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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, gang of mine, I'm still working inside of Layer Comps project.psd, and I have my Layer Comps palette open. I have switched to the Surveillance Composition by clicking in front of it. In this exercise I'm going to show you how and why layer comps can get grumpy with you. Basically, if you delete a layer, you are going to make at least one layer comp angry with you, or peevish, I should say, and they will bark and complain until you solve their little problems. That's what I want to do, because it can be a little irritating for you, the user, to have to put up with irritated layer comps.
All right. So let's say I'm looking at this composition here, and we've got these plans right here these very pivotal plans that are tucked away in Bronco, the Plaster Dinosaur's Mitten. They are very important to the antagonists in this story, which is this fellow named; actually he is named up here in this group, his name is Emperor Scratch, and he is that Hadrosaur that we saw in the exercise before last. He envies those plans essentially. So he has got some sort of automatic robotical thing that's going, beep, beep, beep, plans identified, that kind of thing.
All right, that's great, but I'm sitting here looking at this wonderful extraordinary subtle composition and I'm thinking that, plans identified, it's so obvious that we don't need to tell the story that way, we don't need to have this text. So I want to get rid of that layer. Now, I could just turn it off, I could just hide it, but let's say I want to delete it, I just want it to go away. Well, first, I need to find the darn thing. Which layer is it? I was telling you back when we were talking about layers; you can right click on a layer with Move tool. So I could go up here and get my Move tool, and then I could right click on the layer, or if I don't have a right mouse button on the Mac, I could Ctrl+Click, and then inside of a Shortcut menu here, you'll see the name of every layer that has a pixel in it, at that pixel that I clicked on, which is a ton of different layers. We've got Video lines, TV adjustments, green, duotone.
Now, if I've taken the time to name my layers or if I've just gone ahead and accepted-- when you create text layers, as we'll see in the future chapter, Photoshop automatically names that layer whatever the text is, after the text. So I could come down here and see, oh, there is plans identified. But it's still a lot of work to try to sort of move through all this garbage, define the proper layer right there, and then select it. All right. So if you have that problem with some other kind of layer, you're going to have to just sort of play around and try to find the darn thing. But if you have that problem with text, an easier way to just go to that darn layer as opposed to any of the other options I've shown you so far is to go ahead and just grab the Text tool right there, my friends, just get it. Then just click on that text, and it's smart enough; if you move your cursor over the text and click on that text, its going to say oh, I betcha my user there; this is Photoshop talking, wants to work on the Text layer, and then its going to take you right to it.
You go, ha, ha, and then you press the Escape key, because you don't really want to work on a layer, you just want to delete it, and pressing the Escape key goes ahead and deactivates the text, so it's no longer selected with the Type tool. Then you press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to wipe it out, to get rid of it; new trick inside of Photoshop CS4 that makes deleting layers so very, very dangerously convenient, in my opinion. I'm not sure it's the smartest shortcut, but it is there. Now then, look at the layer comps. Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy layer comps. Now, three of them are grumpy. They've got little warnings right there, and if you hover over the warning, it's going to tell you that it cannot be fully restored. What it's telling you is that some layer went away that it thought was important.
Now, the funny thing about it; let's go ahead and undo that modification there, the deletion of that layer, the funny thing was, we were seeing this composition right there; Rough comp and Surveillance and Hadrosaur elements, They were the ones, you may recall, that had cautionary icons in front of them. Well, Surveillance is tracking that plans identified layer, and Hadrosaur elements, that's tracking that plans identified layer right there, behind these photo realistic teeth that are coming out of a plant eating dinosaur's skeleton. Fancy that! But if I go back to Rough comp, there is no text there. What's Rough comp's problem, why was it getting grumpy? Well, let's go ahead and press the Backspace or Delete key once again to delete that plans identified layer. You can delete it even though it's hidden. Rough comp is indeed grumpy, and the reason it's complaining is because the plans identified layer was extant, meaning it existed when this layer comp was created.
When the other layer comps, the ones that aren't grumping at us, when they were created, that layer didn't even exist, it wasn't even in the stack yet. So how do we make everybody happy is what it comes down to. Well, what you do is this; you click in front of Rough comp, like so, to make it active. Then it does its best to restore everything, and it goes, I couldn't fully restore things because I couldn't find that one layer that you threw away. You're of course like well, I threw it away, I didn't want it, so what do you think you should be doing? But anyway, then you go down here to this little icon, the Update Layer Comp, and you click on it, and it gets over its problem. Then you click here in order to make Surveillance active, and you update it too, to make it stop barking at you.
Now, what you don't want to do is go to Hadrosaur elements without first making it active. If you go to Hadrosaur elements and then update this, you'll make it exactly like Surveillance, so that the two aren't different from each other. If you end up making that mistake, why then fortunately, you can go to the Edit menu and choose Undo Update Layer Comp, or press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. So layer comp activities are undoable. They're also backspaceable from the History palette. So I'll just go ahead and back up, and then it's still grumpy. All right, fine. Click in front of it to reinstate it to the best of Photoshop's ability of course, and then update it, like so. Then you're in good shape.
So that's how you take care of that problem. It's a pretty common problem actually, and pretty simple to take care of. Unfortunately, that's as automated as it gets. You just have to sort of hold Photoshop's hand through that little traumatic process; it's traumatic for Photoshop that is. All right. Anyway, that's it for this exercise. In the next exercise we'll begin to make some modifications to our layered compositions and then save that out as a layer comp. You'll see if you join me.
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