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Deke's Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

022 Simulating sub-pixel rendering


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Deke's Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: 022 Simulating sub-pixel rendering

Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I have got a special treat for you web designers who are struggling with little type inside of Photoshop. And you try those different anti-aliasing settings up in the Options bar-- you know, Sharp and Crisp and Smooth and Strong--and they all look like garbage. One possible solution is to take advantage of a little thing called subpixel rendering. Now this is such an arcane topic that even folks who are comfortable saying the word anti-aliasing dare not to speak it.
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  1. 29m 37s
    1. 305 Simulating hand lettering with art brushes
      20m 8s
    2. 306 Adding texture to your hand stamp
      3m 34s
    3. 307 Creating a black chop on red paper
      5m 55s
  2. 4h 53m
    1. 282 Ringing in the New Year with dynamic effects in Illustrator
      12m 59s
    2. 283 Dynamically transforming fills and strokes
      13m 41s
    3. 284 Tracing an avatar from a photograph in Photoshop
      12m 24s
    4. 285 Drawing a vector-based avatar in Illustrator
      19m 44s
    5. 286 Coloring and shading your avatar
      16m 0s
    6. 287 Exporting an illustration as a universally supported PNG file
      10m 54s
    7. 288 Upsampling a layered composition with great results
      13m 43s
    8. 289 Rebuilding a pattern at a higher resolution
      7m 29s
    9. 290 Painting happy little trees
      13m 46s
    10. 291 Shading and lighting the happy forest
      15m 15s
    11. 292 Enlarging a low-res photograph in Photoshop
      12m 20s
    12. 293 Enlarging a photo by tracing it in Illustrator
      13m 10s
    13. 294 Mastering Exposure in Camera Raw
      11m 40s
    14. 295 Super smooth and unflinchingly sharp
      10m 46s
    15. 296 Deleting an inadvertent photo bomber
      8m 13s
    16. 297 Correcting a distorted panorama
      17m 23s
    17. 298 Rebuilding bad stitching in a panorama
      14m 53s
    18. 299 Nondestructive dodge and burn
      8m 54s
    19. 300 Blending an object’s shadow into any background
      8m 37s
    20. 301 Saving a PNG image with a translucent shadow
      8m 45s
    21. 302 Cleaning up a smart phone photo
      11m 17s
    22. 303 Using Photoshop 1.0
      5m 45s
    23. 304 Creating your own Chinese seal (or chop)
      26m 4s
  3. 17h 21m
    1. 185 Creating a custom 2013 calendar in Illustrator
      11m 44s
    2. 186 Adding dates to a calendar using tables
      9m 50s
    3. 187 Branding your calendar with a field of logos
      10m 54s
    4. 188 Crafting an Infinity symbol to match a specific font
      12m 6s
    5. 189 Op art experiment 1a: Inflated checkers
      10m 49s
    6. 190 Op art experiment 1b: Rounded windows
      6m 39s
    7. 191 Building a universal ISOTYPE man with strokes
      15m 6s
    8. 192 Building a universal ISOTYPE woman with strokes
      11m 7s
    9. 193 Drawing an ISOTYPE couple in love
      12m 55s
    10. 194 Creating a Warhol-style silkscreen effect
      14m 43s
    11. 195 Creating a series of Warhol-style variations
      10m 43s
    12. 196 Adding Warhol-style background variations
      8m 20s
    13. 197 Creating opaque colored shadows
      5m 20s
    14. 198 Assembling multiple variations into a single comp
      5m 9s
    15. 199 Creating a pattern of unique inset circles
      9m 55s
    16. 200 Changing a static blended color scheme
      7m 16s
    17. 201 Op art experiment 2a: Undulating pattern
      20m 26s
    18. 202 Op art experiment 2b: Concentric rings
      9m 43s
    19. 203 Developing a dramatic castle in Camera Raw
      13m 21s
    20. 204 Artificially coloring a photo in Camera Raw
      9m 38s
    21. 205 Creating an antique photo effect in Camera Raw
      7m 53s
