Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Stroking the composite flames


From:

Designing a Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Stroking the composite flames

In this movie, we're going to take our many flame layers, which look great against this black background, but if I take away the background, we're starting to lose some definition. And we're going to stroke all of the flames as a group to create this kind of xerography effect, as in a Xerox machine. So, I'll go and switch over to my image so far. And I'll turn the black back layer back on and then I'll go ahead and turn these layers off. The layers above the flames because for the moment we don't need them.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
      41s
  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

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Designing a 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.

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
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Stroking the composite flames

In this movie, we're going to take our many flame layers, which look great against this black background, but if I take away the background, we're starting to lose some definition. And we're going to stroke all of the flames as a group to create this kind of xerography effect, as in a Xerox machine. So, I'll go and switch over to my image so far. And I'll turn the black back layer back on and then I'll go ahead and turn these layers off. The layers above the flames because for the moment we don't need them.

And we never need the hands template group ever again. So, I'm going to select it and press the Backspace key to get rid of it. And we're going to be doing a lot of file cleanup to try to reduce the size of these incremental files as we move along. Now I'll switch over to the channels panel, and speaking of file reduction, notice that we've got a couple of masks here. We're done with those, we've got backups, so I'm going to select both of them, by clicking on one and shift clicking on the other. And then I'll drop down to the trash icon and I'll alt+click on it, or opti+click on the Mac, and by virtue the fact that you hold the alt or option key down, you bypass the alert message.

Now you want to select the channel with the most contrast, and because we're looking at a very warm image, that's going to be red, although you can check out the others. There's green, and there of course is blue. So I'll go ahead and grab the red channel, and I'll drag it and drop it onto the little page icon at the bottom of the panel to create a copy of it. And I'm not going to bother to name this alpha channel because we're going to throw it away in just a moment and you'll see why. We're actually going to be able to throw it away and keep it at the same time, strange as that sounds.

But first I need to increase the contrast by going up to the image menu, choosing adjustments and choosing the levels command. Which you can also get by pressing ctrl+l and I'm going to change the black point value to 100. So, we're darkening up this mask quite a bit and then I'll press the tab key twice to advance to the white point value and I'll take it down to 235. And that increases the contrast as you see right there. So, if I turn off the preview check box, this is the way it looked before. This is the way it looks now. Alright, now click OK in order to accept that change.

Now we want to load this mask as a selection outline by pressing the ctrl key or the cmd key on a Mac and clicking on it's thumbnail right there. And now we're done with this alpha channel, so you can grab it and throw it away. Cause otherwise it's going to add unnecessarily to the file size. Because we're going to convert this selection outline right now to a layer mask. And converting from an alpha channel to a selection outline and back to a layer mask is altogether, 100%, non-destructive. So now I'll switch over to the layers panel, and I'll turn off that black back layer right there and I'll go ahead and click on it to make it active. And now I want to create this selection outline right here filled with yellow. And so first what I want to do is turn off the flames group, right there just for a second. And now I'll drop down to the black and white circle down here at the bottom of the layers panel. I'll press the alt key or the option key on the mac, and I'll choose the solid color command. And even though I'm going to fill this layer with yellow, I'm going to call it stroke, because it's main purpose is to stroke as opposed to stoke the flames. So I'll go ahead and click OK. And now, what you want to do is dial in a yellow, so I'll change the hue value to 50 degrees. I'll take the saturation value up to a 100% and I'll take the brightness value up to 100% as well and click OK. And notice now if I Alt+click or Option+click on the layer mask in order to view the mask independently of the image, that's that exact same mask that we saw represented as an alpha channel a moment ago. That's why I got rid of it, we just don't need it in this file twice. So now, alt+click or opt+click on that layer mask thumbnail again, and I'll drop down to the fx icon, at the bottom of the layers panel, and I'll choose stroke. In order to bring up the layer style dialog box. I'll leave the position set to outside by default, the color's black, also a default setting, to opacity is 100%, the blend mode is normal, that's all good. The one change that you want to make is to the size value. And I suggest you crank it up to 25 pixels in order to create the effect that you see here in the background. And, now, I'm going to click OK. I don't want this much yellow showing through. I want the yellow fill to be translucent. And, any time you want the fill to be translucent, but you don't want to effect any of the layer affects, such as the stroke. Why then you want to modify the fill value, as opposed to the opacity value. So, I'm going to go ahead and click on the word fill, in order to select it. And, I'm going to change that to 50% and press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac, to accept that change. And now, notice, if I turn on the flames group, we have this wonderful interaction of flames, along with the zerography effect and the stroke, and everything else. So, it looks nice and old timey comic book, I still want it to look retro, even though it's a photographic effect. And now, I'm going to go ahead and turn on these three layers, merge, BBQ hands and hand grills that are sitting on top that represent the character himself. So that we can see the character shooting those flames. And then finally, these flames layers are taking up a ton of room inside the file. And, the only reason I'm doing this, normally I would keep all of these independent flames in case I wanted to change my mind later. But, I've been saving these various synchronization of the files and they are getting to be 200 megs, they are getting to be very huge. And we can cut that file size in half by merging these flames together, and you can do that just by going up to the layer menu and choosing merge group, or you can press that keyboard shortcut ctrl+E, or cmd+e on the Mac. And now that goes ahead and merges all the flames, now messes up the blend mode, and the reason is we used to be able to see through all of the flame layers to the background because they were also at the screen. Now Photoshop has merged them all according to the screen blend mode, so they're merged with each other but the blend mode is set back to normal. You want to change that mode to screen once again in order to get exactly the same effect we had a moment ago. If you bring up the history panel by going to the Window menu and choosing History and, you back up, two steps here, to fill opacity change. Notice that you're going to see exactly the same effect on screen. So, it's not changing the appearance, it's just changing our ability to access all of those layers and, it's reducing the file size. Now, I need to make this extremely important because I, every once in a while, I get this question. Well, what do you do, after you merge the layers? How do you get back to them? You don't. That's the whole point. They're gone. But the upside is that we have a smaller file and aside folks will make is like well you can always buy more hard drives. You know, why would you do this? Well I've got multiple incarnations and that's not really true. Yes, you can buy more hard drives till the cows come home but they have limited lifespans and sometimes you want to be able to keep everything on a portable machine that has a small hard drive. And so, we don't all have just gobs and gobs of storage space to work with or to access very quickly. So, I like to keep things trim when I can. In any case, that aside you can do what you want. Just to give you sense for what we were able to accomplish in this specific movie I'll go ahead and press the F key a couple of times to fill the screen with this image. And, we now have this awesome version of the superhero, and I'm going to zoom in a little bit as well. With these flames not only circling his body, but leaping from his hands as well. Thanks to our, just mind boggling ability to add photographic flame effects, whether old school or new, whichever you like here inside Photoshop.

There are currently no FAQs about Designing a Retro-Style Superhero.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Designing a Retro-Style Superhero.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.