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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 that woodgrain effect that we created in the previous movie and I'm going to duplicate it in order to create independent panels--or if you prefer, slats--of wood. The great thing about this technique is that each and every single one of these slats will have its own unique woodgrain effect. There will be no two woodgrains that are alike, thanks to the power of Smart Filters here inside of Photoshop. All right! So I'm going to switch to that slat that I created so far, back in a previous movie, and I'm going to go ahead and press Shift+Tab to bring up my right-side panels. I'm going to rename this layer here 'middle slat' because that's the purpose it's going to serve.
Now, we have to give ourselves room for the other slats, and I'm going to do that by changing the size of the canvas to the size of the final composition, which you may recall, again from the previous movie, was 3,000 pixels wide, 1,200 pixels tall. And I'll do that by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command, and I need to make sure the Relative check box is off, which it is. Notice I'm working in pixels. I'm going to go ahead and change the Width value from 3,200 in my case down to 3,000, so these arrows, these horizontal arrows, will point inward showing that some cropping is going to occur, horizontally anyway.
Then I'm going to change the Height value to 1,200, and now the top and bottom arrows are pointing outward, showing that I'm adding height to the document. In any case, I want to make sure that that center chiclet is selected, and as soon as I click OK, I'll get this very misleading alert message that says I might be clipping some pixels. That's actually not true because I'm working with a Smart Object. This is a completely harmless modification. So, click on the Proceed button, and you'll end up with an effect like this one here. All right, so now I have some extra height inside of this document. I'm going to go ahead and duplicate this slat.
But first, I'm going to click this up-pointing arrowhead in order to hide those layer rffects and Smart Filters. Now I'm going to go ahead and duplicate this layer a couple of times. Now normally, what you do is you press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on a Mac, to jump the layer. That's the easiest way to work; however, if we did that, then the new layer would be linked to the same Smart Object as this one is, and that's not what we want. We want independent Smart Objects, so that, once again, each and every one of these slats has its own unique woodgrain. So in order to achieve that, you go to the Layer menu, you choose Smart Objects, and you choose New Smart Object via Copy.
What it's telling you is that you're going to duplicate the Smart Object, but it's going to be its own thing; it's going to be independent. Then, if you're working along with me, I want you to do it again. You go to the Layer menu, choose Smart Objects, and choose New Smart Object via Copy. Yeah, it is we need three of these things because we have room for three slats. All right! I'm going to take the middle one here and rename it 'top' because it's going to be at the top here, at the top of the image, and then I'm going to rename the bottom one 'bottom' because it's going to be at the bottom of the image. All right! Now, I'm going to select the top layer, and I want to move it up, and the best way to do that is to go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform, or press Ctrl+T, Command+T on a Mac.
Now, you may get this warning telling you that your Smart Filters are going to be turned off temporarily. Go ahead and click OK; that's not a problem. Initially, it doesn't appear to have happened because this layer is in back of the other one. But as soon as you go up to the options bar, and if you're working in the exact same size image I am, that is 1,200 pixels tall by 3,000 pixels wide, then you'd want to change this Y value from 600 pixels to 100 pixels, like so. By default, that's determining the coordinate location of the center of this layer, which is exactly what we want.
Notice that the Smart Filter has been turned off for a moment--not a problem. Now one more thing I want you to do, right-click inside of the image window and choose Flip Horizontal. That will also help to randomize the effect of this woodgrain layer, so that each one of the layers looks very different than the other ones. All right! So go ahead and choose that command, and then you're done. Press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac once or twice if necessary. Now, drop down to bottom, and we're going to do something very similar here. Go up to the Edit menu, choose the Free Transform command-- Ctrl+T, Command+T on a Mac--get that error message of course. Click OK.
Unless you want never to see it again, in which case, you can select Don't show again. I'm just going to click OK, and then I'm going to change my Y value this time to 1,100, so 1,100 to move it 100 pixels from the very bottom of the image-- that is, move the center point there. Then I'm going to right-click inside the image window and choose Flip Horizontal again. So the top guy is flipped, and the bottom guy is flipped, and the middle one is in its original orientation; so every other one is flipped, in other words. Anyway, I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key, a couple of times in order to apply that effect.
Now, the woodgrain panels aren't really showing up too well so far because they share homogenous colors. If you look at real wood paneling or wood slats, they actually kind of vary in color and brightness and so forth, so I'm going to make this middle one darker by clicking on it and then pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, clicking this Black/White Icon down here at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choosing Brightness/Contrast. Good old simple old brightness contrast is going to do the trick here, and I'm going to call this layer 'darker', and turn on the check box Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask, so that we affect this one layer only.
Click OK, and then I'm going to take the Brightness value down to -10. So not way different, just a little bit different, like so. Contrast is fine as is. Go ahead and close the Adjustments panel. Now, I think we need to add just a little bit of a line between these slats. I'm going to do that by clicking on middle slat again--don't leave the darker layer selected, go ahead and click on middle slat--drop down to fx, click on it, and click on Outer Glow. We don't really want a glow. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here. What we want is a little bit of a shadow.