    22. 206 Adding a weathered old-photo frame effect
      12m 0s
    23. 207 Drawing an Angry Birds-like character
      16m 59s
    24. 208 Stroking an entire layer in Illustrator
      9m 21s
    25. 209 Drawing a classic snarling cartoon face
      11m 10s
    26. 210 Drawing a radiant, cheerful cartoon background
      18m 29s
    27. 211 Stroking any kind of type in Illustrator
      5m 0s
    28. 212 Creating synthetic water droplets
      9m 29s
    29. 213 Simulating liquid reflections with effect
      5m 19s
    30. 214 Simulating liquid refractions with a dmap
      5m 30s
    31. 215 Creating an eye-catching splatter effect
      9m 8s
    32. 216 Defringing purples and greens in Camera Raw 7
      10m 4s
    33. 217 Making a danger sign more dangerous
      15m 9s
    34. 218 Using texture and depth to add realism
      10m 22s
    35. 219 Precisely aligning artwork to the bleed
      7m 16s
    36. 220 Creating and importing a tracing template
      6m 50s
    37. 221 Drawing a distinctive 2D video game character
      18m 52s
    38. 222 Adding features to a 2D character’s face
      14m 3s
    39. 223 Creating a vivid aura around an entire character
      7m 25s
    40. 224 Adding variable-width strokes in Illustrator
      11m 23s
    41. 225 Animating bird wings with Puppet Warp
      12m 15s
    42. 226 Animating text by onion skinning in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    43. 227 Creating an animated movie in Photoshop
      9m 15s
    44. 228 Exporting an animation to QuickTime and GIF
      5m 44s
    45. 229 Correcting an underwater photograph
      10m 30s
    46. 230 Making a photo razor-sharp and porcelain-smooth
      7m 17s
    47. 231 Reducing noise in a high-ISO shot with Camera Raw
      8m 33s
    48. 232 Creating highly reflective sunglasses
      10m 43s
    49. 233 Adding drama to an outdoor portrait shot
      6m 35s
    50. 234 Creating volumetric forms with shape layers
      15m 52s
    51. 235 Creating a bloodshot eye effect
      7m 11s
    52. 236 Shading an image with shapes and layer masks
      13m 2s
    53. 237 Creating fabric textures with pattern layers
      7m 27s
    54. 238 Colorize any layer with Color Overlay
      3m 23s
    55. 239 Turning a portrait into a dot drawing
      7m 40s
    56. 240 Creating a full-color dot drawing
      3m 29s
    57. 241 Drawing an orthogonal cube with the line tool
      7m 9s
    58. 242 Creating a cube of differently colored cubes
      9m 27s
    59. 243 Recreating the Creative Cloud Logo in Illustrator
      16m 18s
    60. 244 Creating a psychedelic fabric texture
      9m 7s
    61. 245 Turning psychedelic fabric into rock letters
      5m 23s
    62. 246 Creating a more finely rendered dot drawing
      8m 29s
    63. 247 Converting from RGB to CMYK via Multichannel
      12m 31s
    64. 248 Creating printer-safe CMYK shadows
      6m 48s
    65. 249 Creating bright, golden motion trails
      12m 32s
    66. 250 Creating schematic art with Illustrator’s grid
      12m 41s
    67. 251 Drawing precisely aligned arrowhead
      12m 8s
    68. 252 Adding arrowheads around a closed path
      6m 1s
    69. 253 Drawing the Pen tool without touching the Pen tool
      17m 13s
    70. 254 Merging frames for the best possible UAV photo
      16m 40s
    71. 255 Retouching details in an aerial landscape
      12m 13s
    72. 256 Editing a video and adding transitions in Photoshop
      10m 57s
    73. 257 Importing the quadcopter crash sequences
      9m 4s
    74. 258 Color correcting a video and adding a soundtrack
      8m 56s
    75. 259 Adding precisely timed titles to your video
      11m 43s
    76. 260 Hand-painting an image with a Wacom Cintiq
      13m 11s
    77. 261 Blending the final false-color artwork
      8m 41s
    78. 262 Creating a honeycomb pattern in Illustrator
      12m 50s
    79. 263 Building up strokes to create 3D honeycomb
      9m 8s
    80. 264 Turning yourself into a zombie
      14m 0s
