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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, I am going to show you how to create a progressive rippling effect. Now it's pretty darn subtle, but here's what's going on. We have got this intense rippling at the outset of the reflection and then it gradually tapers off as we recede into the model's face, which is great because that way we are better matching the surface texture of the water and we're not ruining the face in the reflection. Let me show you how it works. I am going to switch over to that composition that we have created in the previous movie. Now, it ultimately boils down to creating a complex displacement map.
I am going to go ahead and Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the thumbnail for the reflection layer, because we need to get a sense of how big that layer is, and then I will bring up my Info panel, which you can get by pressing F8 or choosing Info from the Window menu. And notice I'm working in pixels here. My Width is 1896 pixels and my Height is 1240 pixels. That's the size of the first component of my displacement map needs to be. I am going to go ahead and deselect the image and press Ctrl+N or Command+N on the Mac to bring up the New dialog box. And notice that I've already set these values in advance.
So the Width is 1896. The Height is 1240. The Resolution doesn't matter; the Color Mode does; it's got to be a grayscale image. Now I will go ahead and click OK. And I've got a Background layer that's all white. I am going to double-click on that layer, in order to convert it to an independent layer. I will go ahead and wave and click OK. Now with my Rectangular Marquee tool active, I will go up here to Style option and I will change it to Fixed Size. The Width needs to be entire width of the image, which is 1896. The Height needs to be 40 pixels for this effect.
Now I will just click right here at the top of the image. I actually want that bar right there to be white. I am going to create a series, by the way, of white and black bars. I want the first one to be white. So I am going to scoot this selection down by pressing Shift+Down Arrow four times in a row, and that will move the selection to the next bar location. And then, assuming that your foreground color is black, press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on a Mac in order to fill the selection with black. Now you have got to press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T or Command+Option+T on the Mac.
Then go up to the Options bar, turn on that delta option right there so we were making a relative modification, and change the Y value to 80 pixels, and then press the Enter key a couple of times or the Return key a couple of times on the Mac. Now we need to repeat that transformation, so press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T or Command+Shift+T on the Mac as many times as it takes to go ahead and fill up the image, like so. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. Now we want to blur the lines, and I am not going to do this using a Smart Object; I am just going to apply a static blur, by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur, and choosing the Gaussian Blur command. And I will change the Blur value to 15 pixels, works out pretty nicely here, and then I will click OK.
Now we want to go ahead and convert this guy to a Smart Object because we are going to apply a hefty transformation. So go to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, and now let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit here. Then I will go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command or press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, then press the Ctrl+Shift+Alt keys or Command+Shift+Option on the Mac and drag the bottom-right or bottom-left corner, if you prefer, all the way until here in Photoshop CS6, which as many of you know it's in public beta. You can see a value of 65 degrees.
That's what we are looking for. Those of you in Photoshop CS5 and earlier, you're just going to have to eyeball things. Once you get the effect you see here, go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. Now notice that we have the progressive displacement map in place already, so we've got tight waves at the beginning and loose waves later on. Now if you are not familiar with how displacement maps work, this may not make a lot of sense, but the idea is white is going to wave the image in one direction and black is going to wave the image in the other direction.
Now we need to expand this canvas so that its every bit as big as our composition. We will do that by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command, and make sure that you're working in pixels and that the Relative checkbox is turned off, and then go up to the Window menu and choose the image that you're working on. In my case, it's Reflected face.psd. I will go ahead and choose that guy. And then I will click on the bottom chiclet here in the anchor area and I will click OK in order to increase the size of the image.
Now we want to make a new layer. I am just going to click on the little page icon at the bottom of the panel, which creates an unnamed layer, and then go up to Layer menu, choose New, and choose Background from Layer. All right! We want to fill this layer with gray because gray is neutral where displacement maps are concerned. So go up to the Edit menu and choose the Fill command, or you can press Shift+Backspace here on the PC, Shift+ Delete on the Mac, change the Use option to 50% Gray, and then go ahead and click OK. I will go ahead and click on the wave layer, zoom in a little bit so I can better see what I am doing.
