Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop


From:

Designing a Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Video: Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop

In this movie, we're going to copy the spikes from Illustrator and paste them into the Photoshop composition. So the first thing you need to do is switch back to the Layers panel. And then we want to make a duplicate of our active layer, because we need to expand. The effect into static path outlines. So, with the spikes layer selected, go to the Layers Panel fly out menu. And choose, Duplicate Spikes. Which will create a copy of the layer. Then turn off the original layer to keep it safe, and double click on an empty portion of the new layer to bring up the layer options dialog box.
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  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
      41s
  2. 13m 6s
    1. Masking a person from a white background
      8m 20s
    2. Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask
      4m 46s
  3. 28m 52s
    1. Adding power and motion with Liquify
      8m 21s
    2. Puppet warping the legs closer together
      6m 36s
    3. Applying a perspective-style transformation
      5m 34s
    4. Smoothing and removing details with Liquify
      8m 21s
  4. 28m 34s
    1. Filling and stroking the silhouette
      3m 47s
    2. Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
      7m 56s
    3. Hand-painting the face
      8m 56s
    4. Refining brushstrokes with Median and Minimum
      7m 55s
  5. 39m 2s
    1. Adding complementary colored clouds
      5m 28s
    2. Drawing a handful of spikes in Illustrator
      8m 34s
    3. Creating a burst pattern with Transform
      9m 36s
    4. Adjusting the spikes for a better effect
      7m 20s
    5. Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop
      8m 4s
  6. 51m 4s
    1. Creating the extreme paths for the grill lines
      7m 31s
    2. Blending the grill lines in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    3. Correcting potential blending problems
      9m 58s
    4. Bringing the blended paths into Photoshop
      8m 27s
    5. Simulating pressure when stroking paths
      5m 35s
    6. Contouring the grill lines onto the face
      9m 51s
  7. 23m 47s
    1. Drawing a hand with the Pen tool
      9m 29s
    2. Converting the hand path to a shape layer
      6m 2s
    3. Finishing off the hands and gloves
      8m 16s
  8. 28m 49s
    1. Blend, scale, and rotate photographic flames
      6m 17s
    2. Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames
      7m 15s
    3. Shooting flames out of the hero's hands
      7m 34s
    4. Stroking the composite flames
      7m 43s
  9. 19m 13s
    1. Drawing cartoon flames as a shape layer
      5m 56s
    2. Enhancing the flames with layer effects
      5m 32s
    3. Adjusting Puppet Warp and Expansion
      7m 45s
  10. 16m 56s
    1. Installing a free comic-lettering font
      3m 59s
    2. Formatting the monologue text
      5m 43s
    3. Drawing the talk balloons (a.k.a. speech bubbles)
      7m 14s
  11. 43m 10s
    1. Selecting a font-creation software
      5m 17s
    2. Drawing consistently rendered letterforms
      9m 10s
    3. Pasting the letters into Glyphs Mini (Mac only)
      8m 11s
    4. Copying capitals into lowercase positions (Mac only)
      6m 45s
    5. Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)
      7m 56s
    6. Stylizing the custom font in Photoshop
      5m 51s
  12. 4m 24s
    1. Time lapse of the retro superhero
      3m 4s
    2. Until next time
      1m 20s

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
4h 57m Intermediate Jun 30, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Learn what it takes to design and create your own custom silver-age superhero. Join Deke as he starts by tracing a photo to create the hero's body and then jumps into Illustrator for the creation of the final effects. Finally, Deke takes us through the steps to lay out our own custom type to complete the comic.

Topics include:
  • Turning a person into a silhouette
  • Adding power and motion with Liquify
  • Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
  • Creating a dramatic background
  • Adding grill lines and flames
  • Inserting talk balloons
  • Creating a custom comic font
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop

In this movie, we're going to copy the spikes from Illustrator and paste them into the Photoshop composition. So the first thing you need to do is switch back to the Layers panel. And then we want to make a duplicate of our active layer, because we need to expand. The effect into static path outlines. So, with the spikes layer selected, go to the Layers Panel fly out menu. And choose, Duplicate Spikes. Which will create a copy of the layer. Then turn off the original layer to keep it safe, and double click on an empty portion of the new layer to bring up the layer options dialog box.

Let's go ahead and change the color of this layer to gold. At least that works for me. And I'm going to rename the layer expanded paths, let's say. And then click OK. Now you want to press control a or command a on the Mac in order to select all the path outlines. And then go up to the object menu and choose expand appearance and that will give you a ton of paths, as you're seeing here. Now I don't really want all these loose anchor points, so I'm going to go ahead and marquee them with the white arrow tool.

So if you don't have the white arrow selected, press the a key to make it active, and then marquee these points like so, the ones that are running through this guy's face, and then press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac to get rid of them. Now press Ctrl+A or Command+A once again to select all the path outlines and go up to the window menu. And choose the path finder command to bring up the path finder panel. And we want to unite all of these paths together into one over arching bath. And you do that by clicking in this very first icon unite in the upper left corner.

