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I have saved my progress as Blended tiger.psd, found inside the 29_smart_objects folder, and in this exercise we're going to use a Smart Filter. So this is kind of a preview of coming interactions. We'll be discussing Smart Filters in all kinds of detail in the next chapter. But in the meantime we'll see how we can use the Smart Filter, in this case, in order to create the effect of the tiger tattoo blending into the guy's skin, because right now it's just too darn sharp, despite the luminous blending that we've assigned so far and the red stroke, which is helping to create a little bit of a blend as well.
All right, so here's what I am going to do. With the tiger tattoo layer selected, I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Blur and I'll choose Gaussian Blur or if you've loaded DekeKeys you can press Shift+F7 but before I choose the command, I want you to understand what we're doing here. This is a vector-based object. Anything that involves blurring or some other edge effect inside of Photoshop requires pixels, in order to pull it off; you cannot have soft vectors; that just defy the existence of vectors.
They cannot be soft; they have to be sharply edged. So as soon as we going into blur territory, we are invoking pixels inside of Photoshop, and yet this smart object will remain a collection of editable vectors to the bitter end. So Photoshop, once again, is able to uniquely combine the power of pixels and vectors in one program. All right, so I'll go ahead and choose Gaussian Blur and I am going to apply a Radius of 2 pixels. Now you might look at that and say, gosh! Wow that's an old tattoo. That really bled into that guy's skin.
This is terrible Deke, you should not apply that much Gaussian Blur. May be a Radius of 0.5 would buy that, but 2 pixels... this is just blurry. Well, let me show you. I am going to click OK in order to accept that effect, and notice now that we've added Gaussian Blur to our list of Smart Filters. It's heaped on top of Puppet Warp. Now if you'd rather apply Gaussian Blur before Puppet Warp, I don't know what that's going to look like because I haven't tried this yet. You can drag it down below Puppet Warp and that will change the order. So first now we blurred the lion and then we warped it and we get an ever so slightly different effect.
So this is before with Gaussian blur on top, I am just pressing Ctrl+Z, and this is after. I think the only thing I'm seeing changes is this little region over there. This is after, if we apply Gaussian Blur first. And sure enough, what that does is it creates a little bit of a crisper edge over here on the right-hand side. So, I am not sure if I like that, I am going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, to keep that area blurry because it's getting so polygonal there that we might as well disguise it a little bit. All right but here's the thing, yes we do want this much blur applied to the tiger, but we wanted it to blur exclusively outward, because you think about a tattoo, it's bleeding into somebody's skin, and I don't mean to be too graphic here but the ink is sort of leeching into the skin over time and it's going to spread outward, just like ink spreading into a piece of paper.
So with paper we have dot gain, with skin I assume, we have something like ink gain. So I am going to change the Blend mode associated with this filtering effect. Notice this little slider icon right there; that indicates the blending settings and if you double-click on those guides then you bring up a dialog box that says Blending Options (Gaussian Blur). We want the ink to spread exclusively out word so, in other words, we don't want any of the lightning effect associated with the softening as it goes inward, we just want the darkening effect.
So once again we're going to go with that primary of Darkening modes, which is Multiply, and we end up achieving this effect right there. So now the tattoo is exclusively blurring outward, and if you wanted to, if you feel like that's a little bit too much, you could take down the Opacity value. I might not take it that low; let's try it at something like 75% and that to get a sense of what we've done I'll turn he Preview check box Off. This is before, very blurry; this is after, much sharper with just a little bit of blurring into the skin. I'll click OK.
Now I might think that's not enough Gaussian Blur, in which case I would go over to the words, Gaussian Blur, double-click on them and that returns us into the Gaussian Blur dialog box, press Shift+Up Arrow in order to increase the Radius value here to 3 pixels and click OK, in order to accept that modification. So that's basically Smart Filters in the nutshell. In other words, once you have a smart object you can apply a filter as a nondestructive editable effect. Of course there is a lot more to it which is why I devoted an entire chapter to the topic, but that's the short story.
All right, here's another sort of upshot of the short story. Notice what happened around the edges here, once I applied Gaussian Blur, I went ahead and created this weird edge artifact around the white area associated with this tiger illustration. And just to confirm that that's Gaussian Blur, I'll turn it off, for a moment. Sure enough, that edge goes away; turn Gaussian Blur back on, the edge comes back. Well the solution is to apply a layer mask, and this is a pretty easy one, so I'll do it really quickly here. I'll get my Lasso tool by pressing the L key and then I am going to Alt+Click, I have got my Alt key down this would be the Option key down on the Mac, just so that I can create a polygonal selection outline, like so.
And then I'll release the Alt or Option key to complete the outline, I'll drop down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on the Add layer mask icon and that gets rid of the edge, and that's all there is, to that. Now it's possible I could have applied this mask as a Filter mask instead of a layer mask and that would've filtered the effects of the Gaussian Blur, which might have worked, but the problem is it might've encroached on the behavior of the Puppet Warp function as well. In which case we would've revealed some non-warped portions of the tiger tattoo and that wouldn't have proved useful at all.
All right, so this looks pretty good. The only problem I have now is that I really like that red gradient that I had inside of the flame. In order to restore the Gradient across the entire tiger, let's say, we need to open it once again inside of Illustrator, make a modification, bring the changes back in a Photoshop, and we are going to do precisely that in the next exercise.
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