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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 I got a Cintiq. Now if you're familiar with the Wacom Cintiq, then you're probably thinking dude, you are so lucky, which is true. This thing is fantastic. If you're unfamiliar, what we have is a flat panel display upon which you can draw directly. So here I am armed with the standard issue, pressure sensitive stylus. This is Photoshop by the way, it's just that the interface is hidden. And, I've already selected the brush tool in advance. And so I'll just go ahead and start drawing and you can see if I press lightly, I get a thin line.
And if I press more firmly, I get a big thick line. So it's just like drawing with any other drawing tablet except that you can draw directly inside the image. But rather than focus on the technology, because these are quite expensive. This bad boy here, which is a 22 HD, costs about 2,000 bucks. So I'm assuming most of us don't have that kind of money to throw around. Which is why I'm going to expend my attention on the project, itself, which is this guy right here.
So it's a kind of Peter Max riff, if you will. In other words, a colorful integration of photography and artwork. So I'm going to start things off inside the original photograph, which comes to us from the Fotolia image library. About which you can learn more and get deals at fotolia.com/deke. The first thing that you want to do if you are going to trace an image inside Photoshop is convert that image into a tracing template, and the simplest way to do that is with a couple of keyboard shortcuts.
The first is Ctrl+A, or Cmd+A on the Mac, in order to select the entire image and this by the way assumes that you are working inside of a flat photograph, as I am. And then you press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J, or Cmd+Shift+Option+J on a Mac. And what that does is not only jump the selection to a new layer. That's what the Ctrl or Cmd+J is about. But it's also going to allow you to name that layer. That's why you press the Alt or Option key. The fact that you are pressing the Shift key is going to move the image so you still have a background to work with and I'll go ahead and call this new layer lion, and click OK, in order to create that new layer, and you can see we now have a plain white background.
Now assuming that you have one of the selection tools active you can press the 5 key to reduce the opacity of this layer to 50%, and that way you can distinguish it from your brush strokes. Now, the next thing you want to do is check out the resolution of your image, and you do that by going up to the image menu, and choosing the Image Size command. And notice the dimensions. About 2,000 by 2,000 pixels. That means, this is a four megapixel image, which by modern standards, is extremely low resolution. And to confirm that, you can switch to inches here and you'll see that with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, this image almost measures seven inches by seven inches, but not quite.
If you're going to spend the time creating some original artwork here, albeit based on an existing photograph, then you want to work at hi-res. So what we want to do in the case of this image is, switch back to percent, and at least take it up to 200% to, by the way, the resample image checkbox has to be turned on. In order for this to work, you want this little proportional guy to be turned on as well so that both the width and height values are changing to 200% and that's going to take the dimensions up to about 4,000 by 4,000 pixels which means we'll have a 16 megapixel image which is a much better solution.
If you're working in the most recent version of Photoshop make sure resample is set to automatic because after all we're up sampling. Which means that Photoshop will automatically use preserve details which is the best way to go. Now click OK in order to upsample the image. And it will take a few moments for that to occur. Now I'm going to scroll over to the right eye because that's the easiest place for me to start. And I'm going to go ahead and zoom in to 100% as well. You do want to switch to the brush tool by pressing the b key, if you like.
And my cursor's way too big here in order to trace this eye. But thing is, you don't want to set in painting directly on the line. That would be a bad idea. So instead, you want to press Ctrl+Shift+n, or Cmd+Shift+n on the Mac to create a new layer, and let's go ahead and call this layer eyes. And click OK. And next you want to press the d key, just to confirm your default colors so the foreground color is black, because we'll be painting the eyes with black, and you also want to bring up the brushes panel which you can get by going to the window menu and choosing the brush command.
And you want to confirm a few things. The size is optional. You can change it to whatever you like. However, you do want to make sure the hardness is set to 100%. Presumably you want to be working with a round brush, but you can switch to an elliptical brush if you'd like. And then this is the most important part. You want to crank the spacing value down. By default, it's 25%, which is going to give you. Check out that preview there, it's going to give you invariably lumpy brush strokes, and you don't want that, ever. So, take it down to 5%. The reason it's set to 25% by default, is that older computers couldn't accommodate the lower values.
Because basically what's happening is the brush is laying down a bunch of little brush dollops. But nowadays we get much better performance, and so, a lower spacing value is the way to go. So now I'll close the bushes panel, and I will set in painting once again with the Cintiq. Now, this thing is a dream to use. As I was saying. You're painting directly on the screen in case you haven't heard of this device before. And just go ahead and brush this guy in, of course. Now everybody's style differs, obviously, so you may or may not like what you see me drawing but I'm the kind of guy that likes to keep it pretty rough, generally speaking.
Sometime's I'll go for super smooth but when I'm actually brushing in artwork I want to keep it distinctive. I'm going to erase in a few gaps and those of you who have used Walcom tablets know that there is an eraser on the flip side at the pen, that you can use any old time you like. And so I'm erasing holes in the layer bud of course. Now I'm missing a detail so far, you may notice, but I'll put it back in in a second first. I want to go ahead and create that highlight. And I'll do so on yet another layer, so I'll go ahead.
