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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. I know your time is important, which is why we're going to get on with it. We're going to take this still photograph of a falcon and we're going to make its wings flap like crazy, flap, flap, flap I tell you, using Puppet Warp inside Photoshop. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. So this is the effect we're going for, with a bunch of puppet warped falcons sitting on top of each other. We're going to start it off with this image, which comes to us from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. Now, the first step is to extract the falcon from the background, and fill in the background, so that we can expose pieces of the background as the wings flap around.
I didn't find a really great method for masking this bird so instead, I drew this ridiculously complex path outline, but before we come to that, we need to create a copy of the image. So make sure the background is selected, here in the Layers panel, and press Ctrl+Alt+J or Cmd+Option+J on the Mac In order to make a duplicate layer, call it Original and click OK. Now, we need to assign the path outline to the layer. So, go the the Paths panel and click on falcon outline, and I'll press the A key to switch to the Arrow tool, and click on the path outline and you can see how enormously complicated it is. I just drew it by hand, it took about 15, 20 minutes. So let's assign it as a vector mask to the active layer by switching back to the layers panel, dropping down to the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel.
And you want to press the control key, or command key on the MAC and click on it. And that goes ahead and turns that path outline into a vector mask. Now, turn off that layer for a moment, and then click on the background again. And now, we need to get rid off the falcon. And the easiest way to do that is to press the Ctrl key, or the Cmd key on a Mac, and click on the Vector Mask for the layer above, in order to covert it a selection outline. Then go onto the Select menu, choose Modify and choose the Expand command. I went with a value of 50 pixels and now I'll click OK in order to expand that selection.
Now, the next thing is to apply content aware fill. So go up to the Edit menu, and choose the Fill command. And then make sure Use is set to Content-Aware, and click OK. And that'll go ahead and fill in that selection. And because it's fairly tight around the falcon, it does a halfway decent job but, I wouldn't say it does a perfect job. I'll press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac, and you can still see seams all over the place. Now, you can whip out the Healing brush and spend five to ten minutes on this project, or because it's a blurry background you could go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur.
And then, dial in a whopping radius value of 50 pixels, and that'll go ahead and smooth things over. Then click OK. Now, we can bring the falcon back into the scene and we can move him anywhere we want. I'll just go ahead and click on that layer to select it. Make sure the vector mask is deselected. And then, I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform. And the reason I'm doing this is because I have some specific pixel coordinates in mind. But I just want to demonstrate that you can move this guy any place you like. I'll click on X up here in the Options bar and change that value to 1283 and then I'll tab over to Y and change it to 996.5. And obviously these are arbitrary values that I just found by dragging the falcon around.
Now, I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, a couple of times in order to apply that change. Now, it's time to apply puppet warp and there is no doubt that you and I are going to get slightly different results. That's just the way it works. And I'm going to get different results then I just showed you a moment ago. However, I do want to give you a sense of how this works. We want to create a copy of this layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Cmd+Option+J again. And I'll go ahead and call this layer Wings and click OK. And now, we need to place in the smart object.
By pressing the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and then I'll right-click inside the image window and choose Convert to Smart Object. And that goes ahead and places both the layer and the vector mask inside a smart object. Now, I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Puppet Warp. I'm going to start by laying down a couple of pins here, inside the wings. So I'll click right about there to set a pin, and I'll click here as well. And pins, by the way, when you're working with Puppet Warp, indicate areas that you want to change, that you want to bend to new locations, as well as areas that you want to fix in place. I'll go ahead and click here and here inside the wing as well. And then I'll click in these two locations to fix these points along his shoulder or whatever part of his anatomy that is, if it's a he. And then I'll click here and here as well.
I want to lock down his knees so I'll click at these locations, cause that'll help to prevent his tail feathers from moving around too much. And finally, I decided to go ahead and click inside of his eyes here in order to create his head from getting too warped, and I clicked on the top of his head too. Now, I'll go ahead and zoom back out here. Now, we want to move some of these pins to new locations, so go ahead and click on this one, and Shift+click on this guy here to select them both. And then drag 'em down like so, and then I'll Shift+click on this guy to turn 'em off.
And drag this pin down to about this location here. And now I'll do the same with the other wing. Click and Shift-click to select these two points. Drag this guy down to about this location, Shift-click, and then drag this one down to about here. I want his elbows, this location right here, to have a little bit of flex in them. So I'm going to change this mode option to Rigid, but notice what that does. It doesn't actually make a hugest difference so far in the bird wing, except for a negative difference. You can see that we've got these weird spine.
over here on the right hand side, and that's a function of this expansion value. Now expansion is set pretty low by default and incidentally you maybe seeing the mesh. The mesh that's surrounding this object right here, which I find to be a little bit intrusive. But it is helpful for demonstrating the expansion. Notice that it goes slightly outside of the feathers and that's because the expansion is cranked up to 2 pixels. You can take that value down in order to clip the object and that I suppose is useful if you didn't draw a very good mask in the first place. This one is quite the mask, it's very accurate.
