Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
Illustration by John Hersey

Combining simple shapes to make complex ones


Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Combining simple shapes to make complex ones

In this movie, I'll show you how to combine a couple of very simple shapes in order to create a more complex one. Specifically, we'll be redrawing this underline that's part of the Pout Magazine logo from the previous chapter. And, there's two reasons we're doing this. One is, of course, I want to show you this technique because it's awesome. And the second reason is that our current underline is flawed. And let me show you what I mean by that. But first, if you working along with me and you see a bunch of cyan guidelines on screen, you can turn them off by pressing Ctrl+; here on the PC, or Cmd+; on a Mac.
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 4s
  2. 1h 1m
    1. The best of Photoshop automation
    2. Content-Aware Fill and Color Adaptation (CC 2014)
      7m 44s
    3. Combining two layers with a layer mask (CC 2014)
      5m 37s
    4. Content-aware healing (CC 2014)
      10m 17s
    5. Introducing the Patch tool
      3m 43s
    6. Using Content-Aware Patch
      7m 17s
    7. Retouching with Content-Aware Patch
      3m 45s
    8. Using the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 41s
    9. Using Content-Aware Extend
      2m 4s
    10. The Content-Aware Scale command
      6m 35s
    11. Scaling in multiple passes
      2m 22s
    12. Protecting skin tones
      3m 31s
  3. 32m 55s
    1. Editing the histogram
      1m 50s
    2. The new automatic Levels adjustment
      4m 33s
    3. Customizing a Levels adjustment
      4m 53s
    4. Understanding the Gamma value
      2m 7s
    5. Opening up the shadows
      2m 48s
    6. Previewing clipped pixels
      3m 40s
    7. Retouching with Output Levels
      4m 25s
    8. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      2m 19s
    9. Faking a gray card in post
      2m 51s
    10. Assigning shortcuts to adjustment layers
      3m 29s
  4. 57m 43s
    1. How sharpening works
      1m 38s
    2. Introducing the Smart Sharpen filter
      6m 56s
    3. Understanding the Radius value
      5m 20s
    4. Gauging the best sharpening settings
      5m 45s
    5. Addressing color artifacts and clipping
      5m 49s
    6. The Remove and Reduce Noise options
      4m 22s
    7. The Shadows/Highlights options
      7m 36s
    8. Correcting for camera shake
      6m 47s
    9. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      5m 45s
    10. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      4m 44s
    11. Painting in sharpness
      3m 1s
  5. 1h 12m
    1. Vector-based type
      1m 35s
    2. Creating and editing point text
      8m 8s
    3. Font and type style tricks
      7m 58s
    4. Type size and color tricks
      6m 42s
    5. Kerning and tracking characters
      8m 9s
    6. Creating and editing area text
      3m 50s
    7. Selecting and formatting paragraphs
      6m 50s
    8. Setting text inside a custom path
      5m 34s
    9. Creating text along a path
      6m 12s
    10. Adjusting baseline shift
      4m 45s
    11. Creating and stylizing a logo
      6m 49s
    12. Masking text into image elements
      6m 14s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. The other vector-based layer
      1m 39s
    2. Dotted borders and corner roundness
      8m 14s
    3. Drawing and aligning custom shapes
      3m 55s
    4. Creating your own repeatable custom shape
      5m 43s
    5. Selecting and modifying path outlines (CC 2014)
      6m 5s
    6. Isolating selected layers (CC 2014)
      6m 39s
    7. Combining simple shapes to make complex ones
      6m 31s
    8. Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes
      8m 49s
    9. Creating a soft, synthetic sparkle
      6m 22s
    10. Saving a resolution-independent PDF file
      6m 42s
    11. Turning a small image into a huge one
      8m 38s
  7. 1h 14m
    1. Depth, contour, and texture
      1m 28s
    2. Imparting depth with a layer effect
      9m 9s
    3. The power of the drop shadow
      7m 37s
    4. Modifying a layer and its effects
      6m 21s
    5. Saving custom default settings
      4m 12s
    6. Creating a custom contour
      8m 5s
    7. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      8m 8s
    8. Multiple effects and multiple layers
      7m 45s
    9. Global Light and rasterizing effects
      8m 5s
    10. Gloss and surface contour
      6m 4s
    11. Adding texture to Bevel and Emboss
      7m 21s
  8. 34m 48s
    1. Styles store settings
      1m 38s
    2. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      3m 41s
    3. Redefining a style and styling a word
      5m 38s
    4. Creating and styling a placeholder style
      5m 43s
    5. Applying and creating layer styles
      5m 45s
    6. Loading and customizing layer styles
      5m 42s
    7. Merging and saving layer styles
      6m 41s
  9. 56m 48s
    1. Meet the transformations
      1m 55s
    2. Transformations and Smart Objects
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting the interpolation setting
      5m 10s
    4. Rotating a layer with Free Transform
      5m 22s
    5. Scale, duplicate, and repeat
      4m 30s
    6. Creating a synthetic star field
      5m 20s
    7. Warping a logo with Arc and Flag
      5m 34s
    8. Distort, perspective, and skew
      4m 15s
    9. Using transformations to draw and correct
      7m 0s
    10. Bolstering text with layer effects
      5m 43s
    11. Adding highlights with Lens Flare
      6m 13s
  10. 43m 36s
    1. Removing the weight that the camera adds
      1m 7s
    2. The Warp and Reconstruct tools
      6m 44s
    3. Brush size, hardness, and opacity
      4m 29s
    4. The Pucker, Bloat, Push, and Twirl tools
      7m 12s
    5. Saving and reapplying Liquify settings
      4m 9s
    6. Lifting and slimming details
      9m 42s
    7. Warping legs, arms, and fabric
      5m 33s
    8. Improving a model's posture
      4m 40s
  11. 58m 46s
    1. Shoot in color, convert to black and white
      1m 55s
    2. Three ways to grayscale
      5m 36s
    3. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 31s
    4. Simulating an infrared photograph
      6m 39s
    5. Creating a sienna-infused sepia tone
      5m 38s
    6. Creating a hyper-saturated image
      5m 26s
    7. Introducing the Black & White command
      3m 16s
    8. Customizing the Black & White settings
      4m 50s
    9. Black & White meets the Channel Mixer
      7m 29s
    10. Infusing an image with tint and color
      5m 9s
    11. Grayscale and Split Tone in Camera Raw
      5m 17s
  12. 41m 34s
    1. The many ways to print
      1m 41s
    2. Using the test document
      3m 18s
    3. Print, position, and size
      5m 57s
    4. Description and printing marks
      3m 3s
    5. Establishing a bleed
      3m 44s
    6. Getting reliable color
      5m 54s
    7. Special printing options
      5m 1s
    8. Previewing an image at print size
      4m 16s
    9. Creating contact sheets
      4m 49s
    10. Creating a multipage PDF
      3m 51s
  13. 31m 9s
    1. Making Internet imagery
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing Save for Web
      4m 39s
    3. Creating the perfect JPEG image
      5m 14s
    4. Creating a high-contrast GIF image
      6m 23s
    5. The two varieties of PNG
      3m 57s
    6. Downsampling for the web
      5m 59s
    7. Adding copyright and contact info
      3m 51s
  14. 1m 3s
    1. Until next time
      1m 3s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
10h 37m Intermediate Aug 19, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CC One-on-One is back, and this installment teaches you how to build on your basic knowledge and achieve next-level effects with this premiere image-editing program. Industry pro Deke McClelland shows you how to seamlessly move and patch areas of a photo with the Content-Aware toolset; stretch the brightness of a scene with automatic and custom Levels adjustments; create intricate designs with text and shapes; and morph an image with layer effects and transformations. Deke also shares his techniques for sharpening details, whether addressing noise and highlight/shadow clipping or camera shake, and converting a full-color image to black and white. The final chapters show you how to best print and save images for the web, making sure all your hard work pays off in the final output.

