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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, so I have a few photographer friends of mine who will every once and while sort of suggest that Photoshop is becoming a little less useful. And particularly where something like Camera Raw Smart Objects are concerned. Why would you take advantage of those? Why would you bring a Camera Raw image into Photoshop and then still need access to Camera Raw? You would have divorced yourself from Camera Raw if you're coming into Photoshop or you would keep that lifeline to Camera Raw from the Bridge and I already showed you how useful that can be when we discussed Camera Raw at links in a previous chapter.
Well, I'm going to tell you something else. Photoshop is a compositional program; we've established that I think. And if you're creating a composition that's based on a Camera Raw Image, you may find it terribly, terribly useful to retain that thread, that connection to Camera Raw, and that's what we're going to see right now. Over the course of these two exercises, this one and the next one, I'm going to show you how very, very useful that can be. So in this exercise, we're going to assemble a fantastic layered composition and then in the next exercise we'll see how great it is that we can still access Camera Raw.
All right, so I'm creating some Album art, let's say for my guys in Pennsylvania, The Jellybricks. We do some things together, every once and while, they've got their own gig going on over there, wonderful band. And so I've got this image open called Album art.psd and it doesn't look like album art yet but it will. And I've saved a few steps that I'm going to work through with you here. That is to say I've set up a few layers and I've got some alpha channels at my disposal as well. That will help me magically assemble this composition in front of you. All right, so notice that my Camera Raw Smart Object is called canyon right, what canyon right? Well you'll see. All right, so I'm going to go over to the Channels palette and I've got this channel down here called keep. I want you to Ctrl-click on that channel or Command- click on it on the Mac in order to load that channel as the selection outline.
Then I'm going to return to the Layers palette and with canyon right active, I'm going to click on my Layer Mask icon right there in order to add a layer mask. So we're just cutting off that portion. Let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit here. I'm cutting off this bottom portion of the layer. Now I don't want all this transparency exposed, for whatever reason. Let's just say I want to cover it up. So I'm going to throw on a background layer. And making a background layer kind of weird. Anyway, I'll click on this little Page icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Then I'll go up to the Layer menu, choose New and choose Background from Layer. Just byzantine, but that's the way it works in Photoshop. And now we have a new background layer, fine.
I'll create a mirror image of this canyon right layer right here, and I'm going to call it canyon left. All right, so I'm going to press Ctrl+ Alt+J, Command+Option+J on the Mac and I'll call this layer canyon left, like so. Click OK. There it is. All right, now notice by the way, this is really great, a new thing in Photoshop CS4 that basically solves an old problem. You can now link your layer mask to your Smart Object and that's a fantastic thing and it's linked by default. That way if you decide to move, either your image or your mask, you're going to move both of them together, which is very important. So I just Ctrl+Dragged or Command+Dragged that rock down a little bit.
Now I'm going to press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac in order to enter the Free Transform mode. I'm going to go ahead and right click and choose Flip Vertical in order to flip the image upside down like so, good and then I'll press the Enter or Return key in order to accept that modification. And then, let's go ahead and drag this guy up. I'm Ctrl+Dragging of course or Command+Dragging on the Mac and I'm going to go ahead and zoom in to the point that I can see that seam because I want to make sure we get these guys right tied together. So I'm pressing Ctrl+ Up Arrow until the two fuse together at 100% so that I can make sure there is not a single pixel in between.
Okay, groovy. Now I'm going to move canyon left below canyon right like so, so that they make a little more sense. All right, now what? Why in the world are they canyon right and canyon left? Well, we're not looking at them, at the right orientation. So what we're going to do is we're going to go up to the Image menu, choose Image Rotation and then choose 90 degree CW in order to rotate the image clockwise like so. So it's going to look like sort of this big wacky pinecone or something along those lines or a walnut, looks delightful I think actually.
Now it needs to be cropped to the size of an album cover, so we'll go back to the Channels palette and notice that I have this channel called Crop right there. Ctrl-click on it or Command- click on it on the Mac and then go up to the Image menu and choose the Crop Command. Now before I do that, let's go back to the Layers palette for a second. Normally, when you go up to the Image menu, and you choose the Crop command, you're cutting away everything outside of the marquee. You're actually completely deleting it on all layers. The reason you can afford to get away with this where Camera Raw Smart Objects are concerned is because you can't crop the original Camera Raw data, you just can't.
That's a really great thing. That makes Crop that much more powerful. Now you're going to crop away the contents of the masks but you know, who cares, it's going really going to hurt anything. And of course, if you loaded Deke keys you have keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C or Command+Shift+Option+C on a Mac. Now we've gone ahead and cropped this image to these proportions right here, a nice square of course, which works nicely as an album cover. Then I'm going to turn on these other layers. We've got this yellowish gradient down at the bottom of the composition and a bluish gradient up at the top of the composition.
And then we have the name of the band up here at the top and the name of the album, their breakout album, Legendary Clam. Just a suggestion on my part, I think this album would rock. And we now have the base composition all right ready to go. Now where in the world, does Camera Raw entered to the equation? So what, you got this cool, weird thing going on here, but why would you need to reference Camera Raw at this point. You'll see why, in the next exercise.
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