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This course 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. Now, I'm calling today's episode using lens flare for good, not evil. Now you know lens flare, right? It's located under the filter menu and gosh darn, it sure is tempting to over use it. As best exemplified by celebrity director JJ Abrams in such hit films as Star Trek and Super Eight. Now I love those films too, but I do spend a fair amount of time when watching them wondering why every time I go to space, or I look toward a dark area or it could be a bright area; it's always backlit, and the light's shining in through my single lens eye.
Bear in mind, I am not actually a camera, and it's bouncing off what? The retina, and it back to the lens and then back and forth. That's not even possible, but if it were, I could solve the problem by turning around and looking at the scene from the other direction so I could see what's going on! Which is why I'm suggesting that we ratchet things back just a little bit, and combine a subtle application of lens flare along with an angled rainbow gradient to create this beautiful reflection off the rounded surface of the window.
Into our 3D rocket ship here. Let me show you exactly how it works. All right, just for the record, here is the flat version of the porthole window and here's the rounded version. Thanks to a subtle application of lens flare alone with a rainbow gradient. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my image so far, and I'll click on a shadow layer at the top of the layers panel. I'm working inside the 3D workspace, but that's not essential. I just want you to know that's where I'm at. Alright now I'm going to create a new layer by pressing ctrl, shift n or cmd, shift n on the Mac.
And I'll call this layer flare and click okay, and then assuming that your foreground color is black; if it's not press the D key for the default colors. And press alt, backspace or opt, delete on the Mac to fill the entire layer with black. Believe it or not, that's what we want. Then right click inside the image window with the rectangular marquee tool, and choose convert to smart object. And that way we can apply lens flare as a dynamic smart filter. So I'll go ahead and choose that command. And then what you want to do, so that you're not seeing th blackness anymore, go ahead and change the blend mode, up here in the upper left corner of the layers panel, from normal.
Which is no mode at all, to screen. And that will drop out the black and so we'll end up seeing the rocket again in the background. Now the lens flare is going to be all brightness, which is why it's going to show up just fine. And to apply the lens flare, go up to the filter menu. Choose render and choose lens flare. Now one of the delightful things about this filter is its inky dinky little preview that gives you no sense of the image that you're actually working on quite frankly especially when you're working dynamically this way. Now by default, brightness is set to 100% and the lens type is 50 to 300 zoom, which is fine we can start there.
But you're really just going to have to kind of experiment with where the center of this flare belongs. And you can change that by dragging here inside the preview. And then you click OK. And you hope for the best, but what's probably going to happen is you're going to think, well that's not quite right. That's what's great about working with lens flare as a dynamic smart filter. Because you can change the setting any time you like, just by double-clicking on the words lens flare. And now, you know the relative positioning. If nothing else, you know that this little cross translates to this hot spot right there.
And you now know okay, I want it to move down just a little bit and over to the left and we'll see if that works. Unfortunately you don't have a preview, so you just have to click OK and say doi. You know, that's not right. So double-click on lens flare again. I'm really not trying to mess up here, believe it or not. I'm trying to do a good job. So that you and I are getting similar results. I'll click OK, and that is moving things over a little bit. Now that's way too much flare, of course, because this light is reflecting off the lens and just right into the lens of the camera if you will.
That's not what I want, so I'll double click on lens flare. And I'll take the brightness value down to 50%, and I'll click OK. And we'll see if that works out, and it does. That works out pretty nicely. I still want to move that flare a little bit. So I'll double click on lens flare, and I'll try to drag it over just a little bit like so and hopefully that'll work out pretty nicely. Not quite, I'm gettin there though. And I'll drag this guy, actually, you know what? I'm just going to click up like that and see if that works. And that did work. So that's where I want my flare to be.
Now I need to create that rainbow effect around the lens. Which does a great deal to add that kind of rounding effect. And that rainbow coloring is the kind of highlight that you get when light hits a lens element. So. What I'm going to do here is zoom in just a little bit, so that I can see this window here, this porthole, at 200%. And then I'll switch from the rectangular marquee tool to the elliptical marquee. And I'll go ahead and draw an ellipse on the inside of the window like so.
It's not a circle, so you don't have to press the shift key, it's just an ellipse. And then once I get done and of course you can use the space bar in order to move that guy around on the fly, as you work. I'll press and hold the alt key, or the option key on a Mac, so that I get a little minus sign next to my cursor. And I'll drag inside of that first ellipse like so. So notice, that I am taking care to make sure that I am leaving some elements open. Over there on the left hand side and right hand side of my new marquis that I'm drawing.
