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The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."
In this exercise, we are going to finish off this poster art that we are in the middle of creating here. We are going to add the text elements and we are going to crop the image and we are going to make it look absolutely great. This is the end of this fantastic project. I am working inside of a catchup document called Best and brightest, so called because we have the best and brightest version of every single one of our beautiful band members here. This image is found inside of the 11 layer mask folder. All right. So here is what I want you to do. I want you to turn on this text & so forth layer right there. Go ahead and turn it on, make it visible and then click on it in order to make it active. I am going to Shift+Tab away my palettes for a moment. You can see that we have got a couple of things going on here. First of all, we have the name of the band Tumult! At the Aviary, set in the band's preferred logo type. We also have some information about when the album is coming out, the self-titled album and the single that's included in when it goes on sale and so on, all that good stuff.
We have got this border around the outline of the poster. This border defines the crop boundary, so we are going to take advantage of that in just a moment, but first of all, let's align this layer in place. So once again, I have got the layer active. So text & so forth should be the active layer. Then I am going to press Ctrl+Down Arrow a few times in a row. That's Command+Down Arrow on the Mac in order to nudge this border, this top edge of the border down below the top of Melody's head. We don't want to take it too far down, but we do want to make sure that we are not leaving any access edge up here at the top of the image.
It's a little difficult to tell where the access edge is, given that we have a black and white image in front of this grayscale transparency checkerboard. So if you want to change that, if you want to change the color of transparency, go ahead and press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac and then click on Transparency & Gamut and we are inside of course, the Transparency Settings area of the Preferences dialog box now. What I would like you to do, let's go ahead and set up a custom transparency grid, click on the white swatch right there, and let's make it blue, something that's going to stand out but it's not going to be too intrusive. So just select some shade of blue and we want to kind of a low saturation blue, I think something along these lines looks pretty good to me. This is kind of, once again, kind of a cobalt color. I will click OK in order to accept that modification. I see once again because I am always, I am always steering toward cobalt when I am telling you about blue it seems.
Then click on the gray swatch and let's change it to another shade of cobalt, just something slightly darker. I don't want to be too highly saturated, I don't want too much difference going on inside of my checkerboard, I wanted to be something that disappears into the background visually for me pretty easily here. Then I will click OK and I will click OK again and now I can see exactly where the edge of the image is, where it dissolves into transparency. I am also going to go ahead and move my border over to the left a little bit to give Jehf a little more room, so I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow a couple of times, that would be Command+ Shift+Left Arrow on the Mac. By the way if you have been diligently working along with me, you may find that you need to move the border a little differently than I am adjusting it, so you may basically what I am telling you is move it to taste, move it to a location that looks good.
Next, I want you to go ahead and grab your Crop tool, here inside of the toolbox and then I want you to trace around the outer edge of the boundary and with any lock you should snap into alignment with that boundary right there and if you are having problems with the snapping, then go to the View menu and make sure that the Snap command is turned on. You can also confirm that you are cropping exactly the right dimensions, the dimensions that I want you to crop, by bringing up the Info palette. I am going to go over to the Window menu and choose the Info command. Normally, you can't do much in the Crop mode, you are very limited in terms of what you can and can't do, but you can bring up the Info palettes specifically by choosing the command from the Window menu. You should see that the width of the crop boundary is 2048 pixels and the height is 1464. That's what you want. If you have got the different values going on and zoom in and move these handles into exact alignment.
All right. So that looks good. Now I want you to go up to the Options bar and make sure that cropped area is set to Hide, so we are not actually cropping away any pixels, we are just hiding the pixels on the various layers. Once you have done that, go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to perform the crop and that is it people. I am going to go ahead and tab away my palettes, which in my case, I have to press the Tab key a few times and then I am going to press the F key a couple of times in order to enter the Full Screen mode and that is my final poster art.
I know I have succeeded people, because I would buy this. I am not like sitting here going, gosh! I can't wait until this album is available. So I can listen to, He At First Welcomed My Lies ( Although Now He Insists It Was Otherwise). I really want to hear that song. I don't know if these people can play and so it means I don't know if they have ever played together, in fact, I know they haven't. But they look so great and what is image people? I am afraid it's true, image is everything.
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