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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 are going to take regular old text inside Photoshop and we are going to render it as shrubbery. And notice how the edges follow the reticulated leaf patterns and everything. It's fantastic, and it's pretty easy to pull off; however, here's the caveat. You will need Photoshop CS5 or later to work along with me. This feature is not found in CS4 and earlier, just so as you know. With that in mind, here, let me show you exactly how it works.
All right, here's the final version of the effect. I should tell you that I'm working inside Photoshop CS6 Beta; however, everything works the same in previous versions of the software. All right, I'm going to switch over to my starter file. Now you can see that I've got this big HEDGE text. It's editable text on its own layer. Obviously, this effect is going to work best with all caps. You also probably want to set your text in a sans serif font. This happens to be Myriad Pro. But here's the most important thing. If I bring up the Character panel, notice that I have the tracking value here set to 60, which provides me with a lot of room between the characters, and that's very important.
Where this effect starts to break down, or where it perhaps might break down for you, is where you have two letterforms that are identical to each other right next to each other. For example, we've got this vertical element of the H right next door to the vertical element of the E. If you don't have enough room between those two characters, then the effect starts to glom together. I have got a big tracking value going; you'll want to as well. All right, I'm going to hide the Character panel. Let's go ahead and load this text as a selection outline by Ctrl+Clicking on its thumbnail. That would be Command+Clicking on a Mac.
And then I'm going to go ahead and turn that layer off and turn the hedge layer on, which is a photograph of some foliage, as you can see. Now I will go ahead and click on that hedge layer to make it active. I will click on the Add Layer Mask icon down here at the bottom of the Layers panel in order to convert that selection outline to a layer mask. Now let's grow the layer mask into the leaves. You do that by confirming, first of all, that your layer mask is selected. Go up to the Select menu and choose the Refine Mask command, or you can press Ctrl+Alt+R--that's Command+Option+R on a Mac.
You will probably want to set your View option not to On Black, although that can be little bit helpful. You really want to see On layers, so you can keep track of what's going on in the background. Then check this out: you just take this Radius value up. In the case of this particular image, this is a fairly low-res image, I'm going to take it up to 20 pixels, and then you press the Tab key, and notice how Photoshop automatically grows that layer mask into the leaves themselves. Now the effect is turning a little bit translucent around the edges. We don't want that. We are going to solve that problem in a minute.
But you just basically adjust this Radius value to taste depending on the resolution once again. If you have a higher-resolution image, presumably you are going to want to raise that Radius value. You will probably also want to turn on Smart Radius, although you can go ahead and experiment with that one. In the case of this image, it produces a better result. Then go ahead and take the Contrast value up to 50%. And what that does is it gets rid of all that translucency that we had before. Now I'm also going to expand the effect by increasing the Shift Edge value to 25%, like so, and then click OK. That's really all there is to this effect.
You just force Photoshop to automatically recognize the edges of those leaves. All right, now let's add some definition using some layer effects. I will click on the fx icon and choose Drop Shadow, which in CS6 is located down here at the bottom of the list; it's at the top of the list in CS5 and earlier. Then I'm going to click on the color swatch right there and I'm going to dial in a wood color, which is 25, 25, 25 for the H, S and B values. That gives us a nice deep brown. Click OK. I'm going to change the blend mode from Multiply to Linear Burn, so we have a sharper effect, and then I'm going to take it back a little bit by reducing the Opacity value to 50%. My Angle is already set to 45 degrees inside of this document.
And then I'm going to take the Distance up to 10 and I will take the Size value up to 10 as well. I want a little more definition around the edges of those leaves, so I'm going to turn on Inner Glow. Once again it appears at a slightly different position in CS5. Then I will click on the color swatch. And I'm going to dial in a shad of green this time, so it's going to Hue value of 90 degrees, a Saturation value of 100% and a Brightness of 25%. Then click OK. Obviously, we want a dark effect instead of a light one, so I'm going to change the blend mode from Screen to Multiply, and then I will increase the Opacity value to 100% and click OK.
All right, that's it for the HEDGE text. Now I want the second line of text to appear as if it's embossed into the wood in the background. So I'm going to click on the YOUR TEXT layer and I'm going to get rid of the white of the text by reducing that Fill Opacity value to 0%. In CS6, you can press Shift+0+0 in order to pull that off, which is totally awesome. Notice that reduces the Fill value to 0. If you're working in CS5 or earlier, you will have to change that value manually. Either way, that makes the text disappear, but we still have the outline information, so we can throw on some layer effects.
I will click on the fx icon and choose Inner Shadow. And I'm going to go ahead and change the color there to that same color I used before, that same shade of brown, which was 25, 25, 25 for the H, S, B values. Click OK. Then I will take the Opacity value all the way to 100%, and I'm going to change the blend mode once again to Linear Burn. So we have this very dark shadow effect. Then I'm going to turn on Inner Glow by clicking on it. And for once, I don't have to change any of the values.
These default values actually work great for this particular effect. So it's the pale shade of yellow, we are working with the Blend mode set to Screen, the Opacity value is 75%, and the Size value is set to 5 pixels. Click OK in order to finish things off. All right, now I'll press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the image, and go ahead and zoom in as well. And that is the final hedge effect, created fairly automatically, using the Refine Edge command in Photoshop.
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