And select lion layer to make it active. Press Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac, in order to bring up the New Layer dialog box, and I'll call this guy White Highlights and click OK, and then I'll press the X key to switch my foreground color to white, and I'll go ahead and paint some highlights in, and again we're not really interested in exactly emulating the photograph, because if we were interested in doing that then we would stick with a photo. Now I'm going to click on the eyes layer to make it active once again.
And you may notice the biggest detail that I'm missing so far with the exception of a, few additional lines I might paint in, and sort of eyelash details as well, is the pupil. So go ahead and paint in this animal's very tiny pupil here. Because I experimented with a larger one, and I just didn't like the way it looked. Now, I'm going to switch over to the other eye, after possibly fastidiously adding some more stuff here, and I'm doing that by space bar dragging, but, of course until I find that eye.
You want to remember any time you're doing this kind of work that you can rotate the canvas inside of Photoshop. And you can do that if you like by going over here to the hand tool and actually. Selecting the rotate view tool, but if you want to know a quicker approach, then press and hold the r key and then drag the screen like so, because you're temporarily armed with rotate view tool, then, take care to release. Your mouse button or stylus or what have you, and then you can release the R key and notice that automatically switches you back to the brush tool. Now I'm going to brush in some more eye and you want to make sure that eye layer is active, of course, and you want may look at this and think, wow, dude, this is a really awkward way to work and if you're thinking that, I'm willing to bet that you're right-handed because the whole reason I'm doing this is that I'm left-handed, and that way I can keep the pen, the stylus that is to say, on the right side of my hand so that my hand is resting on the left side of the eye which is going to be the most easy way for me to work.
So you were probably needing to know how to rotate the canvas there when you were painting the previous eye. But anyway, now you know, if you didn't before. And I'm going to paint in some additional details like so, and maybe some sort of eyelash deals. Not to make him pretty, just to, you know, make sure he looks animalistic. And then I'm going to erase some of this stuff right here. It's looking good I think actually. It's nice and gestural. That's mostly what I'm trying to get out of this. This guy needs to go, however.
And then, I'll paint in a highlight again on the white highlights layer. I'll press the x key in order to switch my foreground color to white. And I'll go ahead and paint in some highlight stuff right there. Then I'll go ahead and switch back to the eyes layer, press the x key to make my foreground color black again, and go ahead and paint in a pupil. I think that's good. Might do something different over here like so. Now, I'm going to press the escape key, in order to exit the rotate view mode.
So that makes my screen nice and upright again. And then I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on a Mac, in order to zoom out. And those are the eyes. The rest of the stuff I've drawn in advance for I think obvious reasons, otherwise we'd be here forever. I'll go ahead and switch to the lion layer, and then I'll switch over to this image called More Brush Strokes, and I've got both of the layers selected, so I can duplicate them both by pressing the m key to switch to the rectangular marquee tool. Then I'll right-click inside the image and choose Duplicate Layers.
And I'll change the document to the original lion photo that I've been working on, and I'll click OK. And now, I'll switch back to that image, like so, and these are the brush strokes. Now, they probably look a little bit ridiculous. If you turn off the color brush strokes, you'll see just the black ones. Which, actually, I think look pretty darn good with the eyes and white highlights. So, they should be below if you are working along with me. And you can see that I've erased away all kinds of details. So, I have been working with both the eraser and the brush in order to get these effects right here.
I didn't erase through the whiskers because that'll take care of itself in a later step. The color strokes, however, you may look at them and think, what the heck is going on? I'll go ahead and turn off on the other guys, so just the color strokes in the lion. Are selected, and I work the same way which is painting on top of the lion, and you can see, it's once again kind of gestural experience. I was painting along the details inside the lion, but I was making arbitrary color decisions as I went along. And by arbitrary, obviously, I was making specific color decisions but they were abstractions where the image is concerned.
I'll go ahead and click on that Color Strokes layer, and you can modify it, you know, if you're working along with me, you can make any modifications you want. And in this case, I'm just erasing away a little bit here, and I might erase inside of the yellow of the muzzle, or whatever it's called there. I don't really like these blues quite as much as I did when I painted them. I'm going to go ahead and lift one of these greens and you can do that with a brush tool selected. So I have to press the B key to get the brush tool. I'm going to increase the size of my cursor by pressing the right bracket key a few times.
And then you can press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac to temporarily get that eye dropper. Then click, and you end up selecting a different foreground color. And then I can brush that in like so. Just do so with gusto. There's no reason to be hesitant where the colors are concerned. And now Alt+Click or Option+Click in this darker green to select it, and I'll go ahead and draw some green dark strokes along this area as well. So, a little bit of blue is going to come in handy. But, mostly I want greens there, and then I'll just go ahead and turn on the other layers and that is how you do all of the drawing necessary in order to create the false color line.
But of course there's more. If you are member of the lynda.com online training library I have a follow up movie in which I show you how to create this final version of the artwork. There's very little drawing left, it's mostly a matter of blending the existing layers that we have so far. If you're waiting for next week's free movie, I will show you in Adobe Illustrator how to create this repeating honeycomb pattern. Which is really interesting if you take a close look at it, you can see that we've got this good banding, this stair-stepping inside of the artwork.
Which lends the image a kind of sculptural effect, if you will. Deke's Techniques, each and every week, keep watching.
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