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I am so done painting at this point, that I've switched over to the Rectangular Marquee tool. I don't even want to have a painting tool selected anymore. From now on, it's all about compositing. So we're going to take Colleen with her fine hairs inside of this composition that's called Painting and fine hairs.psd. We're going to move her over into this Cloudy comp.psd file. So if you're working along with me, make sure that you have both of these compositions opened. Notice what's going on with this composition here inside the Layers panel. I want you to twirl open clouds, and actually go ahead and turn off the vague whiteness layer right there.
The clouds layer is a Smart Object. If you were to open the Smart Object, you would see my original photograph. You'd also see an adjustment layer that's brightening the heck out of it. Because Colleen still looks best, since I captured her against a blown out background, she still looks most at home against an overly bright background. So I went ahead and elevated the brightness inside of the Smart Object. Then I applied a couple of Smart Filters here. So if I turn those filters off, you'll see, albeit a very bright version of, the original clouds image.
Then I used Gaussian Blur to create the effect that the sky is beyond the depth of field. And I used Median to impart a certain painterly quality, because Median goes ahead and averages, and rounds off the corners inside the image. All right, so I'll turn those guys back on. You can check out the specific settings if you like. There is nothing going on with the blend modes, just standard Normal, 100%. Then I added this vague whiteness. The notion behind the vague whiteness is it's a background for Colleen to sit on for the painting to rest against. It is very vague.
I just painted it in with a big blobby brush, nothing special going on here. But it will result in a pretty organic looking effect, especially given that I didn't bother to apply any paint strokes to this particular version of the background. I did experiment with that. It just never quite looked right. It looked best if the clouds are rendered the way they are now, very bright and out of focus. All right, I'm going to switch back to Painting and fine hairs.psd. I'm going to take both of these layers. So make sure they're selected fine hairs and painting. Alt+Drag or Option+Drag them onto the little page icon, which is fast becoming my preferred means for transferring layers between compositions.
I'll change the Document option to Cloudy comp.psd. I'll click OK. Now nothing seems to have happened, because we're still looking at Painting and fine hairs.psd. I'll press Ctrl+Tab or Cmd+Tilde on the Mac in order to switchover to Cloudy comp. Problem is I have the clouds layer active. So fine hairs and painting appear in front of clouds, and the vague whiteness wipes them out, which is not an effect I'm looking for. So I'm going to go ahead as opposed to just leaving it this way, which is, it could be construed as a happy accident.
But I actually think it looks terrible. I'm going to grab vague whiteness, and drag it underneath the painting layer like so and then we achieve this effect. All right, now I'll click on the painting layer. I'm going to set it to the Multiply blend mode by choosing Multiply from the Blend mode pop-up menu. We end up with this effect here, which I think looks pretty darn great. As a result, she has a little coolness entering around her nose, and her mouth, and her shoulders, and the back of her hair, and so on. It lends a nice blue quality to the piece. All right, so the next step is to add some texture to the paint.
I was telling you a program like Corel Painter, which is designed to be a traditional media painting program, it allows you to paint brush strokes that impart depth as you paint them. Well, Photoshop has not caught up with that program in the painting department. I should say, by comparison, Photoshop's Mixer Brush and Bristle brushes are frankly fairly primitive. Painter has been doing that kind of stuff just for eons now. Although, I would also say that Photoshop is quite a bit easier to use, believe it or not. And this is not a program that is necessarily all that easy to use.
But still, we can go ahead and impart texture to a layer inside of Photoshop using the Emboss command, for example. So I'm going to go ahead and merge most of these layers onto a new layer. All but the fine hairs, because if we emboss the fine hairs, the embossed edges would actually be thicker than the hairs themselves, so we don't want that. So go ahead and turn off the fine hairs layer. Then make sure the painting layer is active. Press Ctrl+Shift+E, or Cmd+Shift+E on the Mac in order to merge the visible layers onto a new one.
I will call this new layer merged. The next thing that I'm going to do is, because ultimately, I need to clip the merged layer inside of the painting layer. So you may recall that when you apply the Emboss command, it results in some colorful effects. So you have to, after applying Emboss, go ahead and follow that up with a de-saturation layer, basically, Hue/ Saturation with the saturation value of -100%. Well, you can't clip something inside of something that's already clipped.
This is difficult to explain. I could show you the mistake we could end up making. But it would take us several steps to get there. What I'd rather do is just nip it in the bud. We're going to convert this layer to grayscale in advance. We're going to do that just by going up to the Image menu, choosing Adjustments, and choosing Desaturate. So I'm applying a destructive modification. I'm just getting rid of the colors on this merged layer. Fine! Now we still have the colors and the layers below. You can see that here inside the Layers panel. Now if I apply Emboss to this merged layer, why then, oh, happy day.
We're not going to have any color artifacts, because we didn't start with any color in the first place. So just because I feel like this effect here should be nondestructive, I'm going to convert this merged layer into a Smart Object. So I'll go up to the Layers panel flyout menu. I'll choose Convert to Smart Object, or if you've loaded dekeKeys, you've got Ctrl+Comma, Cmd+Comma on the Mac. Now let's go up to the Filter menu, choose Stylize, and choose the Emboss command. I've already dialed in the settings I want to use. You can fool around with the Angle value; I came up with 165, just because of the direction of my brushstrokes.
I want to make sure I'm lighting them perpendicularly. So, many of my brushstrokes are flowing at this kind of Angle right here. That is, from the upper right to the lower left. That's just because that tends to be the way I was brushing along the contours of this specific image. A Height of 2 pixels works well for this effect. If you had a higher resolution image, you might go higher with a Height value. Just bear in mind that the higher you go with the Height value, the more you start separating your edges away from each other. You start getting fairly ridiculous effects after a while.
You should set your Amount probably between 200% and 300%, depending on how much relief you want associated with these brushstrokes. I'm going to leave it set to 200. So these are my values here 165, 2, and 200. Click OK. I'm going to get rid of this darn filter mask. These things irritate the heck out of me. Go ahead and right-click, and choose Delete Filter Mask. We just don't need the clutter inside the panel. I am going to change the blend mode from Normal to Overlay. This is the blend mode for the entire layer, so that we end up getting this effect right there. So if I turn it off, this is the original version of the painting.
By original, I mean the one I just completed, without any texture associated with it. If I turn the merged layer back on, there is my texture. So it's looking pretty darn good. Now if you wanted one more texture than that, you could try out Hard Light or Linear Light, if you really wanted to go for it. But I think that's a little bit too much. That looks awfully etched, and a little unforgiving. So I'm going to switch this back to Overlay. Finally, I don't like the edge along this nose, notice how harsh it is. If it weren't here, it would be someplace else. Basically, it's down this direction, because the Angle was set to 165 degrees.
But if I had lit the brushstrokes from a different angle, I might have given the top of the nose a really dark edge. I don't want it anywhere. As I was saying before, I'm going to go ahead and clip this merged layer into the painting layer. I'm going to do that by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on the horizontal line between merged and painting. I want you to keep an eye on the painting here inside the image window. Notice as soon as I Alt+Click or Option +Click that line, that edge goes away, which is exactly what I'm looking for. All right, so that's how you create a textured painting effect.
Now I would go ahead and bring back the fine hairs, like so. In the next and final exercise ,people, we are going to elevate the brightness and contrast of this piece. And I'm going to show you a happy accident that makes this composition look just absolutely great.
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