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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as a document called Major lens distortion.psd, because I have applied a ton of distortion to this image. The image is found inside of the 29_new_ tech folder, even though it relies on some very old technology including Spherize, which came to us in version 1.0 of the software. Now, those of you who know a thing or two about Photoshop might say, Why did you choose Spherize, Deke? Why didn't you go up to the Filter menu and choose Distort, and choose Lens Correction? It's a newer function, isn't it better? And in truth, it does provide a lot more options, but here's the thing.
Lens Correction always distorts across both the vertical and horizontal axis. You can't limit it to one or the other. In our case, we have to limit it to the horizontal axis in order get this effect. So we had to use Sphrize, where Photoshop's native filters are concerned anyway. All right, we have pretty much limited our modifications to the background. Now I have gone nuts with this distortion, you probably won't apply so much distortion in your own photographs, but it's for the sake of demonstration here. I want you to see that you can't distort a background like crazy while leaving the foreground elements intact.
Now if you're feeling like you went a little bit too far with the foreground elements, as I do, then you can go ahead and mask this distortion layer right here, to reveal the unmodified family layer in the background. And if I turn off distortion for a moment, you can see that the daughter has more going on in the shoulder department and her hips as well have gotten sort of shaved away by this distortion, she is much too skinny here. Also, the other family members have got modified slightly, like the son has a slightly narrower face in the original photograph, and the angle of his body is a little different as well. So we're fortunate in that dad's head divides the distorted portion of the house from the undistorted portion of the home, so that we have a forgiving edge right here that we can mask to, and that's what we're going to do. So go ahead and turn the distortion layer back on to make it active and then I'm going to add a layer mask like so.
You know what, actually before we go any farther with this, I'm going to go ahead and crop the image down to a more reasonable size, and I'll use the Crop tool to do that, so that I don't lose any of my layered information there. So I'll select the Crop tool, I'm going to drag about right here, and I want to snap to this edge, not this one, because that's the background image, but this edge right here, that's the foreground image. I might even tweak it in just a little bit like so, and I definitely want to tweak this side in to about there on the house, because revealing that far edge just isn't really doing us any good, make sure up here in cropped area that you've got it set to Hide, so Perspective should be turned off in case that's still On.
I've got my Shield turned off as well, so I can better see what I'm doing, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that crop. Okay, so this is a wonderful aspect ratio, we have a nice square image, awesome. Now let's go ahead and mask down to the original family there. Again, if this is not an option for you, if you were not able to mask down or you don't have time to do it or something along those lines, I want you to notice before I go any farther here that the family is not that distorted. So we did distort the background like crazy and leave the family moderately undistorted, and they would have a little distortion associated with them, it would be normal, had we used lens that was capable of this kind of background distortion. So that's something to bear in mind, you don't have to mask the image. This is optional, but I figure as long as we're here, might as well.
All right, so here we go, I'm going to go in with my Brush tool, I'm actually going to paint the mask, and you might say hey Deke, why don't you take advantage of any of your fancy masking techniques? Because I don't want to, this is going to work just great actually. So I'll make the brush little bigger, I'll make it sharp as well, and I'm going to brush with black. So black does happen to be my background color right now, so that's great. I'll just paint in dad's head right there like so, and then I'm going paint around daughter pretty roughly you can see. So I'm painting too far out, there's dad's knuckles, they're way out there and then paint along daughter's hands and down her pants legs like so, and we've now created the nice line along daughter and dad right there.
That doesn't mean that we don't have some problems. We do have some problems. Then I'm just going to paint from dad's head up like that, just so that we have a solid line all the way from the top of the image down to the bottom of the image. I don't know if I got all the way down. Okay, there's the bottom of her knee, fine. Now then, I'm going to go over the layer mask, Alt-click on it or Option-click on it, so that I can see it independently of the image. Then I'll get my Lasso tool and I'm just going to select around this region here like so, in order to grab it and then notice that I'm selecting well into my black line, and then I'll press Alt+ Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that area with black, great. Deselect the image, return to the family by Alt-clicking or Option- clicking on this layer mask thumbnail again.
You can see now if I turn the mask off, and then turn it back on, that we have reinstated the totally undistorted family. Now the house over here looks fine, it doesn't look like it's a mismatch with the rest of the house, but this edge belies that we have worked on the image, because it's awful, and so we need to fix that. Also, another thing I want to do, and this is really great, this bugged me about the image in the first place. I hated this little bit of sidewalk right there, and so, it's not there in the background image.
I mean it is there in the background image. It's just that it's farther away. So we have to distort it inward, well, we can reinstate the grass here using our layer mask. So I'm going to go ahead and grab my brush, and I can also reinstate the flatness of the grass, instead of having it's sort of bend downward like that. So I'll go ahead and paint underneath the house like so in order to paint the grass right back into place, and then I would Alt-click or Option-click in my layer mask just to confirm that I got everything, and I did. Alt-click or Option-click again, and I'll go ahead and paint closer to the step, and then I might press the X key in order to switch the colors around, so I'm painting with white. I'll go with the softer brush by pressing Shift+Left Bracket a few times, and I'll paint along the steep right there in order to create little bit of the fade between the old grass and the new grass, just in case.
