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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.
I've gone ahead and saved what little progress I've made so far as Incredible composition.psd, so-called because we have Max set inside of this incredible multi-layered composition. It's not the least big credible. Well, that is to say he sure looks okay. The edges around his shirt look just fine, but his hair, I'm not bind that hair was really set against that blue background. Now we're never going to make him look like he was really shot here because, I mean, it's obvious that we have a bunch of fake elements going on inside of this advertisement, just as is true for all advertisements. After all, it's all fakery. We know that by now. But we do want to make him look at home and we want the viewer to like us. So we're going to fix this up using some Layer Styles.
So I'm going to switch over to the Layers palette and notice that I haven't named Max's layer yet. So let's go and Double-Click on that and call him spokesboy because he is our spokesboy and we're going to start with a Drop Shadow. Now that may seem insane, I mean, since when do people cast Drop Shadows onto sky? That just doesn't happen. That's okay. It's going to help set Max off from his background, which is a good thing, and again, we're not going for realism here, we're going for effect and Drop Shadows are our first effect. Even those of you who think you know everything about Drop Shadows; get set to learn a few more things about them.
So spokesboy is selected, go down to the FX icon, that's where all of your ten layer effects reside, count them if you like. We're going to go ahead and choose Drop Shadow to bring up the massive Layer Style dialog box right here. Make sure Preview is turned on so you can see what you're doing. It is, by default, there is no reason it wouldn't be. I'm going to raise the Opacity value to 100% because again I'm not looking for subtlety where this composition is concerned and the blend mode is set to Multiply. The color is set to black. Now you could change that color. If you do change the color to something other than black, make sure the blend mode is set to Multiply if you want a shadow effect. There is a lot of other effects you can get if you want, but if you want a shadow effect, Multiply is your guide. However, if you're using black, it really doesn't matter; you can set this to Normal. And you're still going to get exactly the same effect, because black is black and after all black always darkens. It can't ever lighten.
But anyway, I'll leave it set to Multiply because it's not doing any harm and that is the default setting. Then we have an angle of 130 degrees. That's the angle at which the sun "fingers" the light source is hitting Max. So it's coming down from this angle. That means it's projecting the shadow in the opposite direction, which happens to be -50 degrees. So down this way. So just bear that in mind, that's the angle of the light. Use Global Light, go ahead and leave that checkbox turned on. What that does is it ensures that all of the directional effects work in the same direction and your directional effects include these, Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow and Bevel and Emboss. Those are your three directional effects. The glows are on the directional meaning that they trace all the way around the edges, either on the outside or the inside depending on whether it's Outer Glow or Inner Glow. Just something to bear in mind that will make even more sense as we work through these various effects.
I'm going to take the Distance value up to 14 pixels and I'll come down here to the Size value and take it up to 7 pixels just to give you an idea. The Distance is how far the shadow is away from the object that's casting it. So that's pretty easy. Size is the size of the blur, which blurs both in and out, and so it does grow the shadow even though it blurs it at the same time. You're going to notice the growth. I'll go ahead and take this pretty high, like so. Right now it just looks like we're blurring and blurring. So it's pretty much now I guess to a 49 pixel Gaussian Blur. But you can spread into that size, that's why it's called the Size value. By raising the Spread value and notice if you take the Spread all the way up to 100%, then Size does exactly what it says it does. It's growing and shrinking the shadow.
So you can go ahead and spread that shadow effect if you want a harsher effect or if you want to grow the shadow outward. We don't. So go ahead and reduce the Spread value to 0% and then I'm going to take, as I said, the Size value to 7 pixels. Now it's telling you where Distance is concerned, there is another way to handle Distance other than just entering it into this Distance value. You can actually drag the shadow around. Check this out. This not only affects Distance, see the other value that's changing, it affects Angle. If Use Global Light is turned on, that's going to end up changing the direction of all of your directional effects. So if you have some other Drop Shadows or Inner Shadows or Bevel and Emboss, apply to other layers inside of your composition.
Then they will all change as you drag the shadow around. So beware of that. Anyway, I want to reset things the way they were. Can I do an Undo? No, you can't undo that. How interesting is that! When I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac that undid my Spread modification. Thank you Photoshop, that was helpful. Let's change Angle back to 130 degrees and let's change Distance back to 14. I just want you to know. You can drag them if you want to; it's a heck of a trick. Let's actually go with a higher Size value for just a moment my friends. I'll take this up to 24 pixels and let's actually take the Distance value up too.
What Contour does is it changes the behavior of the edges of the shadow. So, for example, you could get kind of this in and out shadow effect here by changing the Contour to this one right there, Ring, or we've got this one next door, Ring Double and so on. We've got this lumpy guy right here that you can try a rounded step. Now they don't tend to be too useful for standard Drop Shadows. You typically just want to leave this set to Linear. Your other choice though when creating Drop Shadows can be Gaussian if you want a steep drop-off, meaning that you're going to have a harsher shadow effect and it's going to drop off rather rapidly right there at the end, then give Gaussian a try.
But most of the time, your standard everyday average Drop Shadow is going to be a Linear shadow. Anti-alias is only useful if your Contour has spikes in it. Ours does not. It's Linear so Anti- alias isn't going to do us any good. So you don't have to turn it on, no reason to do anything with it. Then Noise will give you noise, see, see that noisy shadow right there? Why would you ever want it to be noisy, because you're creating shadows for whiskers? No, this is the reason, because you're trying to match the noise that's inherent inside of a digital photograph. So if you're trying to do that, then you probably want a noise value under 10%. It's probably going to be somewhere around 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, something in that range. What you're going to do is zoom in, and by the way you can zoom in, when you have the Layer Style dialog box up on screen by Ctrl+Spacebar+Clicking or Command+Spacebar+Clicking on a Mac.
Then check out your noise and see if you can match it. Now I don't really have that much noise to speak of inside of this image, I'm not really interested in matching it anyway. So I'm just going to leave my Noise set to 0%. Finally, Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow, I showed you how this checkbox behaves in a previous chapter, but I'm going to show you again just because here we are and I want you to know everything. If I were to switch over to Blending Options right here and I were to reduce the Fill Opacity to 0, then notice that Max still knocks out his Drop Shadow.
So Max is a hole inside of his own Drop Shadow unless I were to switch back to the Drop Shadow option here and then turn off Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow, then you would just see a big shadow on screen. So it's great for blurring type. That's what I was telling you before. But not so good for Max, might as well keep this turned on. Let's go ahead and set Max back to a Fill Opacity of 100% and let's reset those values to where I said I want in the first place. 14 for Distance, 7 for Size, these are your settings.
Go ahead and Click OK if you want to or just stay inside this dialog box because we're not done. In the next exercise, we're going to take care of these hairs. We're going to make them look much better and we're going to do so using, believe it or not, an Inner Shadow. Stay tuned.
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