    81. 265 Enhancing an ambience environment for the undead
      9m 26s
    82. 266 Creating dripping, gooey ghost letters
      16m 43s
    83. 267 Turning type into gooey green slime
      11m 19s
    84. 268 Creating heavy metal type (updated for Photoshop CS6 and CC)
      12m 27s
    85. 269 Cleaning up a crummy product shot
      11m 3s
    86. 270 Scaling and rotating photographic objects
      10m 10s
    87. 271 Tracing a line drawing with uniform strokes
      11m 18s
    88. 272 Coloring line art using Live Paint Bucket
      18m 22s
    89. 273 Creating a pigture using shapes and letters
      18m 7s
    90. 274 Integrating a cartoon into a photograph
      7m 27s
    91. 275 Converting a photo into a Lichtenstein drawing
      16m 8s
    92. 276 Adding bring Ben-Day dots and a talk balloon
      15m 31s
    93. 277 Painting an eye using a custom brush
      11m 31s
    94. 278 Painting and smoothing straight-sided brushstrokes
      12m 0s
    95. 279 Simulating pressure with path outlines
      6m 3s
    96. 280 Developing a 32-bit HDR image in Camera Raw
      14m 42s
    97. 281 Converting from 32-bit to the more flexible 8-bit mode
      11m 15s
  4. 14h 31m
    1. 091 Removing people from a photo
      10m 44s
    2. 092 Masking people back into a photo
      10m 58s
    3. 093 Hand-painting a mask
      10m 5s
    4. 094 Masking a real-life shadow
      10m 40s
    5. 095 Turning a photo into line art
      7m 44s
    6. 096 Adding a crosshatch shading pattern
      6m 46s
    7. 097 Creating type that inverts anything behind it
      5m 32s
    8. 098 Creating auto-inverting line art
      5m 7s
    9. 099 Creating movie poster credits
      8m 10s
    10. 100 Creating a dual-focus hybrid image
      6m 24s
    11. 101 Adding text to a hybrid composition
      7m 24s
    12. 102 Drawing with the reshape tool
      10m 39s
    13. 103 Hand-drawing a really great letter
      10m 6s
    14. 104 Creating a vanity frame
      5m 28s
    15. 105 Adding a frame to a photograph
      5m 3s
    16. 106 Drawing a highly graphic explosion with Illustrator
      10m 3s
    17. 107 Drawing a Ninja Turtle nose
      10m 22s
    18. 108 Mapping a dog face onto a duck
      8m 20s
    19. 109 Putting a tongue on a duck
      7m 6s
    20. 110 Making synthetic lightning in Photoshop
      11m 3s
    21. 111 Creating a driving rain effect in Photoshop
      4m 57s
    22. 112 Designing a railroad track
      12m 18s
    23. 113 Bending the railroad track around curves
      7m 46s
    24. 114 Creating a Star Wars hologram effect
      9m 23s
    25. 115 Creating leafy letters
      6m 12s
    26. 116 Creating topiary type
      6m 22s
    27. 117 Creating type in grass
      9m 0s
    28. 118 Rendering type in smoke
      7m 30s
    29. 119 Rendering type in brushed metal
      9m 57s
    30. 120 Adding brushed copper effect
      4m 14s
    31. 121 Reflecting type in water
      10m 57s
    32. 122 Reflecting water back into type
      11m 14s
    33. 123 Joining type to a circle
      7m 14s
    34. 124 Making flared type on a circle
      7m 17s
    35. 125 Making a person emerge from water
      5m 32s
    36. 126 Creating progressive water ripples
      10m 17s
    37. 127 Creating an upside-down face effect
      10m 17s
    38. 128 Achieving silky smooth skin with retouching
      6m 33s
    39. 129 Pearly white teeth
      7m 28s
    40. 130 Head-shrinking
      8m 26s
    41. 131 Getting a big head
      5m 11s
    42. 132 Adding a photographic texture to vector type
      4m 28s
    43. 133 Adding strokes in back of photo type
      5m 9s
    44. 134 Adding a border to an image in Illustrator
      4m 17s
    45. 135 Two ways to crop in Illustrator
      7m 29s
    46. 136 Inventing a 3D temple with a depth map
      10m 0s
    47. 137 Drawing a 3D object with Curves
      11m 41s
    48. 138 Creating a superhero shield in Illustrator
      16m 28s
    49. 139 Turning Illustrator paths into Photoshop shapes
      11m 42s
    50. 140 Creating a photorealistic superhero shield
