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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.
This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week we'll take three photographs of paint splatters and we'll transform the nature of the fluid, first to these troubling pools of hemoglobins, which I think come off as shockingly realistic, which is why I thought we would end things by changing the splatters to harmless ink, which is still terrifying, because it's hard to get this stuff out. But if you get scared, just remember, it's not real. It's Photoshop.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right! Here is the final version of that effect on screen. It's a little bit gruesome but I think it's credible. I'm going to go ahead and switch over to this image, which contains not only this wood pattern in the background, but three different paint splatters as you can see. And all of these images by the way come to us from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. So I just copied and pasted these images and then moved them around.
Now at this point we need to convert all these images into selections, and the easiest way to select the paint splatters is from the Channels panel. But notice if I switch over to the Channels panel here, that because the paint splatters are all different colors, they show up differently inside the various channels. So for example, in the Red channel, the blue paint looks very dark; the green paint looks somewhat dark. In the Green channel, the orange paint grows darker and the blue lightens up just ever so slightly. And then in the Blue channel both the green and the orange paint splatters are very dark indeed.
We need to approach these paint splatters in two passes, and here's how. I'm going to switch back to the RGB image. Then switch back to the Layers panel. With the wood layer active, you want to make a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and we'll go ahead and call this layer white, and then tap the D key to ensure that you have your default colors and press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac to fill this layer with white. Now we need to change the Blend mode assigned to all three of these splatter layers.
In Photoshop CS6 you can click on one of the layer, Shift+Click on another to select an entire range, and then change the Blend mode for all three layers to Multiply. If you're working in an earlier version of Photoshop then you'll need to apply Multiply to each layer independently. Now turn the splatter 3 layer, the blue one off for a moment, and then switch over to the Channels panel and notice that the Blue channel shows up darkest for these two paint splatters. So what you want to do is Ctrl+Click or Command+ Click on the Blue Channel to load it up as the selection, so that everything that's white is now selected and everything that's black is deselected.
We want the opposite effect, so go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command. Then switch back to the RGB image, switch back to the Layers panel and you can go ahead and turn these two layers off right there. And then let's create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and I'll call this guy splatters and then click OK. We just need to fill in that selection with something, might as well be black for now. So just go ahead and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on a Mac in order to fill in that selection like so.
Now I'll go ahead and turn that layer off for a moment, press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect it, switch to the splatter 3 layer, go ahead and turn it on, and then return to the Channels panel and notice that we have a very dark splatter here inside the Green Channel. So go ahead and Ctrl+Click on it or Command+Click on the Mac in order to load it up as the selection, and then go back to the Select menu and choose Inverse so that we're selecting the splatter and not the area around it. Then switch back to the RGB image, switch back to the Layers panel, turn off the splatter 3 layer, turn the splatters layer back on, click on it to make it active and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that selection.
Now you can click in the image to deselect it. At this point we no longer need these layers, you can either throw them away or you can put them in a group and hide them, which is what I'm going to do. So I'll click on splatter 3 and Shift+ Click on white to select an entire range. Then I'll go up to the Layers panel fly- out menu and choose New Group From Layers and I'll go ahead and call this guy paint photos, and then click OK. And now I'll turn that group off so I could focus my attention on the splatters layer. I want to fill these splatters with a shade of red, so assuming your Color panel is available, go up to the fly-out menu and switch to HSB Sliders.
A Hue value of zero degrees is fine. I'm going to change the Saturation to 100%, and then change the Brightness to 25%, and then press Shift+Alt+Backspace here on the PC or Shift+Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the opaque pixels with red. Now if you've ever taken a look at blood, you may have noticed that it has varying levels of opacity associated with it. And to mimic that effect I'm going to start things off by converting this guy to a Smart Object by going up to Layers panel fly-out menu and choosing Convert to Smart Object.
Then what you want to do is Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on this layer thumbnail to load it up as a selection outline. Once again tap the D key to make sure that black and white are your foreground and background colors respectively. Then go up to the Filter menu, choose Render and choose Clouds, and that will go ahead and fill just the selected region with those clouds. Thanks to the fact that Photoshop automatically converted the selection to filter mask. Notice if you were to Shift+Click on that filter mask to turn it off, then you would be filling up the entire image with clouds which is not what we want.
I'll go ahead and Shift+Click on the filter mask to turn it back on. And now you want to double-click on that little Slider icon to the right of the word clouds and change the Blend mode to Multiply or like so, and now you can see that we've varying levels of darkness at work which is just what I am looking for. Now I'll click OK. We don't want that much opacity associated with the effect in general. We do want to be able to see through to the wood, so change the Fill value to 50% like so. Next click on the fx icon and choose Color Overlay so that we can infuse more color into this effect.
Click on the color swatch which is red by default. A Hue value of zero degrees is great, a Saturation value of 100% is exactly right, but I'm looking for Brightness of 35%, then click OK. And now I'm going to change the Blend mode to Linear Light and take the Opacity value down to 50%. Next, just to add a little more darkness to this effect here, I'm going to turn on Gradient Overlay. So you want to click on it to make it active. Then click on the Color Bar to bring up the Gradient Editor dialog box.
Double-click on the Black color swatch and dial in these values. So Hue of zero degrees is just fine. We want a Saturation of 100% and the Brightness value of 25%. Then go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to make your way back to the Layers Style dialog box. Change the style from Linear to Radial. Go ahead and crank the Scale value up to its maximum like so, and then change the Blend mode to Multiply, and then go ahead and take the Opacity value down to 75% in order to create this effect here and then click OK in order to accept that change.
Now you don't have to go with this color scheme. The blood isn't what you're looking for; you could say simulate blue ink by double-clicking on the Smart Object thumbnail in order to open the Smart Object. If you see this alert message, just click OK. And now I'm going to dial in some new values. I'm going to change the Hue to 210 degrees. I'm going to change the Saturation to 100, and the Brightness to 50, and then I'll press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the splatters with blue, and then I'll go ahead and click on the Close button in order to close the image, and here on the PC you want to click on the Yes button to save your changes back to the larger composition, on the Mac you would click on the Save button.
And that's going to change the color of our splatters. However, we've got these effects on top of it. So I'm just going to turn off the Gradient Overlay and then double-click on the Color Overlay in order to bring it up, and then I'll click on the color swatch to bring up the Color Picker dialog box, and I'll take the Saturation down to 50 and I'll take the Brightness up to 40, and I need to change the Hue of course to 210 degrees like so. And then click OK a couple of times in order to accept that change, and you end up with this inky effect instead.
Then you could choose whether to keep the clouds or not. You could turn them off if you don't want it anymore, turn them on to keep them, it's totally up to you. For my part I think what I'm going to do is double-click on the little Slider icon there, and reduce the Opacity of the cloud effect to 50%. So there you have it, your own custom Splatter Effect that you can change to any color you like, here inside Photoshop. All right! So much for the splatters, next week we'll turn our attention to color fringing, specifically purple color fringing indicated by the P and green color fringing indicated by the G.
We can totally and utterly get rid of that stuff in Camera Raw 7 and later, and you're not just going to know, you are going to understand dude, Deke's Techniques, each and every week, keep watching.
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