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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, we'll add the flame stripes to the side of the car. Now I've done a fair amount of the work in advance, but we have a sufficient amount of work left, that you should get an idea of how to integrate flames into your own artwork without spending a ponderous amount of time. So, if you scroll up the list of layers, you'll see a group called flames. Go ahead and twirl it open and while the flames group should be visible, each of the three layers inside the group as invisible, so go ahead and turn on fire 1 so you can see it, and I'll zoom in on that layer.
Now this is an actual flame photograph from a stock image library, which is the way I work, because to be frank with you, I haven't seen an artificial flame technique that looks nearly as good as real flame. But I did distort this artwork. So you can see that fire 1 is a Smart Object and if I double-click on its thumbnail and then click OK in response to the potential alert message, you'll see this is what the flame originally looked like. It's a rectangular image and we have a bright flame against the black background, which is perfect. And so then I went ahead rotated the Smart Object counter-clockwise, and I also distorted it. I'll show you how that works.
I'll go to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command, or you can press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac. And if you want to scale a layer, all you do is drag a corner handle. However, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that. If you want to apply a four-point distortion then you press the Ctrl key while you drag a corner handle, and that allows you to stretch the flame in any direction you like. All right, I'm going to press the Escape key because I've already done that step in advance. We need to be able to see the flame and the car at the same time. Luckily, the flame is set against that black background, so I can drop the background away by changing the blend mode from Normal to Screen, and I end up achieving this effect.
All right, I'll go ahead and zoom in. Now, it's looking pretty good. We can see the flames on the car, but obviously the flames shouldn't be leaking into all portions of the car, and we shouldn't have flames leaping off the back either, so we need to mask the fire. So I'll go ahead and drop down here to the Add Layer Mask icon and click on it in order to create a layer mask for this layer. Then I'll click on the Brush tool in order to select it. Now if you're still working with the Grass brush, what you want to do is right-click in the Brush tool icon up here in the options bar and choose Reset tool.
Then what I advice you to do is just right- click inside the Image window and change the Size value to 100 pixels and change the Hardness of the brush to 100%. And then what we need to do is once again bring up the Brush panel by choosing Brush from the Window menu. And you want to reduce the Spacing value to 10%. 25% is just crazy; you'll end up getting lumpy effects out of your brushes. And then hide the Brushes panel of course. And now I'll press the D key followed by the X key to make sure that my foreground color is black and I'll paint away that extra flame that's going into the sky, and then I'll paint away around the fender of this car. And you can see I'm going too far with it, but that's okay; I kind of need to if I'm going to be able to see what I'm doing, and now I can paint it back.
By reducing the size of my brush, I'm pressing the X key, so much foreground color is white and then I'm just going to kind of click and Shift+Click around this edge like so, in order to follow what looks to be the contours of this fender, until I get down to this kind of baseboard area here. All right, now that's obviously sort of too polygonal. We'll solve that problem in just a moment, but first I want to paint away what I'm calling the baseboard. I'm not actually much of car guy. So I'll press the X key in order to switch my foreground color to black and then I'll click right about here and then Shift+Click over here in order to paint that area away.
Let me make sure I did it right. It looks like I might miss things a little bit. I'll click here, I think, and then Shift+Click over here in order to paint that region away. And is that too high? It might be, which is okay. Now, notice by the way, that clicking and Shift+ Clicking goes ahead and paints a straight line with the Brush tool, which could be very handy at times. I'm going to try it again, see if I can raise things just a little bit over here. And also, you know what? I don't want this flame. I don't think I want this one either, because they're just cluttering things up, so you want to make sure any sort of aberrant flame gets out of there.
All right, now what you can do is follow up with the Smudge tool, so go ahead and select that tool, increase the size of your cursor, and just kind of drag back and forth around this fender item here in order to soften the transitions a little bit down here at the baseboard thing. You can do that as well. And then I followed up by switching back to the Brush tool and I right-clicked inside the image window and reduce the Hardness value down to 0% this time, so we can create some soft transitions. Press the Enter key or the Return on the Mac, press the right bracket key to expand the size of my brush, press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity of the brush, and then paint in a little extra darkness like so, so it looks like the flames are kind of fading into the car, which I ended up thinking provided the most aesthetic effect anyway.
And now I'll switch back to the Smudge tool and zoom in on this region right here. And I think I want a little bit of extra flame action right there, and then I'm going to lift it up just a little bit like so, so you might we wanting to work with a very small brush for these sort of detailed adjustments. All right, I am going to zoom back out. And we need to add a few more flames. Ao I decided to fill out this area right here with this fire 2 layer and so we'll go ahead and turn it on, and then I created this big sort of sweeping bit of fire that I stretched and distorted and warped and all kinds of stuff. And they both end up integrating with the fire that we have so far, but what you need to do is click on the fire 2 layer and then Shift+Click on the fire 3 layer.
Now I'll press the M key to go ahead and switch back to the Rectangle Marquee tool. And here in Photoshop CS6, you can change the blend mode of multiple layers at a time like so, just by switching from Normal to Screen. In CS5 and earlier, you're going to have to apply that blend mode to each of the layers independently. All right, now theoretically you'd look over your artwork, make sure you're happy with its appearance. I'm not. Notice here inside the windshield that we have this ridiculous area of cyan over here on a left-hand side, which we're going to address right now, by scrolling down the list until you can see the Car layer and go ahead and click on it to select it. And let's add a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac.
I'll call this layer "windshield" and notice that Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask is already turned on, which is what we want, and that's because this layer is being sandwiched inside of this clipping mask, then click OK. I've already dialed in a color in advance: it's a Hue of 30, a Saturation of 15 and a Brightness of 35%. If you don't see the HSB values then select HSB sliders from the flyout menu. And then go ahead and grab the Gradient tool, which you can get by pressing the G key. You should still have that same foreground to transparent gradient selected. That's definitely what you want, and we want a linear gradient and so forth. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that change, and now I'll drag across the windshield about like so, in order to fill it with this gradient. That looks awful of course, because not only is the color incredibly ugly, but I'm filling in the headlights and so forth. But that's okay because I've created a path in advance for you.
If you go to the Paths panel, there is that windshield path. Go ahead and click on it to make it active. It's a quite a complicated little path, because I had to select around the windshield wipers, and then go back to the Layers panel, and now let's turn that path into a vector mask by dropping down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel and Ctrl+Clicking on it here on the PC-- that would be a Command+Click on the Mac. And now I need to change the blend mode assigned to this layer to Multiply in order to create the final effect. And the reason I went, by the way, with this very ugly low-saturation brown was because it's the perfect color to defeat a brightly saturated cyan.
All right, that's it. The final step is to turn on this text layer that I've created for you in advance and that, friends, is how you go about turning a rotten little car, which we can see once again by Alt+Clicking on this eyeball, into a radical fiery muscle car here inside Photoshop.
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