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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 McClellan. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Now, you may recall last week I showed you how to create that flowering origami artwork in Adobe Illustrator. Problem is, getting it to print. And this is one possible output right here. And this is a really great printer, by the way. An Epson R3000, but you can see things darken up and we've got this terrific amount of banding as well. Now some folks might say "Okay, we've got a calibration problem." I'm here to tell you that we've got a much more fundamental problem than that.
We're dealing with different gamuts. Now the R3000 is an eight ink printer. So it's way more robust where colors are concerned than CMYK, but it's not RGB. It's just not necessarily going to match your screen. So I'm gonna tell you, and you can take this with a grain of salt if you like, that we're better off modifying the artwork like so. And it's a pretty straightforward process. The trick is to do so inside of Photoshop instead of Illustrator where you have a lot more control.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright, this is a fairly complex topic. At least conceptually. So I wanna review how this image prints on screen. So for starters here, we're looking at that artwork that I created last week inside of Adobe Illustrator. Right now we're seeing it rasterized in Photoshop, but that doesn't matter where the colors are concerned because the colors are going to preview the same inside of both programs. This next version is how the image prints uncorrected. Either from Photoshop or Illustrator.
And so you can see here that we have a much darker version of the artwork. Not because the printer isn't calibrated properly, but rather because your typical screen is too bright. Where print previewing is concerned. We also have this amazing amount of banding between the blues and the purples. Which is far too much, of course. And then finally, this is the best case scenario for printing this artwork. Which is still a little bit of a compromise. You can see that our original artwork looked like this. And our best case print is gonna look like this.
However, it's obviously better than what we got from the uncorrected output. Now another thing to note, I'll go ahead and show you the adjusted output. This is the way it looks when it's printed, but this is the way the artwork looks on screen. So it's significantly brighter on screen. Again, that's because, unless you've done some serious calibration to it, your screen is too bright for evaluating output. So, as a result, you may find that on a regular basis, your images darken up when you print them.
And here's how to avoid that. So what I'm gonna do here is I'll go up to the file menu and choose the open command. And I'm working inside Photoshop, very important. Or you can press control O or command O on a Mac. And then find that original illustration, which I'm calling IllustratorGradients.ai and I'll go ahead and click open. So you can open a piece of illustrator artwork inside Photoshop any ol' time you like. Notice that I've got thumbnail size set to fit page so that I have a big thumbnail. I'm cropping to the bleed box because there is a quarter inch bleed around this artwork.
That way I get as much of the art as possible. And I went ahead and cranked the resolution value up beyond 300 pixels per inch. In my case to 420. That's a little arbitrary, but what it does is it ensures that I'm gonna have really smooth results when I convert these vectors to pixels. Which is what happens when you open an illustration in Photoshop. And so you could go even higher if you want to and that way you could print the artwork really super big or you could just stick with 420 pixels per inch because the higher you go the longer it's going to take to rasterize the art.
The mode should be Adobe RGB. The bit depth is eight bits per channel, that's fine. Then click okay. Now it is gonna take a few moments for Photoshop to do its thing and rasterize that artwork, but in 30 seconds to a minute, you should see the image open up on screen. Alright, now I'm gonna go ahead and zoom on in by changing the zoom value in the lower left corner of the window to 18%, that just happens to work well on my screen. We don't need this independent layer.
So to save room on disk, you can go up to the layer menu and choose flatten image. Alright, now the first step when you're trying to brighten a piece of artwork for print and again, if you find that your output is darkening on a regular basis, here's what you do. Go up to the layer menu, choose new adjustment layer and choose levels. And that'll bring up the new layer dialogue box at which point I'll call this layer brighten and click okay. And then, notice this gamma value right here. It allows you to brighten or darken the mid-tones.
You wanna brighten them up by pressing shift + up arrow a couple of times with this value selected in order to increase the gamma value to 1.2. Or, you might prefer to go to 1.3. So, somewhere between 1.2 and 1.3 is gonna get you a piece of artwork that looks brighter, that brightens up as you print it so that it'll look the way it normally looks on screen in print. So, that's just a little trick that you can take advantage of. Now, I'm gonna go ahead hide the properties panel. And what I wanna do is also independently affect that area in which the banding was occurring.
So I'll go ahead and switch over to that print comparison file and I'll go ahead and turn on that uncorrected output layer. And I'm gonna zoom on in so that we can take a loot at what's going on. And notice where the banding is appearing. The banding's a little softer when we're this far zoomed in so I'll zoom out just a little bit so that we can see it's pretty significant right there between the blues and the purples. And happens in this region right here. So what I decided to do, because of the nature of this art, was count my way out from the central yellow portion of the flower.
So I've gone ahead and created this numbers group here. So you can see here that we're ultimately looking at the fourth and fifth rows out. The sixth row's just fine. Don't need to worry about it. And the first three rows are okay as well. But we're seeing the banding at the tip of the fourth row and inside of the fifth row of spikes. So that's the region that we need to affect. And we're going to isolate that region using the original paths that we created inside of Illustrator. So I'll go ahead and switch over to Illustrator right now. Notice that my layers panel is up on screen.
