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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.
We are going start things off with the Puppet Warp command, which is new to Photoshop CS5, and we are going to see how Puppet Warp works in the context of this photograph. It comes to us from U.P. Images of the Fotolia Image Library. And I have gone ahead and called this file Jump puppet.psd found inside the 23_warp folder. Now we're going to be distorting this central guy. Part of my problem with this guy is that his arms look a little bit too short to me. And it might be because he is sort of flinging them backwards and so there's a little bit of foreshortening going on.
But I want to stretch him out, and I want to stretch his legs too and make him look just long as heck, and that's something we can do very easily with Puppet Warp. I am also going to distort this live editable text down here, and we'll see how all of that works once we've extracted this guy and placed him on his own layer. Now you can go ahead and distort images against a flat background if you want to. However if you do that, you are going to squish the background, and you are going to go have all kinds of distortion going on in the background that you are going to have to resolve.
It's usually easier to extract the subject of your distortion and then apply Puppet Warp to an independent layer. So I have gone ahead and created an independent Alpha Channel here inside the Channels panel. You can see it, if you click on the Alpha Channel, it's called mask, and he appears white against the black background that way we can select him and not select the background. I created this mask using a combination of the Color Range and Refine Edge functions, and we will see how to create professional quality Alpha Channels when we take a look at masking essentials inside the Mastery portion of this series.
But for now I would just like you to load the mask up. So switch to the RGB image and Ctrl+ Click or on a Mac Cmd+Click on that mask channel in order to load it as the selection outline. Now I am going to switch to the Layers panel and normally when I'm working with the mask I'll go ahead and create a copy of the layer, and then I will apply a layer mask to it. But in this case, we are going to go ahead and jump the pixels, that is the selected pixels. So they're completely extracted away from any background, and that tends to work better. That tends to be the best approach when you're working with the Puppet Warp command.
So press Ctrl+Alt+J or Cmd+Option+J on the Mac, and I will go ahead and call this guy Jumpist and click OK in order to create a copy of the dude. Now we got a big problem at this point. He is nicely masked By the way, so that's not a problem. The problem is there is two of him. So if I move him or end up distorting him or anything like that then I'm going to leave remnant of that exact same guy. He is doppelganger is going to appear in the background, and then everyone will know I've done something to the image. We can't have that.
So I need to get rid of him in the background and then replace him with blue sky and to do that I am going to take advantage of Content-Aware Fill, another new feature inside Photoshop CS5 that we've seen a few times now. But I want you to see how well it works against this background, and also because it's not entirely magical. Anyway I will press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac to Undo the movement of that guy, and I want to load back up the selection outline that had just a moment ago. There is a different ways to do that. I am going to switch back to sky & grass.
I could go to the Channels panel and reload the mask, because we need to use the mask to get rid of him that is, so that we have just sky in the background. However, that would require so much effort to go back to the Channels panel. Now Photoshop provides a command specifically for this purpose to retrieve your last selection outline, and it's under the Select menu, and it's called Reselect. The amazing thing about this command it's got a keyboard shortcut, and it almost never works. I find it is never available when I need it. I mean we just had the selection a second ago.
I haven't done anything and Reselect is dimmed. Anyway that's pretty typical. I just want you to know it's there though, in case one day you find it useful. In the meantime, however, I have got the selection outline right there on my Jumpist layer, so all I need to do is Ctrl+Click or Cmd+Click on the Jumpist layer, the one I just created, and I retrieve that exact same selection outline, because it's part and parcel of the so called transparency mask that's built in to this layer. Anyway, now I have gone ahead and selected this guy. I want to give myself a little extra margin because I'm going to be filling this using that Content-Aware Fill feature, and I don't want to have a bunch of a little edges showing up.
I don't want like his outline to be visible. So I'll go up to the Select menu, and I'll choose Modify, and I will choose the Expand command, and that's going to grow the selection, and I am going to expand this selection by let's say 10 pixels. Click OK, just to give him a nice margin. Then I will turn off the Jumpist layer, so we can see the effects of what we are about to do here, and to invoke the Content-Aware Fill feature, I will bring up the Fill dialog box which you can get by choosing the Fill command from the Edit menu or just press Shift+ Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac.
Notice that I have Contents set to Use Content-Aware. That's what I want you to do as well. mode Normal, 100% Opacity, don't worry about Preserve Transparency just click OK. Photoshop does its thing where it's looking outside the selection outline to find all the junk it's going to use. On the current layer, that is, it's not going to grab a bunch of stuff from the Jump Puppet layer here, and it ends up filling in the selection outline using the stuff it found outside the selection. And as I've mentioned before, I think, it goes ahead and yanks multiple sources, so it pulls multiple sources from the image, that is, it clones from multiple areas, and it does a little bit of wrapping on top of the selection, does a pretty radically cool job.
However, notice as soon as you press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on the Mac to deselect the image, you can still see it. You know what I mean? It's still there. You can see sort of a sky colored dude jumping in the air. So it's not flawless and if it bothers you, which it normally would. If I didn't have anything else going on in this image this would be a problem, that I have a silhouette of a guy jumping, then I might go in with the Healing Brush and try to touch up some details, or you could go ahead and draw a few more selections and do a few more Content-Aware Fills and see where it get you.
But we have got a distracting element in the foreground here, the jumpist, and I think he's going to prove sufficiently distracting that folks aren't really to be analyzing his background too much, and they are not going to see that silhouette hanging out there in the background. That's kind of like that magician's trick where one hand is distracting you while the other is doing the trick, and you can do that inside imagery as well. But in this case, the subject of the composition is the thing that's going to be distracting the audience. Anyway, we have now extracted him to his own distracting layer. In the next exercise, we will invoke the Puppet Warp command.
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