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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 I've got what I consider to be a doozy for you. I am going to show you how to simulate conventional screen printing in Photoshop. So the idea is that the colors and the black would be printed in separate passes and that's why we get this wonderful colorful misregistration here. But if you take a close look, notice that the colors leach into the sky, but the sky never leaches into the other colors.
So it's a selective misregistration, because if we really had real misregistration, then everything would bleed into each other there. See the blue that's going in to the birdie's face right there? And I just decided aesthetically that was not appealing, so I came up with this instead, which you really couldn't achieve using conventional screen printing, but you can achieve it in Photoshop. Gosh, I'm so darn excited! Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, here's the final effect, just so you can see it on screen.
We're going to start things off in that colorful image that we created last week. And the first thing I want to do is grab the sky layer and drag it and drop it into the color layers group. And that's going to move that sky layer to the back of the stack, which is not something I want. So I'll twirl open the group and go ahead and scroll down to the bottom and click on the sky layer to make it active, and then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+right bracket or Command+Shift+right bracket to pop it to the top of the stack, so that everything looks the way it's supposed to, or does it? Now because we're going to misregister these colors, we need to make sure we like the colors underneath the line art, because we're going to expose them.
So go ahead and hide the line drawing layer by clicking on its eyeball, and you can see that while most of the colors look just totally gray, these blobs of color all over the place, things aren't so good where the balloon is concerned. We have each one of the lines, instead of being represented by color, we have the lines represented by purple, which is going to go show up when we misregister the colors, and that's going to look like a flaw, ultimately. Or it's going to show off that we didn't hand paint these stripes. So here's how we can avoid the purple showing up, because as you can see that in the final effect there are no purple line showing through and the colors look like they bleed into each other.
Well how do we pull that off? Well, we go ahead and convert those lines to blue and then we knock them out of there later. So here's what I want you to do, click on the obvious layer to make it active. Press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac to bring up the New Layer dialog box, call this layer balloon lines, and then click OK. Now we need to find those balloon lines, and here's how. You press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on the thumbnail for the line drawing layer, very important that you click of the thumbnail to load up the selection, and then you press Ctrl+Shift+Alt or Command+Shift+Option on the Mac, scroll down to this lazy layer and click on its thumbnail, and that will go ahead and find the intersection of the selection that represents the line art and the selection that represents these lazy blobs, which is exactly what I need.
All right, the balloon lines layer should still be selected. Go ahead and press the I key in order to get the eyedropper and click somewhere in the blue sky in order to load up that shade of blue. I've already done that in advance, but if you're working along with me, you need to do it as well. And then press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill the selection with that blue. All right, Now you can press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. And that is going to resolve that problem. So go ahead and turn on the line drawing layer once again, and we need to create a merged version of this color layers group.
So select the group itself and then press Ctrl+Alt+E or Command+Option+E on the Mac in order to merge all those layers into a new layer, and I'm going to rename this layer merged and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. And this will serve as a backdrop for our effect. The next thing we need to do is create a layer that has all the blue taken out of it, so we're going to create a copy of this layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I'll name this new layer no blue, and then click the OK button.
All right, now to get rid of the blue, press the Ctrl Key or the Command Key on the Mac and click on the thumbnail for the sky layer to load up all the blue as a selection. But we need a little more blue in the form of the balloon lines, so press the Ctrl+Shift keys, that would be Command+Shift on the Mac, and click on the thumbnail for balloon lines, very important that you click on those thumbnails. And now that we have gone ahead and loaded up all the blue, we need to expand it just a little bit, because we don't quite have all the blue yet. Go up to the Select menu, choose Modify, and choose the Expand command, and then we want to Expand the selection by 1 pixel, that's all, then click OK, and now with the no blue layer selected, press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to delete all that blue.
Then press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. I'm going to press the M key to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee tool. Now we can misregister these colors just by moving this layer, but it's not quite the effect we're looking for, for a couple of reasons. Just go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+down Arrow and then Ctrl+Shift+right Arrow to apply one potential misregistration, and that moves the colors off, but notice we have two problems. First of all, the clouds didn't move. The white of the clouds should move too in order to make this effect look right.
And secondly, the blue needs to move along with the colors in the background or else this doesn't really make any darn sense. Then it becomes very obvious that we're just moving the colors and it needs to look like we moved the blues, they just didn't move into the colors, you see. So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that move. And the first thing we need to do is add white into the no blue layer. So the no blue layer should have everything but blue, including white, except for of course the line drawing. So we can get that information by Ctrl+ Clicking or Command+Clicking on the thumbnail for the merged layer, because it's everything but white.
So go ahead and Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on it, that loads up everything that's not white inside of the image. So then go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command to switch to everything that is white. Now with the no blue layer still active, and assuming that your background color is white, then press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the selection with white. All right, I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. I'm also going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of no blue, just so you can see what it looks like.
This is what your layer should look like as well if you're working along with me. All right, I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on that eyeball again. Now we need to make a layer that is just blue, and we're going to make that one in back of the merged layer. So select merged and then press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac; you don't have to press Option this time, because we're going to rename the one below, and I'm going to double-click on it and I'm going to call it blue, because that's all it's going to be. And all we want to do is fill this entire layer with blue.
So everything that's currently filled, every pixel that's currently whatever color needs to turn blue. And you do that, assuming that blue is still your foreground color, by pressing Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Option+Delete on the Mac. And now if you Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of blue, you'll see that everything is blue, and just the clouds and the outer border there remain unfilled. All right, I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on that eyeball again, now it's time to create the misregistration.
So you can go ahead, by the way, and twirl close the color layers group and turn it off by clicking on its eyeball, because we don't want to be seeing those layers anymore. And now I want you to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac, don't click on the thumbnail this time, you Ctrl+Click or Command+Click out here in an empty portion of the no blue layer, so both no blue and blue are selected independently of the merged layer, and now you press Ctrl+Shift+down arrow, that would be Command+Shift+down Arrow on the Mac, and Ctrl+Shift+right arrow, that would be Command+Shift+right arrow on the Mac in order to create the final misregistration effect.
And that's how you simulate screen printing without ruining your printer by actually printing an image in separate passes and with a higher degree of control than you would otherwise achieve, here inside Photoshop.
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