I'm gonna go ahead and twirl open that layer, that circles layer. And I'll turn off the stuff I don't need. Which means I'm turning off the top two paths. I need the bottom path so I'll go ahead and click with the black arrow inside of the illustration window to select it. And then I'll go up to the edit menu and choose copy. Or I can press control C or command C on a Mac. And I'll return to the edit menu and choose paste in front. Or press ctrl + f or cmd + f on a Mac to create a copy of that path. Now I'll turn off the original to protect it so I don't ruin it.
And now what you wanna do with this new path still selected. go up to the window menu and choose the appearance command to bring up the appearance panel. Now, there's a ton of fills that are applied to this path currently. As well as a bunch of dynamic effects. What you wanna do is keep this guy right there because that's the central orange region right there and notice if I turn it off you can see it goes away. If I turn it back on it comes back. We don't need this blue area right here because it's just confusing and it only contains four rows.
One, two, three, four. We'll need to add a fifth in just a moment. We don't need the purple, so go ahead and select the purple fill and click on the little trash icon to get rid of it. And then select this guy right there. The blue above the orange gradient. And shift click on the top fill and then click on the trash icon to get rid of all of those as well. So we just have the orange fill and the blue fill. Now what you wanna do is twirl open both the orange and blue fills and select the outer glows for both of those fills and click the trash icon to get rid of them.
So you'll have to do it one at a time. I'll select this outer glow now and click the trashcan icon. Because if we leave them there, they're gonna cause us problems. Alright, now with the blue fill selected right there. Click on its transform. Turn on the preview check box. Click in the copies value and press the up arrow key to increase the copies value to 17 so that you're seeing one, two, three, four, five rows around the orange portion of the flower and click okay. Alright now what we wanna do is expand what we're seeing here, these dynamic effects, so that we have static path outlines that we can use in Photoshop and you do that by going up to the object menu and choosing expand appearance.
And you'll end up with all these path outlines. Which are grouped together as indicated by the word group over here on the far left side of the control panel. Well, we don't want those groups because that's gonna cause us problems. And we've got tons of groups inside of groups. So what you have to do is go up to the object menu and choose the ungroup command as many times as it takes to make the word group go away. It's still there so go to the object menu and choose ungroup again. It's still there so go to the object menu and choose ungroup a third time. And then you'll see the word path which indicates now we're down to just the static path outlines.
Click off the paths to deselect them. And then click on one of these outermost paths to select it. And to make sure that you've selected all the blue paths, you go up here to the select similar objects icon up here in the control panel. Click this down pointing arrowhead and choose fill color. And if that doesn't select all the other shapes then go ahead and click on the icon as well. And now you'll select all those blue shapes. Now we wanna combine them together. It looks like we've gotten the orange shapes too, but we have blue shapes behind the orange shapes. So with all these guys selected, go up to the window menu and choose the pathfinder command.
Which brings up the pathfinder panel and click on the first icon unite to fuse all of those paths together. Now you wanna click on one of the orange paths. Any orange path will do. Go back to the select similar objects icon and click on it to select all of those orange paths. And click on the unite icon once again to fuse those paths together. Now you can hide the pathfinder panel. And go ahead and marquee what are now just two path outlines. And then go up to the edit menu and choose the copy command. Or press ctrl+c or cmd+c on the Mac.
Now what you wanna do is switch back to Photoshop. And I'm gonna bring up that image in progress like so. When you paste these paths into Photoshop you want them to be exactly centered. And what Photoshop does is it pastes the paths in the center of the image window. So we've gotta make sure the artwork is centered in the image window by pressing ctrl+0 or cmd+0 on a Mac. that's all you gotta do there. Then you wanna go up to the window menu and choose the paths command to bring up the paths panel. Drop down to the little page icon at the bottom of the panel and alt or option click on it to force the display of the new path dialogue box.
And I'll call these paths from AI. Let's say from Adobe Illustrator and click okay. And then you wanna go up to the edit menu and choose the paste command or press ctrl+v or cmd+v on a Mac in order to bring up the paste dialogue box. By default you'll probably see smart object selected. That's not what we want. In fact, only one of these options is gonna do and that's path. So go ahead and select it and click okay. And we now have our path outlines like so. And now I'm gonna zoom in a little bit here. Just to make sure that my path outlines are aligned to the artwork which they are.
That will happen as long as you first press ctrl+0 or cmd+0 on a Mac to center your artwork before you paste. Now I'm gonna select my black arrow tool. Which Photoshop calls the path selection tool. I'll go ahead and deselect the paths by clicking off this path here inside the paths panel. So I'm clicking below it. And then I'll select it once again. And you can see that the paths are no longer selected. I need to select this interior path independently of the other one so I'll click on it. And then you wanna go up to the options bar. Click on the path operations icon and choose subtract front shape.
