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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.
In this final exercise of the chapter, I'm going to show you how to create these layers of gold type. This has nothing whatsoever to do with masking, but everything to do with compositing because we're ultimately rendering the type using a combination of layer effects. If you're working along with me you'll need to have two files open; one of them is called Compositing effects.psd which represents our progress so far and the other is called Text for frog.psd. And notice that I have some warped text layers going on here, the bottom text has a little bit of a Drop Shadow, nothing special going on, but I did want to show you how I achieve the warped text.
So I've left this central text, The Frog Wizard unwarped. Here is what I want you to do. Go ahead and click on that layer there inside the Layers panel and then go ahead and click on the Text tool here in the toolbox, which you can get by pressing the T key. Go up to the Options bar and note that Warp icon. I want you to go ahead and click on it to bring up the Warp Text dialog box, and the Style I'm looking for is the first one in the list, Arc. Now that's way too much of a bend, so I went ahead and change the Bend value to 15% and that's all there is to it. Now I'll click OK in order to accept the effect.
The difference between the other layers of text is that they warped to different degrees and also I went ahead and rotated the text as well. All right, now let's take this text into the other image, by clicking on the bottom type layer and Shift+clicking on the top layer so that all three are selected and then right-click anywhere in the blank portion of any of those layers and choose Duplicate layers. And here inside the Duplicate layers dialog box change the Document setting to Compositing effects or whatever is the name of your file in progress, and then click OK.
All right, let's switch back to that image, and notice that the text is kind of getting covered up, and that's a function of those layers being too low in the stacking order. To move them all the way to the top of the stack, go to the layer menu, choose the Arrange command, and then choose Bring to Front, or you can press that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+], that's Command+Shift+] on the Mac and now all three text layers have moved to the top of the Layers panel. All right. Let's start things off by selecting this Gauldalf layer which is, of course, the name of the frog, and we'll start by assigning the gold effect to it.
Now it's actually a combination of four-layer effects working together. Drop down to the fx icon and let's start things off by choosing the simplest of the bunch, which is Color Overlay and I'm going to click on this red color swatch and dial in the following color; Hue value of 50 degrees and both Saturation and Brightness set to 100%. Then click OK. And I'm going to change the Blend mode from Normal to Multiply, it's not going to actually do anything because we're merging the color with white text, however, if we have any other inner effects going on inside the image that will help them to mix together.
Then reduce the Opacity value to 50%. All right, now let's take on Bevel and Emboss, this is where we're going to get most of our work done. So click on Bevel and Emboss, make sure the Style is set to Inner Bevel. I'm going to take the Depth up to 250 % and I'll set the Direction to Down. Now that doesn't end up delivering a very gold like effect, but we can get one by dropping down to Gloss Contour, click the down pointing arrowhead and go ahead and select that second item in the second row, which is Ring, and that will create a kind of double beveling effect as you can see.
We want it to be a little smoother, so turn on the Anti-aliased check box. Your Angle value should already be set to 45 degrees. Let's go and take the Altitude value up to 35 degrees. Now I have Use Global Light selected so that would affect any other bevels inside my image. I don't have any. So it doesn't matter. All right. Now let's change the Highlight and Shadow mode setting. We'll start by dialing in some color. So click on that white swatch in order to bring up the Color Picker dialog box and then change the Hue value to 45 degrees, the Saturation value to 50% and the Brightness value to 100%.
Notice that I often work this way, where I'll take the Brightness up high and take the Saturation value down a little bit to get a light pale color, or exactly the opposite. For a dark color, you'll want to take the Brightness value down and then take the Saturation value up. I'll show you what that looks like in a second, but first, let's change the Blend mode from Screen to the more aggressive brightening mode which is Linear Dodge (Add), and then I'll take that Opacity value all the way up to 100%. Now let's dial in our Shadow color by clicking on the black swatch and I've decided I wanted to integrate some of the green that used to be part of the frog, so I changed the Hue value to 80 degrees.
Then I took that Saturation value up to 100% in order to compensate for the fact that our Brightness value is going to be a mere 30%. All right. Then click OK in order to accept that color and let's change the Shadow mode to the more aggressive darkening mode, which is Linear Burn in order to create this effect and I took the Opacity value up to 85%. Now at this point, we could do a better job of sculpting the letters. So I'm going to take the Size value up to seven pixels, and then I'm going to change the Technique from Smooth to Chisel Hard, and if you know anything about gold, it's a soft metal.
So we don't want such harsh transitions. We can go ahead and smooth them over, however, by raising that Soften value to 2 pixels. All right. Now let's blend things in a little better using a Satin effect. So go ahead and click on Satin, click on the color swatch, this time around I went with the Hue value of 50 degrees, a Saturation value of 85% and a Brightness value of 50%, click OK. The Opacity value should be 50%, the Blend mode should be Multiply. These are all default settings, by the way, including the Contour setting of Gaussian.
Next, you can go ahead and drag the Satin effect around inside the letters if you like, like so, and that changes the Angle and Distance values on the fly. I ended up arriving at these values, an Angle of 35 degrees, a Distance of 12 pixels and a Size of 20 pixels. All right. Finally, I wanted to go ahead and stroke those letters, so I clicked on Stroke over there in the left-hand list and black is fine for Color, the Position should be Outside, I just went ahead and took the Size value down to 2 pixels like so and that's the end of it. All right.
Go ahead and click OK in order to accept that first line of gold type. All right, now that we have one line of gold type, it's easy to convert the other layer to gold as well. All you need to do is press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag that fx icon from the Gauldalf layer and drop it on to the Frog Wizard layer, like so. And just like that we've got another line of gold type, however, I didn't feel like it really stood out enough from its background, so I decided to give it an additional Outer Glow. So click on the frog wizard layer to make it active, drop down to the fx icon, choose the Outer Glow command and then here inside the dialog box, click on that pale yellow color swatch, and let's dial in a Hue value of 50 degrees, a Saturation value of 50%, and a Brightness value of 100%. Then click OK.
Screen is fine as the Blend mode, but I went ahead and took the Opacity value up to 100% and I took the Size value up a little bit as well to 12 pixels, and that does it. Go ahead and click OK to add that Outer Glow. All right, I'm going to press the F key a couple of times and zoom in on my image. That ends our whirlwind tour of the selection tools inside of Photoshop. In the next chapter, I'll show you how to combine and edit selections to get even better results.
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