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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. Now I need you to know that I have a Facebook page and it's called dekePod, so you should come and be a fan. But the reason I am showing you this, is because in this week's movie, I am going to demonstrate how to create a technically impeccable Facebook cover. Notice I've got the whole thing diagramed out for you so you can see every single pixel dimension. Don't worry. You are going to see this image again, in fact why don't I show it to you right now. What we are seeing here are the current specifications for a Facebook cover, it measures 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall, and then it has an inset version of your profile picture that gets scaled down to a 160 pixels wide by 160 pixels tall, so if you have access to the exercise file, you can go ahead and open it and use it as a template. If not, then you can just go ahead and follow these measurements, or you can take a screenshot of somebody else's cover and use that as a template.
So now I am going to begin assembling my various items here in order to build my Facebook cover. I am going to start with this blue rock, you can see it's a smart object, most of the layers inside this composition are smart objects, that way we will be able to scale the art later when we go to create the profile picture. So I am going to go ahead and click on this blue rock layer and then I am going to switch over to this Channels panel, and you will see that I've created an alpha channel called frames in advance. To load it up just go ahead and Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on that channel and then switch back over to the Layers panel, and if you want to work on your own art by the way, then just switch it out for this blue rock layer, and go ahead and mask your image instead.
All right, I am going to dropdown to the Add Layer Mask icon and click on it, and that goes ahead and plops the image inside of that template, and now I am going to start assembling the other objects in the composition. I've got a couple of different layers of foliage here as you can see. I'll click on one and press Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac to go ahead and multiply that in the place, and then I will turn on the other foliage layer and do the same thing with it, Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac, and the idea here is I am trying to create foliage all the way around my artwork.
Now I want to go ahead and clip these layers inside the blue rock layer. I'll click on one foliage layer, Shift+Click on the other to select them both, and then go up to the Layer menu and choose Create Clipping Mask, and then I'll go ahead and put the foliage inside of the artwork. Now I decided I didn't want this much foliage dropping down into the profile picture, also I didn't want this harsh line right there at the bottom of the marquee. So I went ahead and added a Layer Mask, and you can turn that Layer Mask on by Shift+Clicking on the Layer Mask thumbnail, like so.
Now I've got a couple of brush layers here, we'll go ahead and turn them on, and what I am trying to do here is create a kind of shadow effect, that is keep that faint drop shadow behind the brush, so we'll go ahead and turn off the top brush for a moment, click on the bottom of the two brushes and press Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M once again in order to convert that layer to the Multiply mode, and then I'll go ahead and turn on the other brush layer, and you can see that it's masked, so it's sitting on top of the shadow version of itself. And then I went ahead and drew a little face, the idea is a little bit absurd, but the idea was my Facebook page has been taken over by this challenge.
Anyway I am going to go ahead and select these three layers this time and add them to the Clipping Mask by going up to the Layers panel and choosing Create Clipping Mask, and that will just go ahead and add those guys to the stack. Now I've got this lizard layer right there, and I also have this snake layer, and the snake has a little tongue coming out of his mouth, so I'll go ahead and turn that on. Now I don't want either these layers to be this prominent, I just want them to be kind of visible in the background, so it's a kind of thing that becomes evident after you've looked at the artwork a few times.
I'll go ahead and select the snake layer. Once again we want to drop out that white background, so I am going to press Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac in order to convert this layer to the Multiply mode. And then I'll double-click on this lizard layer here in order to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and I want to drop out this gray around the lizard. So I'll go ahead and drag the white triangle that's associated with this layer slider here, and then I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag the left half of that slider triangle down to 150, and that will give me something of a soft edge around the lizard, and then finally I'll change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply, so that he blends into place and then I'll click OK in order to accept that change.
