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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 I'm going to show you how to assign a vector mask to a photographic image layer, and we'll also go ahead and add a gradient layer mask and combine it with a couple of layer effects in order to create this glowing green bulb. I'll switch over to the file that represents where we left off in the previous movie. I've got the background selected. I need to create a copy of it by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and then I'll call this layer "bulb" and then click OK. Now we need to assign a vector mask to this layer, and we will do so by switching over to the Paths panel.
There is my combined paths object, which goes ahead and traces the entire bulb, as you can see. You don't have to select it with the Black Arrow tool or anything like that; just make sure it's selected here in the Paths panel, and you can see it's outline in the image window. Then switch back to Layers panel, drop down to the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel, and press the Ctrl key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click on it. And because you have the Ctrl key or the Command key down, that goes ahead and converts that path outline to a vector mask. Now we really can't see the job it's doing because it's currently sitting on top of the original, so the composite inside the image window doesn't look any different.
I'll go ahead and turn on that burst layer, and then I'll drag the bulb in front of the burst layer and you can see that we have a precisely traced bulb. To hide the path outline just go ahead and click on the vector mask thumbnail there inside the Layers panel. Now we're going to add a couple of layer effects, starting with an outer glow. Drop down to the FX icon at the bottom of Layers panel and then choose Outer Glow. And I'm going to click on this by default yellow color swatch in order to bring up the Color Picker dialog box, and my intention here is to match the color of the filament, this kind of bright white, with some orange-ish highlights around it.
And the values I came up with were a Hue value of 25 degrees, which is a slightly reddish shade of orange, and then I took the Saturation value to 40%, and I left the Brightness value at 100%. Then click okay. And I'm going to increase the Opacity value to 100% so we get the brightest glow possible. I'll also increase the Size value by pressing Shift+Up Arrow until I get to 65 pixels. I'll press Shift+Tab to select the Spread value and take it up to 20%. The reason I'm spreading the glow is because that'll give us an effect that's more consistent, once again, with the filament.
But the screen mode isn't going to give us the effect we're looking for. We want a much brighter effect, and we want the glow to interact with the starburst. And you can do that by amplifying the blend mode from Screen to the brightest blend mode there is, which is Linear Dodge (Add). And notice now that we get these very hot highlights, and we get this wonderful interaction of the glow and the starburst. All right, next we're going to add a green glow inside the light bulb. Click on the Inner Glow in order to make it active and turn it on, and I'm getting increase the Size value to 200 pixels.
Obviously that's not the color we're looking for, so click on the color swatch to bring up the Color Picker dialog box. I'll change the Hue value to 90 degrees, which is an emerald green, and then I'll take the Saturation value up to 50%. A Brightness of 100% is just fine. Click OK. This is absolutely the wrong blend mode for what we're trying to achieve, so switch the Blend Mode option from Screen to Linear Light. Now that'll end up giving as a kind of over-the-top effect, so let's dial it down by taking the Opacity value to 50% and then click OK.
Now that's a pretty cool effect. The problem is there's no earthly reason for the metallic base to be glowing like this. It just wouldn't, under any circumstances. So I'm going to mask that portion of the layer effect away, and I'm going to do so by adding a standard pixel-based layer mask to our current mix. And the great thing about Photoshop is you can have both a vector mask and a layer mask working at once on any given layer. So with the bulb layer still active, drop down to the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel and just click on it.
And now we have a pixel-based layer mask. I'm going to switch over to the Gradient tool, which you can get by pressing the G key. And then make sure that the very first gradient option is selected, which is foreground to background. And then press the D key in order to establish the default colors, which are white for the foreground color and black for the background color, and then press the X key in order to swap them. So black is your foreground color and white is your background color. Drag from the top of the metal base upward while pressing the Shift key so you get an exactly vertical drag, and then release right there in the center of that glass element, and you'll end up achieving this effect here, which is not even approximately what we want.
We have this big glowing base now. What I want to do is I want to use that layer effect, not only to mask the contents of the layer, as it's doing right now, but I also want it to mask the layer effects. And you do that by pressing the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool and then right-click anywhere inside the image window and choose the Blending Options command to bring up the huge Layer Style dialog box. And here's the option we're looking for, Layer Mask Hides Effects. Go ahead and turn that check box on, and now you're masking away the effects using a layer mask.
If you wanted to use a vector mask to mask away the effects, you would click on this final check box. However, in our case, that gets rid of everything. That's not what we want. The only option you need to turn on is Layer Mask Hides Effects and then click OK in order to accept the result. That finishes off the effect. I'm just going to go ahead and turn on my top two layers, which include the white border as well as the white text down here at the bottom of the composition. And I'll press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen. Next week, by the way, I will show you how to create that starburst in back of the light bulb.
And incidentally, it, too, is a vector. Even though it's soft and blurry, it's created using a vector mask, and I'll show you exactly what's up with that, again, next week.
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