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In this Photoshop for Designers course, Nigel French focuses on the tools and features in Photoshop designed for choosing, applying, and editing color. The course looks at concepts such as the color wheel and color harmonies as well as the practicalities of using the Color Picker, leveraging the power of color channels, and the characteristics of different color modes in Photoshop. The course includes exercises on correcting color, enhancing color, shifting and replacing colors, working with spot color channels, hand coloring black and white images, and designing with a reduced color palette.
Here we're going to see how we can make a nostalgic travel poster in the style of travel posters from the 20s and 30s, using a very limited color, palette flat color, and we are going to begin with just a picture of a lighthouse, like so, St. Catherine's Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight, and I have a channel already prepared that I'm going to use to mask the sky. So, I've already gone through the trouble of saving this channel, it's a quite complicated selection, to save you the trouble of having to watch me do that.
But I'm now going to activate that channel and come to Layer 0, where I will inverse that selection and then apply that as a layer mask. Now, I want to put a layer behind this. I'm going to hold down Command or Ctrl and click on the Create New Layer and I want that layer to be filled with a solid blue. I'd like the blue to be suggested from the color that's actually in the original sky. So I'm temporarily going to disable the layer mask. Press I, to go to my eyedropper tool, click to sample the blue and then Option or Alt and Delete to fill the background layer with that blue.
Shift+Click on my layer mask to re-enable it. So, we now have a completely solid blue sky. So I'm now going to make a duplicate of my layer, and I'm going to turn off the visibility of Layer 0. We're going to come back to that if we need to. So we're keeping that as a backup. I'm now going to make my active layer black-and-white and I'm going to do so with a Black & White adjustment layer, since I want this adjustment layer only to apply to this layer. I'm going to hold down my Option or Alt key.
When I choose the adjustment layer and that way I can check that, Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask, and I now have a black-and-white foreground. I might also want to just increase the contrast on this a little bit. So, I'm going to again, hold down Option or Alt, and this time choose Levels, Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask and I'm going to drag the black point slider and the white point slider a bit closer to the center.
Now, I'm going to come and select that layer itself, the image layer, currently called Layer 0 copy, and I'm going to convert this for Smart Filters so that if necessary, I can always revisit the amount of the filter that I've applied to, and the filter that I want to use is the Cut out filter, which does a fantastic job but we're doing all of this prep work to really help out the Cutout filter so that we can get much better results from it.
So, from the Artistic group I'm going to choose Cutout, press Command+0 or Ctrl+0 to switch to a fit-in window view in my Filter Gallery and then I want to use these values. And it took a bit of trial and error to get there, but I want to use 5 for the Number of Levels. If I go more than that, I get a bit too much detail, less than that, not enough detail. We've got a scale of 2 to 8 and I want to go with 5.
Edge Simplicity, I decided upon 9. Any less than that, and we have too much detail, any more simple than that, and we're losing too much detail. And the Edge Fidelity, if I turn that down, you'll see that things become very interesting, very abstract, but not what we're after, in this case. So, I'm going to increase the Edge Fidelity to its maximum of 3. Click OK, and now we're at this point. So what we want to do now is reintroduce some colors, some color that is going to cling to the limited number of gray values that we've defined by applying the Cutout filter.
Let me just collapse my Adjustments panel by double-clicking on that, so I've got more room now for my Layers panel. All of these things I think I'm going to put into a group. So, I'm going to select those three layers, the image layer itself that we are converting to black-and-white and adjusting the levels on, and we're also applying the Cutout filer too. So, I'm going to select those three. Command+G or Ctrl+G will make them into a group and I'll call this-- well, it's a good idea to name your layers.
Advice I don't always follow myself. I've now named that layer, and I'm going to come back to my original layer and I'm going to duplicate that, Command+ J or Ctrl+J and put the copy above the lighthouse and then I'm going to turn it on. I'm going to change its blend mode to Color, so that we get a nice interaction between the color of the original layer, and the very simplified gray values of the lighthouse group.
Now just as a variant, I was experimenting with what happens if I add an additional layer, and on this one, I'm going to come back and select the lower of the two. What if I chose a different blend mode like, Color Dodge, and then I can just experiment with a different Opacity values. I'm going to dial it down to about 33. I like the way those two layers, one with the Color blend mode, and one with the Color Doge blend mode are interacting together, that what I feel is the right combination of detail and simplicity.
And then just as a finishing touch, I've got this group here with some type on it, and so that we can evoke the year, rather this sort of image is inspired by, I've chosen Gill Sans, a typeface designed in the late 20s and I want to then drag this down, so that it goes underneath the lighthouse and create some more of an interaction between the type and the shape of the lighthouse itself. So a few twists and turns there, but essentially we're using the Cutout filter, but we're using a lot of other stuff as well, to really help out the Cutout filter, and to give us more control with the result that we received from the Cutout Filter.
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