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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.
In honor of our text long a path September 2026, I have made my progress file Optimistic publication date.psd. In this exercise, we are going to begin to take on the logo at the top of the magazine cover. Notice the name Pout which is of course the title of the publication. It appears so tiny that I have to highlight it using this arrow, and this arrow is in fact a shape that I have drawn using a Shape tool. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on that shape right there.
One of the reasons I drew the arrow was so that you could find the word Pout inside of your composition. The other reason was I want to show you how to create these kinds of things. So if you are creating a diagram inside of Photoshop, and you want to indicate motion, or you want to show people where something is or anything along those lines, I find that the sort of motion trail arrows are very useful, notice that there is a Drop Shadow associated with the arrow. There is some interaction between the arrow in his background, and in order to keep these arrows very flexible, customizable and so on, you want to draw them using the Line tool and not draw them as arrows with the Custom Shape tool.
So let me show you how I put this guy together, just in case you want to do this kind of thing in your own graphics. By the way, we will see quite a few tips and tricks along the way here. This is the arrow layer right there not only do we have a vector mask, but we also have a pixel-based layer mask, and the two are working together hand in hand along with a variety of other options. So I am going to go ahead and turn off this arrow layer for starters, and we will draw our own arrow by switching down here from the Custom Shape tool to the Line tool, and notice everyone of these shape tools has a keyboard shortcut of U. So it doesn't really matter which one you grab.
I could stick with the Custom Shape tool if I wanted to, because then I can select exactly the Shape tool I want to use from the options bar. So I am going to switch to the Line tool, which is your primary tool for drawing arrowheads inside of Photoshop. And then I am going to change my Weight value to 24 pixels because that happens to be the value that I use for that arrow I had drawn in advance right there. So it not only affects the line weight, but it affects the arrowhead size as well. Before you draw the path outline you can press the Right Bracket key to make the Weight value bigger or the Left Bracket key to make it smaller, and that Left and Right Bracket key technique works for whatever that numerical option is regardless of which of the shape tools is active.
Anyway, I am going to click this down-pointing arrow. It brings up a pop-up menu of Attributes that you can assign to the Active Shape tool. I am going to turn on Arrowheads - that's what this is all about here - and I am going to assign an arrowhead to the start of my path outline. So wherever I begin dragging, that's where the arrowhead will be. You could also assign end by the way if you wanted arrowheads in both directions. Next, I am going to add something Concavity. I love Concavity, and what that does is it gives you a little bit of sliced backward on your arrow.
So it's not straight across, so the arrowhead doesn't look like a triangle, which I think looks dopey. So anyway, Concavity of 20% is my favorite value, and then you have to sort of play with your Width and Length values. For this specific arrowhead effect I change the Width value to 350% as 350% of the Weight, and then I am going to tab to Length and change it to 500%, and that's it. Now I will press the Enter key or the Return key a couple times in order to hide that panel, and then I will drag to create my arrowhead, like so, and notice as I am drawing my path outline, and this works with a Custom Shape tool as well, the one that we use to draw the fleur-de-lis as well as all the other shape tools.
You can press and hold the Spacebar midway into your drag to move the shape to a different location. Anyway, once I get done I will release, and it's a total mess, what in the world's happening. Well, I have got some style attributes that are automatically assigned to my shape because that last shape that I was working with that little info i thing had all those layer effects assigned to it. I am glomming those layer effects on to my new arrowhead as well, which happens to be colored black, which isn't what I want at all.
So I could go ahead and just take this shape that I have drawn and clear out its layer effects by right-clicking on the fx icon incidentally, and I could choose Clear layer Style, and I will get rid of everything, like so, and then I would change the color and yada-yada. But instead what I am going to do is this. Press the Backspace key here or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of that shape I just drew. Then go up here and just make sure my style is cleared out, which it is. By virtue of the fact that I just got rid of the layer effects assigned to that previous layer, the one I threw away.
I have now cleared out my style, but had I not done that I could click the down-pointing arrowhead, and I could choose the box with the red line to it, and that will go ahead and clear out those Style options. Next, I am going to switch my Color, might as well do that in advance. By clicking on the Color Swatch which brings up the Color Picker dialog box, and I am going to change my Hue value to 35 degrees, which gives me an orange, and I am going to change Saturation to 100 % and Brightness to 100%, and this particular orange works very well with the Blend mode that I will show you in a moment, and it allows you to see through your arrows.
Basically you are going to get good effects if you are trying to work with this Blend mode, which is Hard Light as I will show you in a second. But if you want to get a see-through effect associated with Hard Light then you can adjust this Hue value in essentially 60 degree increments starting at 35 degrees. So if you switch to 95 degrees or 215 degrees or etcetera, etcetera, adding 60 degrees each time, and the reason you have to work this way is the Hard Light Blend mode is a little bit fickle, where solid colors are concerned.
Anyway, I will click OK having selected these values, and then I will go ahead and draw my arrow. Now I happen to press the Shift key in order to constrain the angle of my arrow to the nearest 45 degree increment, and draw it way too long, like so, because we want to be able to fade it in. All right, the next step is to rename the layer arrow, like so, and now I am going to add a layer mask by clicking on the layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and that will add a pixel-based layer mask, and now using the Gradient tool I'll go ahead and grab the Gradient tool or press the G key, and make sure that you are working with a default Black to White Gradient like so, and I am, but you can go ahead and switch your Gradient setting if need be.
Actually the safest thing to do is select this third Gradient option Black, White. Make sure you have Linear turned on, Reverse is turned off, otherwise just observe the settings that you see in my options bar, and I am going to drag from about here, so well inside of the arrow. From about this location to -- I don't know, very close to the arrowhead, but I want to give a little bit of room, and I will press the Shift key since I want to match that 45 degree angle right there, and I end up creating this fading arrowhead effect, like so.
All right, a couple of other modifications I want to make. I want to change the Blend mode, I want to add a Drop Shadow, and I want to be able to see through that Drop Shadow, and those are all settings that I will demonstrate to you in the following exercise.
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