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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 I'll show you how to create a graph paper background that you can use with any kind of drawing, or annotation, or anything else that is that you want to do. And it's a very simple trick that was suggested to me by this math teacher, this fellow named Shasha, who had entered this contest I did recently called Anything Goes. And I've gone ahead and elaborated on it, so that we've got these additional horizontal lines that help us tell the rows of frames apart, and I've also colored in Jello with white, but we can still see the graph lines through that white.
And so the idea is you can create your own custom paper background effect. All right, so I'm going to switch back to the line art that we refined in the previous movie. And we're going to start things off by selecting all of the layers here inside the Layers panel, which you do by pressing Ctrl+Alt+A or Command+ Option+A on the Mac, and then I want to group them together by pressing Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac. And I'll go ahead and rename this group enhanced scan, just so that we can keep track of what's going on. Now I want to create the graph paper background, and I'm going to do that by pressing Ctrl+1 or Command+1 on the Mac in order to zoom into 100%.
And then I'm going to create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll call it pattern, and this will be the layer upon which we create the pattern in the first place. With my Rectangular Marquee tool selected, I'll go up to the Options Bar and I'll change the Style from Normal to Fixed Size, and then I'll go ahead and dial in a Width and Height value of 20 pixels apiece. And then what you want to do is click inside of your artwork in order to create a 20x20 pixel square, and press the D key in order to restore the default foreground and background colors.
And press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+ Delete to fill that square with white. Then what you want to do is go up to the Edit menu and choose Stroke. Make sure that the Width is set to 1 pixel; you might as well set the Location to Inside and then click OK. And now if you press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac, you can see you've created a tiny square stroked with black. Make sure the square is still selected or press Ctrl+H or Command+H again so you can see those marching ants. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Define Pattern, and I'll go ahead and name this guy graph x20, so I just know it's a 20x20 square, and then I'll click OK.
That's our first pattern; we need a second one here. I'm going to make it by turning off the enhanced scan group, just so that we can see the selection against the transparent checkerboard background. And I'm going to create a few copies of this square by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or Command+Option+T on the Mac, that creates a copy of your artwork, as well as entering the Free Transform mode. And then you want to go ahead and turn on this Delta option, that is the triangle here inside the Options Bar, and then change the Y value to 20 pixels.
It's very important that you are working with pixels. If you aren't, then just enter 20px and then press the Enter key or the Return key a couple of times in order to create a copy of that square. Now we want to create 11 more copies, and so that means pressing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T or Command+Shift+Option+T on the Mac. So just mash your fist T 11 times; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. How do I know we need 11 copies for a total of 13 by the way, so we have the first copy and then original as well? Well, trial and error.
I've just figured this out, that happens to be about as tall as each one of the rows of those Jerk and Jello frames are. Now what you want to do is press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. Then go back up here to the Options bar and you want to change the Height value to 20x3, so that's 260, and then minus 2, because we want to keep the line at the top and the bottom. So a Height value of 258 if I'm not mistaken, again, pixels, so enter px if necessary.
And then click very close to the top of the artwork like so. You probably won't get it exactly lined up, just as I haven't. To make sure it's exactly lined up, just press the arrow keys until you've selected everything throughout the central portion of this sort of stick here. So that the very top line of black is not selected and neither is the very bottom line of black, everything else in between is. Then press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that area with white. Now we want to select the entire layer by Ctrl+ Clicking or Command+Clicking on the thumbnail associated with the pattern layer, that selects the entire thing from top to bottom.
So then go up to the Edit menu and choose Define Pattern, and we'll go ahead and call this one H lines x13, and that just tells me it's 13 graph cells tall. Then I'll go ahead and click OK. Now we're done with the selection, so press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac. And we're also done with that pattern layer, so you can turn it off. Now I'm going to create a new pattern layer by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, clicking on the Black/White icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then I'll choose the Pattern command, and I'll call this guy graph and then click OK.
And then inside the Pattern Fill dialog box, you want to select the second to last pattern, because the first pattern that we just created, which should be graph x20, and you'll see all these graph lines. They look terrible, but they'll look great in just a second. Click OK in order to accept that change. And now I want to go ahead and move that graph layer to the bottom of the stack, so I'll drag it underneath the enhanced scan group. And I need to colorize it. I want to see the green paper with slightly darker green lines in front of it. So I'll dropdown to the FX icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and I'll choose Color Overlay, and I'll click on the Red Color Swatch.
Of course I don't want screaming bright red, what I want is a Hue of 85 degrees; a Saturation of 20%; and a Brightness value of 85%. Click OK and then change the blend mode from Normal to Screen, that way we'll keep the whites and we'll change the colors of the black lines to this new green. Now I want to fill in the squares in the background, and I'll do that by turning on Gradient Overlay, which is going to serve as a flat color, and we're going to turn it into a flat color.
You can see Color Overlay is on top of Gradient Overlay, so that means the lines that are colored are going to be on top of this flat fill that we're going to create behind. May not make much sense yet, but I think it will in just a moment. Click on this Gradient Bar, and notice that by default you've got black as your first color stop and then white is your second color stop. Go ahead and double-click on the white color stop to bring up the Color Picker dialog box, change it to Black, so 000 for the HSB values. Click OK, and now we're going from black to black, which means we have a flat fill in the background. Click OK.
