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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.
All right, so as you may recall from the previous movie, we managed to create the sensational Indiana Jones letters; however, the stroke effect ended up resulting in these rounded corners--and that's not acceptable at all. For real Indiana Jones type, we want sharp, so- called mitered corners, like these right here. That is not something that Photoshop could do for us; however, we can get this effect using Illustrator, and I'll show you how in this movie. All right, I'm going to switch back to the image at hand here. Now let's check out the Stroke effect by double-clicking on it here inside the Layers panel. And notice that the Position is set to Outside--that's our problem.
If we were to switch the position to Inside, then we would get these nice sharp corners, but of course then we are absolutely ruining the appearance of the letters, so that's not what we want. We want to stick with an Outside setting and yet get sharp corners. Well, what we're going to want to do is create the equivalent of a five-pixel stroke inside of Illustrator, which means we're going to have to do a little bit of math. So I'm going to cancel out here. Now the math isn't tough, but if you don't like math, why then, you know you can just eyeball it, but here is how it works if you want to get exactly the right number.
You go up to the Image menu and you choose the Image Size command, and then you take mental note that the Resolution value in our case is set to 240 pixels per inch. All right, I'm going to cancel out. Then I'll turn on this top type layer that I've created for you inside this file, and here's the math that you have to do. You take five pixels, you divide it by 240 pixels per inch--obviously you use a calculator, because that's going to give you a very dinky number-- then you multiply that time 72 points per inch, because Illustrator works in points, and that gives you a total of 1.5 points.
So a 1.5-point-stroke in Illustrator is equivalent to a five-pixel stroke inside this file in Photoshop. All right, I'm going to turn that layer back off. Then go ahead and click on the shape layer to make it active, and we want to export those paths for use in Illustrator, by going up to the File menu, choosing Export, and then choosing Paths to Illustrator. And Photoshop will start up by asking you hey, which paths do you want to export, but it gets it right by default. So we're seeing Deke's Techniques Vector Mask--that's exactly what we want, so click OK.
And then navigate to whatever folder makes sense to you. And let's go ahead and call this file something like Shape letters and then click on the Save button in order to save out those paths. All right, now we need to go ahead and switch over to Illustrator, which I have running in the background, and I'll go up to the File menu now and choose the Open command. So once again we're working now inside Adobe Illustrator. I'll navigate to that same folder, find that Shape letters file that I just created, click on the Open button. Now Photoshop saves to an older version of the Illustrator file format, and as a result, any modern version of Illustrator is going to ask you, "What do you want to do with the artboard?" The default settings are just fine. Click OK.
Now that may surprise you that this file comes up completely blank. I'm going to go ahead and zoom on in, because actually the letters are there; they're just filled with white. So press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, to select all of the letters and then go over to the Color panel, which should be located in the upper-left corner of the screen by default, make sure that the Fill icon is active, and then click on the little black color swatch in order to make those letters black, just so we can see him. Now, I want you to go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and choose Offset Path. And you want to dial in that value that we just calculated, which is 1.5 points in this case.
Make sure Joins are set to Miter-- that'll give us those sharp mitered corners-- and then click on Preview in order to see the effect. Everything looks absolutely great, so click OK. All right, those are our paths. So now go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, or press Ctrl+C on the PC or Command+C on the Mac. Now let's switch back over to Photoshop. And I'm going to go ahead and zoom out there by pressing Ctrl+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, and I'm going to click on the layer below the active layer there, so that we can create this new layer in the background.
I'm also going to turn off the stroke so that we can see these paths as we add them. Go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command, or press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac, and that'll bring up the Paste dialog box. You want to select Shape Layer in this case. Now go ahead and click OK. Now your shape layer won't necessarily appear in the right location, so you'll need to drag it around. And assuming that you're Rectangular Marquee tool is selected, or any of the Selection tools for that matter, you can press the Ctrl, key or the Command key on the Mac, and drag those strokes into place.
And if you want to make sure you've gotten it exactly right then zoom in a couple of clicks, and you can press Ctrl or a Command along with the arrow keys in order to nudge that stroke effect into position. But in my case it looks great. Let's go ahead and rename the layer "stroke," just so that we can keep track of it, and I will once again press Ctrl+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, to zoom out from my image. Click on that vector mask thumbnail to hide the path outlines. And you know what? We might as well press the F key a couple of times in order to switch to the full screen mode, zoom on in--and I'm doing this, by the way, by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and scrolling up with the scroll wheel on my mouse.
And that is the final, sharply cornered, stroked version of those Indiana Jones letters, created using a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop working together in absolute harmony.
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