection more clearly by turning off the visibility of the text layer. Click on the checkbox in the layers palette next to Layer 2 and you will see the text disappear leaving just the selection, represented by a black outline and a very slightly opaque fill.

Invert the Selection

This is a very simple step. Just go to Edit > Invert Selection and this will select the area outside of the text.

Remove the Excess Image

With the area outside of the text selected, in the Layers palette, click on the image layer and then go to Edit > Erase Selection.


There you have it, a simple text effects tutorial to get you trying something in Paint.NET. The final piece could be used in all sorts of ways, either for something being printed or to add interest to a heading in a web page.​

This technique can be easily applied to other regular and irregular shapes to produce interesting shapes filled with an image.