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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.
In this exercise, we're going to make the clouds appear to be in front of the moon using the Underlying Layer slider right here. I'm still working inside the document called Inexplicable darkness. psd, selected the Moon layer and applied the settings you see here inside this dialog box. That's where we're at, in case you want to join us. All right, so let's say I want to expose part of the background. I could drag one of these slider triangles, either the dark one or the light one right there, black or white. If I drag the black one over to the right, eventually, I'll start to expose the dark sections of the sky. So, I'm forcing the composite area through the Moon layer and the only layer that's below the Moon layer is Thin sky right now. So, that's the only thing that's getting forced through, of course.
At this point, I'm saying, if any section of the sky has a Luminance level of 125 composite or darker, then we cannot cover it up with the moon, essentially. It's going to be forced on through and if it's 125 or lighter, then you can cover it up and that would be the clouds. So, the moon is covering up the sections of the clouds, anyway. Well, it's obviously the opposite of what we want, so let's go ahead and reset that guy where he belongs and then let's grab this guy right here and move it over and I'm going to take it all the way to -- let's actually take it all the way to 40, just to come and say, "Well, no, let's not, that goes too far." I could take it to something like what? 115 let's say and now I'm saying if it's 115 or brighter, then it's going to force through, the moon cannot cover it up, no matter what. Let me show you what that means. At 115 or darker, the moon can cover it. So the dark stuff can be covered, the light stuff cannot be covered by the moon.
So, I clicked OK. We're out here in the moon now, and watch me move the moon. Notice the moon, no matter how hard it tries, bless its little soul, cannot cover up those light sections of the sky. They're just impenetrable, thanks to that Underlying Layer slider bar. All right, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z to undo that movement. I'm going to double-click on the moon again to bring back up the Layer Style dialog box. Of course, let's go ahead and zoom in on the moon right there and we have some very harsh transitions, some very jagged edges.
Now, this Underlying Layer, I'll just say one thing about the name of this option, it should be Underlying Layers, because if there is multiple layers behind moon, then they all work together in order to force through the Moon layer. So, that's just something to bear in mind. This layer is named correctly, you can only modify one layer at a time. But many underlying layers can force through the active layer here. All right, now that I've set that, we've got some jagged edges, of course, what do we do, we drag the slider triangle on half and you do that by Alt+Dragging or Option+Dragging the right half of the triangle where you can also, if you want to, you can Alt+Drag or Option+Drag the left half of the triangle, where you just have to drag it to the left to make that occur.
Now that they're separated, I don't have to do any Alt+Dragging anymore unless I move them together. If I move them together, they're going to become conjoined, again, like so. But as long as you keep them apart by Alt+Dragging or Option+Dragging there, they will remain separate. So, now I'm not pressing any key, I'm just dragging things around. I'm going to drag this guy to 40, so I've got 40/150. So, what this means is if it's darker than 40, it's opaque, if it's lighter than 150, it's transparent and anything in between varies. So, it starts being opaque there, drifts off to transparent by this point.
Click OK, let's go ahead and zoom out and see what we've come up with. That's a pretty natural interaction of moon and clouds right there, but I'd like the moon to appear even more dimmed than this. I want the effect to be pretty subtle. So, I'm going to press Shift+2 in order to reduce the Fill Opacity to 20% right there. Of course, that assumes that one of your Selection tools is active, such as the Rectangular Marquee. You get this wonderfully, wonderfully realistic effect right there. I think it looks actually just splendid and I'll go ahead and zoom in so that we're seeing the effect at the 100% view size right there.
What a beautiful moon it is! Do not forget those Luminance Exclusion slider bars, say all your friends, on more occasions and I think most of us give them credit for. You can use them up, down and sideways, in all kinds of scenarios. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to load a path outline as a layer mask and then modify that layer mask inside of the new Masks palette.
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