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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 the previous movie, I showed you how to take a portrait shot and wrap it in a couple of seamlessly repeating tile patterns. The problem is, from my vantage point anyway, the circuit-board pattern appears upright, whereas I want it to appear rotated, as in the case of this final version of the composition here. Problem is, if you were to bring up that Pattern Fill dialog, box by double-clicking on the thumbnail for one of the pattern layers, you'll see that there is no rotate option, which is a big omission in my opinion. I wish there was one. However, there is a way to rotate pattern layers inside of Photoshop and it involve Smart Objects, as I'm about to show you.
I'll go ahead and switch to the composition that contains the upright circuit-board, and then I'll click on that circuitc layer to make it active. Currently, the layer is subject to a blend mode, Multiply, and includes a layer mask as well. If I were to convert this layer to a Smart Object at this point then I would lose immediate access to that layer mask and I would build the blend mode into the Smart Object, and that's just not a best practice. So what we're going to do, with this layer selected, and assuming that one of your selection tools is active, press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+Option+N on the Mac, in order to switch to the Normal mode.
You can also switch the mode manually in the upper-left corner of the Layers panel. And then let's go ahead and grab that layer mask and drag it and drop it on the only layer that doesn't already include a mask, which his side. So all we're doing is setting that layer mask aside so that we can come back to it later. Now we're ready to convert the layer to a Smart Object, so click on Layers panel flyout menu icon and then choose Convert to Smart Object. All right, now at this point we can go ahead and rotate the layer, but if I zoom out, just to give myself a little more room, and then I go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command, or press Ctrl+T on the PC, Command+T on the Mac, and then let's say I drag outside the transformation boundary to go ahead and rotate the layer, you can see that the layer is just not big enough; I end up revealing portions of layers in the background.
So I need to increase the size of this layer. I could just scale it here inside the Free Transform mode, but if I do that, I'll end up increasing the size of the circuit pattern, and I don't want to do that. I just want to give myself more room to work. So I'll go ahead and press the Escape key. The solution is to modify the Smart Object directly, and you do that by double-clicking on that Smart Object thumbnail. If you get this dialog box telling you how Smart Objects work, just go ahead and click OK. Photoshop then goes ahead and opens the Smart Object in an independent window. To expand the size of the object, go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command.
You've also got a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+C and Option+Alt+C on a Mac. Make sure the Relative check box is off here inside the Canvas Size dialog box, and then click on the word pixels and change it to percent. And I want you to change the Width value to 200% and the Height value to 200% as well, and then go ahead and click OK, and notice that expands the size of the canvas and goes ahead and fills in the expansion with the repeating tile pattern. Now, for some reason we end up with this item Layer 2 right there. It's blank, so just go ahead and click on it and press the Backspace key on the PC ,or the Delete key on the Mac, to get rid of it.
Now let's close our Smart Object by clicking on the close box up there in the title bar. And to update the Smart Object inside the larger composition, go ahead and click the Yes button here on the PC, or the Save button on the Mac. With the image still zoomed out, we'll go up here to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command once again. And I need to zoom out a little farther so I can better see what I'm doing. And I'll move my cursor outside the transformation boundary. Notice how big it is now. We have a lot more area to take advantage of. I'll go ahead and drag up and to the left, like so, while pressing the Shift key, until the Rotate value up here in the Options bar changes to -45 degrees, and then press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to except that modification. All right, let's go ahead and zoom back in, and now we need to reset the attributes of the layer.
So with that circuits layer still selected, I'll go up to the Blend mode pop-up menu and switch it from Normal to Multiply, and next I'll grab that layer mask that I set aside on the side layer and I'll drag it and drop it back onto the circuits layer. All right, folks, that takes care of it. Thanks to the power of Smart Objects, we've been able to rotate a dynamically repeating tile pattern here inside Photoshop.
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