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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 the next couple of weeks we're going to look at some of the techniques that went into creating this particular piece. I called it Red Truck. Now, it's been quite a few years since I did this and there's a lot of stuff that I discovered along the way. Some things are done differently now, yet, some of the old ways still kind of work. So, what I want to do this week is concentrate on this head lamp here. Now, if you get in close you see you've got all these little shapes with these little rounded corners. See, all of these little rounded corner shapes, many, many of them all over, throughout the entire piece.
All these different shapes with these little rounded corners. Now, there's many of them. Do you think I spent a lot of time doing all that stuff? No. No. It's, that's the beauty of the computer is it makes things a lot easier. So, what I'm going to do is, let's go in here and create that effect. Start a whole new file right here. And, I'm going to go to 100% and I'm going to create a little circle. I'm going to do a little selection of a circle right here. This is going to be the headlight. Okay? So in a separate layer, I'm going to go ahead and fill this with any particular color I want, let's just say I want it to be, oh, let's pick some colors.
So we'll get this kind of a, a light blueish tone like that, and we'll go to a, a deeper blue, say, like that. Way down like that. And we'll get our radial gradient and just kind of fill it in, right there, like that. See, so that's going to be the kind of color that I'm going to deal with, just for the background. Here's what's going to happen now, I'm going to start to create all those little grills. So, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to take my Pen tool. And I'm just going to create a whole bunch of little paths here. So I'm just going to duplicate this and I'm going to do them kind of fast so that you don't have to spend a lot of time just watching me do all these little things.
So here, we'll just do this kind of thing, like that. Okay, that's, that's good enough. Just to give you an idea of what's going to happen and we'll do a cou-, couple going this way. And we'll curve that up a little bit like that and then we'll do it down here, and another one, and another one, and one more, okay? So that's going to be our basic structure. Now these are where those little rounded corners are going to be. So, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to take my Paint Brush, and I'm going to make sure it's hard, completely hard on the outside. And I'm going to go into my Brush Engine and I'm going to bring the spacing down.
You see how you got little bumps? because there's a little spacing. I'm just going to bring that down to 1% so it's a solid line. Just like that. And, I'll reduce the size. Have a nice little size like this. That's good. Right? That's what it's going to look like. So, let's go in here and use white. So, I'll go right in here and, and let's bring this Opacity way up. There we go. And that's what it's going to do right there like that, see. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to take those paths. And then a new layer, just like this. I'm going to take that path. And let me get my Path tool here, there it is.
There's the Work Path and let's go ahead and Save it. Okay. And, I'm in the Brush, as you can see there. So, when I take the path and stroke it, it's going to do, that. See, now let's look at that. Those are not rounded corners, nope, they're not rounded. I want every one of these things to be a nice rounded corner. So, this is not the place to do it. So, I'm going to dump that layer. What I'm going to do, is going to go in here and let's click this selection right there. And I'm going to go into my Alpha Channels here. And, I'm going to say, Create a New Channel.
Right there. This is where I'm going to do the little things. I'm going to take the Paths, there's my path again. There we are, and with that brush again, and with white, I'm going to go ahead and stroke it. There they are. Turn Off the Path. And they look just as it did before, nice hard edged corners. So now to create that roundness, let's get a little closer so we see what's really going to happen here. I'm going to go in and Blur this. I'm going to give it a Gaussian Blur. And I'm going to Blur it to the point where I have the nice rounded corners that I want. Right there, that's the kind of roundness that I want, right in there like that.
Click OK, and you're saying, well that looks all blurry now. That doesn't look good. But that's the beauty of it. I'm now going to go into my levels, Adjustment > Levels. And here, if I bring in the black, I'm going to sharpen them. But you notice how they're getting real thin? So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to bring in my whites. The more I bring them in, the fatter the lines become. But I'm going to bring into a space right about there. That's about the thickness that I want them. I'm going to bring the blacks to meet it. And bring it in a little bit. Bring them in, bring it closer, click OK.
And there you see we have all those nice little rounded corners to all those little shapes. So now what happens, is I can go back to my Layers here. And let's see this layer, and I'm going to create a layer on top of it. And with my Channel, I'm going to load that Channel. There it is, loaded on top of this. And that, I will go in there and let's just give that a particular color. We'll go in there with a light gray like that, going into a deeper gray, say like that. And right inside there, in a new layer, I'll throw another Gradient, just like that.
And there you can see that we now start to have all those nice little tones. Through which I could start doing all kinds of stuff. Now what I actually did inside of here. You see all these little swirls, and things going on in there. Is that I painted inside of each one of those. Now it's not as hard as it might sound. So let's just say that I put a layer right behind that one. And this is going to be our color. So I'll throw some colors in there. In fact, let's just do a little selection here. We, we'll make a little selection like this. I'm going to go in here and just select a nice little shape, like this.
Right in there, and I'm going to fill that with a little Gradient of say a rainbow. Say something like this, alright, so we're just going to throw that right in there like that. And let's go to a linear Gradient, there we go, that's a little better, see. Let's go straight up and down. So there, there we have these nice little tones. Now, the way I've got them to get that nice little curvature to them is I simply took my Smudge tool. Right here, the Smudge tool, and I'll make a nice size. I'd say that's a good size for these little holes.
And I'll just kind of drag it down like that. And I'll get it bigger, and just drag it down like that, and then even bigger. And drag this down. Maybe not as hard, but each time I just do it a little softer. And if you don't want it that hard, we can always reduce the strength for the, the pull. And then just start going in there, and start adding all these little tones in there, so it started adding all the irregularities that you see inside here. All these little tones. Of course I took a little more time and care in doing it, but you get the general idea of how those particular tones were done.
The little highlights that we see on top of it, well that's real simple. I simply took another layer on top of that, and using white, and a nice little brush, I just went in there and started adding little tiny highlights. In little areas, which I can just go in there and, let's just say we do that little piece. And I can take my Smudge tool, and just kind of pull it out. Just to soften it up like that, and create all these nice little highlights. So there you see the basics of how such an intricate pattern here, of these rounded little rectangles was created by simply using the effects in an alpha channel right there and Blurring it and then resharpening it using levels to give myself my straight lines with the rounded curls.
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