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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.
I've saved my progress as Gratuitous effects.psd, so-called because I may have gone a little bit overboard where the layer effects are concerned, but I like the way the result looks. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and zoom out a little bit here, and in this exercise, we're going to talk about that I that we saw a moment ago. I'm going to go ahead and collapse my fx list associated with 365 here inside the Layers panel, scroll down and turn on that info layer right there, and we have what is ultimately a scalable vector-based shape layer here inside of Photoshop, so I'm going to click on that layer to make it active.
And then just so I could show you how very scalable it is, because check this out: if I zoom in on it, at 100%, it looks really great, but if I zoom in past to 100%, this goes for my vector-based shape layers and live editable text inside of Photoshop. Notice at 200% I'm starting to see bigger pixels, and I'll just keep zooming in, let's say to 500% right here, and you can see a bunch of big chunky pixels along the edge of these 'vectors'. Well, that's not the way it works inside of Illustrator.
If you've ever been in Illustrator, or InDesign or one of these other vector-based programs, as you zoom in on your graphic, the information resolves at the resolution of your screen, in other words you're always seeing super-smooth outlines. Whereas inside of Photoshop, regardless of the composition of the layer, you don't see anything but big chunky pixels after 100%. That's just the way Photoshop chooses to show you things. So I'm going to press Ctrl+1, Command+1 on the Mac to zoom back out to the 100% view size. However, were I to go the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command which is your one-stop command for scaling and rotating a layer, you can also press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac.
Then as I scale this layer, and I'll just scale the heck out of it, let's say, notice that I invoked an auto scroll there. Already I have scaled the layer by 488.47%. I'm going to turn on that chain, and let's send it to something ridiculous like 856.93%. I'm just making this up, and then press the Enter key a couple of times in order to apply that modification, even though I applied an odd-scaling value, and this would interpolate and make a mess out of a pixel-based image layer.
We have a beautiful smooth outline. Thanks to the fact that I'm working from a vector-based shape, which is represented by this vector mask that's assigned to the solid color layer here inside the Layers panel. So the same thing applies when you're editing text as well. Whether you decide to scale your text by changing the type size, the way we did in an earlier exercise, or you scale the text using the Free Transform command, the way we did just now, you're going to get super-smooth results.
I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. All right, so how do you create what's known as the custom shape layer here inside Photoshop? The great thing here is Photoshop offers a shape tool that you don't find in the other programs. It's a shape tool that draws any old shape. So you can draw hearts right out of the gate whereas you have to draw them manually inside of Illustrator, for example, and a bunch of other shapes as well, and here's how you do it. You go down here to the first of the shape tools, which, by default, is going to be your Rectangle tool.
So click and hold on whatever occupant of the slot under the Arrow tool you see, and then you'll notice that you have a Rectangle tool, Rounded Rectangle tool etcetera, so the Ellipse tool allows you to draw ovals and circles; the Polygon tool allows you to draw regular polygons like pentagons and octagons and all that jazz; triangles as well, so three-sided shapes, as well as regular stars like your five-pointed stars, your six-pointed stars, and so on. You have a Line tool that allows you to draw either basic straight lines, or you can draw lines with arrowheads at the ends of them, and then you have the Custom Shape tool, which is what I'm going to show you now.
So, go ahead and select the Custom Shape tool, and then I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on my image here so that I can see it up close in personal, and I can see this I. We might draw something just right above it here. Notice that the Custom Shape tool looks like a kind of globy sea star, and what you do after you select that tool, you can decide what shape you're going to draw by selecting a shape from the Shape list right there, and by default it's this arrow, which is a little repetitive if you ask me because you have a lot more control over arrowheads when you're using this Line tool, as I'll show you later.
Click this down-pointing arrowhead to reveal a list of all the custom shapes you can draw. Now you might look at this and say, ooh, big deal, what a big huge list that is. Not, it's just a handful of these rinky-dink shapes. I mean, really, do I want to draw an envelope or a dog paw or one of these things? Well, you have a much longer list to choose from here. I'm going to go ahead and expand this panel, so we can see all the shapes that are about to unfurl in front of us. Click this right-pointing arrowhead, drop down to this option All.
So, don't worry about any of the other ones because they're all included inside of All, just click OK to wipe out the current list and add the All list, which is this big list right here. Now there's a ton of shapes to choose from, including that Information i, which is the one I used in order to create that info layer and this little Campfire, et cetera. I'm going to go ahead and grab the Fleur-De-Lis. That's my favorite. And then in order to hide the list after you've selected your desired shape, press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, and then decide what color you want to use.
I'm going to go ahead and click of this Color Swatch, just for the sake of variety here I'll select a shade of green, like 95 degrees for the Hue value. Otherwise, I'll leave the values the same as is. Click OK. And now I drag with this Fleur-De-Lis drawing tool that I've created here, and it can either be very wide, or it can be tall and narrow, or I can press and hold the Shift key as I draw, in order to maintain the original proportions of that shape. And then as soon as I release, notice I get a solid color layer once again, which is identical to the kind of layer you create by dropping down to this black-white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, clicking on it and choosing Solid Color.
That will create a Solid Color layer as well. It won't have a vector-base the way this one does, but it will be filled with color. And then if you change your mind about what that color value is, you just double-click on that Color Swatch thumbnail. That brings up the Color Picker dialog box. You dial in a new color such as 55 for a shade of yellow. I take the Saturation value all the way to 100, the Brightness to 100 as well. Click OK. We're still operating inside of this vector mask outline, which happens to be in the shape of a Fleur-De-Lis.
That was originally drawn with the Pen tool. So somebody out there drew with the Pen tool, then they decide to include that among their list of custom shapes, and now you can draw that shape anytime you like. I'll go ahead and call this layer fleur, let's say, and then press the Enter key, the Return key on the Mac, and we now have a Fleur-De-Lis that I can scale to any size I like. So that's the basics of using a custom shape inside of Photoshop, and then of course you can go ahead and Alt+Drag - that would be an Option+Drag on the Mac - those fx from the 365 layer if you want to, onto the fleur layer, then you're styling that layer as well.
So layer styles are equally applicable to pixel-based layers, editable text layers, vector-base shape layers, and a whole variety of other layers inside of Photoshop. All right, so anyway, that's the way it looks. I could turn off the mask in order to hide that gray outline, which is a nonprinting outline. So it's just there in case you want to edit your points and control handles and so on, and we'll discuss how that works when we examine the Pen tool in the mastery portion of this series. For now, I'm just going to turn off this fleur layer, and I'm going to turn off the info layer as well, zoom out a little bit so we can see our real progress so far.
Just one more thing to be done where 365 is concerned; I need to modify the space between the characters because they're too far apart at this type size, using Kerning and Tracking, stay tuned.
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