      12m 39s
    51. 141 Pimping your ride in Photoshop
      9m 59s
    52. 142 Masking and blackening a car
      10m 20s
    53. 143 Drawing a multi-part vector mask
      12m 46s
    54. 144 Masking and painting a shadow
      8m 26s
    55. 145 Integrating blades of grass into tires
      5m 34s
    56. 146 Making a (ridiculously) dramatic sky
      6m 2s
    57. 147 Adding flame stripes to a car
      8m 23s
    58. 148 Creating interlocking octagons in Illustrator
      7m 44s
    59. 149 Hand-coloring line art
      13m 9s
    60. 150 Creating a custom wave pattern
      9m 56s
    61. 151 Simulating a screen print
      8m 30s
    62. 152 Drawing a perfect linear spiral in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    63. 153 Drawing a spiraling nautilus shell
      11m 4s
    64. 154 Designing a hex pattern in Illustrator CS6
      11m 10s
    65. 155 Making a hex pattern in Illustrator CS5 and earlier
      7m 4s
    66. 156 Creating a Facebook cover in Photoshop
      9m 25s
    67. 157 Matching a profile picture to your cover
      6m 37s
    68. 158 Cloning yourself in Photoshop
      11m 16s
    69. 159 Lighting the clone party
      8m 29s
    70. 160 Hand-carving letters into wood
      8m 0s
    71. 161 Creating a Spirograph-like pattern
      7m 34s
    72. 162 Tracing scalloped gear teeth around a circle
      4m 55s
    73. 163 Applying custom carve and shadow styles to type
      8m 50s
    74. 164 Turning a pencil sketch into digital ink
      12m 55s
    75. 165 Adding a graph-paper background
      13m 42s
    76. 166 Creating a continuous single-line Spirograph
      13m 2s
    77. 167 Scaling circles into complex patterns
      7m 15s
    78. 168 Creating a money-like design
      8m 43s
    79. 169 Attack of the killer pumpkin
      14m 49s
    80. 170 Simulating a glowing Jack-o'-lantern
      12m 24s
    81. 171 The headless stranger in the mist
      12m 25s
    82. 172 Creating 3D punched letters
      13m 29s
    83. 173 Designing a double-wave line pattern
      11m 2s
    84. 174 Assembling a seamless pattern brush
      9m 53s
    85. 175 Creating a hand turkey in Photoshop
      18m 42s
    86. 176 Creating a depth-of-field cast shadow
      7m 29s
    87. 177 Creating a lustrous round jewel
      13m 56s
    88. 178 Cutting and brushing light on a gem
      8m 30s
    89. 179 Creating a shiny button with inset text
      11m 5s
    90. 180 Creating a jaunty six-sided star
      15m 1s
    91. 181 Interweaving star shapes and adding gradients
      8m 28s
    92. 182 Casting shadows between interwoven shapes
      9m 12s
    93. 183 Creating a Hobbit-like text effect
      15m 6s
    94. 184 Enhancing a landscape photo in Camera Raw 7
      9m 16s
  5. 13h 11m
    1. 001 Creating ice type
      8m 39s
    2. 002 Branding type on a texture
      7m 6s
    3. 003 Creating an image-branding machine
      7m 13s
    4. 004 Capturing effects with layer comps
      7m 35s
    5. 005 Rendering type in gold
      8m 9s
    6. 006 Creating a hammered metal background
      5m 48s
    7. 007 Creating heavy metal type
      8m 13s
    8. 008 Creating a molten letter effect
      6m 43s
    9. 009 Setting type on fire
      11m 20s
    10. 010 Using an anti-edge mask
      7m 20s
    11. 011 Blending textures onto a face
      9m 28s
    12. 012 Rendering a face as a cave painting
      7m 34s
    13. 013 Creating a reflection in shattered glass
      8m 32s
    14. 014 Creating a face in a tree
      11m 20s
    15. 015 Building a synthetic star field
      8m 21s
    16. 016 Making 3D type with Repoussé
      10m 14s
    17. 017 Casting 3D shadows and reflections
      9m 35s
    18. 018 Adjusting 3D light sources
      10m 51s
    19. 019 Masking highlights and shadows
      6m 27s
    20. 020 Masking glass
      10m 39s
    21. 021 High key high contrast
      8m 33s
    22. 022 Simulating sub-pixel rendering
      10m 58s
    23. 023 Fixing chromatic aberrations in Photoshop
      9m 41s
    24. 024 Fixing chromatic aberrations in Camera Raw
