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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.
In this movie, I'll show you how to correct an upsampled line pattern so that it looks absolutely great. You may recall this is the layered composition that we upsampled in the previous movie. And if I click on the layer below, and I'll go ahead and create a layer of white by clicking on the black/white icon and choosing solid color and then setting the color to white and clicking OK. And then I'll go ahead and click on this video pattern layer, and reset it to the normal blend mode.
We can see that we've got some very blurry lines indeed. And that's a function of the fact that the pattern is scaled to 400%. As you can see when I double click on this Dynamic Pattern Layers thumbnail. At 100%, this pattern looks super sharp. So, what gives? Well, here's what happened. We went out to the Image menu, and we chose the Image Size command, and we upsampled this composition by 200% with the so-called interpolation algorithm set to automatic.
Which really, when you upsample, goes with the new preserved details here in Photoshop CC. But that doesn't really apply to pattern layers. Let me show you what's going on, and this is getting a little bit technical. But, I've got this demo and I'm way zoomed in to 800%. That's why we can see the pixel grid. Over here on the left-hand side is the Upsampled Dynamic Pattern layer. So, it's this guy right there. Over here on the right hand side are some comparisons that I performed on a static pattern layer.
So, we're actually changing the pixels. What we're seeing here is what happens if you use Automatic/Preserve Details. You get these very dark centers because Photoshop is sharpening the information. This is bicubic. Your standard old school bicubic interpolation that we used to use like crazy in the old days. And, I still argue, is the way to downsample images. It's the best way to go. Here's bicubic smoother. So that's what Photoshop CS6 and the older programs used to do by default in the old days, and that's not a match either.
The match, the nearest match, and the only reason it looks a little different, is because of the way that Photoshop treats static information. But the closest match is bi-linear, which is an interpolation mode just about nobody uses. But it does produce the smoothest, actually most organic effects, because anything else adds a little bit of sharpening. Now that you know that Photoshop isn't even doing what it says it's doing to dynamic pattern layers, how do we take care of the problem, so we get nice sharp lines? Well, I'll go back to my original artwork here.
Well first of all, we've gotta get that pattern so we can work on it. So I'll double click on the thumbnail for the pattern layer. And I'll click on the down pointing arrowhead, and you'll see, I don't even have this pattern available in my list. Because I'm constantly flushing out these patterns when I load new ones, you know, from Photoshop's pattern libraries? I just let the old ones go. It seems hopeless, right? I'm just going to have to rebuild the thing. Well actually, the layer composition, because we're working with a dynamic pattern layer, that you get by choosing pattern from the black white circle down here at the bottom of the layers panel.
This pattern is built into this composition, and you can add it to your presets just by clicking on this little page icon. And notice that it even says create a new preset from this pattern. So just click, and now notice if I click the down pointing arrowhead, not only is it there, but it has a name. Photoshop's so smart that it can see that these are lines. Well, that's not really it. That was the name that I gave to the original pattern years ago. Now I've got that, I can just click okay, and I'll create a new image and it doesn't have to be very big.
In fact it doesn't even have to be this big, it just needs to be about 10 pixels by 20 pixels tall, and then I'll click OK2. And it's a dinky little guy so I think I'll zoom in a little bit here. And then, I'll drop down to the black-white circle and I'll choose Pattern. And, I'll go ahead and make sure that my lines pattern is selected, which it's going to be, because Photoshop always shows you the last created pattern, and then you click OK. Next thing you want to do is rasterize, because what we need to do is scale this pattern.
But if we go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command, or if we use Free Transform or any other scaling method, why then, we're going to get the same results. So you need to right-click inside the image window with the rectangle marquee tool and choose Rasterize layer. Now you want to go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command. Obviously, we want to to upsample this guy, I'm just going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit, so we can see him. And we want to set the width and height values to 400%, of course, because we need this pattern to be four times as large, because that's what it's scaled to in the other composition.
But we don't want to use Automatic, because that looks terrible. We want to use this guy, Nearest Neighbor. And the great thing about Nearest Neighbor, it just blows up the pixels, it doesn't do any interpolation whatsoever. And so it works great for these kinds of patterns, line patterns and dot patters and things were you want perpendicular edges. It works great as long as you're scaling in multiples of 100%. So, we're scaling by 400%, so that's going to work great. Notice as soon as I choose Nearest Neighbor, we end up with perfect lines.
And now click OK, and we end up with this right there. Now we need to turn it into a pattern. The gaps in between the lines need to be transparent. So I'm just going to take this background layer and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac to get rid of it. And now, I'm just going to select an area with the rectangular Marquee Tool. That square, so 16 by 16 pixels, you can see that in the heads up display. You should be working in pixels by the way. That's just a given. We only need to select one line and one gap and that's it.
Now go up to the Edit menu. Choose Define Pattern, and let's go ahead and call this guy Lines 400%, and then click OK. Now, let's switch back to the upsampled composition. And I'll double-click on this little thumbnail there. And it'll switch from Lines, the old Lines, to the new Lines 400%. It still looks bad because we're scaling it. So, go ahead and change the scale value now to 100%, and we end up with these very smooth lines. And now click OK. Alright.
We don't know need this color fill layer any more, so I'll just go ahead and select it and press Backspace, or Delete on the Mac. And I'll select the video pattern layer and I'll switch it to the overlay blend mode. I want to zoom in a little more than 100% here, so to 200%. And just take a look at how extraordinarily smooth those new pattern lines are. So to give you a sense of the difference, I'll go up to the File Menu and choose the Revert command. So those were the old lines, blurry as heck.
And now if I press Ctrl or Cmd+Z to undo the revert, you can see that they look great. Thanks to our old school approach of rasterizing the pattern and scaling it using Nearest Neighbor. Here inside Photoshop.
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