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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 a very special episode of Deke's Techniques, because today, July 17, 2012, I'm initiating a series of three contests that I'm calling Deke's Techniques: The Challenge, in which I'm asking you to create a training video for me. Now, it can be serious. It can be hilarious. It can be anything you want, as long as it's original and it's good of course, and it mentions, however obliquely, three existing Deke's Techniques. And by way of a proof of concept here, I'm going to show you in this video how to transform this little lemon of a car into this fiery hot rod using a combination of five Deke's Techniques. You only have to do three.
Now we're going to move through things very quickly here because the maximum amount of time for any video submitted for this contest is ten minutes, so I have to keep my movie under ten minutes as well. A lot of prebaked items but if you want to learn more about this technique or any of the ones that I reference then you can go to lynda.com/dt where everything is free. If you want to learn about submission guidelines, the submission process, the judges, the prizes galore, then go to deke.com/challenge. In any event here, let me show you exactly how this works.
All right, so presumably you want to tell us where you're going with your projects, so in my case I'm starting with this little red car. And return it into this fiery black hot rod set against this just awe-inspiring background. You might also want to tell us why in the world you're doing this. For example, why am I starting with such a bad image in the first place? The sky is totally blown out, and this is a, what? A Zastava? Which I gather is some sort of Serbian car. But it was shot with such a loving care, don't you think, that whoever captured this car thought it was really cool.
And my motivations, by the way, can be best summed up by this quote right here. It comes to us from Oscar Wilde. A subject that is beautiful in itself gives no suggestion to the artist. It lacks imperfection. And whatever you might say about this photograph, it is not guilty of lacking imperfection; it is just loaded with the stuff. I'm going to turn that quote layer off. First step is to turn the red car black, and I told you how to do that in Deke's Techniques 055. Here's how it works. You've got to go and mask the card. I'll do that by going up the Image menu and choosing the Calculations command. And you just have to take my word for it. The first channel wants to be red. The second one wants to be green. Both Invert checkboxes need to be on and Blending needs to be set to Subtract, where this particular image is concerned. It's going to vary from image to image.
We'll go ahead and click OK. We also need to increase the contrast of this mask by pressing Ctrl+L or Command+L on a Mac. I'm going to change to the white point value to 135, change the black point value to 15, and then change the gamma value to 2. That brightens things up considerably as well as increasing the contrast. Click OK. You can see here in the Channels panel I have a new alpha channel. I went ahead and aug- mented it using the Color Range command under the Select menu. So first I added some highlights and then I added back in the shadows so that I'm selecting the tires because I want those tires to be nice and black.
All right, now because we're working with a red car, the reg channel's going to be bright, but the blue channel's going to be very dark, so we want to load that blue channel onto an independent layer. I'll switch back to the RGB image, switch over to the Layers panel, and then I'll press Control+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac in order to bring up the New Layer dialog box, call it B Channel, click OK, go up to the Image menu, choose the Apply Image command, and go ahead and set the channel to blue, like so. Then click OK. Now we have the blue channel on its own layer. Go back to the Channels panel. We need to mask it so press the Control key or the Command key on the Mac, click on final mask to load it as a selection outline, switch over to Layers panel, drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel and click on it in order to mask that blue channel. And we end up with this kind of black body with some reddish midtones.
I figured the return should be blue because we're reflecting the sky, so I went ahead and change them to blue using this Hue/Saturation layer. All right, that takes care of the color of the car. Now let's mask it against its new background. You can see, if I turn off the car layer, there's the background. I'm going to turn it back on. I covered this one in Deke's Techniques 082. And that technique was all about masking an image using path outlines. So switch over to the Paths pane. You can see how to create some paths in advance. I'm going to click on wheels, then drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon and Control+Click or Command+Click on it to turn those paths into a vector mask.
Then click on body at the top of the panel to make it active, press the A key in order to switch to the Black Arrow tool, click on the path outline. Press Control+C or Command+C on a Mac to copy it. Switch to the vector mask here. Press Control+V or Command+V on the Mac to paste. Switch to the Windows path. Go ahead and marquee those windows. Press Control+C, Command+C on the Mac, to copy them. Switch to the vector mask. Press Control+V or Command+V on the Mac in order to paste them. Then you need those windows to be holes, so I'll go up to this Path Operations icon here in CS6 and I'll choose Subtract Front Shape.
