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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, we're going to create a quick and dirty clipping mask and the idea is we want to go ahead and darken the tops of these mountains, so that they appear to be in a gigantic shadow of some sort. So, I'm working inside of masked Badlands, this is my catchup document here to which I've saved my work so far and bear in mind, we're going through this final effect here, witnessed in Bronco and me.psd. So, you can see how the Badlands are shaded back there in the background. It's as if there is a gigantic cloud that's covering them and then the cloud leaves us in a light, because we're on the way to salvation with the President there.
All right, Ctrl+Tab or Command+Tilde back to the work in progress. So, how are we going to create this wonder shadow? Well, I've made a Gradient layer right here. If you click on its eyeball to turn it on, you'll notice there it is, and I'm going to click on that Gradient layer. Now, some of you might say, "Hey, you can do something very much like that using a Gradient effect, right here." If I went to the Effects icon, it shows Gradient Overlay, I can also cast a Gradient onto a layer if I want to. Yes, that's true. This is another way to work, just as good. All right, so the first thing I'm going to do is select this Gradient layer.
Notice it has a little bit of warmth in it and actually, this isn't just a plain old everyday gradient. I didn't just make it with the Gradient tool, I added some blurring and some coloring and some other stuff, which is something you can't do with Gradient Overlay, by the way. So, now I want to go ahead and use the Gradient to exclusively darken the image in the background. So having gotten done with the Blend Mode chapter, what blend mode do I use, if I want to use one layer, this Gradient layer to exclusively darken the layer below? Well, of course, I go to my Darken blend mode, these guys right here, and who is our first and foremost Darken blend mode? Not Darken, but Multiply. So, go ahead and apply Multiply, like so, and we end up getting this wonderful darkening effect.
Now, it kind of covers up a little bit too much of the image, that's okay. Next step is to -- here on the PC, press the Escape key so that Multiply is no longer active. On the Mac, an unnecessary step, you don't have to do that. Then I want you to press the 8 key to lower the Opacity to 80%. Now, I'm assuming when I say press the 8 key, if you didn't see anything happen, that's because you still have your Brush tool active. Go ahead and press the 0 key, let me show you what you do under that situation. You go and switch back to the Brush tool there. If you press the 8 key, when the Brush tool is active, you're just going to change the Opacity of the brush to 80%, which is going to do you no good. So, you'd want to press the 0 key to reset the opacity to 100%.
Just to make sure you don't confuse your future self, when you're backing there working with the Brush tool again. Then you press the M key to return to the Rectangular Marquee tool, which is our great default tool there. Then you press the 8 key, i.e., 8 as in 80% to reduce the Opacity to 80%. All right. Then we want to go ahead and clip the Gradient into the Badlands. Now, we've already seen clipping masks in previous chapters. But now, I'm going to formally introduce the two of you, you and the clipping mask right now, so that you know how to create and use them in the future.
The idea is you want this Gradient layer to occur only inside the Badlands and not to affect any of the other layers underneath it. You do that by going up to the Layer menu, you'd make sure that the layer that you want to clip, that you want to put inside in other layer, is active. Then you go to the Layer menu and you choose this command right there, Create Clipping Mask and that will go ahead, watch what happens, that goes ahead and insets the layer, like so, and clips it into the confines of the Badlands layer that is.
And because the Badlands layer is masked, so is the Gradient layer. They're both masked inside this single layer mask now. Notice if I Shift+Clicked on this mask to turn it off, now Gradient is masked inside of the overarching layer which stops right at this point right there. It doesn't go this high, because we moved it down to 100 pixels. All right. I'm going to Shift+Click on that mask so once again to turn it back on. Now, we have successfully masked the Gradient inside of this layer. Now, there is a lot of different tricks associated with creating and releasing layer masks.
By the way, you can release the clipping mask, by going out to the Layer menu and choosing Release Clipping Mask or you can use that keyboard shortcut right there, Ctrl+Alt+G or Command+Option+G on the Mac. So, there is Ctrl+Alt+G or Command+ Option+G on the Mac. It releases clipping mask, Ctrl+Alt+G or Command+Option+G on the Mac, goes ahead and creates the clipping mask. Now, if you can't get that to work on the PC, in particular, that's because most likely Ctrl+Alt+G will get you a Google search, by default. It's a non-necessary keyboard shortcut, because you can press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and move your cursor over the horizontal line between the Gradient and the Badlands right there.
So, this is pressing the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac and click and then you release the clipping mask. Click again to recreate the clipping mask. Notice you have an underline, under the name of the Clipping layer, the one that's clipping everybody else. There can be a stack of layers, by the way, that are being clipped by one layer right there. That's basically -- and I think you can probably do a right-click or something and choose Release Clipping Mask, so that's another option. By the way, it's very important when you're doing those right-click techniques inside the Layers palette, it's important what you're right-clicking on. If you right-click on the thumbnail, you're going to get one set of commands, notice that.
If you right-click over here in an empty area, not on the name of the layer, but over in this region here, then you're going to get a completely different set of commands. Isn't that interesting and also incredibly confusing? But that's the way it is. By the way, if you don't have a right- mouse button on the Mac, you press the Ctrl key and click or you do one of 17 other things on the Mac. You can do that double-finger-click thing, if you've got a trackpad. My goodness, so many different ways to right-click on the Mac. It's not even funny. All right. So speaking of not even funny, we're done with this exercise. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to blend the moon with this composition and keep it completely organic. It's going to look like the moon was really shot inside of the scene, stay tuned.
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