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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, we'll take our nicely masked droplet, and we'll go ahead and give it a soft shadow that's organic to the original scene, and we'll do so by duplicating, as well as transforming, and blurring our existing vector mask, and then we'll throw in a pixel-based layer mask to boot. All right, so starting where we left off, we'll go ahead, and turn on the shadow layer to make it active, and that's going to bring back the entirety of that original image. I'll click on the vector mask thumbnail for the drop layer here inside the Layers panel, so that I can see my path outline.
And you can either switch to the black arrow tool, and click on it to select it, or you can select the entire thing with the white arrow tool by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and clicking on that path outline, and that goes ahead and selects the entire thing. Then go up to the Edit menu, and choose the Copy command, or just press Control+C, or Command+C on the Mac. Now switch to the shadow layer, and let's go ahead and give it a vector mask in advance by pressing the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel.
Then select that layer mask thumbnail to make it active, and go up to the Edit menu again, and choose the Paste command, or press Control+V, or Command+V on the Mac, and that goes ahead and pastes that path outline at the exact position from which we copied it. The problem is, it's set to the wrong path operation. So go up to the Path operations icon in the control panel, click on it, and switch the setting to Combine Shapes, so that we end up once again masking the droplet. All right. I'm going to go ahead, and drag this path outline down and a little bit to the left, like so, and then, I am going to make it larger by going up to the Edit menu, and choosing the Command that is now Free Transform Path, or you can press Control+T, or Command+T on the Mac.
You can scale the path outline any way you want, but I'm going to work from the numbers here. I'll start by selecting the bottom middle reference point inside this tiny little matrix right there. And then I'll increase the Width Value to 140%, and I'll take the Height value up to 110%, and then I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, a couple of times in order to scale my path outline. All right, now I'm going to click off the path to deselect it, and I'll select this right-hand point; I want to adjust the placement of these points a little bit. So I'm going to put that guy there, maybe drag this control handle down, essentially I want to cover a wider area in the shadow region.
This guy is a little bit too far over, so I'll move him to about this location. I need to bring in that control handle, so I'll drag it over, like so, and then move it upward as well. And then I'll straighten things out down here at the bottom of the shape by dragging this control handle to about right there looks good. I'll select the anchor point, so I can see this control handle. It wants to come out farther to about right there, so we have a little bit of symmetry surrounding this droplet. All right, now let's make the shadow soft. Now, you can't apply a filter, such as Gaussian Blur, to a vector mask.
And if I were to choose Gaussian Blur, then I would apply the blur effect to the pixels inside the image layer, as opposed to the mask. If you want to blur a vector mask, what you do is you double-click on the vector mask thumbnail to bring up the Properties panel, then you have to click that thumbnail again in order to make the vector mask active. And you increase the Feather value in order to apply a blur on the fly. I'm going to take that Feather value up to 60 pixels. This is a parametric effect, so you can change your mind anytime you like. But 60 pixels works for me, and now I'll go ahead and hide the Properties panel. All right.
I am going to click on the top of the shape here, and I'm going to drag this top anchor point up a little bit, so you can see that we're beginning to reveal the other drops on this leaf. We need to mask those out, but we can't do so with certainty using the vector mask, so I'm going to add another layer mask. Every layer can support up to one vector-based mask, and one pixel-based mask, which is why if you drop down to the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the panel, it's still available. So just go ahead and click on it, and this time, we get a pixel-based layer mask.
Now I'll switch to the Brush tool. If I right-click inside the image window, you can see that I've set the Size to 300 pixels; the Hardness is 0%. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to accept those settings, and I'll press the D key to get my default colors, which are white for the foreground color, and black for the background. I want exactly the opposite, so I will press the X key in order to make my foreground color black, so I can mask these drops away just by painting in a big arc across them. This should do the trick. As soon as you see those drops disappear, that should be good enough.
Now I'll press the A key in order to switch back to the white arrow tool, and I'm going to take this point down to about this location here, so that we have more of a disc underneath the drop. I'll drag that left-hand control handle farther to left. I have got too much of a lump on the upper right segment, so I'll go ahead and retract the right-hand control handle to about this position looks good. All right! Now I'll click on the background layer to hide that vector mask. And that is our final effect, folks. We'll go ahead and press Shift+F in order to switch to the full screen mode, and then I'll zoom in on this droplet.
Let's see if we can see it this large. I might want to zoom out a click here in order to take in the entire thing. And that's how you isolate a natural image element against a pure white background using nothing but smooth points, along with a little bit of layer masking here inside Photoshop.
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