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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, so let's have fun inside of this file. I'm working inside Election.psd found inside the 24_vector _shapes folder and you may or may not see it, but this file is riddled with guides. Riddled I tell you! In order to see those guides, go up to the View menu and choose Show and choose Guides or press Ctrl+; that memorable keyboard shortcut, Command+; on the Mac and there you go, riddled I tell you. All right, let's go ahead and scroll over to the right, just a little bit. Now, we're going to draw a star and I want that star to be at the top of the stack.
So, let's just go ahead and click on that top layer, election, make it a little wider so we can see its name, nice. You draw stars using the Polygon tool, so we've got this regular Polygon tool, by regular Polygons I mean all of the sides are the same length and all the angles are the same angles. So, you're going to get things like triangles and squares, squares are regular polygon and pentagons and octagons, all the -gons are going to be on your list there. So, you would go ahead and click on that tool in order to select it, or of course you can select it from the Shape tool fly-out menu, either way is going to work out for you there. Then you determine the number of sides that you want to draw and by default, you're going to draw pentagon like so, notice that it draws from the center outward, whether or not you're pressing the Alt key, doesn't matter.
So, you might need to take advantage of the Spacebar in order to move it to a more appropriate location. If you press the Shift key incidentally, you're going to constrain the angle of the polygon and not necessarily to anything that you'd want. It's the amusing thing about it. Just go ahead and drag from the center outward in order to create your polygon. Now, you can't change the number of sides on the fly, you have to do that before you start working with the tool and you can see that Sides value up there in the Options Bar. All right, I'm going to go ahead and undo the creation of that shape and I can change the number of the sides from the keyboard before I create my new shape by pressing the Bracket keys. So, obviously the Right Bracket key is going to increase the number of sides and the Left Bracket key is going to decrease the number of sides and the reason I say obviously is because once you know it's the Bracket keys, that's the way it works throughout the software, left is down and right is up. But anyway, you can see, you can take it down as low as three sides.
You can't have a two-sided polygon. Think about it. So, you can't go any lower than that and a one sided polygon is just crazy talk. Anyway, what we want is five for what we're about to do. We're going to create a star. Well, how do you create a star? I don't see any star stuff up here. You click on this down pointing arrowhead right there and that's where you can specify star and I'll go ahead and turn on Star and then you can decide how much you want to Indent the Sides By. If you want to draw a good old American five-pointed star baby, then you want 50% indent for your sides.
You can experiment with different indent values to get spiky stars or get less spiky stars, that kind of thing. You can smooth your corners, which are going to be the points of the stars, the outside points, or smooth your indents, which are going to be your inside points with the spikes join into each other. But we don't want that. So, we're going to go ahead and draw a five-pointed star, we've got all the settings we need, everything is right ready to go. What I want you to do is drag from this point right there, out, like so, in order to lock the star into the very specific location that it needs to be at, inside of this photo illustration here and you'll see why this is important in just a moment.
But obviously, when you're working with a tool, you'd go your own way. You do whatever you want. I just want to make sure that you and I get the same results. That's why I have these guides set up. All right, when you draw the star, it's going to be colored in the foreground color, whatever, which is gray in my case, pretty ugly. Let's go ahead and change the color of that star right now. I'm going to do that by going up to the Options Bar and clicking on this little swatch and that will bring up the Pick a solid color dialog box, the Color Picker, always changing its name on us. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and change the color to white and click OK and now there it is, the nice white star. All right, I now want to cut a hole in the star. I want to basically create a star outline. So, I'm going to create a star hole inside of my larger star shape. If I were to draw a new star right at this location from the corner out to this point right there, that's what I want, I would draw a new star layer. Notice that I've got another shape layer now, an independent shape layer. That's not going to do me much if any good.
I suppose, I could make it work for me by establishing it as a knockout layer, something crazy like that. But I'm just going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac. Instead, what I want to do is I want to add this new shape to the old shape. So, I want to modify the existing vector mask and you do that by availing yourself of these options right here. This guy, for example, Adds to the shape area, see the Plus sign, I'll tell you what that means in a second. Subtract from shape area, a Minus sign and then you've got Intersect and you've got Exclude. So, you can take advantage of those if you want to. You can also by the way, take advantage of the Shift and Alt keys, Shift will add and Alt will subtract and by the way, I believe Shift and Alt will intersect, but none of them are going to do anything until I make this mask active again. So, notice by switching back to this first option, I went ahead and deactivated my Shape layer.
So, I need to make it active again. I need to be able to see that vector mask thumbnail by clicking on it. So it needs a nice outline around it like so. Now, I can modify it. Now these options are available to me once again and let me just confirm that I'm not lying to you. If you Shift+Drag, you do add. Excellent. You've got two stars interacting with each other, beautiful. Let's go and undo that modification. Alt of course or Option on the Mac will go ahead and subtract. We'll see that in a moment. What I want to see is if I get an intersection, all I do with Shift and Alt together.
So, isn't that great? So you can create one of these things right there if you want to. If you need Exclude, you are just going to have to do that manually and you can test that up for yourself, if you want. I'm going to go ahead and undo the addition of that last star. I'm going to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and I'm going to drag out from the center like so, to this point right there and release and I've now created a smaller star, that's cutting a hole inside of a larger star. The two are aligned with each other, thanks to my guides that I've provided to you. In the next exercise, we're going to take this star and we're going to clone it and we're going to take advantage of power duplication inside of Photoshop and it's going to work out beautifully as you'll see if you stick with me.
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