I want to increase the contrast of this layer just a little bit, so I will press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the Black/White icon at the bottom of the panel, choose the Levels command. Let's go ahead and call this guy "contrast," turn on Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask, and then click OK. Here in the Properties panel in CS6-- that would be the Adjustments panel in CS5 and earlier--I am going to change the first value, that Black point value, to 40 and leave everything else alone. All right! Now I will hide the panel. Now we need to do some covering up by creating a layer of additional grayness.
I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, call this layer grayness, and click OK. And I will change my foreground color to 50% black, because we are working inside a grayscale image, and then I will go ahead and zoom in a little bit. And I will switch to the Gradient tool, which of course you can get by pressing the G key, and I am going to switch to the second gradient in, which is foreground to transparent. You should be creating a linear gradient, the Mode should be Normal, and so forth. All those are default settings. Now I will drag from the middle of this white bar down, while pressing the Shift key, to the middle of the second black bar, and that will just ensure that we have a gradual introduction of the ripple. And then I will go ahead and zoom out here, so that I can take in the bottom of the image, and I will drag from the far bottom up to about there, I would say; one of these two bars works out pretty well. And I will go ahead and release in order to create that gradient. All right! One more thing I want to do.
I want to add some more blur, because we need it, especially down in the lower region of the displacement map. I have got my Smart Object wave layer selected. Then go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur once again, and then change the Radius value this time to 30 pixels, which looks like we are pretty much absolutely ruining everything, which we kind of are. That's why we're going to adjust the filter mask here. Go ahead and click on the filter Mask to make it active, switch back to that first gradient option, which is foreground to background, and press the Enter key, Return key on the Mac.
Now, in truth, we are creating a black- to-white gradient, even though it looked gray to white for a moment. And make sure, by the way, that your foreground color is black, your background color is white. And I am going to drag from about here down to maybe there and see how it works out. Let's go ahead and zoom in and see if that looks pretty good. If you're not super satisfied with the results--I might want to take this up a little bit--then you can drag a new gradient. Because you are creating a foreground-to-background color gradient, you can replace the original gradient with this new one, just by once again dragging. And of course, I was pressing the Shift key in order to constrain the angle of my drag.
And that's pretty much the final displacement map. Now what you probably want to do at this point is go to File menu and choose Save in order to save this composition that you have created, and then go to the Layer menu and choose Flatten Image. So Save the composition first, then choose the Flatten Image command, and now go up to the File menu and choose the Save As command in order to save a copy of this image under a different name. Now, the flat image has to be saved as a native PSD document. And I have already saved my version in advance as Progressive wave.psd, so I will just leave that intact.
Now let's put it to work. I am going to switch back to the Reflected face.psd file, which is the image that we have created in the previous movie, and I will go up to the Filter menu, choose Distort, and then choose Displace. For this effect, you want to go ahead and set the Horizontal Scale value to 20 and the Vertical Scale value to 0. The other options don't matter; just go ahead and click OK. Then navigate to that Progressive wave.psd file and open it up and you'll end up getting this progressive rippling effect. Now for my money, I figured that I wanted the face to be absolutely unrippled so I went ahead and zoomed in on this bottom portion of the image, selected the filter mask to make it active, and then I grab the Brush tool and I will right-click inside the image, just to demonstrate that the Hardness is set to 0%, and I will increase the size of my brush.
My foreground color is currently black, and I am just going to paint away that face distortion, just like that. And that's all that takes. I will go ahead and zoom back out. You may need to do a little adjustment on the layer masks, by the way, because notice that the model's shoulders and the reflection aren't quite lining up properly. And so what I did was I clicked on the reflection layer to make it active. I went ahead and added a layer mask by clicking on this icon down here at the bottom of the panel. Then I reduced the size of my cursor, and I painted some black in right about there, and I painted some more black over on this side.
Then I clicked on the Layer mask thumbnail for the model layer, and still working with black, I went ahead and painted away the bottom portion of the shoulders like so, so that they align better with the reflection. If the reflection is still going too far, you can click on its layer mask and touch it up a little more as well. And that's it, folks. I am going to press the F key a couple of times in order to switch to the Full Screen mode. We need to zoom out there a little bit, so that we can see what we were doing. And that is how you go about creating a progressive ripple effect here inside Photoshop.
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