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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.
I've saved my progress as Bulb and base.psd, found inside the 27_pen_tool folder, and we're going to take this path outline that we've constructed almost entirely using just the Rectangle and Ellipse tools, just a little bit of Pen tool action down here at the bottom of the base, and we are going to refine the path outline so that it looks absolutely right, much as we refined the path outline for the magazine spread. The difference is that this is a more complicated path outline, so it's very possible we're going to encounter a few new issues. Now, if you're working along with me, your path outline might have slightly different problems than mine and so you're going to have to evaluate your path outline as you move along.
Now my outline needs work in this region here, down here at the base, a little bit of action over on the left-hand side, and then on the right side of the glass, we've got quite a few problems going on and they're not that evident from this distance, but once we start zooming in you'll see them. Anyway, let's start things off with the most obvious problem, this guy right there. So, I'll press the A key as many times as it takes to give me my White Arrow tool and then I will click on this path outline. This assumes that the vector mask is active as it is for me.
I'll click on this point to make it active and then I'm going to drag it downwards and I'm pressing the Shift key as I drag to constrain the angle of my drag to exactly vertical. Anyway, that guy had to come down in order to include what I'm calling this love handle over on the right-hand side. And then I'll zoom in just to make sure that I've got this guy where he needs to be. He was actually right where he needed to be. How about this guy? It seems like he is coming out too far but no, that's right, so I'll go ahead and undo that maneuver. I might click on this point and just arrow him over a little bit, just nudge him out.
All right, so this area definitely needs work here. We're going to add a point along this edge because the bottom of the base actually curves inward, and so I'll press the P key in order to switch to my Pen tool and for some reason, I have the Freeform Pen tool selected. That's not right. I'll go ahead and click on the Pen tool to make it active instead and I'll click in the middle of this segment here in order to add a point and this is a smooth point that's gotten added by default here. I'll go ahead and Ctrl+drag it inward just so I can see where that edge is, and then Ctrl+drag it back into place. It's a little hard to see this region because there is not that much contrast going on.
It looks like this also bends outward here, so I'm going to take this control handle and just drag it down ever so slightly like so. Next, I'm going to create a point over on the other side, right there in the middle of that straight segment, Ctrl+ drag it in, so that I can see the edge. That's a Cmd+drag on the Mac by the way and then I'll Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag it back into place like so and I might need to Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag this control handle in order to nudge it down a little bit as well. By the way, you can't nudge control handles, those little circles that are at the end of the levers that are attached to the square anchor points.
You can't nudge them using the arrow keys. You can nudge the anchor points but not the control handles. We''ll also see that you can segments if you want to, but they have to be curved segments. Anyway, I'm going to click along this straight segment right there in the middle in order to add a smooth point and I'll move it down and I'll go ahead and drag these control handles quite a bit outward and when I say I'm dragging I'm Ctrl+dragging. I've got the Control key down or the Cmd key down on the Mac, so that I'm temporarily accessing that White Arrow tool. Incidentally, it doesn't matter if the last Arrow tool selected was the Black Arrow tool, so I just switched over to it here.
Then, if I switch to the Pen tool and I press and hold the Control key or the Cmd key, Photoshop is smart enough to know I want the White Arrow tool, because I'm making point by point modifications. All right, now I'll go ahead and scroll up here to the top of the image and I'll Ctrl+click or Cmd+click on this point and just nudge that out a little bit. Here's a problem, right there, this edge should come down a little, and so, I'm going to Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag this point down to this location and that actually looks pretty fine.
I might need to Ctrl+click or Cmd+ click on this anchor point and nudge it outward by pressing the Left Arrow key a couple of times. All right, now let's go to that problem area that I was talking about on the right-hand side of the bulb. Notice that we have an awful lot of points on this right-hand side and if I zoom in here it looks like we've got two points next to each other. So, I'm going to switch to the White Arrow tool just because I need to do some more careful analysis here by pressing the A key a couple of times in my case and then I will drag one of these points just to see sure enough I have two points that are very nearly coincident. And when I say coincident, I don't mean it's coincidental that they're here.
