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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, I'm taking up where I left off in the previous exercise. I'm still working inside Word processor.psd. I have my layer Style dialog box up. You may recall that I reduced the Fill Opacity value to 0% there. Inside the Drop Shadow panel, I've turned off layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow, so that we can see the shadow by itself. I'm now going to increase the Opacity value to 100%, and we'll see why in just a moment. I'm going to zoom to the 100% zoom ratio not by pressing Ctrl+1 or Cmd+1 on the Mac, because if you press Ctrl along with a number key inside this dialog box, you'll switch to one of the other layer effects.
For example, Ctrl+2 takes you to Inner Shadow. That would be Cmd+2 on the Mac. Ctrl+3 takes you to Outer Glow, Cmd+3 on a Mac, all the way down to Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on the Mac for Stroke. So Ctrl+1 or Cmd+1 is going to take you back to Drop Shadow. What I need to do instead is go to the View menu, and choose Actual Pixels. At least that's one way to do it. Then I'm going to go ahead and scroll over, so that I can see the first few letters in the word CARVING there. Now then, let's talk about how to create a custom contour and how to understand what's going on with contours in general.
I would like you, if you're working along with me, to go to this little semaphore flag with the white and gray triangles, and click on it to bring up the Contour Editor dialog box. Now this is analogous in many respect to the Curves graph that we saw back in Chapter 14 when we took a look at Levels and Curves inside of Photoshop, except we don't have a Histogram, and we're not manipulating Luminance; instead, we're modifying Opacity. Now this might seem a little intimidating at first, but here is how it works. If I click this top right point right there, I can see that both my Input and Output values by default are set to 100%.
That's an Opacity reading, and that's saying the central portion of the drop shadow, where the shadow would normally be 100%, that's Input is 100%, that's Output. If I click on the bottom left point, then I see what would normally have an opacity level of 0%. That is, right there at the edge of the shadow, will indeed have an Opacity value of 0%. So the shadow is drifting from full-on opacity, subject to the Opacity and Blend mode settings of course, to full-on transparency.
Well, you can change that if you want to. For example, let's say that you want the shadow to end a little more crisply. So you want it to be somewhat opaque to the very end. Why, then I can go ahead and raise this left-hand point, like so. Now I'm saying where the shadow would normally have an opacity level 0%, right there at the edge, it's going to have Opacity of 40%. Therefore, we're seeing some opacity at the end of the Drop shadow. It doesn't nearly look like a blurry shadow anymore. It has a little bit of hardness associated with it.
I can also take down the Opacity of the interior of the effect, by dragging this right point down. So now I'm saying where the effect used to be 100% opaque on the inside. It's now going to be 70% opaque. So the most opaque the effect gets at 70%, the least opaque it gets as 40%, as a result of my changes. Well, what if I decide to flip the effect upside down? What if I say, you know what, at the edge I want this guy to be 100% opaque, like so. In the center, I want it to be 0% opaque, like this.
Then I would just reverse the settings. So I drag the right point all the way down and the left point all the way up. And I go ahead and save it out as a preset as well. I want that to appear as a preset, not only in this little preset menu, but more importantly, here in my Contour pop-up menu. You don't click Save. It's very confusing in my opinion. When you click the Save button, then you save out a Custom file that you can then load later using the Load button. But you won't create a preset; instead you click on the New button. Click on New. Notice you'll automatically get an icon.
I'll go ahead, and Name this icon Invert. Click OK. Now I have a new Invert Preset. Click OK. Notice now, if I go to the Contour option, click the down-pointing arrowhead. There is my new preset. Rock 'n roll! All right, so what other changes might I want to make? For starters, I'm going to take this Spread value up to about 60% I think, so that I'm spreading the letters out. I'm getting these heavy outlines toward the outside of the effect. Now it's telling you you can use Contour to achieve a kind of depth effect.
So far, it doesn't look like we're getting any kind of depth going at all. So tell you what, I'm going to add a little bit of Opacity back to the interior of the effect, by once again modifying the Contour. So I'll click on the little flag. I will drag this right point up to let's say about 20%, like so. So we have just a slight bit of darkness on the inside. Click OK. Then I'm going to turn back on Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow. You can see the layer is showing through right there. Notice that this background effect, which we can't really call a Drop Shadow anymore, so the letters appeared to be slightly embossed.
Now I'm going to trace around the letters by adding an Outer Glow effect. So I'll click on Outer Glow. Now you may recall, just in the previous exercise, I changed the default color to white. Well, it turns that I don't want that. So I'm going to click on my Color Swatch right there, not the gradient by the way, just the solid color swatch, the little guy, and I'm going to change my Hue value to 35%, my Saturation value to 65%, and I'll leave the Brightness at 100. Then I'll click OK. I want my Size value to be 8 pixels for this effect. I'm going to go ahead and switch the Blend mode from Screen, which by the way, is the universal Glow mode.
It always results in brighter colors. If that's not enough for you, you could switch to Color Dodge, but that's going to give you a weird saturation effect. Notice that we're going to get a bunch of vivid colors around the edges there. Better, if you want increase the Brightness is to switch to Linear Dodge (Add). The same rule as I mentioned for Multiply where shadows are concerned, that is you want to jump from Multiply to Linear Burn, and you want to ignore the others. Darken is not that great. Darker Color is awful. The same thing applies here. Screen is good.
If you want to bump it up, go to Linear Dodge (Add), skip Color Dodge, because you get too much saturation out of it. Lighten is pretty lame for these kinds of effects and Lighter Color is just a waste of time. Anyway, I'll switch to Linear Dodge. Then I'm going to switch back to my Blending Options. I'm going to change the Blend mode for the letters themselves to Screen. Then I'm going to increase that Fill Opacity value to 20% like so, just to bring back a little bit of color inside of those letters. I'll click OK in order to accept that effect.
Now I'll go ahead and zoom out and center my view. Once again, as always, despite the many effects that we've ladled on our text, the text remains editable. So I'll go ahead and double-click on that T thumbnail right there. I'll enter a new word like so, and that completes the effects my friends. We now have this kind of embossed leather jacket effect, with a little bit of depth, that we achieved using a Custom Contour.
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