      8m 51s
    25. 025 Correcting red-eye like a pro
      11m 56s
    26. 026 Turning a photo into an ink drawing
      10m 42s
    27. 027 Turning a photo into a pencil sketch
      8m 43s
    28. 028 Creating a seamlessly repeating pattern
      10m 56s
    29. 029 Repairing seams in a repeating pattern
      10m 47s
    30. 030 Creating a 3D pie chart
      11m 9s
    31. 031 Splitting and modifying 3D meshes
      11m 52s
    32. 032 Using the Ground Plane Shadow Catcher
      6m 58s
    33. 033 Creating a talk show-style curtain
      7m 57s
    34. 034 Assembling a flawless panorama
      10m 5s
    35. 035 Removing people with image stacks
      11m 44s
    36. 036 Creative stacking with Maximum and Range
      11m 44s
    37. 037 Creating synthetic wood grain
      9m 23s
    38. 038 Making slats of uniquely textured wood
      10m 52s
    39. 039 Kerning within a single character
      10m 31s
    40. 040 Creating a raised bevel effect
      11m 49s
    41. 041 Putting wings on a horse
      10m 41s
    42. 042 Creating a classic heart in Illustrator
      7m 15s
    43. 043 Glossing up a heart in Photoshop
      8m 42s
    44. 044 Shooting and assembling a stereoscopic photo
      8m 15s
    45. 045 Extending 3D beyond the screen plane
      6m 13s
    46. 046 Adding stereo 3D text and shapes
      9m 9s
    47. 047 Tilting text and shapes toward the viewer
      8m 13s
    48. 048 Creating a shooting star in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    49. 049 Using blends to draw path outlines
      8m 8s
    50. 050 Inventing custom starbursts
      7m 33s
    51. 051 Making a fictional creature
      12m 5s
    52. 052 Transforming a creature into a monster
      6m 14s
    53. 053 Capturing a monster in motion
      11m 45s
    54. 054 Changing the color of a car
      7m 12s
    55. 055 Painting a colorful car black
      8m 16s
    56. 056 Coloring the stripes on a zebra
      10m 47s
    57. 057 Drawing trendy swirls in Illustrator
      10m 59s
    58. 058 Creating variable-width and brushed swirls
      10m 46s
    59. 059 Drawing trendy ornaments in Illustrator
      8m 49s
    60. 060 Designing a magically updating pattern
      8m 40s
    61. 061 Automatically collapsing a selection
      7m 43s
    62. 062 Adding a magnifying glass into a design
      7m 5s
    63. 063 Healing one eye onto another
      7m 15s
    64. 064 Creating a giant command key
      9m 15s
    65. 065 Drawing common symbols part 1
      6m 29s
    66. 066 Drawing common symbols part 2
      9m 26s
    67. 067 Filtering images with Camera Raw
      7m 52s
    68. 068 Creating a vivid HDR effect
      5m 29s
    69. 069 Creating an ambigram in Illustrator
      10m 45s
    70. 070 Making a two-word ambigram
      7m 47s
    71. 071 Drawing a Halloween scareflake
      10m 45s
    72. 072 Creating true clones in Illustrator
      11m 7s
    73. 073 Taking your scareflakes into Photoshop
      7m 20s
    74. 074 Making a faux HDR image in Lab
      8m 38s
    75. 075 Turning a guy into a zombie
      7m 3s
    76. 076 Miniaturizing the world in Photoshop
      6m 45s
    77. 077 Creating a synthetic rainbow
      8m 53s
    78. 078 Casting an artificial shadow from a layer
      7m 2s
    79. 079 Rendering a portrait in type
      8m 58s
    80. 080 Rendering a portrait in tile patterns
      7m 43s
    81. 081 Rotating a pattern layer in Photoshop
      4m 16s
    82. 082 Tracing an image with path outlines
      7m 50s
    83. 083 Turning path outlines into a vector mask
      6m 0s
    84. 084 Drawing rays of light in Photoshop
      5m 40s
    85. 085 Drawing concentric glow rings
      7m 24s
    86. 086 Designing an Indiana Jones-style logo
      8m 50s
    87. 087 Achieving mitered corners in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    88. 088 Masking with Photoshop's Blunt Instruments
      11m 8s
    89. 089 Creating a stained-glass ornament
      8m 26s
    90. 090 Designing a stained-glass window
      10m 23s

