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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, we will take a look at a different kind of hybrid image. This time we have got a portrait shot. I have got this man in the foreground and this woman in the background. We are going to merge them together in order to create this final composition. And as you can see, it has text associated with it as well. When I zoom out from the image, you can se that the text begins to disappear and it all resolves into that woman with her eyes closed in the background. So let's see how that works. I am going to switch over to my base composition. As I say, we've got the woman in the background, the man in the foreground.
He is the higher-contrast image, so we are going to turn him into the high-frequency image. The woman who is slightly lower contrast-- and we will lower her contrast still in a moment--she will be our low frequency image. Now notice that I have this group called text elements at the top. I will go ahead and turn it on, scroll up a little bit so that I can see my text, and I am going to twirl open that group so then I can gain access to its contents. Notice that there is a hidden layer right there. I am going to turn it on. And it's three parentheses in a row. And what I want to do is stretch them out so those parentheses align to the text over here on the left-hand side.
So I am going to click on that text layer to make it active. I'll go up to the Window menu and choose the Character command in order to bring up the Character panel. And I am going to change this Vertical Scale value right there to 370%, so we're really stretching the heck out of those parentheses. Then I will tab over to the Horizontal Scale value and I will change it to 80%, and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that change. Now we end up with these fairly straight and very thin-looking parentheses here. I will go ahead and hide my Character panel.
In order to bend them to match the text, I will go ahead and switch to my Type tool, which I can get by pressing the T key, and then I will go up to the Options bar and I'll click on the Create warped text icon in order to bring up the Warp Text dialog box. I will change the Style to Arc. Now I'm arcing the text in the wrong direction, so I will switch from Horizontal to Vertical. And then I'll click inside the Bend value and press Shift+Up Arrow to take it up to 60%, and I end up with this effect here. Now I will click OK. Now the one problem is that my parentheses extend beyond the E at the end of word Everyone, so I need to go ahead and mask that text layer.
I have already created the mask in advance, so I will just go ahead and Shift+Click on that vector mask thumbnail in order to turn it on. If I click on that thumbnail then you can see the outline of my mask right there. So that's how I created the text. Now I will go ahead and collapse this text elements group, and I will Shift+Click on the man layer to select him as well, so that the text and the man are all selected. And let's convert them to a Smart Object, by clicking on the Layer panel flyout menu icon and then choosing Convert to Smart Object. And that combines the man and this text into a single object.
Now I will double-click on the name and rename this layer something like "dude" and then go ahead and press Enter or Return in order to accept that change. All right, let's do the same thing with the woman layer, that is, we will convert her to a Smart Object by clicking on her, then going up to Layers panel flyout menu, and choosing the Convert to Smart Object command. Now click on dude begin to make him active. We need to convert him into a high- frequency image, by going up to the Filter menu and then choosing Other and finally choosing the High Pass command. As in the previous video, I am going to set the Radius value to 8 pixels and then click OK in order to accept that change.
And then I will right-click inside that filter mask and choose Delete Filter Mask, just to tidy things up. And now to blend this high-frequency image with the layer below, go up to the Blend mode pop-up menu and choose Overlay. Now once again, we are not able to see the high-frequency image because there's so much high-frequency detail associated with the woman layer in the background, so I will click on her to make her active. And then in order to make her a low-frequency image, you go to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. And again, as in the previous movie, I will set the Radius value to 20 pixels and click OK.
Let's tidy things up by right- clicking on the filter mask and choosing Delete Filter Mask. The biggest problem we have at this point is that the background image, the woman layer here, has too much contrast associated with it. There are far too many blacks and too many whites as well, which prohibit the Overlay mode from doing its thing. That is to say, we can't see the high-frequency details. So we need to reduce the contrast of this layer, and we are going to do that by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the Black/White icon down there at the bottom of the panel, and choose the Levels command in order to bring up the New Layer dialog box. And I will go ahead and call this new layer "low contrast," and then I will click OK.
That will reduce the contrast of the background image. We need to change the Output Levels values. I am going to take that first Output Levels value, the Black Point value, up to 40, and that's saying that the darkest color inside that layer is going to have a Luminance level of 40, which is relatively bright. And then I will tab over to the White Point value--again, the Output Levels value--and I'll take it down to 225. Now that ends of making the image a little bit too bright, so I am going to click in the Gamma value there and I am going to take it down to 0.7. Now to get a sense for the contribution that this layer is making, I'll go ahead and collapse the Adjustments panel for a moment.
I will turn that layer off. So that's what we were seeing before. Then if I turn that adjustment back on, you can see that the high-frequency image is showing up that much better. My problem at this point with the high- frequency information is that we have these little color halos going on. Around his ear, for example, you can see a little bit of blue. I want to get rid of all that haloing, and I am going to do that by converting this dude layer right here to grayscale. And the best way to make that happen is to click on the layer to make it active, then click on the fx icon down here at the bottom of the panel, choose Color Overlay, and then I am going to click on that little red swatch, and I'm going to change the Saturation value to 0%.
I will change the Brightness value to 50% so that we have a neutral gray, click OK, and change the Blend mode from Normal to Saturation, way down here at the bottom of the list. Now that ends up making the entire image grayscale, which is not what we were looking for. So I will click on Blending Options over here on the left-hand list, and I will turn on this check box, Blend Interior Effects as Group. That way we are converting him to grayscale before we blend him into the background image. All right, now I will click OK in order to apply that change.
Let's go ahead and zoom out here a little bit, so that we can take in the entire image. There is just one more step left. We need to increase the contrast of the entire composition by adding another levels adjustment layer. Go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the Black/White icon at the bottom of the list, choose the Levels command, let's go ahead and call this layer global, click OK, and then I am going to increase the contrast by taking that Black Point value up to 30, and I will tab over to the White Point value and take it down to 225, and we end up with this final effect here.
And just to get a sense for how it works, once again, when we were zoomed in to the image, we see the high-frequency details, so we end up seeing this guy's face. We see the text around him as well. If you zoom out from the image, however, or if you were to print the image and back away from it, then you would end up seeing the low-frequency image in the background, and the text completely disappears. So it's an interesting optical illusion that you can pull off here by creating a hybrid composition, using a combination of the High Pass and Gaussian Blur filters here inside Photoshop.
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