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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.
All right, we've got a nice shadow going, but we don't have any integration between the shadow and the car and the grass. And so we're looking for an effect more like this one here, where the grass is actually coming up into the tires and the grass is also appearing in front of the shadow in places, because we wouldn't just have a soft shadow bleeding into the grass. So here's how that works. I will switch back to my non-integrated grass image and I'll drop down to this Background layer and I'll press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+ Option+J on the Mac in order to jump it and name it and I'll call it grass, and then I'll click OK. And we need to move this layer up the stack.
So I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+right bracket or Command+ Shift+right bracket on the Mac, to move it all the way to the top of the stack, and then, I'm going to drop it down to right here below the quote layer and above the Flames group. Don't by the way move it into the Flames group because that's actually pretty easy to do. All right, now the grass is rather covering up everything of course, so we need to mask it all away. By dropping down to the Add Layer Mask icon and Alt or Option clicking on it. So that will create a layer mask entirely filled with black.
Now we're going to brush in the grass and we're going to do so using the Brush tool, but a very special implementation of the Brush tool. So go ahead and select a brush and then right- click inside the Image window, scroll all the way to the bottom of this brushes list here. And you will find this item called Grass; it's an actual grass brush. It's going to work really well for us. However, by default, the size of the brush is 134 pixels which is too big for this particular image, so I found that a size of 80 works best. And then, after you go ahead and press the Enter key to dismiss that panel, go up to the Window menu and choose Brush, in order to bring up the Brush panel, and I want you to turn Color Dynamics off so that we have uniformly white grass which is going to work better for masking in this particular layer.
All right now you can dismiss the panel, and then go ahead and zoom in on one of the tires here, make sure that your foreground color is white, if not press the D key, and then just brush inside that tire like so. And you want to brush in pretty heavily I think but you don't want so much grass that you can't distinguish between the individual blades. So a little bit of variation is nice. Then I'll move over to this tire and start brushing it, and multiple brush strokes are going to do you very well, by the way, and if you can get this number going where you have blades of grass at different depths, that's going to work really nicely, because this is not uniformly cut grass as you can see.
It's not real grass, it's a 3D rendering but still, it looks awfully nice and it doesn't look mowed. All right, now I will paint some grass in under this tire, and I'll go ahead and do that number where I make it non-uniform so that it looks a little more naturalistic. Now of course, there is nothing natural looking about this grass at this point. We'll go ahead and press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out because it's all super bright. So what we need to do is introduce the shadow back into this grass. So go ahead and dropdown to the bottom of the Layers panel where you'll find the shadow layer, and what I'm going to do actually is clone this layer, by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then dragging it upward to just above the grass layer like so, and you can see that I've got a clone cursor right there, so you can Alt+Drag or Option+Drag a layer inside the Layers panel to clone it.
Now that's not going to look right at all and that's because we need to clip the shadow inside the grass and you do that by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and clicking that horizontal line between those two layers and we end up with these nicely shaded blades of grass. All right, the thing though that I still don't think it looks quite right is the fact that this shadow just kind of blurs into the grass as if the grass doesn't have any form to it out here beyond the shadow, especially in this region. You see what I mean? So what we're going to do is create yet another copy of the grass layer.
And we're going to do so by Alt+Dragging or Option+Dragging the grass layer up, like so, and then go ahead and click on the Layer Mask to make it active and press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that mask with black. All right, now you should still be armed with a brush cursor and you can now brush in the grass into the shadow like so, in order to create this kind of effect. And I'm going to do the same thing over here. So we have a nice firm transition between the shady grass and the non-shady grass which to me, it looks a lot more credible.
All right, and you don't have to really brush in all that much grass just to taste, whatever you think ends up looking good. Now I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to back out a little bit. And I think I might have gone a little bit too far with brushing back in the grass, so Ill press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and then I'll press the 7 key to reduce the opacity of that grass to 70%, and you can see the Opacity value has dropped here inside the Layers panel. And just to give you sense for the difference this layer makes, I'll go ahead and turn it off and then turn it back on.
So you can see it's subtle but I do think it lends credibility to the scene. And most certainly this grass layer, if you turn it off and then turn it back on, you can see that it makes a big difference. We now have tires that are actually sinking into the grass, just as we would if the car had really been shot in this beautiful, fake environment. And speaking of fake, in the next movie I'll show you how to add a totally fake rainbow.
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