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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 the Deke's techniques. This week we are going to take that light bulb that we were working on in a previous episode and we are going to add these custom rays of light coming off the bulb and we are going to do so using a couple of vector-based shape layers and a little known option inside the Masks panel. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, gang, here is that Super deluxe starburst effect, just so that you have a chance to see it in all its glory onscreen. We are going to start off inside this file that I am calling Just the bulb.psd.
Notice the Background is selected here inside the Layers panel. That way I can sandwich a starburst between the Background and the mask bulb layer in front of it. We are going to create the starburst as vector shapes, so let's start things off by clicking and holding on the Shape tool here inside the toolbox, and then go ahead and select the Polygon tool, which is how you create stars inside Photoshop. I want you to increase the Size value to 20 and then click the down-pointing arrowhead to the left of the word Sides to bring up the Polygon Options panel.
Turn on Star so we are drawing stars. And set the Indent Sides value to 85% and then press the Enter key a couple of times, the Return key a couple of times on a Mac, to accept those settings. We also want to dial in a specific color before we start. Let's go ahead and bring up the Color panel. And notice that I am working with my HSB values. If you're not seeing those, you can click on the flyout menu icon and choose HSB sliders. The values that I am going to dial in are those same values that we used previously to create the glow around the bulb, which is to say a Hue value of 25 degrees, a Saturation of 40%, and a Brightness of 100%.
Now let's draw the big starburst by dragging from the center of the light bulb like so right there inside of the filament group. I want you to drag straight down while pressing the Shift key. And once you get to a couple of picas beyond the bottom of the bulb, go ahead and release in order to create that big starburst. All right, let's go ahead and rename this layer burst 1 because that's its function. I am going to collapse the Color panel by double-clicking to the right of the word Styles. I am going to bring up the Masks panel by going up to the Window menu and choosing Masks.
And notice this Feather value right there. It allows us to parametrically soften the selected mask. So assuming, by the way, that your vector mask thumbnail is selected here inside the burst 1 layer--that's essential-- then go ahead and take the Feather value up to 10 pixels and then press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, to accept that value. Now when I say parametrically, by the way, I mean we are changing a numerical parameter, which means you can always change your mind later--that's the beauty of parametric modifications. So even if it sounds like a weird word, it's a great word.
So I could change that value back to zero anytime I like, to reestablish those sharp edges. All right, I am going to take it up to 10 pixels. What I just love about this value is it's equally applicable to a pixel-based layer masks or a vector mask, like this one here. We are combining sharp-edged pixels with blurry softness inside of Photoshop. Next, I want to boost the brightness of this effect by changing the blend mode from Normal to the brightest mode there is, Linear Dodge (Add). And that I will go ahead and give us these bright glows.
If you were to click on the Background layer for a moment, just so you can take in the effect, you would notice that we have these three prongs of glowiness omitting from some indecipherable part of the light bulb, but it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. And this one spike is cutting through the metal base--we need to get rid of those. Click on a vector mask thumbnail there inside the Layers panel to make it active. Go ahead and switch to the Black Arrow tool, which Photoshop calls the Path Selection tool. Click on the path outline to select it, and then I want you to switch to the Pen tool, which you can get by pressing the P key, and click on that point there to subtract it, click on this guy as well to subtract him, and then finally click on this anchor point to get rid of it. And we end up with this final first burst effect, which looks like this.
Let's do it again to add the second burst. I am going to click on the burst 1 layer to make it active. I will grab my Polygon tool from the toolbox. I will drag from the center of the filament group outward. And so the Polygon tool always draws from the center outward incidentally. Notice that I'm dragging down and to the right. I am going to press the Shift key as well to constrain the angle of my drag, so that we have proper alignment between our two starbursts. Then I will release in order to create that new layer. I will go ahead and rename it burst 2 this time around.
Not only is it filled with the right color, but also Photoshop went ahead and automatically lifted the last blend mode we assigned, which is Linear Dodge (Add). So that takes care of a little bit of our work. We need to change the Feather value of course to 10 pixels. In this case, you can try a different value if you want. And we need to get rid of a couple of points here. So I'll switch to the Pen tool. Now in order to delete points with the Pen tool, the path has to be selected. Currently, it's not selected. So press and hold the Ctrl key, or the Command key on a Mac, to get the White Arrow tool on the fly and click anywhere on that star in order to select it.
And then release the Ctrl key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click this bottom point right here and click this bottom point as well to get rid of both of them, and that finishes the effect. I am going to click on the Background layer to deactivate the burst 2 layer and hide its vector mask. And that, folks, is how you create utterly awesome, if not the least but subtle, soft vector starbursts, here inside Photoshop.
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