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In this movie, I'll show you how to take the neon effect that we've created inside of Illustrator and up the credibility of that effect inside Photoshop. Now, if you're not all that familiar with Photoshop, we'll be taking advantage of a couple of advanced features--namely Smart Objects, and the Blur Gallery. If you like to learn more about either feature, check out my full course, Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced, which features one chapter a piece on Smart Objects and the Blur Gallery. However, our applications of these features is going to be pretty straightforward.
So even if you're not that familiar with Photoshop, you'll be able to follow along. So the first thing I'm going to do is go up to the File menu, and choose Browse in Bridge or press Ctrl+Alt+O or Command+Option+O on the Mac, in order to switch over to Adobe Bridge. I have the program trained on the contents of the 24_logos folder, in which you'll find a file called Blended neon.ai. Go ahead and right-click on that file, choose Open With, and then choose Adobe Photoshop CS6 in order to open it in Photoshop instead of Illustrator.
Now, that will cause Photoshop to rasterize the file. That is, convert all the vectors into pixels, which is just fine. If you want to see a bigger preview by the way of the file you're about to open, then you can change the thumbnail size from Small to Fit Page, and you'll end up seeing our artwork so far. You should be able to leave the Image Size set to its defaults, but you might want to just double check the settings. The Width and Height values should be 3000 and 1800 pixels a piece; the Resolution should be 300 pixels per inch; the mode, that is the Color mode, is Adobe RGB; and the Bit Depth is 8 bit.
Assuming that's all true, then go ahead and click OK in order to rasterize that artwork. And a few moments later, you'll see your illustration open inside Photoshop. Now, you're not going to be able to gain access to any of the path outlines, you'll just see the single flat layer one right there. Go ahead and double-click on the layer name and call it neon sign for now. Next what we need to do, because I want to assign a filter to this layer, you want to go up to the Layers panel flyout menu right there, and then choose Convert to Smart Object.
And that will go ahead and turn the thing into a smart object, so you can apply editable nondestructive filters in much the same way that you apply dynamic effects inside of Illustrator. All right! I'll go ahead and zoom on in a little bit here. And then I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose that same command that we've been using inside of Illustrator, Gaussian Blur. And in fact, this is where Gaussian Blur really lives. A few years back, it got rewritten to serve the purposes of Illustrator. Anyway, go ahead and choose the command. I want you to set the Radius value to this whopping 24 pixels, which looks ridiculous, but in the second, it will make sense.
Then, go ahead and click OK. Now, you'll see this Smart Filter item right here listed below it is Gaussian Blur. Notice these little slider icons to the right, I want you to double-click on that icon in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, and then change the mode from Normal to Lighten, in order to produce this soft glow effect. Next, click OK. All right! Now, we need to heighten the impact of the effect using the Blur Gallery. So we want to create a copy of this layer. And the easiest way to do this, and this is going to sound crazy if you haven't used Photoshop before.
But, the easiest way to create a copy is to press Ctrl+J or Command+J on a Mac, but J being for Jump. Then, make sure that your Rectangle Marquee tool is selected here inside the toolbox. If not, go ahead and tap the M key. And then right-click inside the image window and choose Rasterize Smart Object in order to convert that smart object back to pixels. And the reason we have to do this is because the filter gallery is most likely, for you, not compatible with smart objects.
For a few of you who subscribe to the creative cloud, it is, but for the vast majority of us, it's not. And so, with this pixel based layer selected, go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and then choose Field Blur. And that will completely change the appearance of Photoshop, it's as if you switch to a different program or something. But, we're actually just inside of a huge window. What you want to do is change this Blur value right here to 30 pixels if you want to achieve the same effect I'm getting. And most likely, down here in the bottom- right corner, you'll see the words Blur Effects, but you won't see any options.
Go ahead and double-click on that Blur Effects Tab in order to expand the options, and then change the Light Bokeh value to 35% like so, and we want to adjust the Light Range as well. So, see this first value, that's 191 by default. Change it to 225, and then leave the second value set to 255. And what that's doing is it's adding a Light Bokeh to our artwork, so that we have these super hot highlights that are being added to the blur which is perfect. All right! Now, go ahead and click OK in order to apply that setting.
The Blur Gallery ends up throwing out my zoom a little bit. So, I'll just press Ctrl+0 or Command+ 0 on the Mac, in order to center things. And then finally, you want to double-click on an empty portion of this top layer, somewhere to the right of the words neon sign, in order to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. And this is just a little bit of black magic here, you want to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and see that little black triangle underneath the Underlying Layer slider bar--it's got a little crevice down the center of it, that's because you can take it apart when you have the Alt or Option key down.
So, press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag the right-half of that black slider triangle until that value that's changing right above my cursor switches to 130. So you should see 0/130, and then 255 is fine. Now, click OK in order to accept that modification. Now, 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 zoom on in as well. And that is the final version of our neon sign created from nothing more than a handful of hand-drawn letters.
You couldn't find a more classic type effect begun inside Adobe Illustrator, and completed here inside Photoshop.
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