Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Video: Stylizing the custom font in Photoshop

All right.
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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

Stylizing the custom font in Photoshop

All right. Now that we have successfully created our custom open type font, it's time to apply the final formatting to our composition. So here I am, back in Photoshop on the PC for what little it's worth because, because everything works the same on both the Mac and the PC from this point on. I'm going to go ahead and switch over to this version of the composition. Notice that I've gone ahead and flatten just about everything, except for the type layers. And the reason is I'm just trying to keep the file sizes as small as possible.

I also have this new fire up layer selected. You can see it down here in the lower left region of the image. So the first thing I want to do is select the type tool, which you can also get by pressing the T key. And then, go up to the Font option on the far left side of the options bar. And then select a font on the far left side of the options bar, and type in fire. And you should get fire up bold. And the bold option will be dimmed because that's the only style that's available to us.

I'm also going to increase the type size value to 360 points in order to create this very large text here. Now the text happens to be centered. To center it inside the image, press control+A or command+A on the Mac to select the entire thing, and then switch up to the move tool at the top of the tool box or you you can press the V key. And then finally up here in the options bar, click the align horizontal center's icon in order to center the text like so. And then press control+D, command+D on a Mac to deselect the text.

Now you can see that the spacing is pretty messed up and that's because I didn't put a lot of time and effort into those side bearing values and I didn't create a single kerning pair. So, what we're going to do is bring up the character panel by pressing the T key to switch back to the type tool and then I'll click on the little panel icon up here in the Options bar. And I'm going to change the kerning from Metrics, which are my metrics, meaning they're no good, to Optical which puts Photoshop in charge of the kerning process and we get better character spacing, as you see here.

That's not best, but it is better. And I'm also going to take this tracking value right here and I'm going to reduce it to negative 20 just by selecting the value and pressing the down arrow key once. All right. Now we want to do some hand kerning. So I'll click between the F and the I with the type tool and we get the blinking insertion marker. At which point I'll press alt+right arrow, that would be option+right arrow on a Mac, in order to kern the text apart. And your kerning value should change here in the character panel to negative 48.

Then press the right arrow key without Alt or Option, in order to move the blinking insertion marker between the I and the R. And press Alt+left arrow, that would be Option+left arrow on a Mac, in order to nudge those characters together ever so slightly and we end up with a kerning value of negative 36. Then I'm going to press the right arrow key a total of three times. So, the blinking insertion marker is between the space and the U and I'll press control+alt+left arrow, that' command+option+left arrow on the Mac, in order to kern the U into the space to the tune of negative 100,000 of an M.

And then I'll press the right arrow key to advance the insertion marker between the U and the P, and I'll press alt+right arrow in order to kern the characters apart slightly, so we have a kerning value of 34 and that is it. Then you can go ahead and press the escape key here inside Photoshop CC. If you're working in an earlier version of Photoshop, then you press the enter key on the numerical keypad. All right. Now we need to style the text, and I'm going to do that by dropping that to the FX icon at the bottom of the layers panel.

And I'm going to start with color overlay. And I'm just going to use the color overlay effect to color the text by clicking inside this little red swatch. It's red by default anyway. And I'll change the hue value to 190 degrees. I'll leave both the saturation and brightness values set to 100% and then I'll click okay. Now, I want to roughen up the edges using a kind of pixelated glow. So, I'll click on inner glow in order to select it. I'll click on that little yellow swatch right there. And I'll take the hue value down to 50 degrees and I'll take the saturation value up to 50%.

Then I'll leave the brightness value set to 100%, then I'll click okay. And now you want to change the blend mode to dissolve, which is the one directly under normal, which gives you a roughening effect, as you're about to see. Now I'll increase the opacity value to 100%. And I'll tab down to the size value and take it up to 200. You notice that we get these very rough edges as you see here. So the difference is, if I had normal selected, we'd get the smooth glowing edges. With dissolved, the translucency is represented with withered pixels.

All right. Now, I'm going to apply a stroke. Very easy, just click on stroke to select it. Position should be outside by default, the color is black. Go ahead and crank the size value up to 20 pixels. And then we want to add a drop shadow of course. So click on drop shadow to make it active. Let's go ahead and crank the opacity value up to 100%. Your color should be black by default. Turn off, use global light. And then go ahead and set the angle value to 135 degrees. And then finally, we want to take the distance value up to 55 pixels and take the size value down, to, zero pixels like so.

And then click okay. And that, folks, is the final stylized text, that you created with the help of a custom Open Type Font, here inside Photoshop.

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