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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. I just thought I'd try that one out and see how it went over. This week, I'm going to take this photograph of this lovely person here and we're going to make her appear to emerge from an aqueous solution. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. This is the final effect we're going for, but we're going to start inside this document here. Now, obviously it's not nearly tall enough, so we need to expand the canvas. I'm going to do so by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command.
Notice that the image measures 1240 pixels tall. I want to add to that height, so I'll turn on the Relative checkbox. And I want to add a 100 fewer pixels, so we have a 100 pixels' worth of overlap associated with the two images, that is, the model and her reflection. So, I'm going to change this Height value to 1140 pixels. I'm working in pixels, by the way. And then I'm going to click the bottom chiclet down here in the anchor area, and I'll click OK in order to expand that canvas. Now, click on the model layer to make her active, and there's a good idea to go ahead and make this layer a Smart Object.
That way both the model and her reflection will be linked to the same image. So, I'll go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose the Convert to Smart Object command. Then I'll go ahead and jump this layer by pressing Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac, and I'll press Ctrl+A or Command+A in order to select the entire canvas. Let's go ahead and zoom out here a little bit by pressing Ctrl+0. And I'll switch to the Move tool, which I can get by pressing the V key, and I'll go up to this first alignment option, which is Align top edges, in order to align the top version of the model to the top of the canvas.
Then I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Now, I'll click on the lower model layer, which I'll go ahead and rename reflection, so we can keep track of what's going on. And of course, we want to flip her. So, I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Free Transform command, or we can press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. I'll right-click inside the image, choose Flip Vertical, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to complete the reflection. Now, let's go to the model layer and then drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of Layers panel, and click on it.
What we want to do is create a little bit of a soft transition between the model and her reflection. So, I'll start by zooming in and then I'll Ctrl+Click or on the Mac, Command+Click on the thumbnail for the reflection layer in order to select it. Then I'll press the Ctrl+Shift+Alt keys-- that would be Command+Shift+Option on the Mac--and click on the thumbnail for the model layer in order to find the intersection of these two layers. Right now, let's draw a gradient inside that area. I'll go ahead and select the Gradient tool, which I can get by pressing the G key. And assuming that your foreground and background colors are black and white respectively and that all the options up here in the Option bar are set to their defaults, which is to say a linear gradient--we're creating a black-to-white gradient, as you can see here-- I'll go ahead and drag from the bottom of this selection and press the Shift key and drag up to the top of this selection and then release in order to create that transition.
Now, I'm going to click on the reflection layer in order to select it. I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. Then I'm going to press the 5 key in order to reduce the opacity of the reflection to 50%. Now, I'm going to click on the water layer that you can see I've created in the background here. Now, I'm not altogether happy with the color of this water. I want it to be a little more cyan. So, I'll drop down to the fx icon, click on it, and choose Color Overlay, and then I'll click on the red color swatch in order to bring up the Color Picker dialog box, and I'll change the Hue value to 180 degrees, leave the Saturation and Brightness values set to 100%, click OK, change the blend mode from Normal to Color, way down here at the bottom of the list, and then reduce the Opacity value to 25%.
Now, click OK in order to accept that effect. Finally, I want to add a gradient transition to the water, so I'll once again drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel, click on it, and I want to create the gradient inside of the confines of the water, so I'll go ahead and Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the thumbnail for that water layer to select it. Then I'll switch over, once again, to the Gradient tool, and I'll drag from the top of the selection down to about the model's nose, like so. Again, I'm pressing the Shift key to constrain the angle of my drag to exactly vertical, and then I'll release. And that is ultimately the final effect.
Because I'm working with Smart Objects here, I can make any change I want to the model and her reflection will update in kind. Just to demonstrate, I'm going to double-click on the thumbnail for either the reflection or model layer. If you get an alert message, just click OK. And then I'll go ahead and zoom in here so that we can see what we're doing a little better, and I'll switch to the Brush tool, which of course you can get by pressing the B key. And I'm with the Wacom tablet. I'm going to go ahead and make a kind of silly mustache just to give you a sense what you can do, maybe give her some whiskers as well.
I think her eyebrow should match, so I'll go ahead and add those. Let's go ahead and close this image. If you're working on a PC, you click Yes; if you're working on a Mac, you go ahead and click the Save button, and notice that my modifications appear both in the model and in the reflection down here below. Now, of course, I don't want those modifications; I just wanted to demonstrate how it works. So, I'll press Ctrl+Z, Commnad+Z on the Mac, and there we have the effect of this person gradually emerging from the water, here inside Photoshop.
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