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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. This week we're going to take these two eager business people here and we're going to turn them into Star-Wars-style holograms. Now you may look at this composition and think, okay, fair enough, looks pretty cool! What are those people doing on the seat of a car? Well, they are agents from a far- flung rental car company, don't you see? Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, so here is the hologram version of our coworkers waiting for us in the car.
Now if the interface comes as something of a surprise, that's because I'm working inside Photoshop CS6, which has recently gone into public beta. However, everything I'm about to show you works just as well in CS5 and earlier. So obviously we're going to need a couple of images to pull this off. One is the car interior and the other is the coworkers themselves. Now these guys were shot against a white background. I went ahead and selected the white background using the Quick Selection tool, applied a little bit of refined edge as well, and came up with this layer mask. And you can check it out by Shift+Clicking on that layer mask thumbnail there inside the Layers panel and that goes ahead and hides that background.
So it's very important that you mask the subject of your hologram in advance. However, you don't have to do a super great job of it. If you take a look at the outlines, you'll see that things are pretty rough. That's okay, because the effects that we're going to be piling on go a long way toward hiding that roughness. Once you've masked your subjects, then just go and right-click inside the image window with one of the selection tools and choose the Duplicate Layer command, and I'm going to go ahead and send this layer to the Car interior.jpg file, and then I'll click OK. Now I'll go back to that image in progress. You can see that they're a little bit too big, so I'm going to have to scale them into place.
However, before I do that, I want to go ahead and convert these guys into a Smart Object, complete with their mask--the mask has to be part of the Smart Object for this effect to work. So, with the layer selected, you go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and you choose to Convert to Smart Object command. The next step is to scale them, so I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command or you can press Ctrl+T, Command+T on a Mac. And in my case I'm going to go ahead and scale these guys proportionally. Of course, I don't want to squish them, and I'm going to change either the W or H value to 64%.
Now of course, if you are working inside of a different composition, then you will scale the image as you see fit, but this is what I'm looking for. So having scaled and moved it into place, so I'll go ahead and press the Enter key here on the PC, the Return key on a Mac, in order to complete the transformation. Now we're going to pile on a couple of layer effects, including a pattern layer, but first we need to create the pattern. So I'll go up to the File menu and choose the New command or press Ctrl+N, Command+N on the Mac. We want a very tiny image. The Width just needs to be 1 pixel and the Height only needs to be 2 pixels, so make sure you're working with pixels, 1 and 2, and then click OK in order to make that image.
Obviously, it's super dinky, so I'll go ahead and zoom in on it. This is as close as I can get. With the Rectangular Marquee tool, I'll select the top pixel. Go ahead and press the D key to ensure that your foreground color is black and then press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that top pixel with black. Now I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image, then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Defined Pattern command, and I'll go ahead and call this pattern H lines because these are going to translate to horizontal lines. Click OK.
Now let switch back to the image in progress, and we'll apply a Pattern Overlay by dropping down to the fx icon and choosing the Pattern Overlay command. And the pattern we want is not this of course--you never want that pattern; it's this one right here, the most recent one that you just created, H lines. And I'm going to go ahead and change the Scale value for this image to 300%. So that's going to vary depending on the resolution of your image, but 300% works great for this one. Then I'll switch the Blend mode from Normal to Screen, so we're just seeing the white portions of those lines, and I'm going to take the Opacity value down to 25%.
We also want to make the image that trademark Star Wars blue of course, so I'll go and click on Color Overlay, and then we'll change the color by clicking on that red swatch. I'll enter a Hue value of 225 degrees and a Saturation value 50%. A Brightness of 100% is just fine. Click OK. Then go ahead and change the Blend mode from Normal to Color, and we'll drop that Opacity value down to 50%. Click OK in order to apply those layer effects. Now we need to pile on some highlights.
The idea is the holograms basically glow in the highlights, so we're going to create that glow effect using a couple of Smart filters, starting with a displacement map. But first we need to make that displacement map. So go up to the File menu once again and choose the New command, and this time we're going to create another tiny image, but a little bigger then the previous one. I'm going to change Width value to 10 pixels. Again, I'm working with pixels, very important. And I'll change the Height value to 30 pixels. And then I'm going to switch the Color mode from RGB to Grayscale and click OK. And again, we want to zoom in on this image.
Now the displacement map wants to be based on that same pattern that we just created a moment ago, so drop down to this little black white icon at the bottom of Layers panel so that we can add a pattern layer. Go ahead and choose Pattern and then select that H lines pattern once again, and increase the Scale value again to 300%. It needs to match whatever scale you applied a moment ago, and then click OK. A displacement map has to be a flat image, so go up to Layer menu and choose the Flatten Image command.
And then finally, you want to go up to the File menu and choose the Save command, and you want to go ahead and save this guy as a native PSD document--very important. I've already done that in advance. I've got this file called Static displace, so we'll come back to it. So I'm going to cancel out, but that's all you need to do if you working along with me once again. Now I'll switch back to that file in progress. I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Distort, and choose Displace. And you want a Horizontal Scale value, if you're working along with me, of 5, a Vertical Scale value of 0--very important that that second value is 0-- and then for Displacement Map select Tile, not Stretch To Fit.
The Undefined Areas are fine set to Repeat Edge Pixels. Then go ahead and click OK and now locate that file you just created, in my case Static displays, and go ahead and click the Open button in order to open it up. Now you can see that that ends up giving us too much in the way of wiggly lines. So what I am going to do after I get done zooming in here is I'm going to double-click on this little slider to the right of the word Displace in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, and then I'm going to set the mode from Normal to Screen, and I'm going to change the Opacity value to just 25% so we have just a little bit of bright displacement going on. Then I'll click OK.
I'm going to right-click on that Filter Mask and choose Delete Filter Mask, just to tidy things up. Now we need some Gaussian Blur. Again, go to the Filter menu, this time choose Blur, and choose the Gaussian Blur command. And we want an awful lot of blur. I'm going to apply a Radius of 20 pixels and then click OK. Again, we don't want to blur away the entire image; we just want to create a glow coming off the highlights. So double-click on that little slider icon, this time the one to right of Gaussian Blur. Go ahead and change that mode to Screen once again, leave the Opacity value set to 100%, and click OK.
Now obviously our holographic couple is way too bright, so go ahead and double-click on an empty portion of this layer, anywhere to the right of layer's name. Let's go ahead and take the black triangle right here under this layer and drag it all the way over until that first value says 180, like so, and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag the right half of that slider triangle all the way over to the right so that those first two values read 180/255. Having done that, go ahead and click OK.
The interesting thing about this is we just dropped out all of the shadow detail inside this image and yet it continues to persist, and that's a function of our layer effects, so our layer effects are filling in the shadow detail. Then Gaussian Blur and Displace are filling in the highlights. If you're creating this effect for the screen, that is, the web or something along those lines as the final destination, then you can stop here. However, if you're creating the effect for print, you'll probably want to brighten up the hologram further, and here is how you do that.
With that layer still selected, drop down to fx and go ahead and choose Inner Glow. We'll change the color of this inner glow to that same shade of blue we were using before, so 225 for the Hue and then 50% for the Saturation, the Brightness should be 100%, then go ahead and click OK. We want the blend mode to be Screen but we want the Size value to be much higher, so I'm going to crank it up to 150 pixels. And then I'll take that Opacity value down to 25% like so and then click OK.
So just to give you sense of what the contribution of the inner glow is, this is what the hologram looks like without the inner glow; this is what it looks like with the inner glow. All right, now I'll go and press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the image, and that is, my friends, the final hologram effect, created here inside Photoshop.
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