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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 explore one of the least understood, or I should possibly say, one of the most misunderstood topics in all of Photoshop and that's up-sampling. By which I mean taking a relatively small image and making it much larger. Specifically, we're going to take this image here which, I kid you not, this is it, printed at 300 pixels per inch. So it measures the size of a postage stamp. If I were to scale the image inside the print dialog box so it takes up the entire page, then it's just 46 pixels per inch.
So the text is illegible. You can make out pixels in the guys eye. And yet we're going to scale this composition so that it looks like this. The text is perfectly legible. He's super smooth and so forth. So you maybe wondering, Deke what form of sorcerer's magic is at work here? Well there's no magic. There's no special formulas. Those things do not work. And the interpolation method really doesn't matter where this composition is concerned. It's all a function of how Photoshop scales different kinds of layers.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright. Here's that tiny little image. It's so small that we're seeing it at the 100% view size at this very low monitor resolution that we use for recording the videos. But before we start in upsampling this art work, because we're going to be able to upsample it pretty successfully, I want you to see what we're dealing with. Because once you start upsampling a layered composition, it becomes a very complicated topic. So I'm going to start with the background. We'll alt ,click, or opt,click on the i for the background.
And the background, just by definition, is static pixels, always static pixels. It's not even a layer in the conventional sense. And so when I zoom in here, you can see that it is in none too good a shape. I could go hunting for the original version of this and see if it's in a higher resolution, but who wants to do that? I'll go ahead and zoom back out here. Then, I've got this group that contains a bunch of text layers. Text layers are going to scale just fine, same with this text layer right there. They're not even going to resample. Because they are vector based objects, just like a vector shape layer which scaled just fine.
We don't have to worry about that. I duplicated the image in a sign motion blur as a static filter, that's how old this composition is. There weren't even smart filters back when I made it. And so that our friend. Blurry objects upsample really well because when you're upsampling you're introducing blur. And introducing blur to a blurry object, well, that's not a problem. Alright, now for the smart object. You can see this guy is a smart object and if I double click on his thumbnail, I'll get this warning telling me about Smart Objects.
So I'll just click OK. And I notice, we're viewing him at 25% and so we've got a ton of definition where this guy is concerned. Here's the 100% view. We can see his eyelashes and eyebrows, and everything in terrific detail. So, why is it, when I go back to the original composition here. I should be able to select this layer, and then go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform and see How much I scaled him by. It must have been a lot.
And yet, when I check out the width and height values, they're 100%. That can't possibly be true. It is true in a way, I'm going to press the escape key here so I can show you that we've got not only the smart object, but we have The layer mask. And that layer mask by definition as well, is a bunch of static pixels. So what photo shop is showing us, is these two things together, how much they're scaled by. And that's just 100%. Well the problem is that they're linked together. Unlink.
Click that chain icon to turn it off. Make sure the smart object, not the layer mask is selected. Go back to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command. There's your info. That's the real width and height transformations. So in other words, this guy has been scaled to about 40%. We're going to up sample this composition to 200%, so we're fine. He's still going to be down sampled, because twice 40% is 80%. I'll escape out of here. Next we've got an adjustment layer. It's a hue saturation layer. It's a hue saturation layer that designed, to take some of the saturation out his lips.
There's no up sampleing and down sampleling an adjustmet layer. It's just like an equation that's sitting on top of the layer. So you don't have to worry about it. These lines, this is a pixel based layer, and worse I'm going to go ahead and select the lime layer, and set it to 100% opacity, and turn off everybody but the background, and the reason I'm doing this is I want you to see that we've got anti-aliasing around the lines and that's because when I drew these lines, there wasn't a snap to pixel feature in PhotoShop.
And, it would have been useful if there had been, because, these guys are awfully smushy, but we'll take care of them, they're not going to up sample well at all, you'll see, but I've got a solution, so. Go ahead and zoom back out of that, and I'll restore the opacity of 30%. Restore the opacity of these layers as well. And then finally, we've got this pattern layer that's sitting on top of everything. If I double-click on the pattern thumbnail, I can see that it's already scaled to 200%, so when we're done, it's going to be scaled to 400%, so it's not going to look good either.
So now you know what's going on in this file Let's try out the new upsampling inside Photoshop CC. I'm going to go up to the image menu, and choose the image size command. And what's great about this dialogue box, in case you haven't seen it before. 'because this is the single best new feature in the software. We've got this huge preview. So you saw me just scaling the dialogue box by dragging its corners. And the preview gives you a sense of what's really going to happen. Now, I've got re-sample set to automatic which is the same as Preserve Details when you up-sample.
It's the same as by Cubic Sharper when you downsample. So I'll just leave this set to automatic and this is a new method of interpolation. Inside the software, and I'm going to change both the width and height values, look how dinky this thing is at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. I'm going to go ahead and switch to percent and I'm going to set this to 200% and we've got this preview that's showing us ostensibly how things are going to look. It is wildly inaccurate where this document is concerned. If we were looking at a static photograph, it would be accurate.
Just a flat .jpeg file, it would show us the real thing. But instead, what it's showing us is what would happen if this were a flat file, and we were looking at the composite information. Because, notice this. I'll go ahead and zoom in here by clicking on that little plus. Notice around the lines we've got halos because that's the sharpening that would happen around those lines if they were actually part of the background, so that's not right and I'll show you that in just a moment. The text isn't going to get up-sampled, Photoshop would do a good job of up-sampling that text if the text was made of pixels, but its not.
