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Take a 10-minute recess every week and join Bert Monroy in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the playgrounds of digital artists. Every Friday Bert walks through a fun, self-contained project that tests your skills and challenges the imagination. These programs aren't just image editors; they are sandboxes for creativity and experimentation. Take a spin through a carousel of tools and get reinspired, each and every week.
For this first episode of pixel playground, what we're going to do is take what looks like a complex animation and easily created using tools in photo shop. Now right here on the screen we see a street covered in snow. All this nice snow. What we're going to do is have the snow fall. So, first thing we have to do is create that snow. So, I'm going to look at the size of my image here, and we see that the file is set to a width of 900 pixels, and a height of 704.
So, I need to create a file that's larger than this to create my snow. So I'm going to go in and start a new file, and I'm going to make it 1,000 by 1,200. So it's just a little wider than the existing, much higher than the existing. Click okay, and there it is. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to go in here and give this some noise. Add noise. And you see I have a very high amount set, and I have monochromatic. Without monochromatic, it introduces all these colors which we don't want. So monochromatic keeps it in the blacks and whites. Click OK.
Now if we zoom in on this we see that we have some noise made of black and white with some sprinkling of grays here and there. So what we are going to do is increase the numbers of grays so that will allow me to modify this to create the snow that I need. So I'm going to give it another filter. I'm going to give it a little blur more. And there you can see that it's introduced a bunch of grays. So now that I have that, what I'm going to do is go in here and apply an adjustment. Levels. And we see the histogram, we see that most of the tones are right here in this mid-tone area.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my darkest tones, the blacks, and push them all the way down until they get to this second little chamber right in here. Right in there. Right at the beginning of that. And you can see what's happened already in the background. It's turned that noise into what looks like a starfield. I'm going to push my whites in so that all my tones are encompassed in that one little chamber there. Click OK, and there we have the basis for our snow. That's it. This could be used as a star field for some space scene you want to create or whatever, but for now it's going to be our snow.
So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to Select All, and I'm going to say Copy. So now we can close this. I'm going to close it, we don't need to save it, and right back here I'm going to say Paste. Go in there and paste it. Now that we have it in here, we're going to go ahead and call it. We're going to call it, Far. Right now, I'm going to duplicate that layer, so I have two of them. And a copy here, I'm going to call, Near. Now they are exactly the same, see.
Turning 1 off, it looks like nothing's changed because they are exactly the same layer. So what I'm going to do is modify this because as this stuff is moving, if they are still the exact same shapes, what's going to happen is that you're going to start to get patterns. Some little snowflakes cross each other a it will form a pattern. So I'm going to go in there and take that near layer and we'll do some modifications to it. Like I'll go in there and say well do a 180 degree rotation. And I'm going to give it a flip horizontal as well.
So now when I turn it off, you see that we have two totally different layers. So now we're going to do a little further modification to it. We're going to take that near layer. That's the one that's closest to us, right? We're going to go in there and I'm going to go to my Transforms > Scale. And I'm going to move it up here so that it's right flush With the bottom of my image right there, going to move it up a little bit. And I'm going to double it's size. I'm going to hold down my shift key to constrain it, I'm going to kind of make it that big. About like that. Make sure it's just flush on the bottom down there. A little higher and hit return so that happens.
Then in my far layer I'm going to make sure that it is flush with the bottom as well. There we are. So now both layers are exactly flush with the bottom. So now let's pull back just a little bit, or come in a little bit. Just move it over to the side here. And what we're going to do now is to make these guys move. So I'm going to set their modes right now to screen. That's going to allow me to see what's underneath it. You see it got thicker because now we're seeing the snow underneath? And we're going to take the far one and say screen.
Now let's get real close for a second. Now there they are. Now, we're going to create movement. We're going to create movement. So to get that realistic effect, I'm going to take that near layer. The one that's near. And I'm going to give it another filter. I'll give it a little Motion Blur. Straight up and down and, about seven is enough, and you can see what's happened there. You can see that those pixels or those particular snow flakes are now falling. See, and the one that's far, I'm just going to give that a little blur more, just to soften those up, so they don't look so pixelated.
And there we can see that we start to have the sense of the falling snow. So, what's going to happen now, is we're going to animate it. I'm going to bring up another panel, which is the timeline panel. And, right here, we can see that we have our animation. It shows up the two, individual layers. So I'm going to open up the attributes for those two layers, so we can see what's going to happen to them. And right here we see we're at the beginning of our animation. So what I'm going to do, I'm going to lock the position for each of those two layers. So it locks them flush at the bottom with a little space at the top at the beginning of the animation. So now I'm going to move this little guy way over to the end of the animation. And there for the near layer.
I select just the near layer, and with my Move tool, I'm going to move it down. And I make sure that Autoselect is turned off. because if I don't have that turned off then it's going to select both layers and move them. I just want to move each individual layer, in an area where I don't really see them. So I got my near layer, so I'm going to click and drag it. And I'm going to drag it so that the top is now flush with the top. And you see that it created a new keyframe at the end of the animation. So now I take my file layer, and I will move it so it is flush with the top.
Right there. Now we can come and get a little closer here. In fact, let's go to 100% size, and we'll put it right here again. And let's close these up. Let's close this window way down so we can kind of see what's going to happen. Right here, we bring this back to the beginning. Clicking the Rewind. And click Play. And there we see that we have snow falling. And it's that simple. It's just a question of knowing what tools to use to create the effect that you want.
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