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Deke's Techniques
50h 26m Intermediate Jan 11, 2011 Updated Apr 15, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subjects:
Design Raw Processing Design Techniques
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

022 Simulating sub-pixel rendering

Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I have got a special treat for you web designers who are struggling with little type inside of Photoshop. And you try those different anti-aliasing settings up in the Options bar-- you know, Sharp and Crisp and Smooth and Strong--and they all look like garbage. One possible solution is to take advantage of a little thing called subpixel rendering. Now this is such an arcane topic that even folks who are comfortable saying the word anti-aliasing dare not to speak it.

I am going to show you exactly how subpixel rendering works, and how to simulate it in Photoshop, and make you absolutely king of the nerds inside this movie. All right. So this movie is all about how to simulate subpixel rendering inside of Photoshop. But first of all, I need to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Subpixel rendering is a variety of anti-aliasing, an anti-aliasing is a method for mapping curvature on to square pixels and achieving somewhat smooth results.

For example here, imagine that this gray checkerboard is the pixel grid, and we are trying to map this smooth mathematical character definition onto that grid. Well, obviously the pixels cannot do curves, so somehow we have to map curves onto squares. Now back in the old days before anti- aliasing was conventional--and we are talking back in the days before 24-bit monitors were routinely available-- pixels were either turned on or off, and that's it. So for example, if a pixel mostly fell inside the character definition, then it was on.

If it mostly fell outside the character definition, it was off. And that's all there was too it. All right! Then comes along anti-aliasing. And this time I have made my pixel grid blue in order to demonstrate progress. And anti-aliasing is available routinely inside of Photoshop. What we see is if a pixel is 100% inside the letter form, then it's opaque. If it's 100% outside, then it's transparent. If it's 50% in and out, then it's 50% opaque. If it's just 10% in, then it's 10% opaque, and so on.

So the opacity of a pixel is linked to its intersection inside of that character outline. All right! Now let's take a look at the way subpixel rendering works. It's specifically designed to accommodate flat-panel monitors, so not CRT tubes, not those big deep old TV set kind of things, but rather flat screens. And on a flat screen, specifically in LCD let's say, a single pixel looks like this red, green, blue stripe thing that I've drawn here. So you have a series of very thin color components. And so each pixel has red and green and blue, stripes of each, and when they're firing at full intensity, then the pixel ends up looking white, because it blur together, and when they are not firing at all, they look black, and so forth.

So what pixel rendering does is it takes advantage of the fact that you really have three slim pixels in one. So I will go ahead and turn on this final item, so you can see what that looks like. Notice now, if a pixel falls entirely in a character outline, it is opaque. If it's entirely outside the outline then it's transparent. But now I'll go ahead and zoom in here. In between you have this gradient, this fading gradient of color essentially. Notice that this is entirely a horizontal effect.

Each pixel is uniform vertically. So we are just seeing this little bit of color fade horizontally across the pixels. So for example if I was talking about one of these pixels over here on the left-hand side of the character, that blue component would be very dark, and then the green component would lighten up a little bit, and the red component would lighten up even more. So what we get is much smoother character outlines, especially when you're working with very small type. But you get a little bit of color fringing as well. Now at this point you might wonder, all right, if this is the way to do type-- especially small type--why in the world doesn't Photoshop support it? Well, it would be extremely misleading for Photoshop to support it, because after all, this effect that I am demonstrating here only works with live, vector-based type.

Now Photoshop gives you editable, vector-based type; that's no problem. However, there's no way to convey that type from Photoshop to the web because JPEG, PNG, and TIFF do not support live, editable type, so it wouldn't be possible to build that information into those file formats. However, you can simulate the effect in order to smooth out your very small type outlines, and let me show you how that works. I am going to switch over to this file right here. And that sample text is just some text that I was working with that I actually had to use for my own website, and you can see here Nack and Hughes--these are product managers of Photoshop, by the way-- when a text is rendered large, it's quite legible.

It looks great, so no problems there. However, I'll switch over to the right-hand side of my image. As soon as the type becomes small, it really starts breaking down quite a bit. And notice that we don't have any such thing, where this type is concerned, as a 100%-opaque pixel. Everything is getting cut into to some degree or other, and we are really losing information in some of the character forms. Notice smushy bar inside of this E, and so forth. There's all kinds of weird aspects of this type. So I could--one of the things you can do by the way, I'll go ahead and switch to this anti-alias layer, because that's the one I am working on right now.

One of the things you can do is you can press the T key to switch over to your Type tool, and then you can try out these different anti-aliasing modes. And really, I am not going to tell you how they work here. None is just going to turn Anti- aliasing off, and everybody else is just going to switch out the character forms a little bit. The thing to do is just try them out. I wouldn't really put too much stake in the names; just try out a different effect and see if it ends up working out better. In our case, if I try out Sharp, I am going to get more opaque character forms; however, it's not necessarily going to be exactly what I'm looking for.