All of these layers, lizard through tongue, have to be made part of the clipping group, so that they don't leak outside of the artwork. Click on the lizard, Shift+Click on the tongue layer, and then go up to the Layer menu and choose Create Clipping Mask once again. Now for the actual text that accompanies this artwork. I'll turn on this Indiana Jones type effect here that I showed you how to create in the Deke's Techniques several months ago now, and then I'll turn on this challenge text, and both of these guys want to be part of the clipping group as well, so I'll select both of them, go up to the Layer menu and choose Create Clipping Mask.
Problem is, the D doesn't really work. The D wants to be all the way inside of the profile picture. So I am going to have to make some modifications to the Smart Object. So I'll double-click on the thumbnail for that Indiana layer, and you may get an alert message in which Photoshop explains how to work with Smart Objects. Just go ahead and click OK. Now this text has been converted to shape layers, and we've got two different shape layers to work with, we are going to have to edit them independently of each other, so I'll start with the white Deke's Techniques layer.
I'll go ahead and press the A key to switch to my Black Arrow tool and then I will marquee the D, like so, in order to select it. I'll press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac to enter the Free Transform mode, and I am going to go ahead and click on this triangle up here in the Options bar. I am going to change the X value to -60 and then I will change the Y value to 70 in order to move that letter down and to the left. Next, I'll go ahead and select this middle right reference point inside this little reference point matrix.
I'll change the width value only to 120%, you want to leave the height value alone, and then press the Enter key a couple of times here in the PC, the Return key a couple of times on the Mac in order to accept that change. Because we applied all those modifications as a single transformation, we can repeat them on the D that's associated with this miters layer, so go ahead and select the miters layer if you are working along with me, and then marquee just the D to select it independently of the other layers and press Ctrl+Shift+T or Command+Shift+T on the Mac in order to repeat that last transformation.
That takes care of our changes here, you can go ahead and close out of this image, and to save your changes click the Yes button here on the PC or the Save button on the Mac, and that will go ahead and update the Smart Object inside of the layered composition. Now that we have comped everything into place we need to turn this artwork into something that we can use as a Facebook cover. So what I want you to do is dropdown to the Layer Mask for the blue rock layer, and we are going to modify the Layer Mask a little bit here. Press the M key to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool and select underneath the Facebook cover, make sure that you are looking at the artwork at a 100% or better view size, so that you can see the actual pixels there, and with that Layer Mask selected, assuming that your foreground color is black, then I want you to pres Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that selection with black, then press Ctrl+Shift+I or Command+Shift+I on a Mac in order to reverse the selection.
Press both the Shift and Alt keys or the Shift and Option keys on the Mac and marquee around this area right there to find the intersection of these two selections. With this region selected, you want to press Ctrl+Backspace assuming your background color is white, or Command+Delete on the Mac to fill that region with white inside of the Layer Mask. Now you can go ahead and turn off the Template layer, like so. What I am going to do is make a copy of my artwork, by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Duplicate command, and I am also going to duplicate the merged layers only, so in another words flatten the file as I make a copy of it, and click OK, and then you want to go back to the Image menu and choose the Trim command, and for our purposes you can go with the default settings; that is Trim, the Top Left Pixel Color, and then click OK and then you will trim that artwork down to the proper size.
Now just to confirm everything is the way it should be, press Ctrl+Alt+I or Command+Option+I on the Mac to bring up the Image Size dialog box and you want to make sure the width of the image is 851 pixels and the height is 315 pixels, it is in my case so I am good to go. I can cancel out and then go up to the Image menu and choose the Save for Web command. And what I recommend is most likely you are going to go with JPEG for your artwork, and you probably want the Quality setting to be High and then just go ahead and save your compressed image, and I've already done that in advance, so I am going to cancel out here.
And I am going to go ahead and switch over to Facebook so that you can see I've already put my cover in place, but what you do is you hover over the cover, you click Change Cover and then you follow the instructions from there. Now that does not take care of the profile picture, it just takes care of the cover art, but that is how you create a professional quality Facebook cover using Photoshop.
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