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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 we're going to take a danger sign and make it more dangerous in Photoshop. Specifically we're going to take this real-life sign that's available to you all at The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland better known as The Cliffs of Insanity in the movie Princess Bride. But this sign here wouldn't dissuade anybody from going to the edge of the cliff, at least it didn't work for me, but this one would have and we're going to create this guy as an intricate shape layer inside Photoshop.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, here is that extra scary version of the warning sign and here is the unmodified version which is where we'll start. The only changes I've made are to add a few path outlines just to expedite the process. You can however of course draw your own path outlines if you like. So I am going to start by switching over to the Paths panel which you can get by choosing the Paths command from the Window menu and then I'll click on the shark body path here. And if I scroll up and press the A key to switch to my Black Arrow tool and then click on the path outline, you can see it's very simple.
Just a total of four anchor points and that's it. To convert the path to a shape layer, return to the Layers panel, then drop down to this black/white circle at the bottom of the panel and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and go ahead and choose the very top command Solid Color. Because you have the Alt or Option key down you will see the New Layer dialog box. I am going to go ahead and call this guy Shark and click OK. By default Photoshop should just go ahead and select black for you in which case you can click OK, because we want a black shark.
We also want to mask the shark inside of the confines of the sign, which means grabbing this cliff over here on the left-hand side and flipping it over to the right so that we can generate a mask. We'll do that for starters by turning off the shark layer and then go ahead and click on the developed photo layer there. Press the L key to switch to the Lasso tool and you want to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click around this cliff like so, and make sure that you leave plenty of white margin around there.
But you don't need to select the orange margin outside the sign and you don't need to select the rocks either. We just need this portion of the cliff selected. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom in so that I can see what I'm doing a little more up close and personal. And I will jump a copy of the cliff to a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac and I will go ahead and call this new layer cliff and click OK and you can see that we now have a duplicate of the cliff on an independent layer. Now, go up to the Edit menu, choose Transform and choose Flip Horizontal in order to flip the cliff to the other side like so.
And then, you want to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac in order to temporarily access the Move tool on the fly and go ahead and drag that cliff over to the right-hand side like so. Now we want to scale the cliff so it's taller than the shark. And normally you would turn the shark layer back on so you can keep track of what you're doing. I already happen to know the settings I am going to use however. So I will turn that Shark layer off, and then with the Cliff layer active, I will return to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform or you could press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac.
And we want to scale with respect more or less to the bottom-right corner of the bounding box. So I will select that corner up here under Reference Point Matrix on the far left side of the Options Bar. Then I am going to turn on link between the Width and Height values. I'll click on W to select the Width Value and I will change it to 124. Then we need to adjust the X and Y values to get this guy exactly in place. And the values I am looking for are these. I will go and click on the X value and change it to 3342 and then tab to the Y value and change it to 2702.
So it's just a few pixels off in both directions. And we end up with this effect here, at which point you want to go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to apply your change. I am going to go ahead and zoom out here. Now we need to convert this cliff to a kind of layer mask for the shark, so that he is not exceeding the boundaries of the sign. And we'll do that by switching to the Channels panel which you can get by choosing the Channels command from the Window menu. The cliff appears darkest in Red channel than the other two.
So go ahead and grab the Red channel and drag it onto the little page icon at the bottom of the Channels panel to make a copy, and we'll call this new channel Mask. Then press Ctrl+I or Command+I on the Mac to invert the channel. Now we need to increase the contrast by going up to the Image menu and choosing Adjustments, and then you want to choose the Levels command. We want to change this first input Levels value to 100, so we're darkening up the darkest colors and then change the last input Levels value to 200 in order to produce this effect here.
So 100, 1.00 and 200, then click OK. And now if you want to clean things up a little bit, which is probably a good idea, go ahead and zoom in here and I'll press the B key to switch to the Brush tool. you want to tap the D key as well as in default in order to get the default foreground and background colors. Then right-click inside the Image window and increase your Hardness value to 100%. Then you can click away some of these little particles that are appearing inside of the cliff like so.
And finally, after painting that chunk away, you'll want to increase the size of your brush by pressing the right-bracket key a few times and then click on that screw to get rid of it. Now press the L key to switch back to the Lasso tool and I'm going to zoom out a little bit, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and just make sure to select all the way around the cliff, you don't have to select tight to the edge, in fact you want some black margin in there just to make sure you don't goof things up. And then when you're done you can release both the mouse button and the Alt or Option key, go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse Command or press Ctrl+Shift+I or Command+Shift+I on a Mac and then press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac to fill everything outside of the marching ants.
Now press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac in order to deselect the image. We want to load this mask as a selection and you do that by Ctrl+Clicking on it here on a PC or Command+Clicking on it on a Mac. Then switch back to the RGB image, switch over to the Layers panel. You can turn off the cliff layer for now, turn on the shark layer; click on it and then drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon and click on it in order to convert the selection outline to a layer mask. Now we need to bring back in the rest of the shark, which you do by copying and pasting paths.
So switch over to the Paths panel and then click on the mouth path in order to make it active, press the A key to switch to the Black Arrow tool and click on the path outline to select it like so. Then press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac in order to copy the mouth. Switch to this path right there, this temporary one that's called Shark Shape Path, which is the path for the Shape Layer and then press Ctrl +V or Command+V on the Mac to paste in the mouth. Then you want to go up to this icon which is called Path Operations up in the Options Bar, click on it and switch it to Subtract Front Shape in order to subtract away that mouth.
