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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 this guy right here who's never done a thing wrong to me in my life and we're going to shrink his head in Photoshop. Now, the other day a friend of mine was talking to me and saying, "Deke, why is it every time you open a photograph of a woman on Deke's Techniques you do something nice to her and every time you open up a photograph of a guy you do something weird to him." And I guess it's just the way I was raised. It's a little bit old school, but when I see a woman, I open the door for her. When I see a guy, I shrink his head in Photoshop.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here is the small-head version of the guy, and here's the original photograph from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. Now, I think you have to admit that once you get used to the small-head version, his normal-size, gargantuan head just looks ridiculous. So let's go ahead and solve that problem. The first step is to go ahead and zoom in on the head, and we want to select the head, and the easiest way to do that is to go ahead and grab the Lasso tool. Now, this is a fairly forgiving image because it's set against a white background, so all we really need to do is go ahead an Alt+Click or Option+Click along the base of the neckline right here, along the collar, and then go up the neck into the jaw area. Just cut across his face because we'll select that in just a moment.
And then I'll go and click down here. I still have the Alt key or the Option key down, so I am drawing this polygonal selection outline. I will go ahead and make my way down, trying to be as careful as possible, but it's not essential that you get the selection exactly right. All right! Having done that, having selected along the bottom of the face as well as the neck, I'm going to scroll upward, and then I am just going to Shift+Drag around the top of his head like so in order to select the rest of it. And if I feel like I don't have enough margin, then I can Shift+Drag some more, up here around the top of the skull. All right! That looks pretty good to me.
Now, I will zoom out, and I want to jump this head to a new layer, so I will press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac in order to bring up the New Layer dialog box. We'll call this layer Head and click OK. All right! Now we need to create a kind of cover-up layer so that when we shrink his head we're not seeing his old head in the background. So I am going to click on the background layer make it active, press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N in order bring up the New Layer dialog box. I will go ahead and call this layer "coverup" and click the OK button. Now we need to fill that region behind his head with white, and I'll do that by Ctrl+Clicking or Command+Clicking on the thumbnail for the head layer in order to load up its selection outline.
The coverup layer is active, my background color is white, as you can see down here the bottom of the toolbox. So I will fill that selection with white by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac. Now, it's not going to look any different on screen; however, you will see a bit of whiteness here inside the coverup layer thumbnail. Now, I am going to click on the head layer to make it active. I will press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. And we're going to go ahead and reduce the size of his head to 50% normal, by going up to the Edit menu and choosing the Free Transform command, or you can press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac.
And I'll just go ahead and move this target here which represents the origin for the transformation we're about to apply. I will go ahead and drag it down to the bottom-center. And then I will click on that little chain icon between the W and H values up here in the Options bar, click on the W value to make it active, and I'll change that value to 50%, press the Enter key a couple of times, or the Return key a couple of times on the Mac, in order to reduce the size of the head. Now, I need to scoot this head over a little bit, and I did that by pressing Ctrl along with the arrow keys. That would be Command along with the arrow keys on the Mac.
And you can see now how valuable it is having this area of white in back of his head. If I turn off that coverup layer, the head is exposed in the background, and that's a total giveaway that he actually did at one point in time have a normally size head. I don't want people to know that, so I'll go ahead and turn the coverup layer back on. The next step is to go ahead and shrink his collar so it matches his head, and we're going to do that by clicking on the background down here at the bottom of the stack. And we're going to be using the Liquify filter which only works destructively--in other words you have to modify the actual pixels inside the image.
So I'm going to go ahead and protect the original pixels by jumping this layer. So I will press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I'll call this new layer shoulders and then I will click OK. With that shoulders layer selected, I will go up to the Filter menu, then choose the Liquify command. And of course that brings up the big, gargantuan Liquify window. Now, I'm going to switch over to the standard Warp tool here at the top of the toolbox, and I will press the right bracket key a few times in order to increase the size of the brush. I'll also press Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus a couple of times in order to zoom in on the image.
And then it's a matter of dragging the shoulder and the neck inward. Now, the problem is you don't really know how far you need to go unless you can see the little head. And to see that layer, go ahead and turn on the Show Backdrop checkbox and switch the Use option from All Layers to just the head layer, because we don't want to be covering up the layer we're working on. Now, I will reduce the size of the brush a little bit by pressing the Left Bracket key, go ahead and drag these elements around a little more, like so. Now, one of the most important things, the thing that's going to take you a fair amount of time, by the way, once you get things in better shape than I have, is this pinstripe area.
It's pretty darn unforgiving, and notice if I try to drag it back and forth here, it's very possible that I will create these kinds of deformations that, again, are a giveaway that I've been working inside of Liquify filter. Notice his pin-striping over here on the left-hand side is impecuous. One of the things you can do in order to work out some of those details is you can switch over to the Reconstruct tool, which is the second tool down up there in the upper-left corner, and then you can reduce the Brush Pressure to something like 20%, and go ahead and reduce the size of your brush as well, and then just click in spots here and there in order to see if you can make that pin-striping look a little better.
As I say though, that's something you can do after you do a better job on the shoulders. Now, I've done is work in advance, so I am going to go ahead and click on the Load Mesh button in order to load up a mesh file that I have gone ahead and saved out. It's called Collar squish.msh. Go ahead and open it up and zoom out a little bit, and you can see that we have a pretty good match between his body and his little neck. Now, go ahead and click OK in order to apply that affect, and now I will scroll down just a little bit. All right! Obviously, that white coverup layer is covering up too much stuff over here in the shoulders now, so I am just going to switch to the Eraser tool.
You could add a layer mask if you want to, but this is just a layer of white, so there is no sense in being that elaborate. And if I right-click inside the image window, you can see that I've got a small brush and the Hardness is set 100%. Now, I am going to zoom in even farther here, increase the size of my brush just a little bit by pressing the Right Bracket key, switch to the coverup layer-- that's very important--and then paint some of this cover-up information away, like so. And I am going to paint down on both sides of his neck. Now, I've got a little bit of a weird detail showing there on the right-hand side, so I'm going to switch to the Brush tool this time, which I can get by pressing the B key.
Again, I've got a hard brush I believe. I will go ahead and right-click, and sure enough, I do. So the Size, for what it's worth, is set to 40 pixels. The Hardness is 100%. Press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to hide that panel. I want my foreground color to be white, so I can either click on that little double arrow icon or I can press the X key. And I'm actually going to reduce the size of my cursor a little bit and click right there, and then I will Shift+Click right about there so that I can smooth out some of these edges along the top of his lapel.
And then finally, notice this little detail here? You may not be able to see it very easily. I am going to press the A key to switch to the arrow just for a minute. And it's this region right around there that I want to take care of, and I am going to do that the old-fashioned, way by switching over to the Smudge tool here inside the toolbox. And then I will go ahead and click on the shoulders layer to make it active, because that's the layer I want to smudge, and I will just drag over a few pixels in order to smear those details into place. Now, let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit. Finally, I decided that I wanted to emphasize his small head here, which is why I added a couple of layers here inside the Layers panel, which when turned on, provide the little head with an even smaller bowler hat, and that's how you do a guy a favor and shrink his head here inside Photoshop.
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