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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
Another advantage to Smart Filters is that you can apply them to editable text and vector-based shape layers as well. So I'm working here inside Mirror man.psd. It's another variation on that low resolution composition that we saw back in the previous chapter. The original image comes to us from Olly of the Fotolia Image Library, took the right half of the guy's face and flipped it, so he's absolutely symmetrical and a bit menacing as well. So notice that we have these Text layers and this Shape layer. Go ahead and select one of the Text layers and then go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur; really any old filter will do at this point.
You'll get an alert message that says, hey, if you want to apply a filter, which is only applicable, by the way, to a pixel-based image layer, then you're going to have to rasterize this text, meaning convert it to pixels, is that something you want to do? And the answer is of course not, Cancel out. What you've got to do is first convert your text to a Smart Object. So I'm going to click on one of the Text layers, Shift+click on the other. We're not going to integrate the Shape layer into this. by the way. We're going to apply some different effects to the Shape layer. So just go ahead and grab the two Text layers.
Go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, or if you loaded dekeKeys, press Ctrl+Comma, Cmd +Comma on the Mac, and we now have a Smart Object. Now, go up to the Filter menu. There are a handful of different filters you can apply to text and have them take any effect. I mean, bear in mind that what we have here is a couple of Text layers that are completely filled with white. So there is no Color or Luminance variation going on, so there's not much for the filters to work with, unless they're Edge Detection Filters, things like your Gaussian Blur and your Unsharp Mask and so on.
For example, two really great filters where text is concerned are these guys down here. Under the Other submenu, we've got Minimum and Maximum. Maximum is going to choke your text, so it's going to make your text thinner, where Minimum is going to spread your text, it's going to make your text thicker. Now, I know that sounds exactly the opposite of what you would expect. If you're applying Minimum to the text, how does that make it bigger? What's going on there? Well, Maximum is increasing the size of the transparency mask, so the mask is actually the transparent area, is actually squeezing the text inward, whereas Minimum is reducing the size of the transparency mask, so in other words, it's growing the opaque area.
That's what we want in our case. I want to thicken up these letters a little, so that I'm bringing in thicker Serifs and so on, because this is a pretty fragile typeface, Trajan, here. So I'll go ahead and choose Minimum, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Shift+F12. You can change this Radius value in whole number increments. Notice as I increase the Radius, that that text grows thicker and thicker and thicker. Anyway, we don't want to go too thick with it. A 1 pixel Radius is just fine for this low resolution image here. If you're working in a higher resolution image, then you could go with a higher Radius value.
Just bear in mind, whole pixel increments is all you've got. All right, click OK in order to accept that change. Now go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur, Shift+F7 if you loaded dekeKeys. Again, I'm going to go with a 1 pixel Radius, so just a little bit of Blur. Click OK. I want the text to exclusively Blur outward. I'm basically trying to change the shape of the letters ever so slightly one filter at a time, but I want to make sure to scoot the Blur out. So I'm going to double-click on the Settings icon to the right of Gaussian Blur in the Layers panel, and I'm going to switch the mode from Normal to Screen.
Because I'm working with Light Text, that will move the Blur outward. Sure enough, you'll see the size of the letters grow ever so slightly, sort of an infinitesimal change, but it does matter. It's about a half a pixel difference onscreen. Click OK in order to apply that modification. Now, again, Gaussian Blur is very much like an Outer Glow Effect at this point. This is pretty similar to what you'd get if you applied a 1 pixel Outer Glow to your text. So you may wonder why in the world you would do it. I mean, applying an Outer Glow would be so much easier, you wouldn't need a Smart Object which requires you to double-click on the thumbnail if you want to edit your type, what a hassle.
And admittedly, that's all true, but what we're doing, again, we're trying to change the shape of the letters a little bit at a time to get a specific effect. Meanwhile, I don't need this Filter Mask, so I'm going to get rid of it, because our Layers panel is going to grow pretty crowded over time here. So I'm going to right-click on that Filter Mask thumbnail and I'm going to choose Delete Filter Mask in order to get rid of it. All right, next what we're going to do here is we're going to up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Motion Blur. Now, Motion Blur is an entirely different kind of Blur than you can achieve using a layer Effect.
