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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're going to take that reflected text effect that we created in the previous movie and we're going to dress it up in order to create this effect here. Now, you can see that we've got these highlights. We've got some bluish colors that work inside the letters. It feels like a much more sparkling composition. However, also notice that we have a kind of double-reflection. That is to say, the water reflects up into the letters and then back down into its own reflection, which is the way it would work in real life. So let's see how that works in Photoshop.
Here's where we last left off. Notice that we've got these two Smart Objects here, both of which link to the same file. I'm going to double-click on the thumbnail for either of them in order to open the Smart Object. If you see the message that tells you how Smart Objects work, just go ahead and click OK. And you should see your text pretty tightly trimmed. I want a little more wiggle room. So I'm going to go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command. Notice that I have the Relative checkbox turned on. I'm going to change both the Width and Height values to 20 pixels and click OK.
The next thing I want to do is add a layer effect, specifically Bevel and Emboss. So I'll click on the fx icon and choose Bevel & Emboss. It's at the top of the list here in Photoshop CS6; it's closer to the middle in Photoshop CS5 and earlier. And then I'm going to change the Size value to 12 pixels. I'm going to change the Gloss Contour from its default setting of Linear to this kind of wiggly guy right here, Ring, so go ahead and select it. Notice that puts the highlights on the wrong side, so I'll change the Direction from Up to Down, and then I'm going to increase this Highlight mode Opacity value to a 100%.
We don't need to worry about the Shadow mode because it's black against the black background; we can't even see it. That's it for the layer effects. Just go ahead and click OK. Then I figured we wanted some manual shines. So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac, name this layer shines, click OK. Go ahead and grab my Brush tool here. I'm going to press the D key to ensure my default colors--meaning that the foreground color is black now--and X key to change my foreground color to white. Notice if I right-click inside the image window that I have my Size value at 90 pixels. My Hardness is set to 0%.
I'm going to crank up that Size value to 100 pixels. Press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to make that change. Then I'm going to click on the top right corner of the A and about right here on the R, just add a couple of shines. The shines should appear exclusively inside the letters, not out, so I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click that horizontal line between shines and that relax layer. Then I figure there should be a kind of interplay of blue going on inside the letters, so I'll click in the type layer to make it active.
I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N again, Command+Shift+N on the Mac, to bring up the New Layer dialog box. I'm going to call this guy clouds, because that's what we're going to be creating here. Click OK. Then go up to the Color panel. Your foreground color should be white, your background color black. Go ahead and click on the flyout menu icon and choose HSB sliders, if you're following along with me. And then I'm going to change the H value to 210 degrees, the Saturation I'll make a 100%, and I want the Brightness value set to a 100% as well. Then go up to the Filter menu, choose Render, and choose Clouds.
And what Clouds does is it applies what's known as a fractal noise pattern between the foreground and background colors. So we've got areas of black and areas of blue. That's a little bit too much blue for my taste, and if you agree, then go up to the Filter menu, choose Render, and choose Difference Clouds. And that's going to darken things up considerably. Now I wanted a little more cloud interaction, so I repeated Difference Clouds three more times by pressing Ctrl+F, or on the Mac, Command+F, three times in a row.
So one, two, three, and you'll get an effect like that. Now both Clouds and Difference Clouds produce random effects, so your specific effect and mine will vary. I want to leave the Smart Object open for now. So to update the image, I'll just go up to the File menu and choose the Save command or press Ctrl+S here on the PC, Command+S on the Mac. Let's return to our image in progress and notice that both the top letters and the bottom letters have updated. If I press Ctrl+Z, this is the way they looked before, and if I press Ctrl+Z again, this is the way they look now.
Now we need to create that reflection. That is to say, we need to reflect the water into the letters, and we need to reflect the water reflected into the letters back into the water. And here's how that works. I'll press the M key in order to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and I'm going to zoom out so that I can take in the entire image. And I'm going to select from about here, just a few pixels above where the feet of the letters meet, downward a bit, like so. And then I'll select the Background layer to make it active, and I'll press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac in order to jump the selection and name this new layer. And I'm going to call it reflection and then click OK.
Now I want to move the reflection layer to the top of the stack, like so. We're going to make this a Smart Object so that we can apply a nondestructive transformation to it. So I'll go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, and then I'll go ahead and zoom back in, so I can better see what I'm doing. I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command, and I'm going to drag this bottom handle upward, like so. Now here's the problem. I can't really see what I'm doing, so I'm going to escape out of here for a moment by pressing the Escape key.
