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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hi! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week we are going to take this portrait shot right here, which has a lot of open skin real estate--which is very important for this effect to work, by the way--and we are going to map onto it a couple of textures. There is an alabaster texture in the background, which I apply using the Hard Mix mode. Now Hard Mix, by default, is a walking disaster, until you combine it with a lower Fill Opacity value, which makes it quite useful. Then we will blend in those patterns and a couple of passes, once using the Screen mode, again using the Multiply mode, combined with some variations on the Luminance Exclusion slider bars, inside the Advance Settings portion of the Layer Style dialog box.
Here, let me show you how it works. In this movie, I will show you one of the many ways to map one or more textures onto a person's face, and the advantage of this approach is that it doesn't involve any masking whatsoever; we are relying entirely on blend modes and advanced blending options. And the great thing about using such parametric effects, and when I say parametric effects I mean you can change your mind anytime you want to, because you are relying on some sort of parameters inside the software, some sort of adjustable parameters. And so what that means is I can make any changes I want anytime I want.
For example, I could grab these two carving layers here, by clicking on one Shift+Clicking on the other here inside the Layers panel, and then I can Ctrl+Drag them downward if I wanted to change the way that this pattern maps onto this woman's face. And Photoshop just automatically responds to my modifications on the fly. So, let's see how this works. I am going to switch over to this base image here. And notice that I have this portrait shown of a woman, captured by Jason Stitt. All of these images come from the fotolia image library, incidentally. I am going to go ahead and turn on the alabaster layer, which comes from Luciana de Faviari, and what I would like to do is map this texture onto the face in the background, which means that I want the dark details to darken up her face, I want the light details to lighten up her face.
So I will go ahead and click in the Blend Mode pop-up menu here, and I can choose from essentially any of these middle settings here. Anything from Overlay all the way down to Hard Mix, these are the contrast modes. So, you usually start with Overlay, give it a try, see how it fares. I don't like it so much in this case; it sort of overwhelms the image. If that's the case, you can either reduce the opacity if you like, or you can switch down the blend mode. And Soft Light tends to be a lesser blend mode. It favors the background image more than the active layer, and it results in less saturated colors than Overlay, and so we get this effect here, which is acceptable, but not exactly what I am looking for.
And quite surprisingly, the blend mode I ended up landing on is this guy right there, Hard Mix. Now, that's initially going to completely overwhelm the image. We are going to be left with no more than eight colors, and that's it. In our case, we are only left with four colors--red, yellow, white, and black-- and it looks terrible. But Hard Mix is one of what I call the 'Fill Opacity Eight'. It's one of the eight blend modes inside of Photoshop that responds differently to fill than it does to opacity. So, for example, if I were to take the Fill value down to 30% let's say, this still is a garbage-y effect.
It doesn't look any good at all. So I will go ahead and raise that Opacity value up to 100% once again. Instead, I will change the Fill value, the Fill Opacity value, to 30%, and notice that we get a completely different, and utterly lovely, effect right here. And just so as you know, in case you are not already aware, you can change the Opacity value without it being active just by pressing a couple of keys, and you can do that same thing with Fill Opacity, but you press Shift along with one or two keys. So give that a try if you like. All right! Now I am going to switch to the carving layer, turn it on.
And this photograph comes to us from Vatislav Danelyne. And the problem with this particular image is it's quite busy, and so it requires a more advanced approach; we can't just slam on a single contrast mode and get away with it. I will try Overlay, but as you can see, that doesn't really do what I am looking for. I really want to darken up the dark areas more than this, and I don't want to go any lighter with the light areas. So I want independent shadow and highlight control, which is not something you get with the contrast modes. You can try something else, like Hard Light, that absolutely overwhelms the image.
If you go up to Linear Light, it's really going to get bad, and you can try if you like, you can try Hard Mix, and we could reduce the Fill value to 30%, just to give it a try, but that's not nearly what I am looking for either. So, let's go ahead and undo all this stuff. I will return the Fill value to 100%. I will restore the blend mode to Normal, like so. And what we need to do is take two different approaches to this layer. First, we are going to modify the shadow detail, and then we will blend in the highlight detail. So I will press the Escape key so the Blend mode is no longer active here on the PC--not an issue on the Mac.
And I will press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, just to create a copy of that layer. Turn it off. We'll come back to it in a moment. Click on the original layer right there, and let's start by applying the darkest details, burning in those shadow details on this layer. So I will switch the blend mode from Normal to Multiply, which is your when-in- doubt darkening mode inside Photoshop. And that ends up actually looking pretty good. I'd like to bring through, however, some of the highlights from her face, so that again she is not getting too overwhelmed, and I am not mushing the whites of her eyes too much.
So in order to do that, I will double- click in this empty region to the right of the word "carving," in order to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and I will direct your attention down here to the Luminance Exclusion slider bars, which are called This Layer and Underlying Layer. So the This Layer slider bar allows you to exclude either shadows inside the active layer or highlights. The Underlying Layer slider bar allows you to force through shadows here on the left-hand side or highlights here on the right-hand side from the layers underneath the active layer.
And so I what I want to do is force through some color, so I am going to go ahead and drag this white slider triangle over to the left until I see a luminance level of 120 right there. Now you can't dial in your own numbers; you just have to drag these guys around. And what this is saying is if a luminance level inside of the lower layers inside of this image, if it's 120 or brighter--and 128 is a medium gray, just to give you a sense--so basically all the brightest colors, where they exist, they are going to force through the active layer, temporarily.
These are all temporary modifications; you can come back and change your mind anytime you like. What we end up with, however, is some very jagged transitions between the opaque pixels and the transparent ones. And so to taper off that transition so that we have some softness there, you press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and you drag the right half of that triangle away, like so. So you can break the triangle in two by Alt+Dragging or Option+Dragging it, and then I will take this guy up to 240, and we create the soft transition that you see now on screen.
That's all I am going to do on this layer. Click OK in order to accept that modification. Now, let's take a separate swing at the highlight details. I will turn on the top carving layer, click on it to make it active, and I will switch from the Normal mode to the Screen mode, like so, and that is really overwhelming the image. That's no good at all. So I will double-click on the empty portion of that layer once again to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, complete with the Luminance Exclusion slider bars down here at the bottom. And this time around, I am going to drop out some of the darkest colors on the active layer by dragging this black slider triangle over to the right until I see 190, which means that anything that has a luminance level of 190 or darker on the active layer turns transparent on the fly.
Again, it's a temporary modification; you can change your mind later if you want to. That also delivers some very ragged transitions. Don't want that. I want to soften the transitions. So I will go ahead and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag the left half of this black triangle down to 100, like so. So anything that's 100 or darker becomes absolutely transparent, 190 or higher is opaque--subject to the screen blend mode--and anything in between is slowly dropping off. Now then, we still have some pretty harsh transitions, and I still want to bring through some shadow detail in the underlying image, so I am going to drag the black slider triangle associated with the Underlying Layer slider bar, I am going to drag it over all the way to 220, actually.
That's where I'll start. And then I will Alt+Drag or Option+ Drag the left half of that slider triangle down to about 90 right there, like so, in order to achieve the effect you see on screen. Click OK in order to confirm your changes. Now, I want you to understand--this is very important--you can change your mind anytime you want. All you have to do is double-click on that layer once again, and you will once again see the values that you applied. And of course, you can modify them to your heart's content. All right, I am going to cancel out because my heart is already so content.
The only thing left to do is to go ahead and turn on these text layers, which I will, in order to complete this little bit of artwork that I have created here. And I will fill the screen with the image, and that is one of the many ways to wrap photographic textures onto faces inside Photoshop.
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