Now it's too dark, so reduce the Opacity to 50% and take a look at that. There we now have dark green against light green, even though we're using Color Overlay combined with Gradient Overlay. I know it's crazy, but it works great. Then click OK. It is actually the best solution that I've found. I'm going to go ahead and zoom out a click here. Now I want to create those horizontal lines, so I'll create another pattern layer by just creating a copy of this one. I'll press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac in order to jump that layer and name it H lines, click OK.
And I'm going to get rid of the Gradient Overlay, so just drag it to the trash for this top layer. And then I want you to double-click on the thumbnail for H lines, that will bring up the Pattern Fill dialog box, and change it to that final pattern, which in my case is H lines x13, and then click OK. Now we want to multiply this layer into the background so that we're dropping out the white, and you do that by clicking on the word Normal in the upper left corner of the Layers panel and changing it to Multiply. And if you're at all familiar with blend modes, this may seem really weird, it's like, what? Why didn't Photoshop just drop out the whites like it's supposed to with Multiply? I'll turn off this H lines layer and then turn it back on, and somehow, even though I've applied Multiply to this new pattern layer, the new pattern layer is brightening the thing behind it, that's like impossible in the world of Photoshop.
Well, the problem is this Color Overly effect, it's gumming up the works. We need it, but we don't need it like this. So double-click on an empty portion of this layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and I'm just going to tell you all you need to do is turn on this check box, Blend Interior Effects as Group, and then the white goes ahead and drops out, now click OK. And the reason that works is because this time we're applying Color Overlay before we blend the layer, and that means things end up working out better. All right, I want these lines to be slightly darker, so I'll double-click on Color Overlay to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, click on the little green swatch, click in the Brightness value right there, the B value, and press Shift+Down Arrow a couple of times to take it down to 65%, so we have darker horizontal lines.
Click OK, click OK again. All right, now I'm going to zoom out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac and I'll turn back on the scanned version of the image, and I'll click on that group in order to select it, and instead of working with the Pass Through mode, we're going to change the mode for the entire group to Multiply once again so that we burn the line art into the background. Now we don't want these lines up here at the top. So I'm going to go back up to my Options Bar and change Style from Fixed Size to Normal, and then I'll go ahead and marquee this top region of the image, like so, click on H lines layer to make it active, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on the Add Layer Mask icon in order to mask that selected region away.
If you twirl open the enhanced scan group right there and then scroll down to the bottom, you'll see there is a layer called fills, which are all the white fills inside the various Jellos, but if you turn him on, it's not going to make any difference inside the composition, and the reason is because it's part of this group that's set to the Multiply blend mode. So we need to get it out of this group. And you do that by dragging fills down ever so slightly, just so it's right there on top of the H lines pattern layer, and then drop it, and that goes ahead and drops it outside of the group like so. Now I'll twirl that group closed so that I have a little more room to work, and you'll notice, if you have a keen eye, that one of the Jellos, the one associated with frame 17 here is not filled, and the reason is I just wanted to show you how I did these.
What you do is you go ahead and click and hold on the Gradient tool and select a Paint Bucket tool from the flyout menu. Then you press the X key to make the foreground color white. And then you go up to the Options Bar; you can just press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, then press Tab to advance to the Tolerance option, and change it to a 100, and then press the Enter key to accept that change. And then finally you want to turn on the All Layers check box, so all three of the check boxes should be on. Now click inside Jello, and that makes a big mess of everything. We've gone ahead and filled up the entire row with the exception of his teeth here.
That's now what I want. So what we've got is basically some breaks in the outline here, so we're going to have to paint those in, by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Then twirl-open enhanced scan once again. I'm going to click on redrawn details, which are those black lines, and now I'll press the B key to switch to my Brush tool. I'll press the X key to make the foreground color black. And now armed with my Wacom tablet I'll just go ahead and trace around some of the more fragile details here, including this region around the front of Jello's face there.
And I'll go ahead and give him kind of a brow as well as long as I'm here. That's not necessary for filling him of course, but gives him more of a grimace. I'll take a line off of his mouth as well, so that he is looking like he is really hurting here. I could add some more impact lines too if I wanted to. Then I need to fill him. I'll go ahead and switch back to that fills layer down near the bottom of the stack, and I'll switch back to the Paint Bucket tool as well, and then I'll press the X key to make my foreground color white and I'll click inside of Jello, and this should work out a lot better.
Now notice that I missed this area on the upper side of his eye. Easiest thing to do there is just to press the B key to switch back to the Brush tool and paint that region in. Now I'll press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac. There's one more thing I want to do here. I'm actually going to zoom in on this version of Jello, the one that we painted in the previous movie, and what I want to do is drop out the whites on the graph lines. And so I'll double-click on an empty portion of the fills layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and I'll go ahead and drag this black slider triangle that's associated with the underlying layer all the way until the graph lines appear.
And that happens somewhere around 210, and we end up getting this effect here. Click OK in order to accept that change. However, if I zoom out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac once again, I lose those lines. What in the world is going on? Well, that's just a screen display issue. If you want to see what things really look like, obviously you can print your image, or click on that enhanced scan group in order to make it active, and then press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac in order to create a merged version of all the visible layers, and you can see that goes ahead and brings back those graph lines inside of the white fills, inside of the various Jellos.
And I'll go ahead and rename that layer merged, and then I'll press Shift+F in order to switch to the Full Screen mode, and I might as well zoom in a little bit too. You won't be able to see the entire narrative associated with the cartoon, but you can see how great even a fairly rough pencil sketch looks when enhanced like a pro, here inside Photoshop.
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