I really want to be able to see the reflection inside the letters, so I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on that horizontal line between the top relax layer and the reflection layer. Now I'll press Ctrl+T, or Command+T on the Mac, to once again enter the Free Transform mode and drag this guy upward. And the reason it's so helpful to see the water inside the letters is then you can see that the highlights and shadows inside the letters are interrupting the highlights and shadows in the background, because what you don't want is a continuous highlight going through things because then it looks like we're seeing through the letters as opposed to seeing a reflection.
If you want to go with the numerical route here, then go up to the Options bar and click on that top reference point because after all, what is now the bottom used to be the top, and change that Height value to -77, and then go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to apply that change. Now, we could start dressing things up here. That is, we could start integrating the reflection into the letters. Obviously, they're not particularly well integrated right now. But if we did that, we'd just affect the top type and we wouldn't affect the reflected type, and that wouldn't make any darn sense.
So what we need to do is take this reflection and move it into the Smart Object, and here's how that works. Armed with the Selection tool--I have the Rectangular Marquee tool selected-- right-click inside the image window and choose Duplicate layer and then change the Document to relax, and it might have a number after it, .psd and then click OK. And that goes ahead and sends a reflection to that Smart Object image. Now we can get rid of it inside of this composition, so make sure the reflection layer is active and just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on Mac.
Now switch over to the Smart Object, and I want you to notice that the reflection is automatically clipped inside of the text layer, but the shines have become unclipped. So I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the horizontal line between shines and reflection. Then I'll click on that reflection layer. And I'm going to zoom out a little bit so you can see something. If I press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac to enter the Free Transform mode, you'll notice that the reflection is not aligned properly to the text. It should actually be centered on the text and of course aligned to the bottom of the letters.
And you can drag it into place if you want to, but here's a much better way to work. I'm going to press the Escape key in order to escape out of there. Here's this awesome trick that works for text, it works for all kinds of things, but it also works for layers that are bigger than the canvas. I'll press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, in order to select the entire image. I'll switch over here to the Move tool, which you can get by pressing the V key, and then what we're going to do is go up to these align options here in the Options bar, and I'll click on Align bottom edges.
Notice it's not aligning the selected area because we're working with a Smart Object; it's aligning to the selection. And then I'll go up here to this option, Align horizontal centers and click on it. Now press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image and press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac in order to enter Free Transform and you'll see that the reflection is exactly centered, and it's aligned with the bottom of letters, just as we need it to be. I'll press the Escape key to escape out. Let's go ahead and zoom back in here.
A few other changes that we need to make. First of all, I'm going to change the blend mode for this layer to Screen, and then I'll press the Escape key so that blend mode is no longer active here on the PC. I'll press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity to 50%. Then we need to create a fade because the reflection abruptly stops right here at this location, and we'll do that using a layer mask. So click on the Add layer Mask icon down here the bottom of the Layers panel, go ahead and get yourself the Gradient tool. Assuming that your gradient is once again set to foreground to background, and your foreground and background colors are black and white respectively, press the Shift key--also very important-- then drag from here down to about here in order to create a kind of fade.
The final step where this layer is concerned is to drop out some of the darker colors in the reflection, just so that we have a brighter reflection going on. And notice this little empty area in front of the arrow right there where this layer is concerned? Double-click in that empty area to bring up the Layer Style dialog box and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag the right half of that black slider triangle until the value after the slash is a 100. So we should see 0/100 255, then click OK.
Now we need to update our changes, so I'm going to press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool and I'll go to the File menu and choose the Save command or press Ctrl+S or Command+S on the Mac. I'm going to switch back to my image in progress. Just so you can see what a difference this made, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Those are the letters without the reflections. If I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z again, those are the letters with the reflection. So we get a reflection of the water going up into the letters and then we get that reflection being reflected back down into the water.
And that's almost it. I just decided to make one final change. I'm going to click on the reflected letters, which is the middle layer in the stack here, and change the blend mode from Normal to Luminosity, so that we get a cleaner transition. Now I'll press the F key a couple of times in order to switch to the full-screen mode and zoom on in, and that is my final reflection effect, complete with a double-reflection going up into the letters and back into the water, here inside Photoshop.
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