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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.
In this movie I'm going to show you how to take this digital photograph that's captured by Jason Stitt of the fotolia image library, and we're going to render it out as a smoky prehistoric cave painting, as rendered by our ancient ancestors using no pixels whatsoever tens of thousands of years ago. So we're going to start things off inside this two-layer image. I'll go ahead and press Shift+Tab to bring up the right-side panels and zoom out a little bit. We've got a portrait shot on top, and then in the background I've got this rock wall from Stricker, also of the fotolia image library.
So I want to go ahead and apply a few filters to this portrait layer. So I am going to convert it to a Smart Object by right-clicking on it and choosing Convert to Smart Object. Then I'll make sure that my foreground and background colors are set to black and white respectively. And if they aren't for you, then just go ahead and press the D key. Then go up to the Filter menu and choose Sketch, and all of these filters in the Sketch submenu, they respond to the active foreground and background color, so that's why we had to be using black and white. And then go ahead and choose Chalk & Charcoal. And inside the big filter gallery, I'll go ahead and zoom out so that I can see more of the image at a time, and notice that we have three sliders.
Charcoal Area determines the amount of dark stuff that the filter creates, Chalk Area is the amount of light stuff, and then Stroke Pressure is the amount of contrast. So I am going to raise my Charcoal Area to 15 because I want an awful lot of darkness, and then I'll going to tab to Chalk Area, and then I'll going to take it down to one. So we just have a few highlights because we want this very dark feeling to our cave, and then a Stroke Pressure of one is just fine. Then click OK in order to apply that filter, and you'll get this effect here. We don't need the filter mask, so right- click on it and choose Delete Filter Mask.
Now my problem with this effect--what I love about it, by the way, is that we've got these highlights and these shadows and then these gray areas. And we'll be able to drop out the gray areas using a Contrast Blend Mode, as you'll soon see. But in the mean time, I'm not really sure that I think these little sort of diagonal strokes are all that credible. They don't really add anything to the mix here, and they're not going to look right against the rock wall anyway. So I am going to get rid of them by going up to the Filter menu and choose Blur and choosing Gaussian Blur. And a Radius value of six pixels is going to work fine. Click OK and then finally I need to go ahead and render her against the rock wall.
In other words, I need to apply a displacement map. So I am going to click on the background layer to make it active, right-click on it, and then choose Duplicate Layer. And I'll change the Document to New because we have to create the displacement map inside of a new image window. And I'll call this guy "wall displace" let's say, click OK and then go up to the Image menu, choose Mode, and choose Grayscale. And this is a very important step. If you leave your image as an RGB image, then Photoshop only takes into account the red and green channels when creating the displacement map, and it actually makes a pretty big mess of things.
So choose Grayscale, click Discard in response to that alert message, and then finally make sure you've got just the background layer. You should have a flat image as I do; if not, you'd go up to the Layer menu and choose the Flatten Image command. And then finally go the File menu and choose the Save command and make sure the Format is set to PSD and then go ahead and save that document. All right, now I'll switch back to my composition at hand, and I'll click on that portrait layer once again, go up to the Filter menu, choose Distort > Displace. And this time around I want the Horizontal Scale value to be 20, as I've set it here, and the Vertical Scale value to be 10, which is the default setting.
The radio buttons down here at the bottom of the dialog box don't matter. Click OK, find that displacement map you just saved a moment ago, and then go ahead and open it, and you'll end up adding a bunch of crags to her face, so that her face is actually aligning to the contour of the background texture, which is absolutely what we want. That's perfect. Now then, I'm going to change the blend Mode from Normal to Overlay, and that's half the battle. You could stop there if you want to because now you are getting this nice effect where you're burning her face into the background. So wherever you're going to have dark stuff, that's going to darken up the background--in her eyes, for example and then the light stuff along her cheek, the highlights, are going to lighten up the background, and all that gray stuff is just going to drop away.
And we get this very nice effect, but I think it's a little bit over the top, because if this was really an ancient smoky cave, some of this paint would've died away over time. So what I am going to do is drop down here to the Add Layer Mask icon, click on it, and then go up to the Filter menu, choose Render, and choose Clouds, just to crate some random variation in the opacity of her face. Now I want to add a little bit of smokiness around the edges, so I am going to zoom out a little bit here. I am going to switch to my Background layer. I am going to copy it to a new layer by pressing Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, and then I am going to set that new layer to Multiply, so that we're burning in that background quite a bit.
Now I don't want that much burn, so I am going to add a layer mask down here at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then I am going to switch to my Brush tool. And if I right-click inside of the image window, you'll see that I have a very large brush here: 700 pixels. So it's quite huge. The Hardness, however, is 0%--that's very important. And then I am going to go ahead and paint in some blackness toward the center of the photograph like so, so that I am just getting the darkness, the burn of the Multiply effect around the edges. I might paint up here a little bit more. And if I feel like I went too far with the erasing some of that darkness, as I might have here, then I press the X key in order to switch my foreground color to white and I paint in some more darkness, like so.
All right, once I've finished up-- this looks pretty good to me-- I will go ahead and switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. Now my only problem with this effect is that we're kind of losing her nose. The eyes look great to me. I like the fact that they're a little bit diffused and slightly menacing as well. And I can see the mouth just fine, but her nose is dropping away. So I am going to go ahead and select that portrait layer, and I'm going to jump it by pressing Ctrl+J, Command+J on the Mac, to create another copy. And that actually looks pretty good, but that's a little bit too much for my taste. So I am going to do a couple of things here.
First of all I'm going to change the blend mode from Overlay to Soft Light, so we are backing off the effect slightly. And also we're losing some of the color contrast, so that we're not blowing away the colors, we're not ending up so many yellows, for example. Then I am going to click on this layer mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel to select it, and I am going to go ahead and fill the entire layer mask for now with black by pressing Ctrl+Backspace, or Command+Delete on the Mac, because, for me anyway, black is the background color. And then I am going to grab my Brush tool once again, and it's set to this big, huge soft brush; that's just fine.
White is my foreground color. I am just going to paint in this area around the nose and her cheeks and so on, and that's it--just a little bit right there. Switch back to the Rectangle Marquee tool. Notice this is the difference here. This is what the effect looks like without that nose layer essentially right there. I will go ahead and it "nose highlight," or something like that, and this is what the composition looks like with that layer, and that's it folks. I'm going to press the F key a couple of times here in order to switch to the Full Screen mode, zoom in, and that is a person rendered as a prehistoric cave painting, thanks to a combination of Chalk & Charcoal, Gaussian Blur, a displacement map and the Overlay, Multiply, and Soft Light modes here inside Photoshop.
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