But the top and the bottom of that marquis exceed the old one. So in other words, I'm going to end up with two sort of crescents. As you see here. Now, that's just the easiest way to start. I really want these guys rotated into a better position. So, I'll go up to the select menu and I'll choose transform selection. Now, very likely, Photoshop is gotta give you some grief here. It's going to tell you that the smart filters applied to layers contained in this group will be turned off temporarily while the transformation is being previewed. Well, that's absolutely not true. Notice, if I click OK, I'm still seeing the lens flare.
So, that's a little bit of a bogus alert message, which is nice actually, because I want to be able to see my lens flare as I work. I'll go ahead and drag outside here in order to rotate the selection like so, and now it's no longer really fitting inside the lens, notice that, so what you need to do is distort the selection, and you pull that off by pressing the ctrl key, or the cmd key on the Mac and dragging these corner handles like so. So what I'm doing is performing a four-point distortion in order to fit this selection to its new home, so that it's fitting the window as desired.
And so just keep control or command dragging around until I get an effect that I like. This looks pretty good to me, so I'll press the enter key or the return key on a Mac. Alright, now what we need to do is apply this selection as a layer mass to a rainbow gradient. And we'll do that by dropping down the black white icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Why don't you press the alt key, or the option key on the Mac, and then click, and then choose gradient from the list. And that way you can go ahead and name this Highlight or something along those lines. And click OK.
So pressing the alt or option key forces the display of that new layer dialogue box. And now, you want to click on the arrow next to the gradient bar, the down-pointing arrow. And you may not see as many gradients as I have, but you will see this one. It ships with Photoshop by default, and it's called Spectrum. So go ahead and select that guy, and it is your rainbow gradient. And then what I suggest you do is switch the style from linear to angle. And that way, you're rotating the gradient all the way around in a kind of conical fashion. We can't really see the center of the cone here, but we're rotating the gradient all the way around the selection.
And you can change the angle value to anything you like here, anything that looks good to you. I came up with an angle of 33 degrees, and now go ahead and click OK to accept that change. Now what you want to do, is click on the layer mass thumbnail for the highlights layer right there. Just select it. And go ahead and give it a double click, and what that will do is force a display of the properties panel where ever it may be on your screen. So that you can gain access to the feather option, click inside of it and press shift up arrow a bunch of times. And as you work, you will see that feathering applied on the fly.
And you know what? We really need the blend mode. To be switched from normal to screen, so that we get a bit of a brightening effect, as you see right there. All right, now I want to make this rainbow effect a little brighter, and I'm going to do that ironically using a drop shadow. So, I'll drop down to the FX icon, click on it, and choose drop shadow from the bottom of the list here. And then I'll change my color. That's the first thing I'll do by clicking on the color swatch. A hue value of zero degrees is just fine. I'm going to take the saturation up to 50%, and the brightness up to 100%.
So I get this kind of orangish pink color. And then I'll click OK. And I don't want multiply I want screen so I'll go ahead and choose screen. We don't need a distance value. I want this shadow effect, it's actually now a highlight effect to be directly under the rainbow. So I'll change the distance to 0 pixels. And we don't need a size value. The shadow is already going to be fuzzy based on the fact that the layer mask for this gradient is fuzzy as well. And then, just to make things even brighter, turn off Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow.
Turn that check box off. You'll see things brighten up ever so slightly behind the effect. And now I'm going to take the opacity value down to 50%, and then I'll click OK order to accept that change. And now, just to get a sense for this shadow's contribution here turn off the effect, and then you can turn it back on. So it's a subtle, but significant contribution to this image. Alright now, you may decide, I'll go ahead and zoom out here to 100%. You may decide that when all is said and done. The lens flair effect is just too much.
In which case, you can change it. Just go ahead and double-click on Lens Flair to bring up the Lens Flair dialog box, and then you can take the brightness value down to 30%, let's say, and click OK. And then Photoshop will greet you with a still more subtle effect. And that's at least one way to use the fairly over-the-top lens flair filter. To great effect here inside Photoshop. Alright, gang, that's it for this week. Next week, I'll show you a really great application of a little known feature inside of Photoshop called the perspective crop tool.
These techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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