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Creating a custom contour


Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

with Deke McClelland

Video: Creating a custom contour

In this movie, I'll show you how to create a custom contour, and here's the idea. The Contour function is associated with any of the soft effects. That includes the two shadows as well as inner, and outer glow and bevel and emboss. And what allows you to do is control the opacity of the effect on a point by point basis. So for example, I'm creating this boundary around the letters, using an inverted drop shadow. So in other words, it starts off translucent and becomes more opaque around the edges which gives us a kind of 4 3D look.
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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

Creating a custom contour

In this movie, I'll show you how to create a custom contour, and here's the idea. The Contour function is associated with any of the soft effects. That includes the two shadows as well as inner, and outer glow and bevel and emboss. And what allows you to do is control the opacity of the effect on a point by point basis. So for example, I'm creating this boundary around the letters, using an inverted drop shadow. So in other words, it starts off translucent and becomes more opaque around the edges which gives us a kind of 4 3D look.

So, let's see how that works. I'll go ahead and switch to this starter file, and I want the fill value for the letters to be 0%. And you can achieve that by pressing Shift, zero, zero, so zero twice in a row. Next, I'll click on FX and choose Drop Shadow. And that brown that I establish is my default, it's going to work out fine. So HSB 35, 100, and 20, cancel out of there. I'll take the opacity value up to 100%. And then I'll take the distance value up to five pixels, and I'll turn off layer knocks out drop shadows, so we can see the shadow all by itself.

Now, I want to see the effect in detail, so I'll go up to the View menu, and choose Actual Pixels. And you may say, Deke, why aren't you using the shortcut? And the reason is, it doesn't work when you're working inside the Layer Style dialogue box. If you press Ctrl or Cmd one. You'll select the drop shadow, which in our case is already selected. If you press ctrl or cmd two, you'll get inner shadow, three gets you outer glow, four gets you inner glow, five gets you bevel and emboss, zero gets you stroke. And you may be wondering what in the world is the rhyme or reason, why are we floating all over the place? And the thing is the short-cuts used to be sequential, but then they reordered the list.

Anyway I'm going to press ctrl or cmd one, in order to select the drop shadow once again, and drag my image over so that I can see the first few letters. Now the noise value is going to create noise inside of your shadow. You probably don't want a noise value of 67% because it looks like a swarm of gnats. But you might take the value down to, let's say, 5% to match the natural noise inside of a digital photograph. I'm going to take it back to 0%. And now that takes us to the contour graph right here. Imagine it is a graph.

The grey area is the graph itself. The white area is the area outside the graph. And the left side is the outer edge of the effect, and right side of the graph is the inner edge of the effect, that is the area inside the letters. Down represents transparency and up represents opacity, so in this case we're saying, starting at the inside of the effect, we have an opaque effect and then going outward we have increasing levels of translucency. But you can change that. If you click the down-pointing arrow head, and select, for example, cone, we'll start transparent, then become opaque there at the top of the cone, and then become transparent again.

If you select its next-door neighbour, which is cone-inverted, you'll get the opposite effect. We'll start opaque on the right-hand side up there at the top, then we'll become transparent right there in the centre, and then toward the outside edge we're opaque again. So you can try out a lot of these guys. For example, there's ring double, which gives you this wacky effect here, and if by chance you see some jagged edges showing up inside of your image. Then, turn on the anti-alias checkbox to try to smooth them over. But we don't have any. I'm just going to click the down pointing arrowhead and switch over to linear once again.

And now let's create our own custom contour, by clicking on the little graph icon there in order to bring up the contour editor dialogue box. And at first it's going to seem a little imposing, but here's the idea. As I say, the right edge of the graph represents the interior of the effect, the point at which the effect begins. So if I drag this point down until the output level is 70%. What I'm saying is starting on the inside, the opacity will now be 70%. So read output as opacity. Therefore, we have these translucent letters.

Then, if I go ahead and drag the outside point upward to the let's say, something like 40%, then I'm saying make the outermost edge 40% opaque. Now we still have a little bit of softness. And that's because the spread value is set to 0%. If we wanted to totally get rid of the softness, we'd have to crank that value up to 100%. But what I want to do is just basically invert the effect. So I'm going to drag the first point all the way up, and I'll drag the second point all the way down, so that the interior of the effect is transparent, and the outside edge is opaque.

And then I'll go ahead and save out a custom pre-set. Now you don't do that by clicking the Save button. That'll save a file to your hard drive. Instead you click on New and then go ahead and give the pre-set a name such as invert, click OK and click OK again. And then, if you click the down pointing arrow head you'll see a new pre-set down here in the lower left corner called Invert. And you can get to it any time you like. This isn't exactly what I want. I want a little bit of opacity on the inside, so I'm going to click on that graph icon, and drag that final point there until I have an output that is an opacity of 20% on the inside of the letters.

And then I'll go ahead and click OK to accept that change. Now let's take the spread value up. And I'm going to increase that spread value, notice that I'm moving the effect outward to 60% as you see here, and then I'll turn on Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow. And we end up getting this awesome sort of cut-out effect. Now that's a little bit subtle. I want to emphasize it by going up here to blend options, and I'm going to increase my fill opacity value to 20%. Which doesn't really do anything at first, but I can add a little bit of brightness now by switching to the opposite of the multiply mode, which as you know creates shadows, to the screen mode.

Notice it's second in the brightening list, and it creates glows. So that's going to use the letters to brighten up the back round. All right now I want to trace the letters, and I'm going to do that using outer glow. And even though I saved white as my default color, I don't want to use it. So I'll click on the white color swatch, and I'm going to dial in that same orange with a hue value of 35 degrees. I'll take the saturation value up to 65% and a brightness value of 100% is just fine. Click OK. Now, let's take this size value down to eight pixels and I'm going to increase the opacity of this effect to 100% and, finally, I'm going to change the blend mode.

Now, I was telling you with shadows, if multiply isn't strong enough, you want to drop two down to linear burn. The same is true for glows. If screen isn't enough for you, you want to drop two down to linear dodge add. And that's going to give us this really hot, intense effect. Now I'll click OK, in order to accept my effect. And I'll press ctrl 0 or cmd 0 on a Mac. Go ahead and centre my zoom as well. Now let's change the text. We don't want the word carving. So I'll double click on the t in order to select all that text.

And I'll type in some different text like so. Then I'll press control a or command a on a Mac. In order to select it all. And I'm going to change the style by clicking on the style and typing in bold again which should get me bold condensed. And I'll press the Enter key, or the return key on the mac in order to accept that change. Next I'll press control shift alt greater than sign, that's command shift option greater than sign on the mac. A few times in order to make that text big enough to fill up this frame. And then I'll press the Enter key on the numerical key pad in order to accept my change.

And now I want to centre baseball inside the seams, so I'm going to use my rectangular marquise tool to select this region right here. And then I'll switch to the Move tool And I'll click on align vertical centres in order to vertically align that text inside the selection. And I'll press Ctrl+D, or Cmd+D on a Mac, to deselect the text, and that is the final effect. Thanks to our ability to modify the opacity of a soft effect, using a custom contour.

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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