Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Video: Formatting the monologue text

In this move, we're going to format the monologue text using So, I'll go ahead and click in front of it, press the
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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

Formatting the monologue text

In this move, we're going to format the monologue text using that font digital strip that we downloaded in the previous movie. And FYI, if you open this file, if you're working along with me, you may still get a font warning and that's because this text down here is set in a custom font that we will be creating together in the next chapter. I’m going to go ahead and switch over to this file here, which contain some hidden layers including balloon template. We’ll be creating these talk balloons from scratch, but they’ll help offset the text for now.

And then I’m going to turn on these two text layers right here. Now, you can see I've created all of the monologue text in advanced for you but if you don't have access to the exercise files, you can enter this text yourself or of course you can create your own text. I'm going to select both of these text layers by clicking on one and shift clicking on the other here at the top of the layers panel. And then I'll switch to the type tool, which is you may recall you can get by pressing the T key. Then go up to the options bar click in the font option over here in the far left side and enter the word digital, or as many letters as you need in order to select that font, digital strip.

Then press the tab key a couple of times to advance to the size value. And I'm going to take it down to 30 points and press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac. And next, we need to go ahead and center the text, which you can do by clicking on this Center Text icon. We have some other formatting attributes we need to, apply but they're only available from the Character Panel. To bring that panel up, go ahead and click on the Panel icon up here in the Options bar. Now notice the letting value's set to Auto, which works just fine but if your seeing different results than me, then you can go ahead and click on that icon right there and change the value to 36 points.

Then press the tab key in order to advance to the tracking value and take it down to negative 20. Now don't worry about the fact that color's got a question mark. The color is really black. It's just that we see a question mark when more than one layer is selected. Now, I'm going to click on the down pointing arrowhead that's associated with this kerning setting. And I'm going to chose optical in order to get the best possible kerning on screen. All right. Now we want to make some modifications. So I'm going to go ahead and select all this text right here, which are the names of the characters in his super team.

And I'm going to go ahead and change the style to bold, like so, in order to create this effect. That's not bold enough for me. So I'm going to click in the faux bold icon here inside the character panel, in order to make things as bold as possible. And notice that we have a bad break right here. I'm going to solve that by clicking after the word lump and pressing shift+enter or shift+return on the Mac in order to add a soft character turn. I also want professor and elastic to be closer to each other.

So a click after a period right there, and I'll press control+Alt+left arrow or command+option+left arrow a few times, in order to reduce the kerning value, which you can see here inside the character panel to negative 200 and the result is this effect here. And I've actually made a mistake, the dot dot dot should be after the lump. So, I'll go ahead and click in front of it, press the Backspace key in order to bring the lump back together, with its ellipsis. And then I'll click after the final dot and I'll press shift+enter, or shift+return on a Mac, in order to create a soft carriage return. Now, if you've read many comics, you know there's tons of bold text all over the place, and we want that effect too. So I'm going to go ahead and double click on the word Best. And change its style to bold. And then I'll click on the faux bold icon for it as well. And then I'll double click on the word short right there. And notice that this bold style has a little bit of slant associated with it. I'm going to go ahead and make it bolder by clicking on faux bold like so. And then press the enter key on the numerical keypad, or, if you're working in Photoshop CC, you can just go ahead and press the escape key in order to accept your changes. Now I'm going to select this text right there, The Blue Barbecue, and I'm going to change it to bold as well, and click in the faux bold icon. We've got a bad break right here. I want me and The Blue Barbecue all to be in the same line. So I'll go ahead and select this text like so. And I'll go to the character panel fly out menu, and I'll choose no break in order to keep all that text together. And if you end up getting a problem effect like this, I'll just go ahead and press control+Z or command+z on a Mac to undo that change. Let's see what happens when I just select, this text: me, and the word, the and I say that I want no break at this location. That goes ahead and takes care of the problem, I see. I selected the word, barbecue, which would not fit. All right. Now we want sizzle to be bold, so I'm just going to drag over the word, sizzle, and I'll change it to bold and click on the faux bold icon. And finally I want to double click on the propane right there, and then click on the faux bold icon to finish things off. Now there's just one more change I want to make. I was looking at the text later, of course, you know, after taking it in for a while, and I noticed that but and they seem to be pretty far away from each other. So I clicked after the word but, up here in the top left corner of the composition and I pressed control+alt+left arrow or command+option+left arrow on the Mac, just once, in order to reduce the kerning value here in the character panel to negative 100. And that's at least one way to go about formatting the monologue text using that wonderful free front from

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