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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 this exercise I am going to show you how to expand and contract the mesh inside of the Puppet Warp mode and why you might want to do such a thing. I've saved my progress as About yea big.psd, found inside the 23_distort folder. I'm working inside the Puppet Warp mode right now. Up here in the options bar you can see this option called Expansion, and that's the one that we will be working with over the course of this exercise. But before I show you how it works, I want you to note the pins that we have set down so far because one of the unfortunate side effects of modifying that Expansion value especially if you go with a negative value is you end up losing pins inside of your warp.
So let's check out the pins that we have so far. I've got three pins in the head, then I've got three pins apiece associated with each one of the arms. I've got a pin in the hand, one in the elbow, one in the shoulder, and then I've got a pin apiece for the love handles here, the thighs, and the knees as well. We'll see how a few of those are going to disappear on this here. Now, notice this Expansion value by default is set to 2 pixels. If I turn on the Mesh which I can do from the keyboard By the way, by pressing Ctrl+H, or Cmd+H on the Mac. That same command that allows me to hide and show the edges.
Then I can see that mesh, and I can see that it's actually extending 2 pixels beyond the perimeter of the layer itself. That gives us a little bit of wiggle room for our distortions. But let's say for some reason you don't want any wiggle room. You want to go ahead and crop this mesh so the results are as sharp as possible. Why then you would reduce the Expansion value, and I am going to set it to -10, for example, like so, and then press the Enter key or the Return key once to accept that numerical modification, and notice that I've now cropped inward on the layer.
So not only am I limiting the mesh to 10 pixels inward from the perimeter of the layer, but I'm cropping the layer as well. That gives me some very sharp edges. If I press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H on the Mac and zoom in on this guy, here you can see that we have jagged edges around his arm and around his mullet as well, his hair looks terrible. But not only does his hair look terrible, I would venture to say his hands look quite unsightly as well. So we're losing all kinds of detail around this edge.
Not necessarily the kind of thing you are going to do on a regular basis, but I do want you to notice that this option is here. I am going to reduce Expansion to its absolute lowest value, which is -20, like so, and notice what's happened. I've completely lost his arms at this point, and I've lost a lot of points. I have lost the elbow points, the hand points, love handle points, and the knee points. So that's a total of 8 points out the window that I just completely lost. Even if I increase this Expansion value up to something normal like let's say 0 pixels, well that goes ahead and brings back his arms and his legs and so forth, but we've still lost the pins.
Now you might think that you could go ahead and restore your last settings. The settings that you had previously applied here inside the Puppet Warp mode, and if this were another command, why then I can go up to this Arrow icon right there, and click on it, but notice that's not going to reset my settings. It's going to remove all the pins. So if I click on it, things get even worse, because I just threw away all the pins that I had assigned to the guy. Your only option is to take advantage of the one level undo which is Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac, but that went ahead, didn't do anything for my points.
They are still gone. It went ahead and restored my negative Expansion value; so things just get worse and worse for me here. Your real option is to press the Escape key. So you escape out of the Puppet Warp mode, and then you go ahead and double-click on Puppet Warp here inside the Layers panel assuming that you're working with the Smart Object, which you definitely should be when you're working with this command, and then you will restore the last applied settings which for me are the settings that I saved along with the About yea big.psd file.
Let's go ahead and zoom in on this guy for just a minute. Let's take advantage of the potential utility of positive Expansion values. So for starters here I will set the Expansion to 0 pixels just so you can see what would happen if we didn't have any Expansion whatsoever. If we were to crop the distortion to the exact perimeter of layer, then we would end up getting these sharp edges around the mullet; that is his hair, and around the edge of his arm, and so on. If we wanted to soften things a little bit, then you would arrow this option up.
So in other words I've have got the Expansion option active here, and then I just press the Up-arrow key in order to increase that value, and notice at 3 pixels he gets this joyful smile right there and then at 4 pixels, he ends up getting sort of this sloping effect on the right side of his face. That's something else to bear in mind. When you expand or contract that mesh, not only do you get softer details around the edge, which we are now, and you get better hair details, for example, but you also change the very nature of your distortion.
Now what would be nice is if I could take this pin, this one that's over on the right-hand side of his smile, and I could drag it to a different location; that is without actually dragging the pixels around, I could just move the pin. That is not currently an option inside Photoshop. If the pin is in a wrong location, you have to Alt+Click or Option+Click on it in order to delete that pin, and then click in order to add a pin at a different location. So I've clicked underneath the jaw. I am dragging it up. I might click over here on his cheek as well, and drag up that point.
That ends up producing a pretty nice effect because I like the idea of him smiling. He is looking pretty joyful there. He has got kind of an Abraham Lincoln grimace going, but that's okay. Now, Oh my gosh! I just tried to add a pin at a location that was too close to the other ones there, and I got this error message, what's going on there? Well I'll explain exactly what's up with that option. It's linked to this setting right there Density, and I'll show you how that works in the very next exercise.
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