All right, anyway, that looks pretty good. Now let's make the brush harder again by pressing Shift+Right Bracket several times, so I'll make it small. Then I'm just going to go in very tight on the girl's hand. We're going to reinstate some important details like so. Now, you don't necessarily need to paint along her hand, or at least paint in just little bits and pieces here. What you really want to do is just kind of click close to her hand, in order to reinstate the background image. Now if you go into the grass, as you're going to do, and if you go too far into the grass, as you probably will, then go ahead and sort of paint outward like this little bit. Then press the X key in order to switch the foreground color back to black, press Shift+Left Bracket a few times to reduce of the hardness of that brush, and then paint along the grass again to paint some of that grass back in is the idea.
All right, now we need to go back to our hard brush, so press Shift+Right Bracket a few times. Press the X key so that we're painting with white, because we need to get rid of this extra house garbage right there. This doesn't make any sense that we have this weird wall that's sort of curving inward. In fact, that looks just like the stuff that we got with content that we were scaling. So we don't want that. So go ahead and paint here like so, I'm just painting up her wrist slightly, and then I'll Shift-click there, and I'll Shift-click at this location, this isn't perfect, but it will be Shift -click here, Shift-click up there, Shift-click along here and so on. So I'm just Shift-clicking along her arm in order to sort of try polygon edge, next to her arm, which is going to work out pretty well actually.
All right, so don't need to come too tight, because the plant life is sort of making for a forgiving transition. Then I'll paint into his knuckles like so, now we're on dad at this point, briefly on dad, because we go back to daughter's hair in just a second. But this looks pretty good. Now, once you've done that, what you want to do is Alt- click or Option-click in your layer mask again, just to see what kind of slivers you've left behind and you'll find slivers like those and you want to paint them away, just to make sure that we're being nice and careful. If you see some rough edges like those, where we've got some little bumps happening, you might want to trim those away as well. Mostly though, this looks pretty darn smooth and good. So Alt- click or Option-click again, in order to reinstate the full color image. I'm going to go in a little tighter on this wrist, because we don't want that dark edge, not quite so much, a little bit of a dark edge often time, it's just general masking philosophy, often times looks quite naturalistic, but you don't want too much.
It's always better to take it in a little too far as opposed to leaving some old edge in there. All right, now I'm going to paint toward her hair, again the vegetation is a little bit forgiving, because we're not really going to see some weird changes inside the vegetation, not that much anyway. I'm just Shift-clicking along her head, once again in order to paint into this area. Now, if I don't paint closely along dad, if I paint wrong, I'll start getting a double ear effect. So notice, I just started painting along here, and you can see, I start getting the old double ear. Okay, I need to press the X key in order to reinstate the good ears. Thing is his good ear is in from his bad ear. So we have included a little bit of the house there. In fact, the easiest thing to do is to go ahead and include this thing right there. Go ahead and paint that all the way in between daughter and dad. And you'll also have to sort of reinstate some of this stuff. In fact, you might find it very helpful to keep a lot of that brickwork that's above their heads, but not all the way up, you don't want to go too high. Anyway, just right along here. And then I was just painting back some vegetation there in white.
Now, I'll paint in black again, I'm just using the X key to switch back and forth in order to get those bricks back in place. All right, we've got a little bit of an issue with the brick pattern, not quite matching in this region here. That bothers me a lot less than the fact that the roof all of a sudden takes off at a different angle. All right, if I keep painting up that roof, eventually it's going to kind of match right at that location, and bear in mind, they're shingles. So there's going to be some wavering on this roof, so that's entirely natural, and then let's see what we can do where the pawning or whatever that part of the house is called, and then I'll paint here until we get a match.
So eventually we will, because the distorted roof starts matching the undistorted roof at a point. Where the bricks are concerned, I would just kind of fake it, I'll just pick a point at which you're going to keep a brick or lose a brick, and you can go with the soft edge if you want to. No, I'm not sure I recommend a soft edge with your brush. To me this is looking pretty good, I bet I could pick up a couple of little vegetation problems if I paid enough attention, but we don't have any extra ear, no extra hair, no extra neck or jewel, no extra knuckles, nothing like that. So, we've got what I consider to be a pretty darn serviceable mask. All right, so this is what the image looked like without this distorted layer and so, we would have shaved off the house at this location, and that might be okay with you.
But I wanted to be able to see the house decline away from us, and that's why I created this effect here, and it's easier to do, it's just a few steps, little bit of manual labor, but you can get the result that's much, much better than what you're going to get with content we are scaling, if you decide to put that time into it. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and press Shift+F, so we fill the screen with the image, back out and go back in, so they're nice and centered here and here is our happy family with their slightly distorted house. Looks so very good. Thanks to the power of old technology here inside Photoshop CS4.
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