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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, 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 CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
In this exercise, I am going to show you how to take this image here, this photographic image and basically bleed it into the paper texture as if either the inks were still wet and they were leeching into the paper or we'd have actually painted this butterfly using watercolors. A rough approximation of that anyway. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Paper texture.psd found inside the 16_smooth folder and here is what we do. Go ahead and click on that Background layer which contains the photographic butterfly and I want you to press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to jump it and name it and I am going to call this bleed, because the inks are bleeding into the paper. Click OK.
The next thing that I want you to do is to go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise and choose Median. I've frequently, when I'm trying to basically melt an image, and this works not only if you're trying to accomplish this effect that we are about to do here but also if you're trying to melt an image for purposes of creating a kind of mask, then frequently what you will do is you'll basically sort of turn the image into a kind of wax rendering using Median and then you'll follow that up, because you end up getting these weird displaced edges.
You end up following that up with an application of Gaussian Blur. This is a pretty useful trick by the way for a bunch of different effects. Anyway, I am going to start here with Noise and I'm going to choose the Median command, Shift+F8, if you've loaded Deke keys and this is the amount of Median I want to apply, 8 pixels. Just to give you a sense of what that's doing to that image. I'll click on the butterfly's face there. This is before; so lots of information inside that face, this is after and you can see that we really are melting all of that detail.
We are really rounding off the corners inside the image. Median is the filter equivalent of the Smooth command, which is available to us under the Select menu, you may recall that one, we just used it a couple of exercises ago. So it goes ahead and takes any sharp corners in the image, rounds them off according to this Radius value. Another way to think of it is its averaging pixels. So either way whatever melts pixels averages them, browns off the corners, it ends up giving you this result here. Click OK in order to accept that effect, then because we are generating new edges, I am going to go ahead and zoom in on this image and for just a moment, I'll turn off this texture layer and if I zoom in another click, you can see that we have these kinds of weird perpendicular patterns going on inside the image.
Now if you look very closely, the edges are still very sharp, even though they're rounded off. They are fairly tight looking edges here; especially notice this guy right there. It's a kind of tightly focused teardrop right there. That's not really going to convey the appearance of a bleed. That is going to convey the appearance once again of having melted this image, but if we want to bleed it into the paper as well, we need to soften it. So the softening agent, go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur and notice, it has the next keyboard shortcut over and so we've got Shift+F8 for Median.
We've got Shift+F7 for Gaussian Blur, again, if you've loaded Deke keys. Go ahead and choose that command and enter the exact same Radius value that is 8. It's going to be a total mess now, completely unrecognizable, that's OK. Click OK in order to accept this modification and turn that paper texture back on. Let's go ahead and zoom out and you'll see well, gosh, this is quite the work of impressionism at this point. Let's go ahead and zoom back in there. I just wanted to center the image. Besides looking murky, it doesn't really look like it was painted or like the ink is bleeding, but it will as soon as we apply a Blend mode.
So what I want to see happen here is I want these softened edges to bleed outward from the existing butterfly. So I could either turn the softening into a kind of halo effect and I would do that by the way, if you want to keep the original butterfly and add halos to it, then you would switch your Blend mode from Normal to Lighten. That way you're just keeping the portions of the melted and blurred butterfly that are lighter, than the original butterfly below, and you'd get this kind of glowing effect right here, which is pretty darn cool, I think.
Actually, it has some function. However, what I want to get is the opposite effect. I want the blur to sort of darken outwards. So I want to keep the original butterfly with dark edges around it and so instead of Lighten, I am going to choose Darken, and that just going to keep the Blur effect where it's darker than the underlying original butterfly, and we'll get this effect right there. All right, so that's ending up looking pretty close to what I want. Just to give you a sense of what we've achieved here. If I turn the bleed layer off, we get this effect.
If I turn it back on, we get this. The problem is of course that we are darkening up the image all the way around, because we've gotten rid of our highlights, we just absolutely covered them up with the dark portions of this bleed layer. So what we need to do is brighten the image and add a little bit of contrast and the easiest way to do that, I'll click on this top layer here texture and I'll add an Adjustment layer by bringing up my Adjustments panel. The easiest kind of adjustment to apply is Brightness/Contrast. So I will Alt+Click or Option+Click on that first icon.
I just call this layer B/C; there is no real reason to change its name, but I am. Go ahead and click OK. I just hate that Brightness/Contrast 1, that 1 just hanging off there, when it's the only one in the image. Anyway now I have access to my Brightness/Contrast controls. I'll change Brightness to 20, and I'll change Contrast to 30 for this image. Make sure Use Legacy is turned off, and that my friends is the final effect. Just to give you a sense of what we have been able to accomplish here. Let's zoom in with a click and I will show you the original version of the image.
That is, not quite the original. This is that version that we've worked fairly hard on making sure that we got rid of all the noise and then we sharpen the image, all that jazz, but this is the photographic version of the image, and this is the image converted to a kind of painting on a paper texture. Thanks primarily to the power of some of the simplest filters inside Photoshop.
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