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In this final installment of Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One, Deke McClelland creates a total of seven 3D type effects from scratch. This project-based course shows how to create and modify 3D type, craft hand-drawn effects, and design complex character extrusions. The course also explains how to color-correct and post-process 3D type in Camera RAW.
In this exercise, I will show you how to take that hand drawn 3D type effect, and convert it into the neon effect you see here. We'll be starting inside this file called Lightning comp.psd. It's found inside the 02_drawn folder, and it features that original outline version of the 3D type set against the clouds background. But if you turn off the clouds layer here inside the Layers panel, you'll see that there's a lightning image, also from the Fotolia Image Library, lying in wait at the bottom of the stack. Now for starters, make sure that the hand drawn layer is selected here inside the Layers panel.
Then go up to the Filter menu, choose Artistic, and choose Neon Glow. I will go ahead and center the type here inside my image preview, and I've already entered the settings that I am looking for. That is to say, I've increased Glow Size to 7, and I've taken the Glow Brightness up to 20. By default, the color is blue, which is a good match to our lightning. So go ahead and click OK in order to apply this effect. Now, it already looks pretty darn good, but here is the problem. I will go ahead and zoom in on my text a little bit here. Notice that we have a continuous neon effect stroking all of the outlines inside of the letters, except right along the top.
Again, we have some problems along the top outside letters, and it's most noticeable up here at the top of the H. We're just losing the neon effect entirely. So here's the way to solve that problem. I will go ahead and zoom back out, and I will double-click on the thumbnail for the Smart Object here inside the Layers panel. If you get the alert message, just click OK. Now, if you're working along with me inside the Smart Object, go ahead and click on the high contrast layer, which is the top layer in this two layer stack, and then click on little page icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a new unnamed layer.
Then go up to Layer menu, choose New, and choose Background From layer to send it to the bottom of the stack. Assuming that your foreground color is black, press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete, in order to fill that background with black, like so. Then go up to the File menu and choose the Save command, or you can press Control+S, or Command+S on the Mac. Now if I switch back to my composition in progress, I will see a uniform amount of neon glow around each and every one of these strokes. The big problem, of course, is that the black outside the letters is covering up the lightning background.
So I need to make a change at this point. Now the first thing you need to do is to turn off the Inner Glow, because it's no longer serving a purpose. Be sure to click the eyeball in front of the words Inner Glow, not the eyeball in front of Effects. We want that eye still turned on. Now what we need to do is create a mask around the letters, and we can do that by lifting the selection outline that's associated with that 3D object inside of the Smart Object, which is why I left it open. So I'll go ahead and switch back to that Smart Object, which in my case is called hand drawn11.psb; it maybe called something slightly different for you.
Then you should be able to lift the selection outline just by Control+Clicking, or Command+Clicking, on that 3D object. But in my case, I get this wonky result. This maybe the correct selection outline, but for some darn reason it's out of register, and this happens sometimes with 3D objects. You try to lift the transparency mask as a selection outline, and something goes wrong. If that ever happens to you, here's the surefire solution. Go ahead and press Control+D, or Command+D on a Mac, to deselect the image. Then I want you to press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and drag that hand drawn layer all the way to the top of the stack.
You should see a horizontal black bar there at the top of the Layers panel, and your cursor should look like a double-arrow; a black arrow and a white arrow showing you that you're going to clone that layer. Now you can release the Alt or Option key, right-click in an empty portion of that layer, and choose the final command from the shortcut menu: Rasterize 3D. That will go ahead and rasterize that artwork. Now press and hold the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click that layer thumbnail, and you get an absolutely accurate selection outline. Now we need to take the selection outline, and turn it into a layer mask in a totally different image.
Here's how you do that. Go up to the Select menu; choose the Save Selection command. Here, inside the Save Selection dialog box, change the Document setting to Lightning comp, which is the image that we are working on, and change the Channel setting from New, to hand drawn Mask. Then click OK; that's all you do. If you want to make sure everything worked, then switch back to that Lightning comp.psd image, and you will see that the active layer now has a layer mask assigned to it. All right. Now let's switch back to the Smart Object, and close it. And here's the thing: because we made a temporary modification that we don't need, we don't actually want to save these changes.
So click the No button here on the PC, or the Don't save button on the Mac, and that will return you to the composition in progress. So the result is an accurately masked neon effect. But in masking the letters, we've also managed to mask away the neon outside of the letters. We've also masked into the perimeter outlines a little too tightly. I will show you how to resolve both those issues in the next exercise.
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