So, what we need to do instead is raise the expansion value so I'll click inside of it. And just to make sure I don't lose any pins, because if you start dragging that slider there, that you can get by clicking on the down arrow, your pins might start disappearing. So instead, just click inside the value and press Shift+up arrow. And notice that that brings back those feathers quite nicely when we have the expansion value set to twelve pixels. Now, I'll press the Enter key in order to accept that value, and I'll turn off the darned mesh there, and I'll press Control+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac in order to center my zoom, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac, once again, in order to apply that change.
Now, from here out, it's just a matter of doing this a few more times, so the next thing that we need to do Is figure out the final placement of the wings. So, I'll go over to my Layers panel and get rid of this filter mask because its just going to clutter things up by right-clicking inside that white rectangle and choosing delete filter mask. And then with the wings layer active, press Ctrl+J or Cmd+J in the Mac in order to jump it to a new layer. And notice that the Puppet Warp smart filter comes along with it. Double-click on Puppet Warp in order to revisit the pins here.
And then click on this one, Shift+click on this guy, and drag him down like so. And I'll Shift+click on this pin to turn it off, and then I'll drag this guy farther down to about this location here. And now I'm going to get these two pins. Click and Shift+click, and drag them down to about here. And then Shift+click at this location. And drag this pin down to about there. Now then, we have the matter of adding a little bit of flex to the wings. So I'll click on this pin. And notice if you press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and move your cursor away from the pin.
You can add some rotation to the pin, like so. And I have a specific value in mind, so I'm just going to dial it in. I'm going to change that value to 17 degrees. And then I'm going to click on this guy, and I'm going to change his value to 76 degrees. And then I'll click on this pin, and I'll dial it in. Notice, right now, Rotate is set to auto. As soon as I dial in a value, like negative 20. In this case, it'll change to fixed. And then I'll click at this location and change its angle value to negative 69 in order to produce the effect you see on screen.
And then I'll press the Enter key a couple of times in order to apply that change. Now, if you want to get more of a sense of what's going on and you really want to flex your stuff where this animation is concerned, then you click on the bottom wing's layer, press Ctrl+J or Cmd+J on the Mac in order to create another copy. Click on the one in the background there. Double-click on its Puppet Warp. Go ahead and grab its wing pins right here. Drag them up to let's say right about there. Then Shift-click on this pin to turn it off and drag this guy up like so.
And then go over to these two pins on the left hand wing. And bring them up a little bit, like so. And then Shift+click on this guy and lift the end of the wing up to about this location and you just keep doing that over and over again. All to all I created 19 of this layers, that is 18 of the wings variations along with the original. And notice how I did things here I'll go ahead and zoom in on these wings.
I started slowly, and then went more quickly as the wing comes down, toward the central area. And then I slowed things down again. And I did that on both sides. And I started flexing and adding angle values right about in this region right here. A fair amount of work, as you might imagine, and I might have gotten something wrong, actually. I'm going to press Control 0 or Command 0 on a Mac to zoom out on this image, and I'll go ahead and switch back over to my image in progress and sure enough I got a problem. Notice here that the wings are going in back of the tail feathers.
We can't have any of that, and that's just happening on this top wings layer. So I'll double-click on this Puppet Warp, and I'll click on this pin, right there. And I'll go up to the Options bar and click on this icon, Send Pin Forward, which should move the wings in front of the tail. And notice at this point, when we're seeing this preview, that there's this gook around the tail and that's part of the expansion but it ends up going away. I'll click on this pin as well in the elbow portion of the wing, and I will once again click on the send-pin-forward icon in order to move that area in front of the tail.
And I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that change. You can see that we have a little misregistration where the tail feathers are concerned. But that's actually just fine it means that its tail feathers will wave a little bit as he flies which is probably the way things would really work. And that, friends, is at least one way to draw animated bird wings using the Puppet Warp effect here inside Photoshop. If you're a member of lynda.com and say, if you're not kids, go to lynda.com/deke for a free week and be part of the Schick Geek Click.
I know, a lot of words rhyme with my name. But if you are a member then you can check out the follow up movie in which I show you how to animate this text right here. Using onion skinning so you can see everything that you're doing. If you're waiting for next weeks free movie, I'll show you how to assemble everything we've done so far into an actual animation so you can watch it play inside Photoshop. Deke's Techniques each and every week. Keep watching.
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