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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, I know this is a very busy time for you, what with all the beloved friends and family members underfoot, which is why I beg your indulgence for just a few minutes. I want to show you how to take that hummingbird that we masked against this background last week and we are going to turn it into a special-time-of-year-stained-glass ornament. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. So let's take that masked bird and let's convert him into a miniature work of stained glass.
Here is how I did it. For starters, we need to take this masked hummingbird layer and convert it into a Smart Object. That way we can apply Smart Filters. I don't want to put the mask into the Smart Object, however, so I am going to move that mask, by dragging its thumbnail and dropping it onto the string layer right there, just for safekeeping. Then, with the hummingbird layer still active, I will go to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now let's put the layer mask right back on by dragging it from that string layer and dropping it onto the hummingbird layer.
And the whole reason we did that is so that the layer mask remains accessible. All right! I am going to click on the Smart Object thumbnail--very important--to select it. Then we will go up to the Filter menu, choose Texture, and then choose Stained Glass. And these are the settings that I want you to use: a Cell Size of 34, a Border Thickness of 8, and a Light Intensity of 0. I am going to zoom out here from this preview. So we can see what a mess it makes of the image. That's fine. But here is what Light Intensity does. I think Cell Size is pretty obvious: you can either make the cells big or smaller, what have you. Border Thickness obviously is going to make those edges thicker or thinner.
Light Intensity adds this light to the center portion of the image like so. We just do not want that, because it has nothing to do with the light source inside the image. Nine out of ten times, if you are going to use this filter, which you probably won't very often, but if you do, you probably want Light Intensity cranked all the way to zero. Then go ahead and click OK in order to apply that effect, and you will end up getting something like this, bearing in mind of course that this is a random filter, so it always produces a different effect. Now we are going to change the Blend Mode from Normal to Multiply, so the glass is effectively darkening and interacting with that background.
Now we want to apply a border around the bird, and the best way to do that is to drop down to the fx icon and choose the Stroke effect. We are going to take that Size value up to 10 pixels, the Position should be Outside, the Color should be black, as by default, then go ahead and click OK. Now you might look at this and think, well, that's an absolute disaster. That looks terrible. And the reason that we are seeing these problems is that the stroke is glomming onto these soft edges. So we need to get rid of the softness, and we will do that by switching back to the layer mask and we will click on its thumbnail, go up to the Select menu, and choose Refine Mask.
And you probably want to see your bird against the white background. Then crank the Smooth value all the way up to its maximum, which is a 100, and crank the Contrast up to a 100%, and you will end up cleaning up almost all of the edges. Then click OK. Now let's zoom in a little bit here, because we might want to clean up a few more edges. We'll do that using the Brush tool, which you can get by pressing the B key. You also want the blend mode to be set to Overlay. Make sure your foreground color is black. If it isn't, press the X key. You might want to right-click with the Brush tool and make sure that the Hardness value is all the way down to 0%.
Then go ahead and brush along those edges and notice, as you do, you will end up tidying them up. That will go ahead and make those edges a little tighter, and you will probably see the biggest results in the wings and the tail feathers, but you can try out some of the other areas as well. Once you have done that work, then in my case I am going to go ahead and zoom back out, press the M key to switch to the Marquee Tool. Now obviously because this is a work of stained glass, we need to add a Bevel and Emboss effect to all of those borders, which means we need to mask them out, and here is how.
Go ahead and drop down to the bottom layer in the stack, which is called tree. Press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac to create a new layer. Let's call this layer white and then click OK. And then assuming that your background color is white, press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that layer with white. Now we need to loose the color inside the bird, and here is the way to do that. Double-click on the Smart Object thumbnail here at the top of the Layers panel. If you get this warning that's telling you how Smart Objects work, just go ahead and click OK. And this is going to seem like the most dangerous instruction on Earth, but I want you to press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac in order to destroy the bird, fill the entire canvas with white, then go up to the File menu and choose the Save command, or press Ctrl+S or Command+S on the Mac.
So we just wiped out the bird. That's okay. Do not close this image. Now return to your composition in progress, and you will see that we have now isolated all of the lead. To select it, go to the Channels panel and Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on that RGB thumbnail right there. Then go back to the Layers panel, go up to the Select menu, and choose the Inverse command, which you can get by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I, Command+Shift+I on the Mac. Create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and we will call this layer lead and then click OK.
Now I want to fill the selection with a kind of leadish color, so let's bring up the Color panel for a moment. Change the Brightness value--assuming that you are working from black here-- change the Brightness value to 25%, and you can get to the HSB values, by the way, by choosing HSB Sliders from the flyout menu. Once you have done that, then go ahead and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill the selection with that dark shade of gray. All right! Now, you can press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image.
Switch back to that image that represents your Smart Object, bring up the History panel by going up to the Window menu and choosing the History command, and you will see just two states: Open and Fill Layer. Switch back to Open to bring back the bird because we do need it. And then go ahead and close the panel, close the image now, and click on the Yes button to save your changes or the Save button on the Mac, and that will return your full-color bird, which is obviously a very good thing. Now you can turn off the white layer, by the way.
I am going to collapse my Color panel, just so I have a little more room to work. I am going to add some detail to that lead layer. It's still selected, as you can see. I'll zoom in here so you can see what happens. I am going to drop down to the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Bevel and Emboss and just like that, the deed is done. Well, you don't need to change a single setting. Assuming the default settings, everything is exactly right. So if for some reason your settings are messed up, just take a look at my settings here in the video. I am going to go ahead and click OK in order to create that Bevel and Emboss effect.
All right! Just look at that detail. I think it ends up looking utterly fantastic. All right! I am going to zoom back out. I want to create some interaction between this stained-glass effect, which is currently producing these flat areas of color-- I want to bring back some of the hummingbird details though. So notice the words Stained Glass, which represent our smart filter. Go ahead and double-click on that slider icon to the right to bring up the Blending Options dialog box and change the mode from Normal to Screen, and you will end up achieving this effect here. Click OK. Then finally, what we want to do is enhance the colors inside the bird a little bit.
We are going to do that by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. Then click on the black white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose the Hue/Saturation command and turn on the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask checkbox. Then click OK and inside the Adjustments panel, I want you to crank the Saturation value all the way up to 70, and then we are going to take Hue value down to -20 like so. That's all the work we need to do inside that panel. The final step, folks, is to turn on the string layer, which of course is the thing that's holding up the hummingbird now that it can no longer fly.
So that's the effect. I want to emphasize that every single time you apply it, you are going to get something different. Notice that this bird differs quite a bit from my previously saved version of the effect. Yours will look entirely different as well, and that's the beauty of applying random effects such as Stained Glass here inside Photoshop.
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