Now let's scroll up a little bit here, we want to grab this sweat above the guy's head and that's this sweat path right there. Go ahead and click on it, marquee the paths like so and press Ctrl+C or Command+C on a Mac to paste them. Then click on this shark shape path again and press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac in order to paste him in place. Now it looks like they're set to that Subtract Front mode again, but they're actually not. If I go up here to the Path Operations we've got Combined Shape selected which means that the sweat will be added to the shark.
Problem is it falls outside of the layer mask. So you need to switch back to the Layers panel, make sure that Layer Mask thumbnail is selected, press the M key to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool and just select this general area up here. And then, assuming white as your foreground color, press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill the selection with white and bring back the sweat. Now you can click anywhere inside the image to deselect it and then switch back to the Paths panel and click on the Teeth Path to select them.
Then press the A key to switch back to your Black Arrow tool. Click on the top teeth and Shift+Click on these bottom ones that are just sitting here loose and then press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac to copy them, switch back to the shark shape path and then press Ctrl+V or Command+V on a Mac in order to paste those teeth into place. And the reason we have two different groups of teeth neither of which is quite right is because I was trying to figure out the better approach as opposed to just sitting there and drawing every single one of them which got a little bit tedious.
So came out with two approaches, you see which one you like. I am going to click off the paths in order to deselect them, and then I'll click on this top set of teeth to select them. I am going to create a copy of them by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then dragging them to this location here. So you have to have the Alt or Option key down before you start dragging. That way, you can make a copy of those teeth at this new location. Then press Ctrl+T or Command+T on a Mac in order to enter the Free Transform mode. Grab that little target right there, which is the origin point for the transformation, drag them to the upper-left corner like so and then drag outside the teeth to rotate them in the place until they look like this, this is fine.
Then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that change and now Alt+Drag or Option+Drag the teeth again to right about here in order to create another copy of them and then press Ctrl+T or Command+ T on the Mac to enter the Free Transform mode, drag that little target up into left like so. Then you want to rotate the teeth into place and scale them by the way. So I am dragging on this lower-right corner handle in order to scale the teeth and I am pressing the Shift key as I do so, so I am scaling the teeth proportionally.
Then I might move them down to about here. Then press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac in order to apply that change. Now let's say you want to lengthen a few of the teeth. Then what you do is you switch from the Path Selection tool, the Black Arrow tool to the Direct Selection tool, the White Arrow tool. Now go ahead and marquee those two points and Shift+Marquee this one as well, at least that's what I did, and then drag those points down a little bit to make the teeth taller. And I might move this one over a little bit. We might need some further adjustments in the future.
Now we've got to get these guys right here. And so what you want to do is press Shift+A in order to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, click on these teeth to select them and drag them up into the bottom of the mouth like so. And at this point I decided I bet I could warp these teeth to match the bottom of the mouth. You once again want to press Ctrl+T or Command +T on a Mac to enter the Free Transform mode and then you can click on this little warp icon on the right side of the Options Bar.
And then you choose a warp style. Now in our case it's got to be Arch, so that the teeth remain upright as they bend. They're bending in the wrong direction however and I ultimately came up with a Bend value of -26 as you can see up there in the Options Bar. Then you want to Tab over to the Horizontal Distortion value and change it to -45% and you can press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that warp on-the-fly. Now we need to scale and rotate the teeth and you do that by clicking on this Warp Icon once again, this time to turn it off.
And I went ahead and moved this target over to this location on the right side of the teeth and then I dragged up a little bit until I rotated them about 3 degrees, works out nicely. I am going to nudge these guys down too. And then I ended up changing the Width value to 98%, so not a lot of scaling going on, but just a little bit. Then I will press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac a couple of times in order to apply that change, and I am going to move these guys out like so. We have too many teeth as you can see or I didn't know when I was creating the teeth how many I'd need, so I am going to zoom out a little bit here.
In order to select the extra teeth and delete them, you want to press Shift+A once again this time to switch back to the White Arrow tool and marquee this region right there. Unfortunately, in addition to selecting the teeth, that select parts of a couple of other paths. To deselect them what you've got to do is press the Shift and Alt keys. That's Shift and Option on a Mac, and click once and then twice on the big shark outline, and then once and then twice on the mouth outline. So just make sure you have the Shift and Alt keys down.
That's Shift and Option on the Mac in order to make that work. Then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac to get rid of the extra teeth and then this guy needs to be tucked in just a little bit like so. And then finally, so we don't have that line through the middle of things, you want to switch to the Pen tool which you can get by pressing the P key and drag down and to the right from that farthest left anchor point and then drag up into the right from the last one over here on the right-hand side and you end up with this effect here. This looks great! And now what we got to do if you want to add a little texture to the shark, then switch back to the Layers panel, grab that Cliff layer, drag it above the Shark layer, turn it on, and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on the horizontal line between cliff and shark to combine them into a clipping mask.
Now I'll zoom out a couple of clicks here so that we can take in all of the sign at a time. Now admittedly that's not everything. In the next movie in fact I will show you how to heighten the realism of this effect. But that is how you go about turning a scary sign into something much scarier 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 enhance the credibility of this shark. Now for example, I wanted to give him an eye but I didn't want to draw it in because that would be too much definition.
The dude doesn't even have feet. So I decided to represent the eye as a screw as in the case of this completely credible version of the shark here. If you're waiting for next week's free technique, I am going to show you how to precisely align elements to a bleed inside of Illustrator. Now, I'll explain everything then, but along the way we're going to create this really cool piece of vector artwork here. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching!
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