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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.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Now, as you may recall, when we last left off we were working on photographic documentation of the most menacing monster on the face of the planet, El Terribla, who's multilingual because he wanders the border between Spain and France. Now, depending on whether you're a member or not, if you're not a member, you've got this far with the technique; if you are a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library, then you got this far. We'll be working from this creature, but we've got to do a lot of work to make this little nipper look like that final monster.
Well here's the thing: whenever you see this photographic documentation, it's always blurry, right? This goes for alien photographs as well. And I'm guessing the reason is because you're so darn surprised that you actually got a chance to take a photograph of one of these things that you're a nervous wreck and you're just shaking the camera around. In our case of course, we were lucky to get away with our lives. So there's going to be some camera shake. Now, we can simulate that using motion blur inside of Photoshop, but that's no good. The only way to get authentic camera shake is to use a digital camera, so we're going to point the camera at the screen, and we're actually shoot this guy and move the camera around a little bit, take several shots, pick the best one, and then develop it into this final composition right here.
Let me show you exactly how it works. Now the thing about photographing your screen, even though it can be a great technique, is that it's not an undoable operation. So in other words, after shooting a bunch of images and selecting your favorite shot and developing it, if you decide something about your creature is wrong-- you wish the teeth were more readable or the nose had a different shape--then you are going to have to come back to this version of the image, make your modifications, re-shoot the screen, and so forth. So you are going to do your self a big favor in the long run if you take a few moments to decide that this is definitely the version of the image you want to shoot.
And a great way to get a sense of whether your image reads correctly or not is go up to the Image menu, choose Image Rotation, and then choose Flip Canvas Horizontal, and you will create a mirror image of your creature, and that way you can gauge whether it's reasonably symmetrical and that it reads properly-- in other words, somebody just coming to your image will recognize it and so forth. And I will admit that this caused me to make some modifications to this particular image. Specifically, I went ahead and revisited the Liquefy command and adjusted a few details.
All right, I have already done that in advance, so I am going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, in order to undo that modification. A few other changes we're going to make right now. For one thing, we need to get those guidelines off the screen; otherwise, we will end up photographing them. So press Ctrl+Semicolon, or Command+ Semicolon on the Mac, in order to hide him. Next, I don't like this double-lip effect at all, and so what we are really seeing is the beginning of the bottom lip from that original gorilla. To get rid of it, go ahead and grab the Healing brush, which you can get by pressing the J key. Then Alt+Click or Option+Click about here in order to set a source point and drag along the bottom edge of the lip like so, in order to paint it away.
And you are not going to get the most seamless modification, nor should you expect to be. I encourage you not to overwork things because you can end up making a mess of things pretty quickly. And a lot of these repeated details and perceived problems that you're seeing on screen right now are going to disappear once you photograph the image. However, you might want to take a little bit of time in order to get rid of the most obvious problem. So I am going to Alt+Click or Option+ Click right about there and paint with a smaller brush over those repeated details, and I might also kind of paint over this region.
And it appears I still have the Aligned check box turned on. I don't want that for this kind of healing work, so I will go ahead and turn off Aligned. And I am going to go ahead and zoom in on this detail, and notice how this lip right there--I will switch to my Marquee tool for a moment so that I can trace against it-- notice how this lip, the definition around this lip kind of disappears right about there. What I would like to do is clone this region into this location, but if I try to do that--once again, using the Healing brush--by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking right about there, then when I click here obviously the angle doesn't match.
That's kind of a mess. So I will press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. If you want to modify that angle, then you go up to the Window menu, choose Clone Source, and you have got this Angle value right there. It turns out that an angle value of -7 degrees works quite nicely for this effect. I will go ahead and increase the size of my cursor a little bit and see if that works. Maybe I need to rotate it a little further. If so, what you do is you go ahead and click inside this value and with your cursor positioned at the right point in the image so that you can actually see the preview, go ahead and press Shift+ Down Arrow until the angle matches, and it appears it's more like -14.
I wonder where I came out with -7. Anyway, I will go ahead and click here in order to create a stronger amount of definition. And I might actually take this value a little farther down even than this. I will go ahead and take it, let's say, to -16 and see how that works, or maybe a little farther. Let's try - 19. Press the Enter key in order to accept that change, reduce the size of the cursor by pressing the Left Bracket key and clicking again, right about there, and that ends up producing a pretty nice transition overall. If I'm feeling like I've still got some problems then I could go ahead and switch over to my Smudge tool and smear this detail like so, so that I'm smearing the shadow down, and I could smear this bit of shadow up as well.
Now this is not the kind of thing I do for traditional image editing, but again, because I am going to be photographing the screen in just a moment, this will work. All right, the next step, assuming that you're ready to go and that you are armed with your camera, go ahead and press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with image. Press Ctrl+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, to go ahead center the image and then press Ctrl+Plus, or Command+Plus on the Mac, as many times as necessary so that the image completely fills the screen and move the cursor out of the way. All right, go ahead and grab your digital camera, and I'm assuming that you're working with a reasonably capable SLR that can shoot raw images.
