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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.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to employ a path outline, whether you drew it with the Pen tool or the Custom Shape tool or the Line tool, as a vector mask to a photographic image element. So instead of just filling a shape layer with a solid color, for example, how do you assign it to something else? We're going to go ahead and use our path outline in order to trace the shape of this heart right here. So I've got open Heart on heart.psd, found inside the 24_vector_shapes folder that includes my shape layer heart on top of the photographic heart. We also have the original path outline here in the Paths palette. So I'll show how to work with either, the path outline that's associated with the shape layer or the path outline that's available to us here inside the Paths palette, either one.
Go to the Layers palette, first thing we're going to do is we're going to double-click on this Background layer, so we can turn it into an independent image layer. I'll go ahead and call this one photographic heart or something along those lines. Then click OK. Now it's a layer, great. If I wanted to grab the vector mask that's assigned to the heart layer, I could just drag it onto photographic heart. That would go ahead and move that vector mask, notice, it moved it from heart, which is now covering up everything, to photographic heart, or go ahead undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac.
You could Alt+Drag or Option+Drag that vector mask and drop it on the photographic heart, in order to duplicate it, like so. Then I'll go ahead and turn off the heart layer so that we can see the photographic heart layer underneath. But let's say we're working from a path outline instead. How does that work? Well, go ahead and undo that most recent modification. Leave that heart layer turned off so that we're not seeing it. Go to the Paths palette. I want you to click on Heart shape to make it active. Now go back to Layers, so you're seeing that path outline right there. I want you to press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on that layer mask thumbnail at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Now, if you were to just click on it, you're going to add an unrelated layer mask, like so. That's not what we want. So press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. When you Ctrl-click or Command-click on this icon, you add a vector mask. And if you already have a vector outline selected, as we did, then it goes ahead and puts it inside of that vector mask and we now have a vector outline drawn around our heart. Well, you may ask, what in the world good does that do us? I mean we don't have any sort of any composition at work here. Well, we can now add this heart layer along with its vector mask, intact altogether to an existing composition. That's what we're going to do.
We're going to integrate it into a delightful composition in the next exercise.
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