And now you'll see that it turns into a hole. This little thumbnail here inside the paths panel. Which will appear bigger if you right click and choose large down here in an empty portion of the panel. Now we can see this gray area on the outside which is outside the paths and this gray area on the inside of this path which is outside the paths as well. So we have a kind of doughnut path at work. Alright, now you can click off the path to hide it. And what we need to do is switch back to the layers panel and I'm gonna zoom out just a little bit here. Now, a part of the problem with these colors that are at work inside the gradients is they're too super saturated.
Which means they're ultimately unprintable. And if you wanna get a sense for just how outside the print gamut they are you can go up to the view menu and choose gamut warning. And everything that shows up as gray is not technically a printable color. Which means that just about none of this graphic is really all that printable. Now, what we're really seeing is the default profile for commercial output. For CMYK output. So we'll be able to do better than this, but we still do need to take some of the wind out of these colors. And so I'm gonna go up to the view menu.
Turn the gamut warning off. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna take down the vibrance a little bit by going up to the layer menu. Choosing new adjustment layer. And choosing vibrance. And I'll go ahead and call this guy Down Vibe. Because I'm gonna reduce the vibrance. Click okay and then you wanna take the vibrance value down to negative 20. Just to take the hottest colors down. So that's the great thing about the vibrance value. It always takes down the most vibrant colors or takes up the least vibrant colors.
Whereas saturation is gonna take down or up all the colors. Which is not what we want. Alright, so just take that vibrance value down to negative 20. And then we wanna mask the effect inside of that fifth row of spikes. So switch back to the paths panel. Click on the path to select it. Then return to the layers panel. Drop down to the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel and instead of clicking on it, which would give you a pixel based layer mask, you wanna press the ctrl key of the cmd key on a Mac and click on it that way you get a vector mask.
So you convert the paths to a vector mask as you can see. Indicated by this gray thumbnail. I wanna affect all of the colors inside of this fifth row including the colors inside of the yellow portion of the flower. So I'm gonna click on this path. Still armed with a black arrow tool. And I'll press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. And things are looking way too low saturation, but again because our work is gonna darken up that's going to increase the ink density and therefore increase the saturation of the colors as well. Problem is, if I go ahead and switch back to the rectangular marquee tool so that I'm hiding my path outline, you can see that my colors are getting brighter.
So if I turn off that vibrance layer, that's the way the colors look before, this is how they look now. We don't want the colors getting brighter so I'll go ahead and change the blend mode from normal to color. So that we're not affecting the luminence of the illustration at all. And now you can see we're making a very subtle change. This is what the illustration looks like without that vibrance layer. This is what it looks like with that layer. But it's gonna make a big difference in print. Finally, we want to increase the brightness of everything outside the yellow portion of the flower.
And the reason I'm doing this is based solely on experience. At this point, I went ahead and printed the illustration. It was still too dark, especially out here where the spikes transition from this kind of greenish blue to purple to red. So, I went ahead and created another levels layer by going up to layer menu. Choosing new adjustment layer. And choosing levels. And I'll go ahead and call this guy More Bright, let's say. Click okay in order to switch to the properties panel. Click inside the gamma value and I'm gonna press shift + up arrow one, two, three times this time to increase the value to 1.3.
Which is dramatically increasing the brightness of the mid-tones. Which is what we want. You don't want to touch your highlights and your shadows. Because after all, they're gonna survive pretty much the way you're seeing them on screen. Now I'm gonna hide the properties panel. We wanna affect just that area outside the yellow of the flower. So I'll switch back to the paths panel. Select that path. That from AI path. Switch back to the layers panel. Drop down to the add layer mask icon. Control click on it here on the PC, that's a command click on the Mac. And then go ahead and grab your black arrow tool again.
Scroll over a little bit. So I'll go ahead and select this guy instead, the outermost path, and I'll press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac, and that way we're not affecting the area inside of the yellow portion of the flower. Notice if I turn the layer off, it's staying the same, but the area outside the yellow portion of the flower is brightening up with this layer turned on. And now I'll go ahead and press ctrl+0 or cmd+0 on the Mac to zoom out. And I'll go ahead and zoom in a a little bit to 18% here.
And you can see here we have a much brighter piece of art. I'll go ahead and press the f key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the artwork. And that friends is how we take the original artwork, created in Adobe Illustrator. Which, if uncorrected, will end up printing with the unacceptable banding, and make it print like this. Using the combined powers of Illustrator and Photoshop. Alright, so obviously we've made a lot of progress. We've gone from this uncorrected output to something more along the lines of this image right here.
Problem is we still have some banding inside the petals. I figure if we're gonna have color distinctions, they should not occur inside the petals, but rather between one row of petals and the next. And one way to achieve this effect is to add a gradient layer inside Photoshop. And if you're a member of the lynda.com online training library, I show you how to do exactly that in a follow up movie. If you're waiting for next week's free technique, I'm gonna show you how to average the frames inside of a noisy movie, such as this one right here that I captured with a GoPro.
In order to create this super smooth still photograph using the mean stack mode in Photoshop. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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