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Discover how to use Adobe Photoshop, without any added fine art skills, to modify artwork and turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Author and illustrator Bert Monroy takes an unexciting photo and transforms it into an amazing dream sequence by combining it with other photos and techniques. His process touches on compositing, digital painting, masking, and other key image editing techniques. All you need is Photoshop, some images that could use a boost, and your imagination!
So now we're going to go through all our files of buildings and things that we've shot through our vacations and travels all over the place, and I have some buildings here. Now the first one I'll use is just convention center, this is the convention center in San Diego. Now bad shot, not much contrast, overcast day but it's going to be fine for this, again, because we're going to move these things around, change them, do all kinds of things to them, this is going to make the basis of a building that's going to connect these two islands way down here, there is going to be this building.
Now I've got an alpha channel that I created previously, to separate that building. There is the intro chapters that will tell you about what alpha channels are and how they are created, here is one. I've just created this alpha channel so I'm going to go up to the color channels and load that channel. So I can now take that and drag it into my scene here. Now there it is quite large, in back, so we're going to go in there and start to shrink this down to the size that we want. So I'm going to hit Command+T to bring up the controls for it, holding down my Option and Shift I'm going to go in there and start to shrink it down.
Once I have it in place I'm going to bring it down in here and shrink it some more. So I want to have just these little parts in here visible, and I can kind of stretch it out if I want, because it doesn't have to exact, it doesn't have to be what it was before, and I can even spin it around a little bit just to make it even with the terrain down there, and I have this little building down there, this little connection between these other areas, right. So there, there is that one. So now we're going to go find another building.
And I have another building here, this is a big high-rise in Tokyo, now this building will be perfect for what I want. Now I have got a path already created for it right there, okay there is a path that I am going to create. You want to know how to create paths, there is a--in the intro chapter there is a whole movie on how to use the Pen tool. I'm going to go in there and make that a selection just like that. Now, I've made it a pretty rough path so that it incorporates part of the sky. So it's no problem, I didn't have to get that detailed around all this area, it's pretty clear that it is separated from the sky. So now after I've made that initial selection I can, say, hold down my Option key and with the Magic Wand just click in the sky area and all that stuff disappeared, tightening this selection to just the building.
And now that I have that I'm going to drag that into our scene, there it is. I'm going to transform it and do a Flip Horizontal, because I want it to be in that direction like that because I see the dark areas on this side, and I have most of my dark tones as we could see in the image, are on this side. Okay, so now I have it in there, I'm going to go in and do a little transform and change the size of this building, make it fit into this area right up in here, like so. So it's a tall building that's visible way in the background back there just like that.
Okay, so now we're going to find another building and here is this building here, it's a skyscraper somewhere in Florida. I am going to get a little closer, and this one is fairly easy to select. Now I'm going to use the Pen tool this time because I have a nice straight line right through here, right there, and I'm going to just go straight across to here and go right to that corner and straight down and then finish it off right there. Turn that into a selection and just like before I'm going to go in there and eliminate any unwanted sky like right in there, take this and drag it into my scene, there it is.
Now this guy I'm going to put here in place, I'm going to transform him so it's a little smaller than what we had before, let's go in there and stretch it out a little bit, have it bleeding off the page right there like that, and there is this second building. And one more set of building is over here on this side, so it's this whole city behind these rocks. And I have here a bunch of buildings that came from somewhere in Vancouver. Now this one I'm going to select by just clicking on the sky because it's a nice solid blue sky, I Shift-select to get this area here, and this area here.
Once I have the entire sky selected I could go in there and just say Inverse it, so my buildings are selected and bring them in, there they are in place. Now these guys, I'm going to go in there and shrink them down, like way down. These guys are really far away, they are going to be right back in this area here just like that, way in the background. Click OK, and I don't want these particular pieces right in here so I could just go in here and just eliminate this whole side here, and I'm going to just select it, like so, and eliminate that.
All right, so there is all our buildings. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take those layers of all those buildings, these four layers, I'm going to eliminate the background so I see just my buildings, and I'm going to go ahead and merge those together, merge those into a single layer. All right, so now let's see everybody else in place. Now that I have them all selected and they're in a single layer I'm going to go in there, and I'm just going to kind of play with these a little, I'm going to go into my Levels command, and I'll start playing around with them. I'm going to start to add a little more contrast here and there, and lighten them up, get the lights going, get the darks going.
Just get them into that thing and then go into my Hue/Saturation, I am going to bring down the Saturation so that's not strong, a little softer back there. Now, I'm going to take certain sections of these buildings, and I'm going to select this whole little section right here of this building and go to the outside areas and just make sure that that little spot in there isn't selected. And I'm going to go in there I'm going to darken that. I'm going to use the Hue/Saturation's darkness, because it's going to be nice and even, I'm going to just darken that area a little more just in there, like that.
I'm going to select this area of this building just this little corner right here, going around like that. Now I'm going to darken that area right in here, using my Burn tool, a slightly larger brush I'm just going to darken that area right in there just so it starts to get those shadows. I'm going to set this up to Midtones here so I'm going to get a stronger effect, and there we can see that I'm starting to darken those. Now, these are behind these rocks. So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to create a layer on top of this where I'm going to throw in some shadows.
So I'm going to go in here and with my paint brush and black I'm just going to paint in a couple of shadows in there. I'm going to get a nice hard edge brush, soften it up just a little bit. Now I can actually take the rocks themselves, in fact, let's even do that. Let's get rid of that layer we just created, and as you're working you start to solve problems in other ways. So I'm going to go in here and select this section of the rock, right there, here it is. I'm going to say send that to a new Layer Via Copy. I'm going to put that in back, right in back.
I'm going to go here and move it, turn off Auto-Select so we can move things, there is the rocks. I'm going to put them there, I'm going to make them a little smaller, little smaller like that, and I'm going to go ahead and lock the Transparency so I can fill that area with black. So I go in there and say fill it, there it is fill with black, which I'm now going to go in there, change the mode of that to Multiply and bring down the Opacity quite a bit.
And then soften it up just a little bit. I am going to turn off the locking of the Transparency so that I can blur it, otherwise it will not blur. I'll go into my Gaussian Blur and soften it up just a little bit just slightly like that maybe a little more. And then I'm going to lock it, clip it right into this layer here by holding down my Option key and clicking. And there my shadow is now constrained inside of that area there so it's casting the shadow of the rocks on to my building and back.
So now we have the basics of our planet here, I might want to go in there and darken some of these areas just a little more, so I'm going to have this set to Mid Range, and I'm going to go in there and just kind of darken some of these rocks on the side to increase the kind of sense of there being a darkening in this area, and I just went a little too far down there so I might want to go in there into my history and get rid of where I messed that up. No problem, once we have that let's isolate that area down there, let's just isolate.
So we're only going to be affecting the rocks themselves. So now I can go back in here and start playing with these rocks, and now you can see that I'm not effecting the area below because I've selected something to be specific. I'm going to go in there and just darken certain spots of these rocks just so it starts to give you that sense of being in a deeper shadow. All right, so now we have that. In the next movie what we're going to do is to add something in the sky over here. Wait till you see what that's going to be.
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