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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, we're going to take these champagne glasses from Julian Rovagnati, set against this sunset beach background from MPH--both of the Fotolia Image Library-- and we're going to create this seamless, and I think credible, composition right here. So, let's get to work. I'm going to switch back to our original image here, and I'm going to turn on that Glasses layer. Now, when you're masking glass your first and foremost concerned about merging the highlights and shadows of the glassware with the background independently.
It would be nice if you could do it all at once just by choosing one of the contrast blend modes, for example. I could go up to the Blend mode pop-up menu and change it from Normal to let's say Overlay. But that doesn't cut it in our case, not even sort of, because we've got this white background. So we're going to have to mask the shadows and highlights independently, as I say, which is almost always what you're going to do with glassware. And one or the other is going to be easier to do. In our case, because we have a white background, we can easily drop it out and maintain the shadows just by going up to the Blend mode pop-up menu and changing it from Overlay in my case to Multiply.
And we get this effect right here, and it looks awesome. Problem is while we're keeping the shadows, which is great, we don't have any highlights associated with this glassware whatsoever, and we don't have any of the coloring associated with the champagne. Somehow we need to retrieve those elements. That's going to be harder, as I say because we're working with a white background. Now, we're going to create some duplicates of the layer, so I'm going to press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, in order to create a copy of the layer, and I'm going to name that top one Multiply, because that's the blend mode that we're going to leave set, where this layer is concerned.
And then I'm going to turn it off for the moment. We can come back to it later. Now I'll drop back down to the Glasses layer, and I'll change its Blend mode from Multiply back to Normal. And what we need to do now is mask away that background. And believe it or not, the best way to mask out this specific background is to use the Magic Wand tool. And I know it seems like blasphemy, but it actually turns out to be true. So you can go to your Quick Selection tool flyout menu. Choose the Magic Wand tool. It is going to work much better, by the way, than the Quick Selection tool. Take my word for it. So grab that Magic Wand tool.
I've got my Tolerance set to 12, and that's 12 luminous levels lighter and darker on a channel-by-channel basis than the pixel that I click on. The Contiguous check box must be turned on, by the way, so that we select just the whites of the background and we don't select into the highlights inside the glass. Anti-alias should be turned off, believe it or not. It's just that anti-alias adds a little glint of smoothness to the edges, but it's a bad algorithm, as applied to the Magic Wand tool, for continuous tone images. So I'm going to click in this background like so, and then I'm going to Shift+Click in the lower region of the background.
And now I want to mask that background away, and I'm going to do that by dropping down here to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on it, and that masks away the selected area. Now, I still have some problems. You can see these little vertical lines on the left- and right-hand sides. I'm going to zoom out, Alt+Click or Option+Click on the layer mask thumbnail to view it independently of the image, press the M key to grab my Marquee tool, and then I'm just going to go ahead and select these areas by dragging and then Shift+Dragging around. And my foreground color happens to be black, so I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that region with black.
Now I'll click off the selection in order to deselect it. And notice if I zoom in here that I have a few little blemishes left over that I might as well clean up in advance, so I'm going to do that using the Brush tool. And I can select the Brush tool from the toolbox or press the B key. I'm going to right-click inside of my image window, just to confirm that the hardness is 100%, which it is for me. And then I'll go ahead and click on that area that should be black, press the X key in order to switch the foreground color to white, and then click that area that ought to be white.
You might need to do some additional spot work inside of your own image, but that's enough for this one. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on that layer mask thumbnail again in order to restore the full-color image. Now, these edges are by no means good. They are very jagged, as you can see, here, so they need a little bit of additional work. And I'm going to modify this layer mask using the Refine Mask command. So, make sure the layer mask thumbnail is active, as it is for me. Then go up to the Select menu and choose the Refine Mask command.
I want you to set your View to On Layers, so you can see each and every layer composited against the other ones. And then what we're going to so is we're going to raise the Smooth value to 10, just to go ahead and smooth off that edge. That also adds a little bit of blur. And to get rid of that and choke the edge inward, I'm going to take the Shift Edge value down to -100 like so, and we get a much better transition. Now, it's not absolutely perfect quite yet, and we're going to work on that. For example, I'm going to grab my Rectangular Marquee tool, which is active.
I'm going to go ahead and select from about there, along that edge of the glass, up to here, because that's where my problem edge is occurring there. Do you notice that? And now my layer mask, by the way, is still active, so I'm not going to hurt the image itself. I'll go on to Edit menu and I'll choose Free Transform. You can also press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. And I'm going to drag this edge inward, and notice how that fixes this edge right there. Now, I will go ahead and press the Enter key--or the Return key on the Mac--click off the image, and we end up getting this really great effect.
