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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.
- What we're gonna do today is we're gonna take this little flag here and wave it in the wind. Now, I used to do this a long time ago with the American flag, and this is actually a flag that was used for one of my dreamscapes. But I wanted to show it to everybody else, exactly how to make this flag look like it is in fact waving in the wind. So what I'm gonna do is in the background here we're gonna create a nice little color for the sky. So let's just go in here and pick a nice little blue. I say we pick one of these blues. Let's go in there and pick...
gonna be a very light sky. So let's just go ahead and get a darker version or a lighter version of that. Right there. And in that background we'll just throw a little Gradient from dark to light. So there's our little sky. Alright. So, now what's gonna happen is I need this flag to be waving in the wind. So, there are things like Puppet Warp and regular Warp, but they're not quite as intuitive as you'd like them to be in a case like this. You want everything to kind of move together and have multiple folds all through it.
So, what we're going to do is we're going to use a filter that's very rarely used by people 'cause they don't understand it, and that's a little thing here called Displace. Now, what happens with Displace is that it uses the values of another image, the lights and darks, to distort this one. Anything that's lighter than the 50% gray is gonna move things up into the left. Anything darker's gonna move them down into the right. So now, let's go in there and create a map that this is going to use to displace. So right on top of this, I'm gonna create a new Layer.
Right there. And I'm gonna go ahead and fill that layer with a 50% Gray. Now, as I said a second ago, 50% Gray is the middle line, right? Nothing's gonna happen with a 50% Gray. Anything lighter is gonna move them up into the left. Anything darker will move them down to the right. So I'm gonna just bring down the Opacity just a little bit so I can see the flag underneath, so I know where I wanna start painting things. So I'm gonna use black and white. I'm gonna get black and I'm gonna get a nice really soft-edged Brush. So I'll just go in here and get this soft-edged brush, and we'll make it a little bigger.
And let's do it visually here. Make it a little bigger. And what I'll do is, I'm just gonna throw a nice black tone right through here. Now it's running out of paint 'cause of the settings over here, let's make sure we turn that off. OK. And let's look at the spacing. Let's bring the spacing up a little bit so it's gonna be a really soft edge. About like that. That'll do it. So I'm gonna go in here and start drawing this nice little black line through there. And maybe right here we'll draw a little, kind of a "V" shape. Right in there like that. And another little "V" shape down here.
And then another one going all the way across here. And then maybe a little thin one, couple of thin ones around here and right there. OK? So there. Now this one can kind of extend down into there. So now with the white. I'm gonna throw in some white. So we'll throw a little white in there. A little white down here. Throw a whole white one right through this part right there. Make the brush a little bigger and we'll throw a white right in there like that. And maybe a little white right in here. So, let's bring the opacity back to 100%. There's all these weird little shapes that we have.
We can go in there and just add a little more. And I can blur this. Just go in there and soften it up, by giving the whole thing a little Gaussian Blur to soften if up some more. There we go. Click OK. Now, what that filter does is that uses this file to bend the other. But it has to be a separate file. So, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna Select All, and I'm gonna Copy. OK. And then I'm gonna go in and say New, a new file, and we'll call this the "map". And we'll say Paste.
OK. Now it knows what's in the clipboard, that's why I created a size that was exactly like we needed before, and so on. So I'm just gonna go ahead and flatten this. And do a Save As. And there it is "map", cause that's what we gave it when we created the file. We'll put it right on our Desktop. Save. So, now it doesn't have to be open so we'll just close it. Go in there and close it. Back to here again. OK, we're gonna turn it off. We don't need to see it. We're gonna be in the flag. And let's call this "Flag".
We're in the Flag. So I come up and I say Filter, Distort, Displace. Now, here's the first little dialog box we're faced with. You can scale the Horizontal and Vertical separately. You can increase or decrease this number. I'm gonna leave it at the default to see the effects that it's gonna have. Now down here, the Displacement Map, that other image. Do you want it to Stretch To Fit or to Tile? Do you want the Undefined Areas to Wrap Around or Repeat the Edge Pixels? Now, if you remember, I created my Displacement Map exactly the same size, so none of these apply, because we don't have to stretch it to fit 'cause it will fit exactly.
Another reason why I created the Displacement Map where I did, is because that way I know exactly where folds are going to go. Gives me a lot of control rather than just letting it all go all over the place. I have full control over where those folds are gonna happen. And you'll see what else that's gonna do in a few minutes. So I'm going to say OK. It's asking me to choose a Displacement Map, and there's my map on the Desktop. So I say Open. And there you can see that all the little words have been twisted around and all kinds of stuff happening there. So now, you got all these little wiggles but it doesn't really look three-dimensional.
Remember this guy? There it is. We still have this. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna go ahead and clip that with the flag so we see that only inside. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to change the mode of this to Multiply. Bring down the Opacity a little bit. So we have all those nice little dark tones. Now I'm gonna Duplicate it again right behind here. And this one I'm gonna put in Screen mode so that the light tones will show through. There's our little highlights. I could bring down the opacity a little bit on that one. And there you can see that now we have all the little folds and the lights and shadows that go with it.
So what I'm going to do now is I'm gonna turn off my background. I'm gonna go ahead and make a merge of all of these. I'm holding down my Option key so when I say Merge Visible, instead of destroying my originals it created a hole new layer that has the three layers merged but the originals are still there. So what I could do with those is I'll put them in a little folder. We'll call them "original". And we can stick these three in there. Just in case we wanna change a few things here, we have all the originals, so we don't have to go in there and mess everything up again.
And we just turn them off. Now we go back to this guy. So what I can do now is I'll go in there and hit a Command-T to give me my Free Distort here my Free Transform, and hold down my Command key so I can apply effects to different parts of it. I'm gonna go up there and grab that up, then I'm gonna bring this down, and bring this down like this. Make this a little shorter like that. Click OK. And maybe we wanna do one more little thing. We'll give it a little Warp. We'll just get a little Warp right through here. Bring these up. Just to start giving it a little more of a curvature to it.
Just like so. Click OK, and there you see that we now have our little flag waving in the wind with the little highlights and shadows, everything to make it look realistic.
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