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In this course, author Nigel French covers the ins and outs of creating professional designs and artwork using crisp, scalable vector graphics in Photoshop. The course demonstrates the fundamentals of drawing and manipulating shapes; achieving various artistic effects using blend modes, layer effects, and Smart Filters; and combining shape layers with pixel-based imagery and photographs. The course also showcases practical applications for shape layers, including posters, logos, and web buttons, and includes tutorials on building custom shapes and making modifications with vector masks.
We've seen how to apply layer effects to a shape layer. We've seen how to apply blending modes to a shape layer. We've seen how to convert a shape layer to a Smart Object. Now we are going to combine all three of those things so that we can move from this, the example on the left which is a shape layer just drawn on to a background of crumpled paper, to this on the right where that same shape layer is blended into the texture, where it has three different colors applied to it, and where it's edges off to displaced by using a Displacement Map filter. And yet it is still a scalable vector shape.
So I am going to come over to the example on the left as starting point and I'm using my 2 Up view here to see the two examples side-by-side. So firstly, and I must say that these techniques are all in the Photoshop for Designers Textures title, so I strongly recommend that you check that out. What I am going to do here is I am going to select the Texture layer and I'm going to duplicate that and I am going to drag that to the top above my shape layer and then I am going to set its blend mode to Overlay.
Now I'm going to change the background of my shape layer. Now the way things are with shape layer is you could only apply a single color to them. You could rasterize the field contents i.e. the color fill layer and then you could paint in on to that color fill layer. But that's really not going to give us what we want in this case. What I want to do is fill the interior areas of the shape layer with another color. I could try this. I could try putting a solid color fill behind it.
I am just going to come and sample the green that I have here and drag that underneath it. That's not going to work because it's also going to apply that color to my background texture. Now I could maybe copy my vector mask on to this layer and then invert it and that would work, but that I think is getting a little over complicated. So I'm not going to do it that way. I am just going to back up those steps. Instead what I am going to do is this. I am going to select my shape layer and I am going to convert it to a Smart Object, by right-clicking on it and choosing Convert to Smart Object.
Now I can go and edit this as a separate document and I can do that by double-clicking on the Smart Object badge. So here what I am going to do where we see just the shape layer by itself is I am going to come to the empty layer beneath it and I'm going to sample that green again and I am going to fill that with the green. Now at add the stroke around the shape of the ornaments I am going to come to the shape layer and to my layer effects and to Stroke and we will have a 3 point or 3 pixel black stroke.
So this is Shape 2.psd. It's a Smart Object that's stored in the Temporary items folder. When I click Save I can now return to my starting file and there it is. We see it now in the context of the whole composition. To finish this off what I want to do is, and I am going to do this quickly because this is ground I have already covered in the Textures title, but I'm going to go to my Channels panel. I am going to Command+Click on the RGB channel.
Come back to my layers, turn on my shape layer, and that selection that I have active, I am going to use as a layer mask for the shape layer. Now when I do that, that's just going to help me blend in the shape into the texture and then since the effect of that is too strong I am going to come to the Masks panel and reduce the density of that. Now one last thing that I want to do is apply a filter to this. Now I am already setup for applying filters nondestructively because this is a Smart Object.
So I can come to my Filter menu and down to Distort > Displace and what I am going to use is the copy of the crumpled paper. It needs to be saved as a PSD file, which it is, and crumpled paper is what I'm after and I am going to displace it by full pixels. And you can see what that does and I am now going to switch to my consolidated view. If I zoom on the edges there, we can see that it's displacing those edges according to the texture on which the shape layer is sitting.
Now just to hammer home this point, because this is a shape layer I can come and edit it here and I can do whatever I want with it here. Let's says that I want change the texture that I'm using. I'll come up to my Custom Shapes and instead of using that one I am going to this one and I am going to draw another one which will create a new shape layer. I will turn that one off. I will save this and now we will return to our document and that's going to update in place.
So there we see everything, all sort of thrown in together. The use of blending modes, the use of layer effects and the use of Smart Objects and Smart Filters, but it all began with a shape layer.
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