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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, I have once again gone ahead and saved my progress. I have saved the image file as Anarchy and effects.psd. And I have saved the action set with layer effects.atn. And both of these items are found inside the 30_actions folder, should you need them. If you are working along successfully creating your own action, I encourage you to stick with it. All right, so in this exercise we are going to create a gradient map adjustment layer that's going to colorize our entire image, our entire composition, in chrome, in basically blues and oranges, as you'll see. As if we have got the sky for the blue and the orange for the ground. It is essentially what is going on, a little bit of brown as well.
All right, so I'm going to zoom-in on some details inside of my photo illustration. I'm viewing the image at 100% now, so that we can gauge how well our Chrome effect is going to look. Now I'm going to go ahead and select my chrome maker action there and I'm going to click on the Record button so that Photoshop is tracking what I'm about to do. Then I want you to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then click on this black-white icon and choose Gradient Map. So we are doing things the old style way, the Photoshop CS3 way, just because it's a little easier for me on this screen. That goes in and pops up the Adjustment palette however. I'll call this layer Chrome colorizer like so.
Okay, now I could say use previous layer to create clipping mask, but because of the way things are set up here, we wouldn't see any changes if we did that. So we need to apply the Chrome gradient map across the entire composition for starters. So click OK, we'll take care of the problem shortly. Then inside the Adjustments palette I want you to click on that gradient bar right there in order to display the Gradient Editor and then I want you to click on this gradient right here. It's one of the presets Chrome. Now, it's not one of my favorite presets because it delivers some pretty jagged results, but we are going to fix it.
So notice that we have some jagged transitions along these edges, along the outer edges of the shapes as well, and then all kinds of jagged stuff going on inside the fabric. We don't care about that but it's worth noting. The problem is that our white and our brown color stops right here, are squished too closely together and we'll see in just a moment that our mid-point is also really close to white. So I'm going to drag this white color stop way over to the left for a moment. It's not going to look right on screen. That's okay. Then click on this diamond shaped mid- point value and change the location from 13 to 30. So we are still erring on the side of white here. We are going to continue brown for longer than white, is essentially what's going on, and that will make the whites a little sharper, but not nearly as sharp as they were before.
Then let's take the color stop itself and move it over, until we get a location value of 44%, like that. Then I'm going to switch to the brown color stop and I'm going to drag it over to 56%, so track that location value right there and then I'm going to grab the orange color stop and drag it over to 70% and we end up getting this much better effect right there with softer, smoother transitions that I think looks a heck of a lot nicer. All right, I want to go ahead and keep this gradient around and I'm going to move my dialog box over a little bit, so you can see what's going on. Notice we have already made an adjustment layer. So just by virtue of the fact that I named that adjustment layer, that got saved as a step.
Now, if I go ahead and name my gradient, and call it Better chrome or something along those lines, and then click New. I want you to watch the Actions palette. As soon as I click New, that adds the gradient. That's a problem, as I'll explain in a moment. All right, but we do want the gradient, so go ahead and do it, and then click OK. Now we have applied our gradient map layer. Everything is just ducky. But we got a problem with this Make gradient right there. I'm going to stop recording for a moment. Notice as soon as I stop recording, that's when it says Set current adjustment layer. That's interesting because it's waiting to see if I decide to edit the layer in any way shape or form, and that's Photoshop's way of trying to consolidate steps as much as it can.
So let's go ahead and twirl these guys open so we can see happened. It went ahead and made an adjustment layers with the name Chrome colorizer and all these other jazz going on here and the modifications that I made to the color stops and so on. Then it went ahead and made a gradient and it saved all the settings associated with that gradient, and then it set the current adjustment layer. What the world is going now with that? I don't think we need all this jazz. Let's see what we need for real here. I'm going to go ahead and twirl Make gradient and Set current adjustment layer closed. I think Make adjustment layer is all we need, but let's see, let's test that out. Make gradient, we definitely don't need. Because if we were to leave that as a part of the action then every single time we play this action back, it's going to create a new gradient called Better chrome. And our gradient editor dialog box is just going to get filled up with that. We would have too many of those presets.
So go ahead and grab that Make gradient step, and drag it to trashcan in order to get rid of it. Next what I want you to do is take Set current adjustment layer and just turn it off for a moment, so we can see if these things are necessary. I'm going to go ahead and throw away my Chrome colorizer layer right there, just throw it in the trash, or I could have just pressed the Backspace key or Delete key on the Mac. Then I'm going to go ahead and Ctrl+Double-click or Command+Double-click on Make adjustment layer and see what happens. Oh, look at that. That did not work out, did it? So let's turn on this guy right there and see if that words out better. I'll go ahead and Ctrl+ Double-click on it, or Command+Double-click on the Mac, and that solves our problem.
So apparently we did have to make the adjustment layer and set it to a different gradient in two separate steps, but we did not need to record the creation of Better chrome, because that would just gum up the works. You can see if you click on this stripe right there, this gradient bar, you can see we still have the one we created and it's called Better chrome, so that's good enough. All right, cancel out all there. So we have created a nice smooth chrome gradient map effect. Te problem of course is that-- Now it's going to look a little more jagged when we are zoomed out.
Don't worry about that. The problem though is that we are applying it to everything, not only these smooth metal objects, but also the fabric in the background. We want the red fabric to stay red. Also, we have got some jagged edges that we are going to have to reconcile. We are going to do those things beginning in the next exercise.
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