And using this technique that I'm about to show you, you'll get better effects. So I'll just go ahead and restore the type that I had before the crisp anti-aliasing, and I'll go ahead and move down here to this other type that I have set up that's the exact same size, just so that we can compare and contrast. Now, the idea here is I am going to have to represent the type differently inside each of the color channels: red, green, and blue. That means I need duplicates of this layer here, which is the demo type layer. However, I don't want to have three copies of that layer that I have to edit independently later if I want to make some changes, so of course I'm going to resort to a Smart Object.

So I'll go ahead and right-click on the empty portion of that demo type layer there in the Layers panel, and I will choose Convert to Smart Object. So that's the first step. And I'll go ahead and name this guy green, let's say, and I'll double-click on it, double- click on an empty area to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. And over here in these little channels checkboxes that you never use inside of Photoshop-- but we will in this case-- I am going to turn off red and I'm going to turn off blue. And we will just leave green turned on, and this will be basically our central information for the type. And then I will go ahead and click OK. And after all we are working with green by default for the background here because green is that central component inside of the pixel. All right! Next thing I am going to do is press Ctrl+Alt+J, or Command+Option+J on the Mac, in order to jump this type, and I am going to name this guy blue, and then I'll click OK. And I'll double-click on it, and I'll go ahead and turn off G this time and turn on B. And this is the effect that's going to appear a little bit over on the right-hand side, because that's where the blue component is, and I will go ahead and click OK.

I now want to follow this up with the Smart Filter. I am going to go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Motion Blur. And I am going to enter an Angle value of 0 degrees. That's exactly what I want because subpixel rendering is entirely a horizontal effect. And I am going to change the distance to 1 pixel. I wish I could go lower; I can't. That's as low as you can go with this filter. So a distance of 1 pixel. Click OK. That will give you just a little bit of yellow highlight around the edges. All right. Let's go ahead and collapse that guy. I'm going to click on the green layer once again.

Ctrl+Alt+J. Command+Option+J on the Mac. Let's call this guy red. Click OK. I'm going to drag it above blue right there, and now I'm going go up to the Filter menu and I'm given to choose the command that is exactly the opposite of Motion Blur inside of Photoshop. And believe it or not, that command is Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. However, what you've got to do is enter a few specific settings. Make sure the amount value is at 100%. Very important. The Radius needs to be 1, that same radius effectively that we used inside Motion Blur.

Remove needs to be set to Motion Blur. So change it from Lens Blur, which is what you normally use as to sharpen images in Photoshop, to Motion Blur, and then make sure the Angle value is set to 0 degrees, More Accurate needs to be off-- as almost always where this filter is concerned. Click OK in order to apply that effect. Oh and I forgot to change the channel that's being affected here. I'll double-click on this layer in order to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, turn on R, turn off G, click OK, and there you have the effect.

So that is colorful anti-aliasing that's associated with subpixel rendering, as simulated here in Photoshop. Now this is not strictly speaking the same effect because I can't splice pixels the way that a web browser or and operating system can. However, it is once again a halfway-decent simulation. I am going to press the M key to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee tool. And just to get a sense, this isn't going to result that well on video but you'd be able to see it on screen if you are following along with me, what you want to do is just zoom out a little bit, so that you can see your original grayscale text and your subpixel rendering simulation at the same time.

What you should see is smoother text where the subpixel rendering is concerned. I'm just going to go ahead and grab that anti-alias layer there and drag it down a little bit, so I can see both of these layers at the same time here at the 300% view size. Now one last thing that I want to mention is this is an editable effect. So you may look at this and think, okay now I still have three layers, and I have to edit each one independently. Not so, if you want to make it change your text. All you have to do is double- click on any one of these layers. They are all linked to the same smart object.

So I will go ahead and double-click in the thumbnail for the blue layer-- it really doesn't matter--and that's going to go ahead and open up my Smart Object, which contains the edible type, and let's say that I don't want that semicolon right there, so I will go ahead and edit that out. And maybe I want to change the anti-aliasing mode right here. I'll go ahead and switch it from Crisp to Smooth this time in order to see what that effect looks like. Once I'm done, I'll just go ahead and close the Smart Object, click Yes to save my changes-- on the Mac you would click the Save button--and that will go ahead and update your text, all three layers of text, here inside the larger composition, and that's how you simulate subpixel rendering here inside Photoshop.

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