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Adding shape layers to a photo illustration

From: Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

Video: Adding shape layers to a photo illustration

Here we're going to look at combining shape layers with photographic images. I'm going to recreate this image. Let me break it down for you first of all. I have a background field of color. On top of that, I have a shape layer, this target shape, but we're using it as a sort of light burst. On top of this, I have a photographic image which has been masked to reveal that light burst in the sky. Then we have some clouds. These clouds were adapted from some Illustrator symbols which I copied and pasted into Photoshop and then applied some simple layer effects to, and we've got each of those on a separate layer.

Adding shape layers to a photo illustration

Here we're going to look at combining shape layers with photographic images. I'm going to recreate this image. Let me break it down for you first of all. I have a background field of color. On top of that, I have a shape layer, this target shape, but we're using it as a sort of light burst. On top of this, I have a photographic image which has been masked to reveal that light burst in the sky. Then we have some clouds. These clouds were adapted from some Illustrator symbols which I copied and pasted into Photoshop and then applied some simple layer effects to, and we've got each of those on a separate layer.

Then on top of that we have this piece of type which has been converted to a shape layer. It has some effects applied to it. Lastly, we have that just to finish the whole thing off. So I'm going to switch now to this, the starting point, and step number one is to create a mask for the picture. So I'm just going to do this kind of roughly using the Quick Selection tool, which happens to work very well in this instance.

So I've gone over the sky. I've unlocked my background layer. And because it's the sky that I want to mask, I'm going to hold down the Option or Alt key and click on that to see the transparency beneath it. So next, I'm going to come to my Custom Shape tool. And from my Custom Shapes, I'm going to choose my target which we've used once before. It does turn out to be quite useful, this one. It's right there.

It is a little bit unwieldy, because we are going to need to drag it beyond the bounds of the image. So I'm going to put my cursor at roughly the center point and then start drawing the target, holding down the Alt key so that we draw outwards from the center. I just want to make sure that the edge of the circle is not going to be visible on the edge of my canvas. So there, that seems to be big enough. Now I need to move that underneath my picture layer. And I also don't want to see these edges, which are going to keep cropping up every once in a while.

They are a bit irritating. But if we press Command+H or Ctrl+H, they will go away. Beneath this, I want to put a solid layer of color. So I'm going to choose Solid Color and I want a darker blue. I'll drag that underneath the shape layer and that's what we get. So I'm now going to turn the type on and I have a separate exercise where we'll be talking about how exactly this gradient was made, because it's a bit tricky since the type is on a curve.

But for now, I'm just going to turn that on in its finished state. I'm going to turn on the Butter layer and let's go and get some clouds now. So I'm going to pop over to Illustrator and use one of the Illustrator symbols. So the symbol that I want is this cloud. It's in the Nature symbol group which you'll get to by coming and clicking on bottom left of the Symbols panel. Then when you find it, you can click on it and it will be added to your Symbols panel.

Then you want to add an instance of the symbol to your artboard just by clicking. Now at the moment, this symbol is actually a lot more complex than it appears. It's got a gradient in it and that's not going to translate to a Photoshop custom symbol. So we need to simplify it. First thing I'm going to is I'm going to break the link to the symbol. Then I'm going to come to the Object menu and choose Expand Appearance. Now you might think that would be enough. But if I were to now copy this and go over to Photoshop and then paste it and paste it as a shape layer, we can see that we are going to still end up with this border around it.

So that's not any good. We need to go one step further. So I'm going to undo that, switch back to Illustrator. I've already expanded the appearance. Now I can expand it. Expanding it is going to allow me to expand the gradient that fills this shape into a specified number of objects. So when I do that nothing really appears to change, but there is now a gradient that has been rendered as a series of lines.

We want to get rid of all of those. In fact, if we go to the Outline View, we can see them all there. They're no good for us. All we want is the cloud shape. So I might here just be able to select the cloud shape. And if I clicked on the outline of the cloud, I can see its segments and then hold down the Alt key and click on it and then I get the whole cloud. I'm now just going to nudge that up a bit, away from all that gradient stuff, which I can then come and delete or just ignore.