Topics include:
  • Performing automatic retouch, scaling, and more with the Content-Aware tools
  • Editing the histogram
  • Customizing a Levels adjustment
  • Making channel-by-channel Levels adjustments
  • Sharpening with the Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass filters
  • Working with vector-based type
  • Kerning and tracking characters
  • Creating text on a path
  • Drawing and customizing shapes
  • Creating depth, contour, and texture with layer effects
  • Liquifying an image
  • Simulating an infrared photo
  • Adjusting print position, size, and color
  • Creating the perfect JPEG image
  • Downsampling for the web
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Combining simple shapes to make complex ones

In this movie, I'll show you how to combine a couple of very simple shapes in order to create a more complex one. Specifically, we'll be redrawing this underline that's part of the Pout Magazine logo from the previous chapter. And, there's two reasons we're doing this. One is, of course, I want to show you this technique because it's awesome. And the second reason is that our current underline is flawed. And let me show you what I mean by that. But first, if you working along with me and you see a bunch of cyan guidelines on screen, you can turn them off by pressing Ctrl+; here on the PC, or Cmd+; on a Mac.

I'm going to scroll up my layers list, here, to the very top item, which is the logo group. And, so that I better see the underlying and trace it, of course, I'm going to turn off the Layer Mask by pressing the Shift key and clicking on that Layer Mask thumbnail, right there at the top of the panel. Then twirl open the Logo group, scroll down, and you'll find this underlying layer. The problem with this layer is it's made of pixels, and there's really no excuse for that, especially when we're trying to create super smooth artwork like this. And the reason is that, that results in a less flexible piece of artwork than we might want.