There is no Motion layer Effect. There is no Radial or Zoom layer Effect and so on. So I'll choose Motion Blur. These are the settings I'm going to apply; an Angle value of 0 degrees and a Distance of a 100 pixels. That turns our text into basically like a transporter beam or something like that. It's entirely illegible at this point. That's fine. Click OK. We can bring the legibility back by applying a Blend mode. So go over to the Settings icon. Double-click on it.
I want you to switch the mode from Normal to Screen, so we end up getting this effect here. It's pretty nifty. Now, I'll click OK. Then finally, I'm going to go up. This one is weird by the way. The next step may sort of misbehave on you. I have a feeling it's a little bit buggy, but I'll show you a way to exploit the bug in a good way. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Stylize, and choose Find Edges. Now, what Find Edges does is it looks for areas of rapid Luminance transition, which there are none.
We don't have any areas of Luminance transition. Everything is white inside of these letters. It goes ahead and traces those areas with black is the idea. Well, it also has the habit of tracing real edges around the layers with black, and then it also has a habit of misbehaving in that department. So let's see what it does. I'll go ahead and choose Find Edges. With any luck, you should see these very skinny black outlines around your text. But now, check this out, I'm going to go ahead and double-click, let's say, on the Settings icon associated with Motion Blur.
Go ahead and double-click on that. Photoshop is going to say, hey, you know what, you're only going to see Motion Blur down here. You're not going to see the effects of Find Edges or anything higher as long as you're modifying these settings. I don't want to see this message anymore. I'm kind of sick of it by now. So I'm going to say, Don't show again, and I'll click OK. Then sure enough, Find Edges disappears from view. I'm just going to Cancel out for a moment and see if it changes. Well, it didn't change that time. Let's try something else. This time I'm going to double- click on the words Motion Blur.
It made Find Edges disappear. I'm seeing now the Motion Blur dialog box. Fair enough, I'm not going to make any changes again. I'm just going to click OK this time and see what happens. Notice that the Find Edges Filter just changed on me. It went ahead and gave me thicker edges this time around. But it gets more remarkable still. Now, there is some weird relationship between Find Edges and Motion Blur, because notice, if I turn off Motion Blur for a second, then we get much skinnier edges out of Find Edges this time around. Those edges grow much thinner. So I'm going to turn Motion Blur back on and they grow thicker again, good.
What if I don't want these weird motion trails between the letters? They look kind of cool, but after a while I'm deciding that's not really the look I'm going for, but I want to keep those thick edges. Well, check this out. Go over to the slider icons here, for Motion Blur specifically, double-click on them. Find Edges will disappear for a second. Change the Opacity value to 0, so that we're not seeing the effect anymore. Click OK. Now we're seeing these thin edges again. Let's go back to Motion Blur. Double-click on the words Motion Blur.
Don't do anything inside this dialog box. Click OK. Now we get our thick edges back. What in the world is going on here? I have no idea. But there is, A, a weird relationship between these two filters; Find Edges and Motion Blur, where text in particular is concerned, and B, it's pretty buggy. So if you need to reset how Find Edges is working, my experience is you double-click on Motion Blur, behind it, the words Motion Blur that is, to bring up the Motion Blur dialog box.
Ignore it, don't do anything, just click Cancel, and things should get fixed. Another thing you can try is double-click on that Settings icon associated with Find Edges. That sometimes works for me too. Then don't do anything here either. Just click Cancel and that might fix the problem too if you're running into it. Anyway, this is what you should ultimately get, this freak of nature type here, I'm not sure why it's happening, but it is a unique effect, in that you're not going to get this kind of specific tracing out of any of the layer Effects. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to dress up these filtered effects using reasonably behaved layer Effects here inside Photoshop.
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