How to Turn a Photo into a Typeable Font Character

Poly Moa2

Here’s How I took the Image Above and turned it into the typed Characters you see embedded in the Font Below it

I started out by changing the Original Image to a 3-color Image

polymoa4 color

Then I Created A duplicate Image, and on the first Image, I Changed the lightest 2 colors to white, and on the second image I changed the darkest 2 colors to black, then I went through the Blend Modes and selected the one that gave me this image:


If it didn’t give me the result I needed with an outline in Black, so it sticks out from the black ground, I would have gone and played with levels then stacked & blended layers til it did, or just gone into channels and built a composite that way. But this worked out perfectly.

I then converted it to Grayscale, then to Duotone, then Monotone Black

Then I reduced the Image Size using Nearest Neighbor (Preserve Hard Edges), to 62 pixels on the longest side.

I then Zoomed in and used the Burn tool to darken the pixels that were over half dark, then I used the Dodge tool to lighten the pixels that we over half light

Then I played with Levels til I was happy with the overall look

Then I went in to edit individual pixels with a 1-pixel Pencil, hitting X to switch between Black & White

Then I finished with Levels, to completely make it only 2 colors and preserve my image.

The image was now comprised of individual squares, with no smooth edges, and looked like this:


I then enlarged the image to around 362 pixels on the longest edge, using Nearest Neighbor (preserve hard edges), which gave me this:


I then saved it to its own folder, and used Custom Desktop Logo as described in my last post

I opened up Windows Private Character Editor by typing it in the search bar.

I positioned the Character Editor behind the floating semi-transparent Image, then resized the image in Custom Desktop Logo settings to nearly fill the stage and then I lined up each square pixel mark with the squares in the character editor, so it was perfectly sized for each pixel across the entire image

If you want a superscript character, just use the top half, and if you want a subscript character, just use the bottom half, etc.

I then adjusted the Overlay opacity til it looked like a medium Grey

I then took the Pencil tool in the character Editor and filled in all the grey squares black, using a pen pad. A mouse will work fine too.

I noticed that one eye was a bit wonky, so I just fixed it directly in the Character Editor, like so:


I then went to Menu Bar > Character Set > and selected Unicode

Then I went to Menu > Edit > Select Code > and selected slot E000

Every time you make a big edit, just go back here and assign it to a new Code Slot.

Then I went to Menu > File > Font Links… > and selected “Link with Selected Fonts” and chose Arial Unicode MS, then clicked OK

Then I went to Menu > Edit > Save Character

Then I opened the Windows Character Map from the Start Menu > Character Map

Then I selected Font ‘Arial Unicode MS (Private Characters)’, in Unicode Character Set, and then > Go to Unicode: > and typed E000

Then I clicked Select and Copied it

Then I opened a New Document, and Pasted it in, and I got the following:


The Program you use has to be closed then reopened every time you add or edit a new character

The Character map also needs to be closed and reopened to find your new updated edits and characters.

The Font characters will have to be embedded into your document or PDF or website etc, if others are to view your custom characters


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