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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, we're going to take the flat little forests that we've created so far, and we're going to add shadows and highlights to create these truly happy little trees. Complete with these cast shadows down below, which is where we'll start. So I'll switch back to my image in progress and I'm going to take tree six and drag it below tree five just so that everybody's listed in the proper order. Now we're going to make the shadows based on the trees. So, you want to select all the tress by shit clicking on the top tree like so, so trees one through six are now selected and to make copies of them all you have to do is press Ctrl+j or Cmd+j for jump.
And we'll now have copies of every single one of the trees. Now just to make sure that we understand what we're doing here, go ahead and select the original tree one, double click on it, and let's rename that guy shadow one, like so. And then I'll tab to the next Layer name and change it to shadow two, and then shadow three, so I'm pressing tab between every renaming so that I can advance to the next layer and then finally shadow six at the end. Just a little bit of house keeping that's going to help use keep track of what's going on.
Now we're going to start with shadow three. Because it's just the easiest place to start. And I'm going to press Ctrl+minus or Cmd+minus on the Mac a couple of times to zoom out and with that shadow selected, go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform. Then you want to press the control key or the command key on the mac, that's very important, and drag the top handle down. And that way, as you drag and flip the tree, you'll also be able to skew it and again that's the function of pressing the Ctrl or Cmd key as you drag and right about there I'd say is what we want.
Then go ahead and press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to accept that change, and let's go ahead and zoom back in. And then we want to fill the tree with black, so press the D key to make sure that you've got your default colors, which means that the foreground color's now black. And, to fill just the tree with black, you press Shift+Alt+Backspace. Or Shift+Opt+Delete. And you're pressing Alt+Backspace or Opt+Backspace to fill with the foreground color, which is black. You're also adding the shift key to respect the tree's transparency map.
Which is to say, you fill just the tree and not the entire layer. Now I'll press Ctrl+up arrow and left arrow a few times in order to nudge that shadow into place. Alright, now we want to repeat the operation on all the other shadows. We could cover all the shadows in one fell swoop. But we're better off doing it one tree at a time, because otherwise it gets pretty confusing. So I'm going to select shadow one, and then I'll go up to the Edit menu, choose Transform this time, and choose Again. And notice that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+shift+T, or Cmd+shift+T on the Mac.
We'll be using that quite a bit. So go ahead and choose a command. You can see that it kind of jumps up like that there. Let's go ahead and press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on a Mac and drag it down into place and then press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Opt+Delete in order to fill it with black. And if you need to nudge it around, just press the Ctrl or Cmd key along with your arrow keys. Now switch to shadow two. Press Ctrl+Shift+T or Cmd+Shift+T on the Mac in order to repeat the transformation. That is to say the skew. Press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Opt+Delete in order to fill that shadow with black and then Ctrl or Cmd drag it into place.
Now select shadow four, Ctrl+Shift+T or Cmd+Shift+T on the mac. Go ahead and Ctrl drag this guy up. And then press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Opt+Delete in order to fill it with black. Now let's grab shadow five. Ctrl+Shift+T, Cmd+Shift+T on a Mac, in order to repeat the skew, Ctrl-drag it where you want it to be. And press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Opt+Delete in order to fill it with black like so. And I need to make sure he's in the right place, which he is now, I believe. I could zoom in a little more just to make sure.
And it looks pretty good. And then finally, we want to select shadow six, and press Ctrl+Shift+T or Cmd+Shift+T on the Mac. Press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Opt+Delete on the Mac and Ctrl or Cmd+drag that guy up into place. Now I'm going to turn off shadows four, five, and six by dragging down the eyeball column just so that we can see that we're not really seeing that much of shadows one, two, and three. So even though we've got some soft shadows going on that are cast by the leaves onto the branches, I don't really need to soften these shadows.
So I'm just going to click on shadow three and Shift+Click on shadow one. With my Rectangular Marquee tool selected, I'll press the five key, in order to reduce the opacity of all three of those shadows to 50%. Now, I'll select shadow four, we're seeing more of it, and I want it to kind of blur as it tapers away from the tree, so with that layer selected, I'll right click inside the image window. Using the rectangular marquee once again, and I'll choose convert to smart object. And then I'll go up to the Filter menu, I'll choose Blur, and I'll choose Tilt Shift.