Back in the Preview View mode I need to make sure I have all of those anchor points solid so that the whole thing is selected. Now I can copy it, now I can go back to Photoshop, now I can paste it as a shape layer. Now it's going to come in as a single shape. So now I want to change the color of it. I'm going to press my D key to go to my default black and white with white as my background color. Command+ Backspace or Ctrl+Backspace to fill it. I might want to transform it and I can position it.

And perhaps I want to give it a little bit more character than it currently has. So if I were to go to my layer styles, let's see. We can give it an Inner Shadow and possibly we could also give it a Satin effect. If I turn on Satin, and I think I'll dramatically need to reduce my Opacity. But I can now drag around inside the shape to sort of drag the cloud shape within itself.

I always find this one a bit hit and miss as to exactly what you're going to get, but I'm going to increase the Size, increase the Distance, reduce the Opacity, click OK. One other thing I might consider here is coming to the mask and feathering the mask. So now that I have the one cloud there's nothing to stop me duplicating it to get others. I want to make sure that I'm not in any danger of duplicating the vector mask within the shape layer, but I actually want to duplicate the whole thing. So I'm going to click away from it. Click back on it so that the vector mask is not selected.

Then with my Move tool selected, hold down the Alt key, drag away from it, possibly press Command+T to go to Free Transform. Maybe I can have this one go the other way. Maybe I can rotate it slightly. Maybe I can just adjust its scale a little bit so that it's not quite as uniform as the one that we already have. Let's see, let's have one more of those, and this one we'll make a little bit smaller.

So there's just one of many, many, many things you can do combining your shape layers with your photographic images. In the next movie I'd like to show you how to get this gradient effect working with a shape layer that's been derived from type.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers
Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

42 video lessons · 14236 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 31s
    1. Welcome
      59s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 30m 57s
    1. Three ways to use the shape tools
      6m 49s
    2. Converting shapes to paths and vice versa
      1m 24s
    3. Moving, deleting, copying, and rasterizing shape layers
      5m 28s
    4. Drawing rectangles, rounded rectangles, and ellipses
      2m 59s
    5. Drawing lines
      2m 40s
    6. Drawing polygons and stars
      1m 48s
    7. Drawing pen paths by adding, deleting, and converting anchor points
      5m 51s
    8. Drawing pen paths with hybrid anchor points
      2m 58s
    9. Inverting paths
      1m 0s
  3. 28m 19s
    1. Adding, subtracting, intersecting, excluding, and combining shapes
      3m 50s
    2. Aligning and distributing shapes
      2m 19s
    3. Coloring shape layers
      2m 1s
    4. Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 1
      11m 32s
    5. Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 2
      8m 37s
  4. 52m 55s
    1. Creating a logo with shape layers
      10m 47s
    2. Applying blend modes to shape layers
      3m 36s
    3. Applying layer effects and styles to shape layers
      2m 53s
    4. Adding strokes to shape layers
      5m 14s
    5. Applying Smart Filters to shape layers
      4m 0s
    6. Combining shape layers with layer effects, blending modes, and Smart Objects
      5m 31s
    7. Creating shape layers from type
      3m 32s
    8. Creating web buttons using shape layers
      2m 33s
    9. Using shape layers to mask multiple layers
      3m 6s
    10. Adding shape layers to a photo illustration
      7m 38s
    11. Using shape layers to apply custom gradients to type
      4m 5s
  5. 28m 52s
    1. Finding and loading custom shapes
      3m 13s
    2. Creating your own custom shape
      5m 2s
    3. Creating a custom shape from an Illustrator symbol
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a custom shape from an Illustrator Live Trace object
      9m 40s
    5. Creating seamless patterns from shape layers
      4m 18s
    6. Saving and loading shapes with the Preset Manager
      1m 38s
  6. 30m 10s
    1. What is a vector mask?
      6m 39s
    2. Converting to a selection, vector mask, or layer mask
      5m 17s
    3. Linking and unlinking vector masks
      4m 47s
    4. Using shape layers to create a photo grid
      1m 42s
    5. Feathering a vector mask edge
      2m 54s
    6. Adjusting vector mask density
      3m 16s
    7. Combining vector masks with layer masks
      3m 34s
    8. Working with paths and clipping paths
      2m 1s
  7. 19s
    1. Goodbye
      19s

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