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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. We're coming up on Halloween, which is my favorite holiday because they both begin with holio, except only kind of and for totally different reasons. This week, we're going to take this perfectly innocent teenager, well he is a teenager, so I'm sure he's guilty of something, and turn him into this sinister, wait a second, I'm left-handed, dark elf. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here's the final version of the elf, just so you have a chance to see him on screen.
If you're working along with me, make sure you're running Photoshop and then go up to the file menu and choose Open as Smart Object because after all, we're working with a raw image file and that way, we can go back and modify our camera raw settings any time we like. Go ahead and choose that command and then, I'm working with a file called BoyAtPark.dng and I'll click the open button to open the image in camera raw. Now I'll zoom in just a little bit. I've already made a ton of modifications to the image inside of camera raw, but I want to point out some highlights.
First of all, notice how low the temperature value is. If I was to go to my white balance option and switch it to as shot, then you'll notice that we have these fairly electric colors going on and the image is extremely warm as well. That's why I went ahead and took this temperature value and even though this is a night shot, which means you would normally crank the temperature value up in order to compensate for the coolness of the image, instead, I went ahead and took this temperature value all the way down to produce the coolest image possible.
Then, with that temperature value still selected, I press Shift, up arrow to take it up to 2500 degrees. I also wanted to take some of the magenta out of the scene, so I took the tint value down to negative 10, like so. Also notice, if I switch over to the detail option, that I've got my luminites value cranked very high indeed. I'll go ahead and take that down for a moment so that you can see that if I went with the standard default luminites value of zero, we would have an extremely noisy shot because the ISO value is through the roof, which is why I initially took the luminites value all the way up to its maximum of plus 100.
Notice here in the shoulder. We'll go ahead and zoom in another click so that we're seeing the image at 100 percent. We're getting rid of most of the noise, so we have some of these extremely smooth areas, but we're also revealing portions of the fabric right next door so that in other words, we have this uneven look, which is why in the end, I went ahead and selected that luminites value and took it down to 90. That brings back some of that natural detail. I left both the luminites detail and the luminites contrasts values set to zero a piece.
At which point we can go ahead and click the Okay button in order to open this now extremely smooth image. Even though the subject of our photograph is very smoothly rendered, it doesn't look anything like an elf, which is, of course, where the liquify command comes in. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, then you can apply liquify as an editable smart filter by going up to the filter menu and choosing the liquify command. That works by virtually the fact that we've converted the image to a smart object in advance.
I'll just go ahead and choose that command to bring out the liquify window, and notice that I have my warp tool selected. I'll go ahead and increase the size of my cursor by pressing the right bracket key a few times. Then I'll just drag up on the ear. You want to take it easy. You want to do thing incrementally even though we're going for an over the top effect because if you just start dragging it like crazy, it's going to look terrible. I'll go ahead and press Control Z, Command Z on the Mac to undo that change.
This is possibly the most important detail, although the eyes, and you'll see the expression come in to play as well. We want to spend a fair amount of time. Do your best while you're modifying the shape of the ear to leave the background alone. You don't want to do this number, where you end up denting the background or stretching some portion of it because that's going to be a dead giveaway that you liquified the image in Photoshop. I'll press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac, in order to to undo that change, and I'll reduce the size of my cursor in order to bring some portions of the ear out slightly.
You can move the details inside the hair with the fair amount of reckless abandon because there's not much hair detail going on. Now, notice that the edges of the ear, the fold right here have gotten pretty skinny. If you want to fatten them up a little bit, you want to switch to the bloat tool. Then, make sure that your cursor is pretty small. Notice that my brush size is 70, for what that's worth, and then you just want to kind of click inside these details. You don't want to drag because that's going to do too much too quickly and you want to make sure that you have your cursor centered on the fold of that ear or you're going to actually make the fold skinnier instead of thicker.
This is going to take a little bit of work, by the way. You're going to spend a little bit of time and energy in order to get the exact effect you're looking for. Now I'm going to switch back to the warp tool. Of course, at this point, I would need to do a better job than this. I would reduce the size of my cursor and spend a little time just dragging these guys out like so. Again, I'm working as carefully and painstakingly as possible because there's nothing like a bad liquify job to totally give away the fact that you've edited the image inside of Photoshop.
