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Photoshop Smart Objects explores the creation and use of Smart Objects, one of the most technically demanding tools in Photoshop. Deke McClelland walks through the four primary purposes of Smart Objects, and focuses on one of their most practical advantages, non-destructive transformations. This feature allows any object to be manipulated in any way, while still maintaining its original pixel information. Finally, Deke shows how to crop compositions without affecting a single pixel, even in masks. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
I've saved my modifications as Very textury man.psd found inside the 06_filter_masks folder, and we're very close to getting this final effect that's shown here inside Excellent textures.psd. But Excellent textures is quite toned down. It's a much more subtle effect than what we have so far. So what we need to do is we need to temper this texture a little bit. We need to get rid of the halos around the hair because that looks awful and we need to get rid of some of the weird little color artifacts that are going on here.
Now our colors are not too bad because the image that's being referenced by the Smart Object has Median applied to it. You may recall that Median filter that was set to the Color blend mode and as a result we're getting rid of almost all the color noise inside of the image. And as a result this Emboss effect right here isn't bringing out as much color as it normally would, but where I had to change this back to Normal, you would see there are all kinds of weird colors going on including this sort of turquoise pink hair in the background and the wild colors inside of his teeth and there is a few colors around his eyes and so on and around his collar.
All right, so let's change back this to Overlay. The solution is to do this, to take the saturation out of this layer using an adjustment layer. And to do that you press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the black-white icon and choose Hue/Saturation. That's your best method for leeching away the saturation inside of an effects layer like this. And I'll call this no sat, or something along those lines, and I will turn on Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask, and recall that this New Layer dialog box is forced by the fact that you press the Alt or Option key when you chose Hue/Saturation.
Click OK and you will either see a dialog box inside of Photoshop CS3. Inside CS4 we are seeing the Adjustments palette. I want you to take the Saturation value, whatever you are looking at, wherever you are finding it, take that Saturation value and reduce it to -100, and then I am going to go ahead and close the Adjustments palette. If you are using Photoshop CS3, you click the OK button, and just to get a sense of what kind of difference that made, watch the collar. That is a good area to keep your eye on, this little border of collar right there.
This is what the effect looked like before so you can see a little bit of pink going on there. I'll tell you what, I'll go ahead and zoom in so you can see that better. See those weird colors that are going on? That's a function of the Emboss effect. When you turn on no sat, those weird colors go away. The same happens, by the way we should be able to see that happen in his teeth. This is without the de-saturation layer, right there, the no sat layer. Notice that we've got all kinds of color showing up in his teeth and over here on his cheek as well. Turn that on and they settle down.
They don't entirely go away. In other words there are some colors that are showing up from some of the other effects but any of the colors that were brought in by this layer are now totally going away. All right, so that's like step one. Step two is to assign a layer mask to this layer because what we are doing is we are treating the entire layer as one big filtering effect that's set to Overlay. So we don't want to assign a filter mask to the filters because that would control how the filters interact with this layer. We want to control how this layer interacts with the layer below.
So we want a layer mask and you can do that by clicking on this little mask icon at the bottom of Layers palette that says Add Layer Mask. That's actually the best way, but I just want you to know those of you who start getting in a habit of using the Mask palette here inside Photoshop CS4, you've got this little guy. So don't click in this one, Add Filter Mask. You want to add a pixel mask, which is what layer masks really are. I am thinking Photoshop ought to change the name of layer mask to pixel mask or pixel-based layer mask or something like that, but anyway, here they are. Click on that. And we now have a layer mask assigned to that layer that we are working on, this sort of Embossy layer that is called Clone.
All right, now I am going to go ahead and grab my Brush tool, click on it there inside of the toolbox, make sure that black is your foreground color, which it is, make sure Opacity is set to 100%, which it is, and then I am just going to paint around his hair like so to get rid of that weird haloing that's going on around the hair and I might paint up there a little bit and I might paint this hair over here and down a little bit and so on, and you can paint wherever you want. Actually you know when I am just going to paint throughout the hair and does it make that much sense that there'd be some sort of this woodish pattern or at least any texture up in the sky? I don't think that makes any sense at all.
So I am going to paint some of the sky away as well, without worrying about being too careful as is warranted by the appearance of this mask. If I Alt+Click or Option+Click on this layer mask thumbnail then I can see what the layer mask looks like and then I can make some touchups if I want to in the sky. Just make sure that sky is as filled in as possible. Of course you could whip out your Lasso tool and select these regions and fill them with black if you preferred, and then I would go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on that mask icon again, that is the layer mask thumbnail, in order to restore the full-color version of the image. Paint more if you want to, totally up to you where that mask is concerned.
All right, so anyway that's step two. Step three is so easy. Go back to your Marquee tool or some other Selection tool. The layer is selected right there. Set to the Overlay mode. I want to reduce the Opacity to 50% so I am going to press the 5 key. And now we have done the deed. It is reduced to 50% as you can see. We do have this nice even amount of texturing going on inside this image. Now we had to go to some pretty big lengths here in order to merge the effects of a couple of filters together. I am going to hide that Masks palette so with that we can see our layer stack a little better here.
So we had to do a fair amount of work, we had to create a separate Smart Object, apply the filters that we wanted to merge to it and then use the layer that is, as the thing that we blend using Overlay and Opacity with the Smart Object below. Wouldn't it be great if there was some other mechanism out there for merging filters together? And there is and it's called the Filter Gallery, but it only works with half of Photoshop's filters and it doesn't work with the other half, and I am going to tell you who the lucky half are in the next exercise.
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