Now, I expected there to be a problem and there wasn't because my background color is set the black, but if you end up exposing a little bit of weirdness over in that area on the right side of your transformation, then you would just covered it up with some black. You would just scrub it away. Anyway, this looks great to me, so I'm going to go ahead and zoom out a little bit and center my image. Now, we still have some problem edges here and there, but it's really nothing to worry about because bear in mind that we're going to have three copies of this image altogether that are set to different blend modes, and so they're effectively going to compensate for each other. All right, so I'm going to take this guy and I'm going to set it to the screen mode by going up to the Blend mode pop- up menu and changing it to Screen.
And that's too much. That's kind of an over-the-top affect, so we'll change the opacity to 50%, and then I'll turn Multiply back on so we can see how the layers are blending together. And it's looking pretty darn good. Not perfect. I'd like to bring back some of the color that's associated with the champagne. So, I'm going to go ahead and duplicate the active layer once again by pressing Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac. I'll call the top one Screen, just so that I know what's going on there, and then I'll call this one Soft Light, because we're going to change it to the Soft Light mode. I'll press the 0 key to restore the opacity to 100%, and I'll change the mode from Screen to Soft Light, and we get this effect here. So, you can see how the various layers are building on top of each other.
I'll just turn off the bottom two for a moment. There is Multiply by itself, there's screen added to multiply, and this is what happens when we add a little bit of soft light. Now, it's looking pretty darn good. Notice, for example, that we have these nice highlights bouncing off the bottom portion of the glass, along the side of the left-hand glass as well. But also we lose the highlights up here in the top of the glass, and it's as if the top of the glass is somehow filled with this light gas or something. It doesn't look right at all. So what we're going to do is we're going to take advantage of a knockout layer.
And so, for starters, I'm going to select these two layers because they're the ones that are adding this bit of gas at the top of the glasses, and I'm going to group them together by pressing Ctrl+G, or Command+G on the Mac. And I'm going to call this group Knockout group, like so. And then I'll twirl it open, click on the top of the two layers, and I might as well make my Layers panel a little wider, so that we can see those names. And then I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+N, or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, to create a new layer, and I'm going to call it Knockout and click OK. And here's what we're going to do.
We're going to grab the Gradient tool-- which you can get by pressing the G key--and I'm going to advance from this foreground to background gradient to this one right here, Foreground to Transparent. And it really doesn't matter what the foreground color is. I'm just going to drag like so, essentially, in order to create this gradient that's descending downward from opacity to transparency at the top of the image. And it's covering up that sort of gas area at the top of the glasses. Next, I'm going to double double-click in this empty area to the right of the Knockout layer in order to bring up the Blending Options. And I'm to change the Knockout setting from None to Shallow. Now initially that's not going to do anything.
You have to follow that up with a modification to the Fill Opacity. So, as I take that Fill Opacity value down, notice that it's cutting through that gas at the top of the glasses. So I took the value down to 0%, and the gas is completely gone now. Now I'll click okay, and what we're basically doing is we're cutting through everything inside of this Knockout group using this dark gradient. Now then, I want to bring back the highlights through these regions of the glasses, and I'm going to do that using the Eraser tool.
So I'll click on the Eraser here in the toolbox--or I could press the E key-- and notice that if I right-click, I've set my Hardness to 0%, my Size is at 200 pixels, although you can change that to taste. And now I'll just go ahead and erase through these highlights like so in order to restore the highlights at the top of the glasses. All right, it's all looking pretty good. The last thing that I want to do is adjust the focus of the background, because it looks a little strange that the champagne glasses are in such sharp focus, and we essentially have infinite focus in this scene because the background--all the way back to the very end--is in focus, as well.
So I'm going to click on that Beach layer, and I'm going to right-click on it and choose Convert to Smart Object, because we want to apply a Smart Filter. And next I'll go up to the Filter menu, and I'll choose Blur, and I'll choose Gaussian Blur, and I'm going to apply a Radius of five pixels, like so. Click Ok. Now, I want the scene to be a little more in-focus toward the bottom because that's the foreground area, so I'll click inside of my filter mask and I'll grab my gradient tool. And I'm going to switch to that very first gradient foreground and background, and then I'll drag for about here at the horizon line down in order to restore the focus as the beach comes toward us.
And that is my final effect, achieved using a combination of the Magic Wand tool a layer mask, the Refine Mask command, a few blend modes, and a Knockout group, here inside the Photoshop.
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