What that's going to allow me to do is create a kind of tapering blur. So, I'll drag this pin down. So that this horizontal line is right at the base of the tree, like so, and I don't want this much blur so I'll take the blur value down to five pixels in order to create this effect. So, right at this point, at the trunk, we've got a nice sharp shadow and then it blurs more and more towards the bottom of the image. And you can control where the end of the blur happens by dragging the dotted line. I want it to happen at the very bottom of the canvas and now click OK in order to apply that change.
Now you want to press the five key to reduce the opacity of the shadow to 50%. And the reason we're waiting until we've made this a smart shadow is because if we don't, then we'll end up getting these weird little highlights around the blurred edges and you don't want that. Now I'm going to right click inside this filter mask. And I'll choose Delete Filter Mask, to get rid of it. Now turn on shadow five, click on it to select it. Right click inside the image window and choose, Convert to Smart Object. So we have to convert each one of these shadows independently, to a smart object, because if we try to convert them all at once, they'll all go into a single smart object.
Which is not what we want. Then, go ahead and press the Alt key, or the Opt key on the Mac. And drag this little icon right there, and drop it onto shadow five, like so. And that'll go ahead and copy that smart filter. And if you expand the layer you'll see it copies the smart filter without copying the empty filter mask which is very important and it appears that we're getting some bright edges. I'm not sure why that is but I know how to get rid of them. Press the five key to reduce the opacity of the shadow to 50%.
And then, go ahead and change the blend mode from normal to multiply. We really shouldn't have to do that, but apparently we do. So now I'll go ahead and click on shadow six. Turn it on like so. Convert it to a smart object by right-clicking inside the image window and choosing Convert to Smart Object. And then let's go ahead and Alt+Drag, or Opt+Drag the icon. So that we don't bring over the filter mask. It appears we've got a little bit of highlight going on here, too. So, let's change the blend mode to multiply, for this layer.
And then I'll press the Escape key so that multiply is no longer active. And I'll press the five key in order to reduce the opacity to 50%. And just to be safe, I'm going to click on shadow four. I'm not seeing any highlights around it, but better safe than sorry. I'll go ahead and change it's blend mode to multiply. And sure enough, the shadow did darken. Alright, now I reckon we ought to add some shading on the sides of the trunks. So I'm going to scroll all the way up to tree one. And I believe that's the tree over here on the left-hand side. And I can check that out by turning it off and then turning it back on.
So, I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac to create a new layer and I'll call it shadow, and I'll turn on this check box, use previous layer to create clipping mask, so that we're clipping the shadow inside the trunk. And then I'll switch to the Lasso tool which of course you can get to by pressing the L key. I'll just Alt+Click around this area like so and the Alt+Clicking or Opt+Clicking on the Mac allows me to create a plig in the lasso until I release the key like so. Assuming my foreground color is still black I'll just press Alt+Backspace or Opt+Delete in order to fill the selection with black.
It's clipped inside the trunk is the reason it's not extending outside the trunk. Then I'll press Ctrl+d or Cmd+d on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Let's blur it. This time just by going into the Filer menu, choosing Blur and choosing Gaussian Blur. And I'm going to set the radius value to three pixels and click OK. And then I'll press the five key to reduce the opacity of that layer to 50%. And now let's add the shadow to the other trees by Alt or Opt+Dragging it down from its current location to on top of tree two.
And then I'll Alt or Opt+lick that horizontal line between the two shadows, so it's clipped inside tree two. We're not seeing it at the proper location yet, so press the Ctrl key, or Cmd key on the Mac. And drag that guy over to other tree, like so. And it may extend up into one of the limbs. That's probably going to work out fine. Now, let's go ahead and Alt+Drag or Opt+Drag that shadow down in front of tree three. Alt or Opt+Click on horizontal line between the two layers right there, so it's clipped inside tree three and then Alt or Opt+Drag that shadow over to this location like so.
And you might need to repeat the operation for the other trees as well, but I think we can get away with a few shortcuts here. If I click on tree three, drop down to the FX icon, click on it and choose Color Overlay and this is going to allow us to darken these rear trees. So, I'll choose Color Overlay that turns the entire tree flaming red. But, now what I want. I'm going to go ahead and click on the red color swatch here inside the layer style dialog box. And I'll drag the little circle down to the bottom left corner to dial in black. And I'll click OK and then when we want to take that opacity value down to 15%, I figure for this tree.