I mean that they're on top of each other, they're occupying the same physical space. So, when you have something like that happening, you basically want to get rid of both of the points. That's my experience, because when they're nearly right on top of each other, they're messed up points, and they don't have the right kind of curvature associated with them. So, I'm going to switch to the Pen tool here by pressing the P key and I'm going to click on one of these points to delete it and then I'm going to click on the other point to delete it as well. Now that's going to create problems with that control handle. it's going to droop down too far. You can end up seeing even worse problems than that sometimes.
Now, I'm going to take away some more points here because they're all kind of messed up. Look at those two guys right on top of each other. That's no good, so I'm going to click on one and click on the other to delete them as well and there's still yet another point there. I'll click again to get rid of it. I'm just going to click to get rid of a lot of these points, because we've got a lot of flumps going on and we shouldn't have these kinds of edges. Look at this guy. This is a messed up point, check that out. The control handle's going in totally the wrong direction here and that kind of stuff can happen when you've got a lot of points clustered together, when the math didn't get done quite properly with the Combine command or the shapes were overlapping in different ways than you might have expected, then you can end up with some aberrant points.
When you see them, the best thing to do is get rid of them. Go ahead and click on that point with the Pen tool to delete it. All right, we have the points that we really need, which at this point down at the bottom, we want to keep this point at the base. It's shooting straight up. Notice that that control handle's going straight up which is exactly what we want. We want straightness at that location and we have another point at the top and that one's going straight down, the control handle's going straight down. That's precisely what we're looking for. So let's click midway between the two like so and then I'll drag this point outward. I'm actually Ctrl+dragging or Cmd+ dragging that point outward, so that I'm moving it with the White Arrow tool and I need to change my control handles a little bit so I'll Ctrl+drag or Cmd+ drag that control handle down like so, just so that we're nudging it a little farther down so that we're accurately tracing this edge and we're sending this control handle, the opposite one, inward as well.
And you know what, I'm now seeing a white edge right there. I didn't want that, so, I'm going to put that back, I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that modification and now that edge looks really good, actually. Let's see the other side. The other side looks fine, where my bulb is concerned. So I'm done. This actually looks great. Now, you may say well, this area isn't exactly accurate. it shouldn't be a big bump and then straight and a big bump and then straight. Actually, I think it is pretty accurate. If I click on the mask in order to deactivate it for a moment and just take a look at what I'm seeing here, this looks like I'm following the contours pretty nicely.
This area here, possibly a little unrealistic. If I would Alt+click or Option+click in the eyeball in front of the Background layer, ah, look at that. that is straight right there. It goes straight down. It doesn't have that little hitch associated with it, but otherwise, we do have a hump, straight, hump, straight. That's pretty indicative of how the light bulb is shaped. That's pretty indicative of how this base area is shaped. So, All right, I'll go ahead and Alt+ click or Option+click on that eyeball again to bring back my Layers and let's see what kind of adjustment we might make here.
I will switch to the White Arrow tool for a moment by pressing the A key, click on this path outline to make it active. Oh look! Look at that. We definitely have some points nearly right on top of each other. So I'll press the P key in order to switch to the Pen tool. Now, here is the weird thing. If I want to get rid, I'm so zoomed in that I can see the pixel grid, but if I press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H, I not only hide the pixel grid, I also hide the path outline that I'm working on. So I'll have to press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H again to bring them both back. If you just want the pixel grid gone for a second here, then go up to the View menu, choose Show and choose Pixel Grid to turn it off, and you'll still see the path outline.
All right, so, I want to get rid of that point and I think I might want to get rid of that point too. Actually, I think that worked out beautifully. that looks great, and then I'll Ctrl+ drag or Cmd+drag this control handle out just a little bit and then we get this sloping edge right there. By the way, when I was Ctrl+dragging it or Cmd+dragging it on the Mac when I was doing this number, I also pressed the Shift key so that it constrained that lever so it's perfectly vertical and that's what I want, so that we have this lever coming down out of this point at a vertical angle, very important.
All right, so now, I'm going to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool, so that I have a vector-unfriendly tool selected so I can't mess up my vectors and I'm going to click on that vector mask to deselect it. I can still see the effects of the vector mask of course and they're looking pretty darn fine. In the next exercise, we will employ this vector mask in order to create a glowing effect around the light bulb.
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