And we've got lines around the text which won't be there and then finally look at his eyelashes, they're guppy, they're messy, it's as if he is a static photograph where he is actually small object. So, this preview can't accommodate most of what's going on in this composition. Even so, I'll go ahead and click OK in order to up-sample the image. It'll take a moment or two but then you'll see, notice here if I zoom in on these lines they don't have any halos around them because they're on an independent layer. The lines don't know anything about what's going on below them.
The text meanwhile, is sharp as it can be. So, it looks great because it just scaled up 200%. It's just like we doubled the type size. And then finally look at the eyes of the smart object man here. Those eyelashes are looking great, those eyebrows are looking great as well. And, I'll go ahead and click on him to select him, he's unlinked from his layer mast still. And now I'll go up to the Edit menu, and choose Free Transform, and you can see that he is now scaled to twice the amount he was before which is around 81%.
I'm going to go ahead and zoom back out. Let's check out the background by itself, I'll go ahead and Alt + Click or Option + Click on it's eyeball. Let's zoom in here and there are the boats and they're just blobbier than ever. Obviously the up-sampling didn't really serve that layer well. But once you add the motion blur to the equation you hardly notice. And when I say hardly notice, you do if you look closely but it's not going to show up in print. And then I'll go ahead and turn on these other layers.
The guy that we really need and when I say guy, the layer. That really needs our helps is the Lines layer. So actually, I'm going to leave that Pattern layer off for a moment so that we can see what we're doing. This is the solution I came up with. Let's actually stay pretty zoomed in, why don't we. So the first thing I decided to do was create a copy of this layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J, or Cmd+Option+J on a Mac, and I'm going to call this new layer Bursts, because it's going to help cover up things. And I'll click okay. We'll come back to it.
I'll show you what I'm doing there. Then I'll go the line's layer. And what I decided what I wanted to do is sort of smooth out the transitions where these lines are concerned. I'm going to set this layer to a 100% capacity again so we can see what we're doing. Well, anytime you want to smooth things especially corners, you go up to the filter menu. You choose noise and you choose median. That is the same as when you're smoothing a selection, Photoshop uses the median command. And by default, we've got a radius of one. I'm going to crank that guy up just by pressing the up arrow key until this starts happening.
Until our lines start becoming translucent. So, if I press the down arrow key, at a radius of three, things are looking pretty good. They're choppy but we're going to cover that part up. Then I click OK. And now, I'll restore an opacity of 30% just by pressing the three key. And I'll turn on the burst layer, and let's turn off the lines layer for a second, so we can just focus on that burst layer. And, I'm going to crank it's opacity back up to 100%. And we're going to leave it there, as you'll see. And now I can just press Ctrl+Alt+F, or Cmd+Option+F on the Mac to repeat the last filter and change it's settings.
And now I'm going to take this radius value up, and I'm using the up arrow key, until the lines go away. Which happens at nine pixels. And then I'll click OK. And now I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur because I want these to be like little bursts of light. And then I'll choose Gaussean Blur. And I came up with a blur value of four pixels. And we end up with these little guys there. And you might look at this and say, well that's awfully subtle, that's not going to show up. Any time you want to increase the opacity of a layer because you can't go higher than an opacity of 100%, right? What you do is you press Ctrl+J in order to create a copy of it.
That's Cmd+J on the Mac and then you go up to your Layer menu and you choose Merge Down, which is Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac. And you end up with one layer that's 200% opacity. If you want more then you just do the same thing. Ctrl+J, Cmd+J on the Mac. Ctrl+E, Cmd+E on the Mac. And you can keep doing that until these things become very, very opaque indeed, but that's good enough. I'm going to turn the lines back on, and you can see, we've got these little bursts.
That are covering the jagged transitions around those corners. So, we end up with this effect here. And I'll press Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 in order to zoom out, and we're now looking at the image at the 50% zoom ratio. Yay, that's much better. And if I go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command And I switch to inches and I can see it's still not a big, huge, whopping image. It's, you know, seven inches wide but it's still so much better than it was before. The text is more legible, the whole number.
And you could, I suppose, repeat this process again but then you'd be up-sampling the smart object, of course. But in any case it's a much better looking composition. The one problem, of course, is our pattern. I'll go ahead and zoom in on it and you can see that it's pretty fuzzy. And if I double-click on a little pattern icon, you can see it's scaled to 400%. And incidentally I'm going to go back to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command. I just want you to know, for those of you who are wondering where in the world that Scales Styles check box went, it's up here in the little gear.
And it's turned on by default, instead of turned off by default like it used to be in the old days, it's turned on. And so that's why the pattern got scaled. But it still needs to be addressed, don't you think? Which is the topic of another movie. If you're a member of lynda.com online training library, I've a follow up movie in which I show you how to take that horizontal line pattern right there and re-build it at a higher resolution so that it looks super sharp. And this works even if you don't have access to the original patter.
If you're waiting for next weeks free movie, I'm going to show you how to paint. These happy little trees from scratch, using a special automated tree painting function that's included along with Photoshop CC14.2. I know, why does such a feature exist? Because it's awesome! Deek's techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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