So I'm going to change this color from white--in my case, that's the default that I've set up--to the following. The Hue value is going to be 35, which is orange; the Saturation value is going to be 100%, so, highly saturated; and then take the Brightness down to 20%. Click OK. Then change the Blend mode from Screen, which is creating a glow effect to Multiply, which will create a kind of burn effect there. I'll take the Size value down to 6 pixels, so just a little bit of edge there, and I'm going to take that Opacity value down to 25%. So you can see just a hint of an edge around the slat. Then click OK.
We just need a little bit of definition. Now I want to vary the woodgrain for top and bottom, so that even if somebody is looking very, very closely at my composition, they aren't thinking, "You know what? Isn't it weird that this little pattern of blobs over here on the left-hand side of the middle layer is repeated albeit flipped over here on the right side of the top layer, and down here in the bottom layer as well if it was showing up?" And in other words, we do have some repeating items going on. Let's get rid of them. So you do that by going to top in this case-- we'll start with the top layer. Double-click on it in order to open up the Smart Object.
Then all you need to do--check this out. I'll go ahead and zoom in, so we can see it more clearly. All you've got to do is double-click on Clouds, just double-click on it and it generates an entirely new cloud pattern. If you don't like it, double-click again as many times as you like, until you get what you're looking for. In my case, what I would suggest is you watch out for tiny little blobs like this one here. If you end up seeing those little sort of blob fragments, then double-click on Clouds and something new will happen. If you still don't like it, double-click again. I don't like these little blob babies here.
They need to go away. Double-click. That works out pretty well I guess. I'm sick of doing this. So I'm just going to go up here to the title bar and I'm going to click the close box, and then Photoshop is going to say, "Hey! Do you want to save your changes?" which of course I do. Click on the Yes button here on the PC-- that would be the Save button on the Mac--and you will see a new pattern represented up here at the top. So just to give you a sense of the difference that I made there, I'll go ahead and zoom in, and I'll press Ctrl+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, and that shows you the original texture. Then if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z again, that shows me the new texture. All right! Let's do it for the bottom as well just for larfs, double-click on the bottom layer here inside the Layers panel, go ahead and zoom in so that I can see what I'm doing. Double-click on Clouds.
You could also, if you want to, not only change the cloud pattern there, but you could also increase the width of this woodgrain by double-clicking on Motion Blur and then changing the Distance to something else, like let's try 350 pixels, which is going to spread out that grain. It's going to make for some wider blobs essentially, and then click OK, and then click the Close box, and then click Yes, or that would be the Save button on the Mac. That will go ahead and generate a new woodgrain down here at the bottom.
If you feel like you need to match for top--I sort of feel like I do because I'm compulsive I guess-- I'll go up here to top. I feel like it should be wide woodgrain as well, so I'll double-click on the top layer, double-click on Motion Blur, and change its Distance to 350 pixels. Click OK. Click the Close box. Click Yes. You can see how you can just whip through this. That would be the Save button on the Mac. And we now have independent wood strips here, that is, slats or panels or whatever they are, here inside this composition. All right! A couple of more things to do before I'm done here. Go ahead and select everything inside the Layers panel by going up to the Select menu and choosing All layers-- Ctrl+Alt+A or Command+Option+A on the Mac--and then let's go ahead and combine these guys into guess what, yet another Smart Object by going up to Layers panel flyout menu and choosing Convert to Smart Object.
Then once you've done that and once Photoshop has done it for you, then I want you to drop down to the fx icon down here at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'm going to choose Gradient Overlay. And I just want to add a little bit of light variation, so I'm going to change this Angle value to 100, and I'm going to set the Style from Linear to Reflected and turn on Reverse, so we get a black-to- white-to-black gradient. I'm going to change the Blend mode to Overlay, so that we end up getting this massively enhanced contrast effect.
To temper it a little bit, I'm going to take the Opacity level down to 15%. Click OK in order to accept that modification. So you can see this is what the woodgrain look like without that layer effect. This is what it looks like now. All right! Then finally, I want to take this layer that I've worked so hard on here, this Smart Object, and put it in inside my composition in progress, which is this guy right here. So I'll make sure that file is opened, which it is, and then with Contrast selected here inside the Layers panel, I'll click on the flyout menu icon, I'll choose the Duplicate Layer command, and I'll go ahead and change the document from its current name to Just the text.psd, which is the name of the file I'm working with. Click OK.
Now it doesn't look like anything happened until you actually switch to that document--here it is--the one we just saw a moment ago with the big white type. Problem is the Contrast layer, which is really our slats of wood-- let's go ahead and rename that-- is covering up the text below. So I'm going to go ahead and grab it and drag it down to the bottom of the stack, and now we're seeing our wood panel in back of the text, and we're ready to begin our embossing the text from the wood background, which is exactly what we'll do in the very next movie.
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