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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 is all about op art, that is optical art, the art of optical illusion. If you don't know what I'm talking about just type in O-P-A-R-T into Google exactly as you see it here, and you'll end up getting all kinds of hits, and you'll go, oh yeah, that stuff. It's really trippy junk, and we're going to create it from scratch inside Photoshop. So we're going to start things off with this checker pattern here, which you will create and then we're going to turn it into this work of optical illusionary messiness.
Doesn't it just hurt your brain to look at it? Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright, here's our final piece of op art just so you have a chance to see it on screen. We'll start things of by creating the checker pattern, and you do that by going up to the File menu and choosing the New command. I'm going to dial in a Width and Height value of 400 pixels apiece, so we're working in Pixels here. The Resolution doesn't matter. You want your Color Mode to be set to Grayscale, that way you'll have a less humongous image once you're done here.
And you want the Background Contents to be White. Then go ahead and click OK. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool selected, go up to the Options bar and change the Style from Normal to Fixed Size and then go ahead and dial in Width and Height values of 200 Pixels each. Next, go ahead and click in the upper left- hand corner of this image, tap the D key just to make sure that your foreground color is black, and then press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the selection with black. Then switch over to the Move Tool, which you can get by pressing the V key, and go ahead and Alt-drag or Option-drag the selection down into the right so that it snaps into alignment with the bottom right corner of the image.
Then press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac to deselect the image. That way you can define the entire thing as a pattern. And you do so by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Define Pattern and then just go ahead and name this guy Checkers and of course click OK. Now let's make a new image to hold the checkers as well as the final piece of op art. Go up to the File menu and once again choose the New command, and this time we want to dial in a Width value of 4800 Pixels and a Height of 3000 Pixels. That just ensures that we have a very high resolution image to work with so that we're going to get the best results possible.
You want the Color Mode to be set Grayscale, once again, so that your image doesn't become too huge. And then you can make the Background Contents anything you want. White is just fine. Now click OK in order to create that image. Now here inside the Layers panel, drop down to the black/white icon and press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then choose the Pattern command. And go ahead and name this new pattern layer checkers and then click OK. Now you want to select the checkers pattern from the list. Most likely it'll be selected by default.
And then you want to dial in a Scale value of 50% in order to get the best results, then click OK in order to create that layer. Now we need to modify this layer using the Free Transform command, and that means we need to convert it to a Smart Object. So go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose the Convert to Smart Object command. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command, or you can press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac. Then go up to the Options bar and click on the Warp icon over here on the right-hand side in order to enter the Warp mode and then change the Warp setting over here on the left side of the Options bar from Custom to Inflate, which is one of the lower options.
And change the Bend value from its default setting which is 50% to -100%, like so. And that's going to end up not only pinching the checkerboard pattern in word, but it reduces its size is well. Now press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to apply the effect. Now we're going to need more checkers to work with here, which means we need to expand the size of the Smart Object. So go over to this checkers layer here inside the Layers panel and double-click on its thumbnail in order to open the Smart Object.
If you get this warning, just go ahead and click OK in order to see the Smart Object open on screen. Then go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command and make sure the Relative checkbox is turned off. I want to double the size of my canvas, and the easiest way to do that is to switch from Pixels in my case to Percent and then dial in Width and Height values of 200% each and then go ahead and click OK, and that gives us a lot more checkerboard pattern to work with. Then go ahead and close the Smart Object and click on the Yes button here on the PC or the Save button on the Mac in order to save your changes back inside the original file.
Now first, it's not going to look like you've really made much difference here, but you have added a lot more checkers to the pattern, it's just that they are smaller now as well. So what we need to do is revisit the Free Transform command, and the easiest way to do that is to just press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, then go up to the Options bar here, turn on the little chain icon between the Width and Height values and change either the Width value or the Height value to 100% in order to increase the size of the checkerboard pattern so that it fills the entire canvas and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to apply that change.