Make sure it's set to capture in raw. Then go ahead and set your camera to Shutter Priority so that you can dial in a shutter speed, and I recommend you take that exposure up to a full second, tends to work pretty well. Now, you might want to dim down the lights in your office or close to drapes, that kind of things, especially if you have a lot of harsh light bouncing off your screen. However, I found that a little bit of ambient light creates a pretty interesting effect. Then go ahead and train the camera on the screen. You may want to zoom in just a little bit to make sure you're not shooting any of the edges, although you can later crop that out if you want to.
So I don't want to worry too much about that. Make sure that you're focused on a screen. Then go ahead and release that shutter and move the camera at the very end. So go ahead and hold it right at the beginning after you release the shutter and then just give a little bit of a movement at the end--not a super big movement, by the way. That will potentially distort the image beyond recognition. Just a little bit of a movement with little hook, in other words come back just a little bit at the end. And you will end up creating kind of blur that you can't duplicate with Photoshop alone. Now I have found that moving in the direction that I want the image to move produces the best effect.
I don't know why that is, but you would think that you move in the opposite direction, but again I moved in the same direction, which happens to be more or less to the right, and ended up getting a pretty great effect. All right, after you shoot about a dozen or so images, load them up on your computer and select your favorite shot. All right, so here I am in the Adobe Bridge, and this is where I picked through all of my photographs and ended up coming up with this guy here, My best shot.dng. When I double-click on this image, it will go ahead and open up inside Camera Raw. And then I went ahead and made a few manipulations here.
I will change the Temperature value to 7 ,000 in order to make those teeth nice and yellow, and then I reduce the Tint value to -50 in order to extract some of the pink from the image. I went ahead and took the Exposure value up to 0.5, and then I took the Brightness value down to 30, the Contrast value down to 0, and finally, the Vibrance value down to -60. Now, you don't have to dial in those values; those just happen to be the ones that I came up with. Notice, by the way, that there's a ton of monitor in this shot.
So you don't by any means have to get the framing exactly right. What's more important is that you like the blur that you come up with. I will go ahead and press the Shift key and click on the Open object button, so that I open the image as a Smart Object inside of Photoshop. That way I can go back to Camera Raw anytime I like just by double-clicking on the layer thumbnail. Now I will go ahead and zoom out a little bit, and I will go to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform, or press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, and I am going to go ahead and rotate the image a little bit like so, so that the creature appears to be a off kilter, and I will Shift+Alt+Drag, or Shift+Option+Drag, one of the corner handles in order to increase the size of his face so that it looks as if I barely managed to capture the shot.
I will also go ahead and drag one of the side handles in order to make the creature a little bit wider, drag him over to the side as well, like so, because I wanted him to be fairly off center. I might want to see a little bit more of that upper brow, so I will go ahead and reduce the size of the image and move him down, and maybe increase the size just so that part of that lower jaw is cut off, rotate the guy a little more as well, and when I am satisfied with the results, I can press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to apply the transformation--bearing in mind, by the way, that because we're working with a Smart Object this is a nondestructive transformation.
We can change our mind anytime we like. Now so that you can better see the results of the next edits inside the video, I am going to go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command, and I will make sure Constraint Proportions and Resample Image are both turned on. This is not a step you need to perform along with me, by the way. It is just to make the video look better. And I will reduce the size of the image to 35% and click OK in order to apply that modification. Then I will go ahead and zoom back in here. Now then, if you were to zoom in to your image, you will see a series of vertical and horizontal lines.
They are barely visible, but they are kind of a giveaway that you photographed your screen as opposed to a real monster, even though, by the way, if you go the File menu and choose the File Info command, and then you switch over to Camera Data, right there, you'll see this wealth of actual EXIF data that proves that you really captured this image, which just goes to show how misleading metadata is in the first place. I will go ahead and click OK to dismiss that dialog box. Now to get rid of some of those screen artifacts and produce a more photographic effect, I will go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Motion Blur.
And I'm going to apply a whopping dose here, an Angle of 50 degrees and a Distance of 200 pixels. Click OK. That's obviously too much. Now because I'm working with a Smart Object, Photoshop has applied Motion Blur as the smart filter. I am going to dial it back a little bit by double-clicking on that slider icon over there on the right-hand side and changing the mode to Overlay, and then I will change the Opacity value to 50%. Click OK. Now we want to introduce a little bit of grain by going to the Filter menu and choosing the Noise command, then choose Add Noise. These are the values I came up with.
An Amount value of 10%, Distribution set to Gaussian, and the Monochromatic check box turned on. Click OK. That introduces single-pixel noise which doesn't look right at all, so go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and then choose Gaussian blur, and set the Radius value to 1 pixel, then click OK, and that's all there is to it. Now I will press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the image. And just to give you a sense for our progress, here is that fairly ridiculous version of the creature that we creature that we created inside of Photoshop, and here is that credible version of the horrifying monster that we captured using a digital camera.
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