Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Video: Converting the hand path to a shape layer

In this movie, I'll show you how to Now, we also want to give the hand a stroke,
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  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
  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 Designs dekeConstructed: 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.

Want more of Designs dekeConstructed, the series that breaks down popular graphic designs so you can re-create them on your own? Check out Deke's page.

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
Illustrator Photoshop
Deke McClelland

Converting the hand path to a shape layer

In this movie, I'll show you how to turn the hand paths into an independent shape player. If you're working along with me make sure that hand path is selected here inside the paths panel and then switch over to the black arrow tool, the so called path selection tool and then partially marque around the two paths so just make sure that there somewhat selected. Then switch over to the layers panel and you can go ahead and turn off the hands template layer, if you want to. And then, drop down to this black and white circle, at the bottom of the layers panel.

Press the alt key or the option key on the Mac. Click on the icon and then choose, solid color, from the top of the menu. And we'll go ahead and call this layer, hands. And click okay, and because we had a path selected Photoshop goes ahead and automatically converts that path into a shape layer and now I'll dial in the color I'm looking for which has a hue value of a 190 degrees. Which as you may recall, is 10 degrees bluer than cyan. And then, I'll crank the saturation value up to a 100% and, I'll take the brightness value up to a 100% as well.

Now, we also want to give the hand a stroke, and we'll do that up here int he control panel. I'll change the stroke option from no color, which is the current setting to black. And, you'll see that we have something of a mess on our hands. So, what we need to do in order to fix this problem is to combined these two open paths into one path outline. Now, it can be closed or open but we don't want multiple paths like this. And so, what you want to do in order to combine these two paths is switch back to the pen tool which of course you can get by pressing the p key. And then just go ahead and click on this smooth point right there, it'll remain a smooth point. And then you want to click on this other smooth point. It'll remain in smooth point too, and you'll end up with this more desirable effect. But when I say more desirable, I don't mean most desirable. We still have some problems, because notice that we've got some extra path outline going on on either side of the fingers and we have some messy stuff going on inside the palm as well. And we can take care of those problems by switching back to the arrow tool. Which you can get by just pressing the a key. And then go up to this option here, and click on it. And then we want to change these settings down here. Change the line to center is where we want to start it there. And then change the caps to round caps and also change the corners to round corners. And that will go ahead and finish off the effect. Now, it's not perfect because we have a little bit of a straight edge right here at this location and if that bothers you, then you can go ahead and connect these two end points to each other with the pen tool. I'm thinking everything looks good enough. Now I'm going to crank up the thickness of this stroke by changing the line weight to 25px. So, we're not working in points because that doesn't really make sense for this artwork. So, we want 25 pixels instead and you end up coming up with this effect right here. All right, now we want to mask the wave the stuff that we don't want. And we are going to do so by adding layer masks to both this hands layer and the most bb q layer down here. So, with the hands layer active, go ahead and drop down to the ab layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel and click on it.

And now, that we have a pixel base layer mask ready for us. Go ahead and switch to brush tool, which you can get by pressing the b key. And we also want to bring up the brush panel so go up to the window menu and choose brush and if you've been working along with me what you want to do is turn off shape dynamics right there so we don't have any pressure sensitivity going on because that could mess things up if you're working with the drawing tablet. And then go ahead and click on brush tip shape to make it active. And then confirm that the spacing value is set to 10%, and that your Hardness is set to its maximum of 100%, and now I'll go ahead and hide the Brush Panel, and I'll crank up the size of my cursor by pressing the right bracket key a few times, and I'll scroll down here a little bit.

Press the D key, and then the X key, to make sure that your foreground color is black, so that we can paint some stuff away here. And you want to click right about there and shift click right there in order to create a straight line of masking. And then do the same right about here. Click here and then shift click right about here. Because you want to create a mass that's perpendicular to the angle of the palm, like so. And then I'll just brush this area away. And now, right click inside the image window and change the size value to 25 pixels, which is the same value which is the line weight that we use to stroke the hand, so set that size to 25 pixels and then you want to press the X key to make your foreground white, as you see there at the bottom of the toolbox, and now align your cursor as best you can so that.

That straight line bisects the circle of the cursor and click, and you should see a nice rounded edge, like so. All right, now click on the merge BBQ layer, and go ahead and give it a mask by clicking in the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Let's crank the size of the cursor up pretty good, I'm going to take it up to about 80 pixels, as I can see up here on the far left side of the options bar, and now I'll press the x key to make my foreground color black so I can paint some stuff away, and I'll kind of drag up right there, did you see that? This is the way it looked before, and this is the way it looks now.

And that's a function of just painting away some of that clenched first in the background, and now I'll crank my cursor up even higher by pressing the right bracket key a few times, and I'll just brush that little bit of fist away as well, and now I'll zoom out so I can take in. More of my artwork at a time, and you can see that we now have a hand that appears fused to the forearm, which is ever so important, of course. But, we still need to take care of the other hand, of course, which we'll do, in the very next movie.

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