And now I'll go ahead and click OK. And let's duplicate this color overlay onto the other trees. I'll Alt or Opt+drag it onto tree four, which is this guy over on the right-hand side. Double click on its color overlay, and I'm going to change the opacity to 50%, and you can see that that darkens things up pretty dramatically here. Just by way of comparison, here is 15 so keep an eye on that tree and here's 50. So now click OK in order to accept that effect. And I'll Alt or Opt+Drag that color overlay onto tree five, which is that guy right there.
And I'll Alt or Opt+Drag it again onto tree six. Now I think tree six is actually a little bit too dark. So I'll go ahead and scroll down the list. And I'll double click on it's color overlay effect there and I'll scoot the layer style dialog box over so we can see what we're doing. And I'll reduce the opacity to 30% which lightens things up and then I'll click OK. Given how dark these trees are, I figure they don't really need these little shadow elements that I added. Now I'm going to center my zoom by pressing Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on the Mac. And here's the exciting part, where we add some highlights. And we're going to do so using Lens Flare.
But to good effect I think. So I'll go ahead and click on the very top layer in the stack here inside the Layers panel. And then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac, to create a new layer and I'll call it black. And click OK. And then I'll press Alt+Backspace or Opt+Delete on a Mac, to fill the entire layer with black. Now, I want you to right click inside the image window and choose Convert to Smart Object. So we're placing this layer inside a smart object. And then, let's go ahead and change the blend mode to screen, so that the blackness disappears.
Which might make you think, well that's great. Now we didn't do anything with that layer. Well we're going to add a lens flare to it, which we will see because of the screen blend mode. By going up to the Filter Menu, choosing Render. And then I'll choose Lens Flare. Now of course, I've done this before, so I already have everything set up the way I need it to be. But notice that I've selected 35 mm prime from the lens types and I've set the brightness value to 125% and I've dragged this guy to this approximate location here. You may have to adjust it later but for now, just try to get it right and click OK and you'll end up creating this highlight.
Now, if it's in the wrong location, just double click on Lens Flare and drag this little guy around in order to move it. So, for example, I might move it just a little bit down, and click OK. And that's going to scoot the lens flare down. That's not really where I want it though, so I'll press Ctrl+Z, or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that change. Now, I want to create another lens flare. And I'll do so by going up to the Filter menu and choosing the Lens Flare command from the top of the list. And because we're working with the smart object, that forces the display of the dialogue box. I'll go ahead and take the brightness of this guy down to 100%, and I'll move it to this location right about there.
And then I'll click OK to accept that change, and that ends up centering that flare, right where I want it to be. And it's just that I've done this so many times that's why I got it right. You'll probably have to mess around with it just as I did, when I was preparing this file. Now, the top lens flare's the one we just applied. Double-click on its little slider icon right there in order to bring up the blending options dialog box. And back off the opacity value to 77%. And click OK. Now this is still way over the top. So what we want to do is back off the effect by double clicking in an empty portion of the layer, do not double click on a thumbnail because if you do that you'll just open up that smart object filled with black, which isn't going to do you any good.
You want to click over here to the right of the layer name to bring up the layer style dialog box. I'll go ahead and scoot it over so we can better see what we're doing. And I'll drag the black triangle for the underlying layer slider over to 40, like so, and that begins to allow some of those dark leaves to show through. And now I'll Alt+Drag or Opt+Drag the right half of that triangle all the way up to 128 is what I'm looking for, but I guess 129 would work pretty much just as well. And that creates the fade across the dark end of the luminance spectrum and we end up getting this effect here, now I'll click OK.
And then finally, I'll go ahead and press the F key a couple of times in order to switch to the full screen mode. And I'll just go ahead and scroll down a bit so we can see those shadows. And just so you have a sense of what we were able to accomplish, this is what the image looked like at the outset of this movie, with no shadows or highlights whatsoever. So in other words, the trees are not integrated into the landscape. And this is the effect that we have now with not only the trees integrated into the background but we also have dramatic variations between the leaves of the six trees, thanks to our ability to automatically create happy little trees here inside Photoshop CC14.2 or later
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