Off the Pathfinder panel and now notice we have one ginormous Alright, now we're ready to copy the path. So I'm going to hide the Pathfinder panel by clicking on this double arrow icon right there. And then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command. Or you can press Ctrl C, or Cmd C on a Mac. Now switch over to Photoshop and go ahead and scroll to the top of the layers panel and click on the top most layer in the stack to select it. And this will help us position the spikes in the proper location. Then go up to the edit menu and choose the paste command, or you can press Ctrl V. Or Cmd+V on the Mac. Next, Photoshop will display a dialogue box asking you how you want to paste the paths. Normally, you'd probably want to go with a smart object, but in our case, we want a shape layer. So go ahead and select this final option and click OK in order to paste those paths. Then, switch to the Move tool. Which you can get by pressing the v key. Let's go ahead and scroll down a little bit. And then, drag the active shape layer downward until the spikes are starting to reach his trunks, like so. And, by the way, I press the Shift key as I drag down. To constrain the angle of my drag to exactly vertical. All right. Now let's go ahead and move this layer down the stack. By dragging it to below the in flight layer and I'm actually going to take it one more layer down by dragging it in front of the clouds layer like so. And, just because these files are getting pretty big here, I'm going to grab this silhouette layer. The one that's hidden. And I'm going to press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. Because after all we have quite a few versions of this file. Alright, now I'm going to rename this layer black because these are the black spikes. But wouldn't you know, we need more spikes as well along. The top of the image. So I'll go ahead and scroll upward using the scroll wheel on my mouse. And now I want to make a copy of this layer. So make sure you're not seeing any path outlines on screen. And assuming that's the case, we want to copy this layer and flip it. And the best way to do that is via keyboard shortcut. You press ctrl+alt+t or cmd+opt+t on the Mac. And make sure you're not seeing any points. By the way, if you see a bunch of anchor points, then press the escape key and move your cursor higher. Like so, and then try pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or Cmd+Option+T on the Mac. You will see the path outlines. That's okay. Then go and and drag this target right here which represents the center of the transformation. Up to this V at the bottom of his neck. The V that's implied by his shoulders, right there. And then right click inside the image window and choose Flip Vertical in order to flip a copy of the shape layer, notice that. We now have a new layer, also called black, and I'll press the Enter key, or Return key on the Mac, in order to accept that new layer. All right. I want this layer to be blue, so I'm going to rename it blue for starters, and then I'll double click on its thumbnail to bring up the color pick or dialogue box, and I'll dial in that shade of cyan that's at work inside the blue barbecue himself. So I'll set the hue value to 190. The saturation to 100% and the brightness to 100% as well. And then I'll click OK. And you can see that we have these nice, vibrant spike up here at the top of the composition.

I also want some white spikes. So I'm going to once again press Ctrl+Alt+t or Cmd+Opt+t on the Mac. You can see I'm getting all those points. Don't want that, so I'll press the escape key, move my cursor down, then press control alt T or command option T on the Mac so I don't see any anchor points and now what you want to do, is go up to the options bar. Click on that little triangle which is a delta icon. And it allows us to move the spikes a specified distance, and that will set the x and y values both to 0. What we want is a y value of negative 50, so go ahead and enter that and press the Enter key a couple of times, that's the Return key on the Mac a couple of times.

I want these spikes to be white so, I'll double click on the name and change it to white, the name of this layer that is, and then assuming that my background color is white,. As it is, I'll press Ctrl+Backspace, or Cmd+Delete on a Mac, in order to fill those spikes like so. I'm seeing the spikes, and that's because, by the way, I had my cursor over them, so I'll just go ahead and press the M key to switch to the rectangular marquee tool, and they go away. Alright, now, I want to add some yellow spikes as well. Oh, and all sorts of primary comic book colors, rushing out from my super hero and I'm going to create these yellow spikes using a drop shadow and here's how.

With the white layer selected, drop down to the fx icon, chose drop shadow. Then click on what is presumably a black color swatch to bring up the color picker dialog box, change the hue value to 60 then change the saturation to a 100 and the brightness value to a 100 as well and that is as yellow as you get. Then click ok. Now we want an opacity value of 100 percent. You want to set the blend mode to normal so that we're just seeing yellow spikes. Then the size value should be zero so that we're not having any softness. The angle value is already 90 degrees by default inside this file. So, I'll increase the distance value to a hundred pixels in order to produce this effect right here, and then I'll click OK. In order to accept that change. And now the final step is to group these shape layers together.

So, with the white layer selected Shift+Click on the black layer, so all three spike layers are active. And then go up to the layers panel flyout menu and choose new group from layers. And let's go ahead and name this layer spikes, and then click OK and we've now got all the spikes exactly where we want them. I'll go ahead and press the F key a couple of times here in order to switch to the full-screen mode. And press Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on the Mac to center my zoom. So, you can see the final appearance of the exploding burst pattern, begun inside of Illustrator and integrated into the large composition here inside Photoshop.

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