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In this final installment of Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One, Deke McClelland creates a total of seven 3D type effects from scratch. This project-based course shows how to create and modify 3D type, craft hand-drawn effects, and design complex character extrusions. The course also explains how to color-correct and post-process 3D type in Camera RAW.
In this exercise, we're going to take that mask that we created in the previous movie, and we're going to use it to brighten up our letters. I have opened two images: Ray-traced cables.psd, and then that Project masks.psd file, that I'm incrementally building for you. It will be there in the 03_cables folder as well. So switch over to your composition in progress. Click on the topmost layer in the stack, the smoke laye,r and then press Control+Shift+N, or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, to bring up the New Layer dialog box. Name the layer letters, and click OK.
Then go up to the Select menu, and choose the Load Selection command, and switch the document to Project masks.psd, or whatever you called your file, and you want to go ahead and load the letters channel; that's my only option at this point, and click OK. And that will load up those letters as the selection outline. Then press Alt+Backspace, or Option+ Delete, to go ahead and fill the letters with the foreground color. Now, it doesn't matter what the foreground color is; it's just a placeholder for the shape of letters. I'll press Control+D, or Command+D on the Mac, in order to deselect the image.
Drop down to the fx icon down here at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose the Gradient Overlay command. All right; we're going to define a custom gradient by clicking on that Gradient bar. And then I want you to go ahead and Alt+Drag, or Option+Drag, the white color stop until you see a Location value of 35%; that guy right there. Then Alt+Drag, or Option+Drag, the black color stop to a Location of 65%. And that's it; that's all you need to do. Click OK in order to accept that modification.
Now change the Style from Linear, to Reflected. That will go ahead and repeat the gradient in both directions. And turn on the Reverse check box so that the bands of lightness are located on the inside of the letters. Now change the Angle value to 95 degrees, which more or less matches the angle of the type. Now change the Blend Mode from Normal, to Screen. Now, we want to be screening the type in the background; not that black type we created just a moment ago. So let's get rid of the black fill associated with the layer by switching to Blending Options over here in the left-hand list, and then change the Fill Opacity value to 0%, and click OK. And now you can see that that gradient precisely brightens the letters.
So here is what the letters looked like before; here's what they look like now. So we don't want them to be super bright. We don't want them to be so hot that they start clipping, but we do want them to stand out. Now, notice that I've got a bit of darkness in this bottom right corner of the W there, and there are some other dark areas inside the letters as well. Again, that's a lighting problem. In other words, I haven't lit my scene as well as I could have. I could go back and adjust the light some more, change the Angle at which they are pointed, back them off, perhaps, so that they cover a larger space, or I could just go ahead and fix the problem by adding another layer.
And that's what I'm going to do by pressing Control+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac. And I'll call is layer overlay, and then turn on this check box: Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask. That way we'll paint inside the confines of the letters. Click OK, and I'm going to go ahead and grab my Brush tool, which you can also get by pressing the B key, of course. I've got a pretty large, soft brush. I'll right-click inside the image window so you can see the Size is set to 250 pixels, Hardness is 0%; that's going to work out beautifully. I'll press the X key to make sure that I'm painting with white, and then I'll paint inside that bottom right corner of the W, and nothing appears to be happening even though, if I were to unclip this layer by Alt+Clicking, or Option+Clicking, that horizontal line between the overlay and letters layers, you can see that I have painted a big glob of white.
So what gives? As soon as I Alt+Click, or Option+Click, on that horizontal line again, and clip the layer, the effect disappears. Well, the problem is an obscure blending option that you can get to by double-clicking on an empty portion of the letters laye,r and that's going to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. You want to turn off this check box: Blend Clip layers as Group, because right now what's happening is that 0% Fill Opacity value is affecting all of the clipped layers, and we don't want that. So turn that check box off, and you'll see that brightens up that bottom right corner of the W quite nicely, then click OK.
Now let's go ahead and paint in a few other areas. I'm going to switch back to that overlay layer; very important, because you don't want to paint on the letters layer. And maybe paint along the top of the Z just a little bit. Notice my brush barely cross the top left corner of the Z, and now I want to paint inside the letters that make up the word Bang. So I'm going to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee tool, and I'm going to draw a rough selection around those letters. So notice that this marquee completely encloses the word bang, without including any of the words zap, or pow.
Now I'll switch back to my Brush tool, and I'll just paint along near the top of the B, for example; maybe a little bit along the top of the N, and the G. I'm barely, if at all, crossing the letters, as you can see with my cursor. I'll paint along the bottom of the letters as well, and then I'll press Control+D, or Command+D on a Mac, in order to deselect the image. Maybe I'll paint jut a little bit right there at the top of that A, like so, and then I'll switch back to my Rectangular Marquee tool. Now so far, I've laid down a bunch of white pixels, which means that I will have clipped those areas that I painted over with white.
I don't want to do that. I want to turn this overlay layer into a kind of dodge effect by going up to the blend mode pop-up menu, and changing the setting from Normal, to Overlay, which is why I call it the layer overlay in the first place, and that will go ahead and blend in that layer of white. All right, so that gets us most of the way there. The one remaining compositional effect is this smoke layer, which we'll need to mask so that the extruded layers appear to be coming out of the smoke, and I'll be showing you how to create the masks for each group of extruded sides in the next exercise.
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