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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.
Now, I was telling you we're going to create our own Custom layer comp, and of course we are, we'll be doing that. But first, I want to show you another great thing about layer comps. Another reason I really recommend that you work with them is because if you have any experience with Photoshop you kind of already know this, but what tends to happen is you create an elaborate layered composition, just all kinds of stuff going on, all kinds of different effects, different blend modes. It was a project of discovery for you. You figured out things you didn't know before. You tried out new effects. Three or four years later you're looking at that composition going, that thing wasn't half bad, how the heck did I achieve that effect, what did I do? Layer comps can be your friend where that is concerned.
Now, it's been years since I created this composition, and I was honestly just about half an hour ago going, how in the world did I get this TV Lines Effect, because its a little different than some other stuff that I've tried out. Just to give you an idea of how long ago I created this composition. I originally created it for my Photoshop CS One-on-One book, so four versions back. I'm going to go ahead and back up to the Surveillance layer comp right here, and incidentally, in case you're wondering, I'm working inside of a document called Layer comps project.psd. All right. So I'm switching back to Surveillance, just to get those Hadrosaur elements out of the way. I'm going to zoom in on this illustration to 100%; I'm pressing Ctrl+1 or Command+1 on the Mac. I'll sort of scoot this guy over a little bit. Let's go ahead and collapse the Layer Comps palette to just a little dinky floating icon right there.
All right. Now, we can see that we've got these video lines, but not only do we have video lines; I don't know if you can see this or not, let's zoom in a little farther just to make sure, because we downsample these videos and sometimes we lose details. We've got a series of horizontal lines, but we also have this kind of pattern of almost diagonal lines going on. Then we have this darkening and lightening effect, which is indicative of old style sort of CRT television. That's what; these bad dinosaurs are still using old technology, for whatever reason. So question becomes of course, how in the world did I get this effect? The best way to check is to go over to the Layers palette and start playing around, turning things on and off. I've got this one layer right here called Video lines. Well, that seems to me it probably has something to do with the video lines here, so I'll turn it off. That got rid of the alternating horizontal lines, but we still have this half tone pattern in here. What gives? Also, we have this kind of weird drifty colors.
So I'll go ahead and twirl open TV adjustments, this group, and scroll down a little bit. Now I've got this greenish layer, and what it does is it's a Hue/Saturation layer that just spins the colors 105 degrees; I just happen to know that. But if I didn't of course I could just click on and bring up the Adjustments palette or double click, by the way, double clicking on an adjustment layer will go ahead and expand the Adjustments palette, if it's not already expanded. But anyway, so it's good to know that you can expand the palette just by double clicking on an adjustment layer. I'll go and make it small again. So you start right there, 105 Hue Rotation. I enhance the Saturation value as well. This becomes important, because when I turn it off, why then, all of a sudden this is almost like a Sepia Tone in the background, it's very red actually. That's a function of this duotone layer, which is a Gradient Map layer, and you could double click on it to see its settings if you wanted to.
I'm just going to turn it off here, and I'll reveal that I do have something of a half tone pattern going on here. That's a function of this Color halftone layer that we'll come to in second. But first, I'm going to zoom out so that we can see these alternating sort of fading patterns. That's the function of this interference layer right there, that I'll go ahead and turn off; actually, first I'll click on it and I'll see its set to Multiply, so its darkening things. If I turn it off, that kind of goes away. I also have this Levels Adjustment right there, that's sort of working around some of that interference pattern that I have setup as a dimmed layer mask, and I'll go ahead and turn off that layer as well so that you can see in the background that we've got this very obvious Color Halftone Effect, that's a function of the Color halftone layer there.
I'm going to click on that Color halftone layer and you can see its set to Soft Light. Well, my Rectangular Marquee tool is active, as it always is, so I can press Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N to switch to the Normal mode. You'll see it's just this Color halftone effect. All I did by the way, folks, in case you're curious, in case you want to create some effects like this yourselves, I went ahead and filled this layer. So I'll do it in front of you, right here. Go to the Edit menu, choose Fill. I could press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac, and then I change contents to 50% gray. Then I clicked OK, and it looked like this. Looked pretty gray I think.
Then I went to the Filter menu and I chose Pixelate; this command right there, and I chose Color Halftone. Now, this is a filter I've not explained to you before, and I shan't be explaining to you again. This will be our only time seeing this filter, because a lot of the filters are just wacky effects filters, and that don't come into use very often. But I'll go ahead and choose Color Halftone. Then I went ahead and made the Max Radius 4, and I sat there and ignored all the other options. I don't care, whatever. Do your thing. I clicked OK, and then I ended up getting this effect there. Nice, except really not, really ugly, it covers up everything.
Then I went to the Blend Mode menu right there. I fooled around with these guys, with the various Contrast mode, and I came up with Soft Light, giving me a really great effect, like that right there. So we're mixing the Halftone pattern along with the underlying original image. So there is the image without the Halftones on top of it. There's the image with the Halftones, and somehow all these things end up glomming together in order to create the desired effect. Now, I've made a mess of my Layers palette at this point. I've turned some on, I've turned some off. Now, I've got to go through and turn on the layers that I want to use and leave the layers that I don't want to use farther up the palette here turned off, or because I had the foresight to create layer comps, I'll go ahead and expand my Layer Comps palette once again. Notice Surveillance is active, which doesn't really matter for our purposes; we'll see where it becomes useful in the next exercise. But we've lost our little page icon, because its gone over here to Last Document State, which is the very state that we're looking at right now, which doesn't have a name associated with it, its just a temporary state.
So notice, if I click in front of Surveillance, I go back to where I was before. So I reinstate all that goodness that I had in place. I'm not penalized in other words for exploring the Layers palette and figuring out what was going on. Check this out. I can go back to Last Document State if I want to. If I decide, you know, I want to save this state; I can go back to it. But you can only go back to one last temporary state, just be aware of that, and then you could save it out if you wanted to. Anyway, I'm going to go back to Surveillance. I'd like you to do that as well if you're working along with me. Then I want you to sit down and eagerly await the next exercise, in which I show you how layer comps can get grumpy with you and what you do about that. Stay tuned.
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