While I don't think anybody's going to think this is a real elf, you might as well do the best job possible. Now what we want to do is work on the eyes because we want to give this guy a sinister expression. Right now, I would dare say he has basically no expression at all. We could get a lot of great get work done by increasing the size of the cursor, like so, and dragging up on the eye if you want to. What I really want to do is increase the size of the eye, for starters. I'll press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac, to undo that change and I'll switch to my bloat tool once again and I'll increase the size of my cursor like crazy, like so, and then I'll click a few times in order to increase the size of the eye.
Then I'll reduce the size of my cursor a little bit for the other eye, but I do want to increase it as well. Go ahead and switch back to that warp tool, reduce the size of my cursor actually and drag on the eyebrow. Drag up on the eyebrow. You don't want to tug at the eye like that, so make sure you don't drag too far down. Keep your cursor high when you start the drag, that is to say, and then we want to move this guy down a little bit. We want an arched eyebrow of course. Why not? After all, any character it seems to me that has a pointy ear needs an arched eyebrow as well, whether he's an elf or a vulcan.
Right now I'll go ahead and drag this up. You can see I stretched the eye. That's not good. I'll go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac in order to undo that change. You can stretch the shadow of the eye if you want to. You just don't want to stretch that iris. I might take the forehead up a little farther. I also want to give this guy a little bit of a snear. I'll increase the size of my cursor and drag the mouth out a little bit. Decrease the size of my cursor. Take the edge of that mouth down. The best way to create a snear, that I've found, is to take part of the lip up a little bit like so.
I'm kind of doing an exaggerated job, but you want the lip to come up over here at the end and then bend back down before you get to the middle of the lip. You want to do a smoother job than this of course. You don't want too much of a snear because that would be a giveaway. It's supposed to be a sinister elf. He doesn't want everybody noticing that he's up to no good, here. Let's take this area up a little bit, the area of the nose, that is to say, so that we're highlighting the snear so that we have a little bit of a crease going.
I also made the nose a little longer. I took this area in and this area out just a little bit. I'm changing the shape of the nose. I want to flare the nostril because he's getting pretty angry at whatever it is that he's looking at. Then, I decided I wanted his irises to look up a little bit so I'll increase the size of my cursor and I'll drag this area of the eye up. I'm dragging the iris up and I'm pushing it up a little bit. I want to avoid any kind of crinkles in the eye.
You can see I'm changing the size of my cursor back and forth, here. I want to lift this guy up as well so that we're really steering those eyes up. I love the fact, by the way, that we can see one iris and the other iris is lost to the pupil. That way, it looks like we have different colored eyes, which I think is really awesome. Let's say you really want to lift that iris. You need to create more white space here underneath the iris. That's another great use for the bloat tool. I'll go ahead and switch to it. Reduce the size of the cursor, of course, like crazy by pressing the left bracket key.
Then, just click underneath there. You can see then, I'm stretching the white portion of the iris. Anytime you stretch any area with liquefy, especially using the bloat tool, then it comes with the expense of another area. You're constricting the iris as you stretch the white area like so and I would do the same thing presumably over here as well, although I would probably try to do a better job than this, which is to say, by the way, that I would just spend more time because the entire time you're working in liquefy, you're creating a mesh, an editable mesh.
You can always go back and forth, non-destructively. That's very important. I'll go ahead and switch back to the warp tool, here. I'll reduce the size of my cursor and drag down here on the eye a little bit and drag down on this portion of the eye as well and continue working until I think I've got it right. The great thing about making modifications to a smart object inside of Photoshop CC is that you can always click the Okay button and then come back and modify your results.
I think I will that because that gives me a chance to see things inside of Photoshop. I'll just make a few more modifications here. Might take this cheek in a little, let's say, and then I'll click the Okay button to apply the effect. That's quite the difference, by the way, if I press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac. You can see this is what the young man looked like before, and if I press Control or Command Z again to reapply the filter, this is what he looks like now. It's a big difference, but is it the difference I'm looking for? The answer is, of course, not quite.
