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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
The name of this image is End of Road comp.psd, and it includes a few layers of editable dynamic live type, which is handled really, really well inside Photoshop, as we'll learn in the future chapter of this series. However, one of the problems with editable type is well, Adobe, really. Every time Adobe upgrades Photoshop, they change the text engine. Even when they don't make any changes of substance to text inside Photoshop, they change the text engine, and that means that the program is forever haranguing you to update text in old document.
So you are most likely going to get this error message that says some text layers might need to be updated before they can be used for a vector based output. Do you want to update these layers now? Default is no, for no reason on earth. The idea is that they're worried, oh, your kerning might be thrown off, or what if text might wrap down to the next line only, that never seems to happen in document after document after document that I have updated, I have seen no changes occur whatsoever. So just go ahead and click update, and you might even want to say don't show again update. In the hopes that it updates automatically in the future. Anyway, I'm going to click Update of course.
Now we are ready to go inside this composition. Now here is the idea. This exercise marks the beginning of our project in which we'll explore creative uses of adjustment layers inside of Photoshop. We'll also see how to use adjustment layers inside of a multi layer composition, like this one right here. I have been demonstrating this project for years and years now, so it's very possible if you have seen this series before, that you have seen this project before. And if you are not interested in going through it again and seeing the things that have changed in the CS4, I totally understand, and you can skip ahead to the next chapter. Otherwise, we are going to have a blast, because this is actually, really fun project.
I am going to show you step by step what we are about to see, just give you an overarching introduction here, from the Layer Comps palette, because I have gone ahead and saved various stages of the development of this document as layer comps, and you can get to the Layer Comps palette by choosing Layer Comps from the Window menu. So I'll switch to the first layer comp by clicking this icon here in front of the word Drive- in screen. You don't click on Drive-in screen, you click on this empty square right there. That becomes kind of a newspaper. And we are seeing this Drive -in screen that I shot this photograph like so long ago, it's got to be 12 years old.
I was using one of the earliest consumer digital cameras. So I used to review digital cameras for Macworld way back when. And I believe this was a Kodak DC50. But it's like a single mega pixel camera, very few pixels, and the detail is pretty ratty , and you can see a ton of noise in the screen. Nothing to worry about, because the final composition has so many layers bouncing around and so many different effects applied, that it all, but destroys our ability to see what's going on inside of this image. All right, then I went ahead and added some big type, which is of course the title of this book cover for this amazing best-selling novel, let's say. The novel doesn't exist of course. Then I added my shadow, this is an image that exists on an independent layer shot with the very same camera classic, shoot your own shadow with the sun at your back, and we have got this very light scene with very little detail, just a bunch of pebbles and rocks and stuff.
Then I use a Multiply blend mode as we'll see in order to invoke this effect here and burn the shadow into the Drive -in, and now these two images shot by the same ratty camera, end up merging together in a way that just delights me, it looks great. And then I inverted the backdrop like so, and brightened it a little as well, added some more text elements, a quote and the author's name, blurred those text elements using a layer effect, sort of an obscured little wonderful technique that I'll show you. We've got some dark gradients in order to make the top and bottom text stand out. Now we need to make the book cover stand out, because it's really getting lost in the shuffle here. So I inverted everything inside of the letters, added a drop shadow and lightened up the letters as well, and you can use letters as a mask right here inside of this layer, in fact title invert for an adjustment layer. Kind of fun, something to look forward to.
Now, it's still not standing out well enough, we still can't read that cover from a distance. So I added some color in order to highlight it, and now we can read it great. And then finally I added the scary element of the book. If you have ever read it, it's the blue man right here. What's going to happen if you care to join me as we are going to build this composition together, and we are going to have a gas doing it, as you will see in the next exercise.
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