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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, we are going to add the Field and Stripes layers and we are going to assign blend modes to them, so you can get a sense for how even vector based shape layers support blend modes. And then we are going to add a layer mask. This is the piece de resistance. We are going to add a pixel based layer mask to a layer that already contains a vector based mask. All right, so here is what I want you to do. Go ahead and click on the field layer to make it active and then turn it on so that we can see set layer.
And if you don't want to see the path outline right there, just click on that vector mask thumbnail in order to hide it from view. And then I want you to change the blend mode from Normal to Hard Light for this layer. And then I have got to press the Escape key because I'm working on Windows here, so I have got to deactivate that blend mode option. And then I'll press the 8 key to reduce the Opacity to 80%. All right, so that's the field layer for you. That's all we are going to do it. Otherwise looks brilliant, love it. Now I'm going to switch over to the stripes layer, turn it on, click on its vector mask thumbnail to hide the vector outlines. And I'm going to change this one to Multiply and I'm going to do it from the keyboard by pressing Shift+Alt+ M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac so that I'm burning those stripes into my composition. Looks delightful in my opinion.
Now I want the stripes to kind of fade into view. I want them to start opaque down here on the lower right region of the illustration and I want them to fade away in the upper left region over here. And I could do that by switching out this solid fill for a gradient that had some translucency built into it. But here is the deal. That's a pain in the neck. Inside Photoshop CS3 we used to be able to switch out fills and strokes and very easily. And there was a command actually under the Layer menu, that instead of saying New Adjustment Layer or New Fill Layer or what have you, it said Change Adjustment or something, I can't remember what it said. But anyway you could switch the contents of the layer to something else. You can't do that anymore, it's so arbitrary. They took it out and I have only myself to blame.
During the beta process for CS4 they announced to everybody, hey, we are thinking of taking it out. What do you guys think? And nobody responded. We all ignored them. And looking back on it, I should have piped in and said, hey, don't do that. But I did end up saying that but about five days before the program shipped. So didn't do as much good. Hopefully, we'll get it back one day but if you do want to change out a solid fill for a gradient or something along those lines. What you have to do is you got to go down here, create a gradient and then you will say whatever gradient, sure. Ugly graded transparent, that's great. Love it. Or you would switch it out to something better like let's go ahead and double- click on this guy right here and switch it to red, brilliant. Click OK, so it will go red to transparent.
And then click OK, now we have a gradient fill and we could change its angle if we wanted to. And then once you have created you new gradient, and I'll call it gradient or something along those lines. It's just, unnecessarily rename this layer then you drag your vector mask on to it, like so. And then you throw this guy away presumably but I also got rid of my drop shadow and stuff. Anyway, I'll press Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z some more. Command+Option+Z several times on the Mac in order to get back to this point here.
And what I want to do instead is add a layer mask, a pixel based layer mask. So got this layer selected, great. Come down here to the little layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. If you just click, you will add a pixel-based layer mask because there is already a vector-based layer mask, so there is nothing else you can add. And notice now it's dimmed because that's as many masks as you can have, you can just have two masks associated with a layer, one pixel-based, one vector-based, if you want to. That's it. That's your max. All right, let's click on this guy to hide those path outlines, then let's get the Gradient tool and I want you to make sure that your gradient is not set to this full gradient right here. Let's go ahead and set it to the very first one, right there, which is Foreground to Background. Go ahead and click on it in order to make it active. And notice even though it showing up as gray to white, it's going to show up here as white to black because those are truly are foreground and background colors. Because we are working inside of a mask now.
So it's not the standard foreground and background colors. But anyway, you want to make sure that Foreground to Background is active, you want to make sure that your Linear Gradient option is active. Mode is Normal, Opacity 100%, Reverse off, the other two checkboxes on. So these are the default settings right there. Just in case press the D key, D as in default to make sure that we are going to create a white to black gradient. And then I'm going to drag from right here at the top of the interior portion of the 4 and I'm going to drag off screen to about this location right there. So you will need to see some of your pasteboard over here on the left hand side. And notice that I'm matching the angle of this strike, I'm dragging to right there. There is other places you could drag to get the same effect. I just want you to drag here, so you and I are on the same page. Release and you get that nice fade out there. So you can have the best of vectors and the best of pixels working together in the best of programs, I swear to you, Photoshop, it's just amazing.
In the next exercise-- get this, people. If this doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. We are going to draw a horizontal line.
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