Now at this point, I want to pinch the checkerboard pattern even further, and the easiest way to do that would be to going under the Filter menu, choose Distort and then just choose the Pinch Command. And that way we're throwing on a dose of pinch on top of that Inflate effect that we applied earlier. The problem is if you apply pinch at this point, then you're going to run into problems later because this filter has a hard time working on very high resolution images. The better approach is just to escape out of there and then go ahead and put this Smart Object inside yet another Smart Object by going over to the Layers panel flyout menu and then choosing Convert to Smart Object once again.
Now I'll press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac to, once again, enter the Free Transform mode. Click on the Warp icon over here in the Options bar in order to switch to the Warp mode. There is currently no warp applied because we've got a Smart Object inside of another smart object, so change the Warp style from Custom, once again, to Inflate and then again change the Bend value to -100% in order to create this effect here. Now that's pinching things so far that we're revealing the canvas, so switch back to the Transform mode by clicking again on the Warp icon on the right side of the Options bar and then click on the little chain icon between the Width and Height values and change either the Width or Height value to 200% this time around and then press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac a couple of times in order to apply that change.
Now that effect might take a moment to apply, just so you know, because this is getting to be a computationally-intense file. Now I want to show you what I was talking about with Pinch and the other filters. I'll go ahead and click on the Filter menu and then choose Distort, and you can see now that Pinch is dimmed along with Spherize and a few others, and that's because it just can't handle files that have this high of a resolution. The next thing we need to do, though, is Spherize this artwork. But in order to gain access to the command, we're going to need to apply it as a static effect.
So I'll go ahead and escape out of the Filter menu, and I'll create a raster copy of this Smart Object by pressing Ctrl+A or Command+A on a Mac to select the entire image and then press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J to bring up the New Layer dialog box, and let's just go ahead and call this guy Raster and click OK. And you can see that we now have a raster version of the artwork as indicated by the fact we don't have this little Place icon in the bottom right corner of the New Layer thumbnail. Alright, now we need to draw a circular selection right smack dab in the middle of the artwork.
In order to find the middle the artwork, the easiest thing to do is to press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, yet again, to enter the Free Transform mode, then press Ctrl+R or Command+R on a Mac to bring up the rulers, and drag a horizontal guide from the top ruler and drop it right there at the center point and you can see that target right there in the center of artwork. And then drag a vertical guide out from the left ruler and drop it at the center point as well. Now if you're not seeing your guidelines, then you'll need to press Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+Semicolon on the Mac to make them visible, and then you can press the Escape key in order to leave the Transform mode and press Ctrl+R or Command+R on a Mac to hide the rulers.
Now I'm going to switch from the Rectangular Marquee Tool to the Elliptical Marquee, and then I'll drag outward from the center of the art, and as I drag, I'll press the Shift+Alt keys or the Shift+Option keys on the Mac, and that ensures that I'm creating this circle from the center outward. And I want my Width and Height values-- which you can see in the little heads-up display there above into the right of my cursor-- I want those values to be 2400 Pixels apiece or thereabout. And after you've created this selection, then go up to the Select menu, choose Modify, and choose Feather, and then dial in a Feather Radius value of 300 pixels.
So we want a whopping value for this effect, then click OK. Now all we need to do is apply the Spherize filter by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Distort, and choosing Spherize, which is now available to us. And you want to crank that Amount value up to 100% and make sure that Mode is set to Normal. And you should see this nice little sphere in the bottom-right corner of the dialog box and then click OK in order to apply the effect. Now we want to apply it twice more, so go up to the Filter menu and choose Spherize, or you can press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to repeat that last filter, and then press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to repeat it a second time.
So we've applied Spherize a total of three times to the art. Now I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac in order to deselect the image and I'll press Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+Semicolon on the Mac in order to hide my guides, and I'll press the F key a couple of times in order to enter the full screen mode. And that, friends, is how you create a stunning piece of op art in the form of this bulging checkerboard pattern here inside Photoshop. If you're a member of the lynda.com online training library, I have a follow-up movie in which I show you how to take this pattern of lines and turn it into what I'm calling opartexperiment1b.
If you're waiting for next week's free movie, I'll show you how to create the universal gender symbols that are known as man and woman inside Adobe Illustrator using nothing but strokes. Deke's Techniques, each and every week, keep watching.
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