And that will go ahead and subtract those windows. Click of a steering wheel to make it active. Select the steering wheel, Control+C, Command+C on the Mac. Switch to the vector mask. Control+V, Command+V on the Mac to paste. We are now done masking that car. Switch back to the Layers panel. Notice that I have a shuttle layer here. I captured that from the original image and brushed it in as well. You've got to learn all about that, by the way, by checking out Deke's Techniques number 94. However, I still need to integrate the shadow with grass, so I'm going to double- click on an empty portion of that shadow layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, drop down to the Underlying Layer slider bar, and Alt+Drag or Option+ Drag the left half of that white triangle to 75 or thereabouts, like getting it to 74, that's close enough.
Then click OK in order to accept that change. So you can see that the grass is now coming out through the shadow, but the grass is not expanding up into the tires, which it should. So I'm going to click on the background layer to make it active. Then I'll press Control+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac. Then I'll call this new layer grass. So it's a duplicate of that background, as you can see. Now I'll drag it up the stack, on top of the flames group. And I want to mask all the grass away so I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel. and that gives us a black layer mask. Now we need to brush in some white. We're going to do so using the Brush tool so select it.
And then you want to right-click inside the image window and find the Grass brush, which is included by default along with Photoshop. But we want the size of the brush not to be 134, but rather to be 80. I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that change. I'll bring up the Brush panel. And I need to turn off Color Dynamics because that guy will just mess this up otherwise. Then go and hide the panel. And now, assuming you're foreground color is white, which it is in my case, then just go ahead and brush the grass in, like so. And you can be pretty random about your brushwork, by the way; you don't have to do a really great job.
All right, now that we've brushed in the grass, it looks way too bright so we need to bring back in the shadow. And I'm going to grab that shadow layer there and I'm going to copy it by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and dragging it up on top of the grass layer and so that creates a copy of that shadow. And then I'll press the Alt key or the Option key again and click on the horizontal line between the shadow layer and the grass layer to create a clipping mask. And then I decided that I wanted some highlight grass blades to stick out from the shadows so I'm going to go enter on this more grass layer as well.
All right, phew! Running behind here. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on this rainbow. I showed you how to create a synthetic rainbow in Deke's Techniques number 077. But I do need to blend it better with the background, so I'll up to the blend mode option and I'll change it to Linear Light. And I'll reduce the Fill value to 15%. All right, now at this point, it seemed to me that the windshield was too bright, so I'm going to take it down by turning on this windshield layer. And I'm also going to darken up the background using a gradient layer, so I'll press Control+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on a Mac and call this layer gradient, click OK, and then I'll switch to the gradient tool and I'll also switch the gradient tool to the second setting right there, which is foreground to transparent, and I'll draw a little black to transparent gradient.
And I need to blend it with its background by double-clicking on an empty portion of that gradient layer. And I'll Alt+Drag or Option+Drag the left half of that white underlying layer triangle to 100 and then I'll reduce the Opacity value to 50% and I'll click OK in order to accept that change. Now we need to add the flame stripes, so I'm going to twirl open this flames group right there. And I show you how to select and use flames in Deke's Techniques number 009, long time ago, zero zero nine. And so I'll turn on fire 1 right there.
I need to change it to the Screen mode and I'm going to do that from the keyboard by pressing the N key to switch back to the marquee tool, and then I'll press Shift+Alt+S or Shift+Option+S on a Mac. And I need to mask these flames as well so I'll Shift+Click on this layer mask in order to turn it back on so that we're masking of flames into the fenders and so forth. And then I'll select and turn on both fire 2 and fire 3 so they're both selected click on one Shift+Click on the other and press Shift+Alt+S or +Shift+Option+S on the Mac in order to change both of those layers to the Screen mode here in CS6.
And that takes care of almost everything. I just want to add this top text layer. And that is how you go about transforming and drab little car into an utterly fantastic hot rod that, by the way, gets awesome mileage here inside Photoshop. I know that went very quickly, which is why I have a bunch of follow-up movies in which I show you how to create this entire things from scratch at lynda.com/dt. You could also learn how to create a basic screen capture either on the Mac or the PC. And don't forget, if you want to find out all about that challenge itself, then go to deke.com/challenge. All the prizes are listed as well. There's going to be ten winners in all, by the way. And you don't have to submit; you can just look at everybody else's entries. You can be a lurker; it's okay.
If you're waiting for next week's free technique, I'm going to show you how to take this line art and hand color it to perfection inside Photoshop. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching!
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