For example, let's say, at some point, I want to be able to print this magazine cover as a poster. And we will actually be making it into a poster by the end of this chapter. Were I to scale the artwork right now, all of the text would survive beautifully because it's all vector based. The text will still look super sharp. However, the underline will soften if it's scaled and, of course, that's because it's made of pixels. So, let's go ahead and redraw it. And one way to redraw it would be to use the Pen tool because after all, it's obviously a custom shape.

Problem with the Pen is it might take more work that I want to put into it, and also, I can get more precise results using the Geometric Shape tools. Because this is a big sloping arc here, the best shape tool for the purpose, is the Ellipse tool. So, I'll go ahead and click and hold the current shape tool and select the Ellipse tool from the fly-out menu. And then I'll press Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac in order to zoom out, and I actually need to zoom out even farther. I need a lot of room to work here. And now I'm going to begin drawing the ellipse.

And imagine I want to trace the top of the underline. Obviously I've missed it by a mile here. But that's no problem. I can just press the space bar in order to reposition this ellipse. And you may have to press the space bar a few times, in order to get it exactly right, but I kind of lucked out there. This looks good to me. So, I'll go ahead and release in order to create that gigantic ellipse. And because this is an ellipse, Photoshop automatically displays the Properties panel. Now frankly, I find that a bit irritating. And if you agree and you don't want the Properties panel to pop up in the future, then go to the fly out menu here and choose the Show on Shape Creation command to turn it off and then, go ahead and hide the panel.

Now I want to fill it with white and one way to do that is to click the Fill swatch and then select white from the swatches list. But because white is currently my background color, I can also just press Ctrl+Backspace, or Cmd+Delete on the Mac, in order to fill the space, like so. All right, now the obvious problem is that I can't see what I'm doing. So, I know I want this underline to have a fill opacity value of 50% because that's what the previous underline layer's set to, as you can see right there. So I'll go ahead and click on this Ellipse layer to make it active. And as long as I'm here I'm going to rename this layer, Swash.

And then I'll press Shift+5 in order to reduce that fill opacity and permit me to see through this ellipse to the artwork I'm trying to trace. All right, now let's draw another ellipse like so. And again, you'll need to use the space bar in order to get that into alignment. So we're trying to trace the bottom of the underline this time around. And then, once you get a result you like, go ahead and release the mouse button. And as you can see here, what I've ended up doing is creating a separate layer. That's not what I wanted to do at all. I need these two ellipses to exist on the exact same layer so that I can cut one out of the other.

So, you may feel like, at this point, oh jeez, now we have to go back and redraw that darn thing. Well, you don't. Once you've drawn a shape, if you like it, you can keep it. All we need to do is switch to the Black Arrow tool, so the Path Selection tool there, click on that path outline to select it. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Cut command or press Ctrl+X, Cmd+X on a Mac. That will result in the swash layer being selected right there. As long as I'm here, I'm going to click on that swash and nudge it a little bit by pressing the arrow keys, because it was a little bit off.

Then you go up to the Edit menu and you choose the Paste command, or press Ctrl+V or Cmd+V on the Mac. Notice, by the way, that the Paste in Place command is not available to us, and the reason is because pasting shapes always results in pasting them in place. So, you always paste them right at the location you either cut or copy them from. So, anyway, Ctrl+V, Cmd+V on the Mac, you'll end up getting this result here. And again I need to do some nudging now that I'm zoomed in. And that looks pretty good to me. But we're failing to cut this new shape out of the old one.

Even though they exist on the same layer now, they're just being added together. So what you want to do is, with this interior shape selected, we want to go up here to the Path Operations icon, click on it and notice right now, we're combining the shapes, that is we're adding them together. But, you have other options as well, such as subtracting the front shape which is exactly what I want to do in this case. So I'll chose that option and notice that just goes in and subtracts the inner ellipse from the outer one. Now notice, by the way, that that option says Subtract Front Shape. That's very important, that we're subtracting the front shape from the rear one.

If you, for some reason, have the stacking order wrong, you're not going to, but if you ran into that situation in one of your own future projects, then you can change the stacking order by clicking on the Path Arrangement icon. And notice, I could send this shape to back, but if I do, it ends up subtracting from the rectangular canvas in the background. And then this guy gets added in the foreground, and as a result we're covering the entire image with white. But to solve the problem, all you have to do is click on that interior shape, go back up to the Path Arrangement icon, and choose Bring Shape to Front, and the problem is solved.

So again, just in case you encounter such problems in your own artwork. All right, so we've managed to draw a perfectly arching shape here, thanks to our ability to combine a couple of ellipses. But we need to now crop this shape inside of another one so that we break off these ends, and I'll show you exactly how that works in the next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate .

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Q: This course was updated on 09/18/2014. What changed?
A: Deke updated the course to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Photoshop CC. The updates are concentrated in "The Content-Aware Collection" and "Creating and Formatting Text" chapters, but there are new movies sprinkled throughout the course as well.
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