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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 I'm going to show you how to draw a custom shape inside of Photoshop and how to access the Larger Custom Shape Library that ships along with Photoshop and this is actually, really, really great, really useful. I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Underscore and more.psd found inside the 24_vector_shapes folder and you know, something is really bugging me all of a sudden. I realize that I didn't go ahead and copy the attributes associated with the other layers to the stars layer and as a result, the stars are white, but they don't have drop shadows. You know what, I could just go ahead and of course duplicate the drop shadows that's associated with the election layer, move it up to stars, but it affords me the opportunity here, because I made this happy fortunate of mistake.
Let's say what I want to do is I want to add the stars that I've already drawn, I want to add them to the election layer. How do I go about doing that, combining these two vector masks together? Well, you'd go ahead and click on stars and I'm clicking on its vector mask in order to make it active and then, I'll switch over to my Black Arrow tool and I'll drag across the stars; you have to do a manual drag, you can't do it like a Ctrl+A or Command+A on a Mac to do a Select All, because that will just select the entire image. It will go back to Pixel mode. So you need to tell Photoshop that you want the vectors to be selected. Then I'll press Ctrl+X or Command+X on the Mac or of course you could go up to the Edit menu, choose the Cut command.
What's going to happen is Photoshop is going to freak out, it's going to go, dude! That was all you had. Man! If you take away those path outlines, you're left with nothing; you've nothing inside your vector mask anymore. What do you want me to do with this strange layer that will just be totally transparent at this point? Do you want to keep it, or what do you want to do? If you select Vector Mask Contents Only, the final option, you're going to remove just the stars and you're going to leave that vector mask there. I'll show you what that looks like. I'll click OK. That leaves the vector mask there so that we have transparency; this guy is a dead layer right now.
Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that. I'll press Ctrl+X again, Command+X on the Mac and you can also choose to delete the vector mask, in which case, you'll get rid of the items, the vector shapes here as well as the mask itself, it will go away, click OK. Now you've got solid white, which is unfortunate, I'd think, because it's blocking our view of everything else. Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. The default setting is the way to go. Ctrl+X, Command+X on the Mac, the default setting is Layer 'stars'. It will go ahead and delete the entire darn layer. You click OK, yeah, good-bye. That's awesome.
Now the election layer is automatically active. That's nice. We can see its path outlines and everything, but if you're not seeing him, go ahead and click there in order to make that active. You want the double outline around that vector mask and you want to be able to see the outlines around the word Election and its underscore, so that we know that it's active and then press Ctrl+V, Command+V on the Mac in order to paste those stars in the place. Now, had I not done that? Had I not made sure that the vector mask was active? I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that. I would paste new paths into the Paths palette. So I'd go over here and I see, oh look, I got a new work path over here in the Paths palette. Okay, I don't want that.
So anyway, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification, go back to layers, click on this guy to make it active, press Ctrl+V, Command+V on the Mac in order to paste the stars in with Election underscore. They're all happy together. We've got the drop shadow, one big merry bunch. In the next exercise, I'll show you all that stuff I promised about the Custom Shape tool. Stay tuned.
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