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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 gang, this is going to be interesting. We are going to use Vanishing Point in order to create a perspective layer mask. This is not something I have ever tried to do before. And it's pretty great, actually it works out really nicely and that way we are going to have a real bona fide perspective reflection that looks like it's popping off this highly polished floor here inside of this otherwise grim, grimy subway station. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Lustrous reflections.psd and guess what, gang? We are going to make another layer. Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac, call this one Gradient and click OK. And let's zoom out a little bit. All we are going to do is just draw a linear gradient that we are then going to turn around and modify inside of Vanishing Point.
So all we have to do is just sort of select a general area with a Rectangular Marquee tool, you don't have to get too fancy with it. And then grab your Gradient tool like so, make sure that it's set up to make a black to white gradient and then we want it to be Linear and all these other options are set as you see them. And then just go ahead and drag upward like this from black to white, like so. All right, great. Now, I want you to copy this gradient because we are going to introduce it into our scene. So press Ctrl+C or Command +C on the Mac in order to copy this gradient to clipboard. And then I want you to turn it off and then go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect that image.
All right, so we just needed this for a moment just to get it into the clipboard, we might as well keep it around. But we don't want it to be visible. All right, so now press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac and we'll call this one Perspective grad or something along those lines and click OK. Now go up to the Filter menu and choose Vanishing Point once again, and I want you to press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac in order to paste that gradient. Now then, here is the thing; you may end up getting some weird results.
What can happen as soon as we drag the gradient into the plane is that it flips so it's perpendicular to the plane but now I'm dragging it in and I'm not having any problems. This is the way you would expect the gradient to come into the plane, just like this here at the exact same angle of the plane so this is fine. And notice that the white is at the top and the black is at the bottom just the way it needs to be. But that may not be your experience and if you are seeing the gradient perpendicular to the plane then go over and grab the Transform tool and you would then move your cursor outside the bounding box so you get the Rotate cursor and you would rotate your gradient while pressing the Shift key and the idea there is that Shift key constraints the angle of rotation to 45 degree increments and it just makes far more predictable experience.
Now it's still going to be very strange and I have to apologize and I'm not having the problem, you may be having a problem that I'm not having right now. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and drag my gradient down a little bit and now something weird has happened. Notice that we have this little sliver of a gradient over here on the far left side of the screen over here. And that's because Vanishing Point has gotten confused and put the gradient in the wrong location, sort of packed it into some weird recess of another plane. Anyway, I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that gradient and put it back outside of the plane so that I have got a little bit of preview problem. Now I'll go ahead and drag that gradient down once again and this time all right, it's doing something strange and this is what I anticipated before.
Notice how it's perpendicular to the angle of the plane and if you get this problem, as I'm pretty sure you will, then with the Transform tool you need to drag outside the bounding box as you see me doing right now. And you are going to have this wale of a gradient looming towards you, just like this. Press the Shift key in order to constrain the angle to 45 degrees and that's what we are seeing right now. Now you are not going to be able to rotate the gradient in one big operation just as I can. So now I'm going to move my cursor over to the right side of the gradient as you see me doing and I'm dragging upward and pressing the Shift key once again and I have now wrestle this gradient to the ground. It's at the angle I want it to be.
Let's go ahead and zoom out here, so I can move the gradient into the proper position, I'll go ahead and drag it all the way to the right side of the plane right there. And let's scale it forward, so it takes up this entire amount of room along the floor of the subway station. I'm also going to scale the height of the gradient so that it's approximately the same height as the reflections and making it little taller than the reflections at this point. But I think I want it to be pretty much exactly the height of the reflection. So I'm going to zoom in another increment here and I'll drag this handle upward just a little. All right, so now we still have a little bit of an issue.
If I want to go ahead and mask the reflections on the floor successfully using this gradient, then I want the opposite of the effect we are seeing here. I want the white at the top of the gradient and the black at the bottom of the gradient. So I need to take advantage of Flip and Flop and the question becomes which one of these options do I use? I will go ahead and try Flip and see what happens. And sure enough, that's exactly the result I want. I want white on top and black on bottom, who would have thought that Flip would have done it because Flip ought to be named flip horizontal and Flop ought to be named Flip vertical but this is the reason I guess they named them Flip and Flop, it's because when you get this kind of bizarre behavior, you don't know what's up and what's down.
So in this case what is usually flip horizontal, ends up performing a vertical flip for us. What counts more than anything else rather than trying to wrap our brain around what's going on with Flip and Flop, what counts is that we are getting the right result. And we have white on top and black on the bottom, which is going to serve as a perfect Gradient mask. All right, I'm going to go ahead and click the OK button in order to accept my changes, in order to create that layer of perspective gradient. Now, how do we take this over and turn it into a layer mask? How do we make this work for us? Because right now it's just a layer and not a layer mask.
I'll show you how to make this thing work exactly the way that we want it to work. It's going to be so great. In the next exercise.
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