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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
All right, so as I mentioned, I'm going to ultimately show you how to use this thing called the Contour option in order to achieve a dimensional effect. But first, in order to set the stage properly, I'm going to show you a quick trick that you can use to blur live text, and you can apply it to shapes as well. So this works with vector- based shapes just as easily. And ultimately, the trick is to turn the text or shape into a shadow version of itself. So it just becomes a floating shadow without anything casting the shadow.
It's like you have a ghost layer as you're about to see. I have saved the results from the previous exercise as Box of dreams.psd found inside the 21_layer_FX folder. And I am going to make a few modifications and then save over this file, by the way. So if you're opening it up, it might look a little different than this, and this is why. I decided that the effect was a little murky. And I was sitting here looking at it. I wanted more sharply focused letters in retrospect, and the great thing about layer effects, I want to make this abundantly clear, is that they are parametric and therefore infinitely editable.
So, for example, I am going to double- click on my Drop Shadow effect that's associated with my new shape layer, and I am going to reduce the Distance value here to 1, so that I'm tucking this shadow almost directly under the letters themselves. And you can take the Distance value down to 0 pixels if you want, in which case you'll get an omni- directional shadow, by the way. That is, it will appear equally on the right side, the left side, the top, and the bottom. However, I want it to be 1 pixel as I was saying, and then I am going to tab my way down to the Size value, and I am going to reduce the size to 20 pixels just to firm up the shadow a bit, and I will reduce this Opacity value to 70%, I think, so that we're making the effect more translucent as well.
Switch over to Inner Shadow and to open up those letters even more, I'm going to reduce the Distance value to 10 pixels, and then I'll tab my way down to Size and reduce it to 35 pixels, and then I'll click OK to accept my modifications. So to give you a sense of what I've accomplished here, this was before. This is that effect I created in the previous exercise, and this is after. Just cleaned up a little; I think it's more legible insofar as Blackletter Gothic type goes, and I like the effects inside of the leaves better in particular.
So I am going to go ahead and update this file, by the way, by going to the File menu and choosing the Save command or pressing Ctrl+S, Cmd+S on the Mac. All right, now let's check out how to create a blurry ghost layer. I will switch over to that original Word processor.psd file that has that carving layer with no layer effects applied, and I am going to drop down here to the fx icon. I will click on it, and I will choose Drop Shadow, and I am going to raise my Opacity value to 100%, and I will click on the black swatch and dial in that same color we have been using; a Hue value of 35 degrees, a Saturation of 100% and a Brightness of 20%.
I will click OK, and I am going to reduce my Distance value to 0. Just like I was saying you could, just so the shadow is exactly centered on each and every letter, just so that each and every shadow is exactly centered on its letter. I'll tab down to Size, and I'll take that guy up to 25 pixels, let's say. Now I'm going to switch over to Blending Options, and I'm going to reduce my Fill Opacity to 0%, and now we can't see that sort of murky beige fill inside the letters anymore.
But we can see the letters carved out of their shadows which is fairly interesting. It looks kind of like we took spray paint to a stencil. I am going to switch back to Drop Shadow because I don't want to see the letters at all. I just want to see the shadow and if you want a similar effect, then you turn off this check box, layer Knocks Out Drop Shadows so that the letters themselves are no longer knocking out the shadow, and they're allowing the shadow to show through like that. So this is the effect right here of turning that check box off, and now all you have is solid shadow.
We just have this blur effect. The angle no longer matters because we have no distance. So we just have blurry letters subject to the size value. If I want them to be blurrier, I would raise the Size value, like so. If I want them to be a little sharper, I would take that Size value down. Anyway, 20 pixels is fine. Thanks to the fact that I've increased the Opacity value to 100%, I will now click OK, and you can use the standard Opacity value now to go ahead and reduce the Opacity of the entire effect.
So 100% Opacity here corresponds to 100% Opacity for the Drop Shadow effects. So the two are now working hand in hand. So if I press, say, the 7 key to reduce the Opacity value in the Layers panel to 70%, then I have 70% opaque fuzzy letters as well. Now I can change those letters if I like. I will double-click on this T thumbnail, and I will change my text to shadow, like so. Press Ctrl+A, Cmd+A on the Mac, and press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+> or Cmd+Shift+Option+> on the Mac in order to grow the text, and I will press the Enter key on the keypad in order to accept my change and press Ctrl+Shift+Down Arrow a few times, Cmd+Shift+Down Arrow on the Mac, in order to scoot that text down. And that, my friends, is how you create editable shadow type here inside Photoshop.
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