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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.
All right, so if Content-Aware Scale is not the tool for this image, what is? The effect that we're about to apply is going to result in distortion. We are going to end up distorting the house in the background. There's no getting around that, because we need the house to bend incrementally as it goes away from the family. We don't want some sort of radical sudden transition. So it's going to have to be incremental, which means it's going to have to include distortion, but it's going to end up looking like a kind of lens distortion, as opposed to the house falling apart, which I think is very important and of course, a much better effect.
I've gone ahead and saved this image along with the gradient, just in case you need it, and the name of the image is family_with _fradient.psd found inside the 29_new_tech folder. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to bring up the Info palette. This is actually about a 12 step technique just so that you know, but it's not hard. It's pretty easy. I didn't really count the steps. I don't know how many, but there are a few steps involved. We need the Info palette in order to see how big the area that we wanted to distort is. So again I was telling you, I'm not inclined to touch a hair on the family unit. I want them well protected. So I'm going to move out away from the girl here, so that we have about as much room between this selection and the girl's hand, as we do between the boy's pant leg and the far right side of the image.
So that's about here. Then I'm going to Shift+Drag all the way to the left edge of the image. It doesn't matter whether this is rectangular selection or not. I just want to make sure I have the left edge and the right edge identified. I'll go over here to the Info palette and notice that the width of that selection is 836 pixels. All right, that's all I care about. 836, get out my pen, write it down, because otherwise I'll forget, and then get rid of the Info palette. We're done with it for now. Go back to the Layers palette. Make sure that I've got the family sitting there. Good! Now Ctrl+D, Command+D on a Mac to deselect the image, and we want to jump it by pressing Ctl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and we'll call this one distortion and then we'll click OK and then we'll press Enter or Return to create that layer.
All right, now we need to give ourselves just the same amount of dead room over on the right side of the images we have over on the left side of the image, because the distortion we're about to apply is utterly and completely symmetrical. So we need to have room on both sides. So I'll go up to the Image menu, and I'll choose the Canvas Size command or Ctrl+Alt+C, Command+Option+C on a Mac, and I'm going to turn on Relative, click the left-hand check lit, and I'm going to change the width value to 836. So we're adding 836 pixels on the right hand side, and I'll click OK. And then we get a bunch of transparency. Okay, that's fine.
Now then the command that we're about to choose is so old school I cannot believe it. It's a great command to this tape but it is a Photoshop 1.0 filter. So it's been with us 19 going on 20 years now. So it has nothing to do with new technology inside of Photoshop CS4, but I'm here to tell you, it is part of Photoshop CS4, and it's awesome technology. So having said that, go up to the Filter menu, choose Distort and then choose this command right there, Spherize. Believe it or not this is a command we're going to use. And then what I want you to do, instead of having the mode set to Normal, which goes ahead and wraps the image around the back of a spoon, makes it convex, so it's coming out at us. I want you to change mode to Horizontal Only.
So it's a GIF for wrapping the image around a can or something or a cylinder, and then leave the amount value set to 100%, we're going to do a big modification here and click OK, and that is going to stretch the heck out of the image. Notice that it's stretching the middle of the image more than the edges of the image. So we are wrapping that image around the cylinder or stretching the heck out of the family, and we are basically stretching the house very incrementally over here on the edges. So this seems to be exactly the opposite of what I was telling you I want to do. I want to protect the family, and I don't care about the house. Well, this happens to work out really nicely for us, as you'll see, because we're going to scoot everything in using Free Transform.
So I'm going to press the 5 key so that I can see the proper family in the background, because I want to kind of match them, and I'm going to leave everything exactly where we're seeing it here, and then I'm going to press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac in order to invoke the Free Transform command. And let's go ahead and zoom in, and I want to see which detail in the image is pretty much where it needs to be, and I would say the middle of the boy's nose is about where it wants to be. So let's go ahead and find that target. It's right there, and we'll move it his nose, like so. Does that make sense? That's the part that we want to keep at its current location, and then we'll zoom back out. I can see my right hand handle right there. So that's good. I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, so that I'm scaling with respect to that point that I just moved the target point. I'll bring the edges in, until I see the edge of the boy's pant right there, this corner, and the edge of the girl's hand right there until I see them lining up where they ought to be. That should be about the location where we get as little distortion as possible out of this image, and I'm having a little problem with lining up her hand so I'll try some more.
Notice when I get our hand aligned, we're also getting the faces aligned pretty darn well, and let's see if I just make a slight additional adjustment here so you might get things even better in the place. The problem is I keep getting some snapping that I don't want. So I'll try pulling this guy out. So anyway, we're just trying to line things up with the family as much as possible. Once you figure it, you've got it about right, and you're never going to get it exactly right. There is a little bit of distortion that's going to happen inside the family no matter what. Then go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, and then press the 0 key to increase the opacity of the image to 100%. Let's turn off the Family layer for a moment, and you can see this is what I was talking about. We have a lens distortion that's being applied to the house, and the family remains nice and intact. So they have avoided the effects of the distortion here. Only the house has been affected.
All right, so what if that's not enough? You can take another swing at it if you want to, and I'm going to just approve what a great effect this is and by the way, I should say it's going to work best if you have a high-resolution image. The higher the resolution the better, because after all you are stretching and squishing this image repeatedly in our case, because we're going to do the whole thing over again. All right so the image is more or less centered where it needs to be, and I can confirm that, and I should actually confirm that just by selecting sort of an area over on the left-hand edge, and then I'll move it over to the right hand edge, and I just want to make sure that we're indeed staying equal distant away from that family unit there, so that they remain in the center, because otherwise if we start having person or the other go out of center, then they are going to have more distortion then the rest of the family.
All right, so this looks good though. Let's go ahead and try it out again. I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll just choose Spherize right from the top, Ctrl+F or Command+F on a Mac in order to reapply that distortion. Looks ridiculous! Let's turn on the original family down below. Now I'll go ahead and set the distortion layer to an opacity of 50% once again. I'm going to press Ctrl+T or Command+T on a Mac and then I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+T or Command+Shift+T on the Mac to rerun that last transformation, because it probably very close to what I want. If not exactly dead on.
Now the parts where we start having a little bit of distortion show up are in dad and daughter, right there. They're going to have the most distortion, because they're closest to the edge, whereas this guy right here and mom are going to have the least, because they're closest to the center, because he's leaning inward. Let's go ahead and move this over a little bit. I'm just sort of using the arrow keys to nudge things back and forth, and make sure everybody looks pretty good, and I feel like they do. Let's see if we can try to get dad as nailed in there as possible, because he is the point in which the house is getting divided in half. His head marks the division between this side of the image, and that side of the image. So if we decided to do a little bit of layer masking, then he would serve as a nice forgiving barrier. All right, now I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that transformation, restore the opacity of the layer to 100%.
You know dad looks good, kid looks good, mom looks just fine. She already had a little bit of distortion associated with this image, some lens distortion. But daughter, it seems to me, is getting the worst of it. She is getting a little skinny right here, and she might like that. I don't know. She might find that to be delightful, but I'm thinking it's a little bit too much distortion. So if we decided we want to reinstate some of the underlying original image, then we need to employ a layer mask, and I'm going to show you how to make that layer mask and then we'll crop the image in the next exercise.
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