What I would is finesse the effect by double clicking on the word liquify here inside the layers panel. As I say, we are working on a mesh. To see that mesh, I'll go ahead and turn on the advance mode check box right there, so we can see a bunch more options. Then I turn on the Show Mesh check box. You can see that we've stretched the mesh here inside the face. I'll go ahead and drag him over a little bit so we can see that better. Anywhere where the mesh isn't entirely rectilinear is where we have modifications going on.
You can always change those modifications just by dragging them back or you can even restore things using the reconstruct tool, which allows you to just basically increase the size of the cursor as I'm doing here and just click and hold in order to incrementally undo your modifications. No pixels are permanently being harmed here inside Photoshop CC. Of course, I've gone ahead and saved my mesh in advance which means I can load it up by clicking on the load mesh button, here, which is only available when the advance mode is turned on.
I'll click Load Mesh. Those of you working in previous versions of Photoshop can take advantage of this as well if you have access to my sample files. You can go ahead and find this file ElfishMesh.msh and then just click Open in order to apply my exact modifications, which look like this, here. Now, you don't necessarily need the show mesh check box be turned on, incidentally. It sometimes helps to turn it off so you can see what in the world you are doing. At which point, assuming we like the modifications, which I do, we'll go ahead and click Okay in order to apply that change.
We need a couple of more filters to finish off the effect. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here so that you can see that even though things look pretty darn good, the details are soft. I do want to sharpen them up. The best way to sharpen a portrait shot is to go up to the filter menu, choose Other and then choose High Pass. I'm going to set my radius value to five pixels for this image and that's going to give these dark and bright halos around all of the edges. All of the non-edges turn gray. That's a function of the high pass filter.
I'll go ahead and click Okay to apply that effect. Naturally, that looks horrible, which is to say we need to drop out the grays by double clicking on the slider icon to the right of the words High Pass, the top of these two little slider icons here inside the layers panel to bring up the blending options dialog box. For a maximum sharpening effect, you want to set the blend mode to linear light. That's going to burn in those dark and bright halos around the edges. A little much here, however, so I'll go ahead and take the opacity value down to 66 percent just because it's easy to enter two sixes in a row.
Now, click Okay in order to apply that change. The final problem you'll notice if you go ahead and zoom on in, we've got some inconsistent noise. Look at this region above the eye, right here. It's obviously been stretched like crazy because I've actually stretched the noise inside the image. The best way to remedy that is to apply camera raw. Once again, a separate pass of camera raw as a smart filter. You do that in Photoshop CC by going up to the filter menu and choosing camera raw filter.
That'll go ahead and heap another smart filter onto that smart object. Now, I'll go ahead and zoom in on this eye so we can see it up close, here. The first thing that we want to do is reduce the noise by clicking on the detail icon and then I'll crank that luminites value once again, not all the way to 100, and I'll leave the luminites detail value set to 50 and I'll leave luminites contrast set to zero. That does a good job of alleviating some of the problem, but it doesn't entirely take care of things, which is why we now need to add some digital noise.
That way, we'll have a consistent amount of noise throughout the image. You do that inside of camera raw. It's the best feature for this purpose as opposed to the add noise command by clicking on the FX icon right there. Then I'm going to take the grain value up to 33. I left the size value set to 25 and the roughness set to 50. Now notice that we now have this uniform noise all over the surface of this image, whether that area has been stretched, as in the case of the ear, or has not been stretched as in the case or the neighboring sky.
In other words, we get a more homogenous photographic effect. At which point I'll go ahead and click Okay in order to apply that filter. Now I'll go ahead and press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the image. Of course, I need to zoom out a little bit as well. Just for the sake of comparison, here's the photograph as it appeared when we first opened it inside of Photoshop and here are our elfish modifications. Thanks largely to our ability to modify facial features and expressions inside of liquify.
Don't forget the fact that we can also create uniform noise across the image using camera raw. If you're a member of the lynda.com online training library, then I have a follow up movie, in which we take our ominous dark elf and we make a more menacing still by masking him against some rooms and tattooing his face. Seriously, what is wrong with me? If you're waiting for next week's free movie, we're going to take another innocent. This child dressed as the joker and turn him into the real thing.
Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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