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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 utterly and completely ridiculous progress so far as Bendophibian.psd. I'm sure you'll want to open it at your earliest convenience because it's so good-looking. But I'll say one thing in defense of this image. It has wonderfully smooth transitions. So Pixel Bender offers something that the old school Distortion Filters do not. Those old school filters, they end up creating the single pixels that are just kind of orphan from the rest of the mix, where a Pixel Bender creates nice, smooth transitions. Sometimes they're a little bit stressed and overly smooth, but they are indeed smooth.
Now I'm going to show you the one filter we haven't seen so far that's great for creating seamless tile patterns, something that Photoshop has never excelled at. It had this thing called the Pattern Maker. It was an interesting filter, but its problem was that it was totally unpredictable. It really just wasn't what most people were looking for. This is what most people are looking for and they chose to call it Kaleidoscope and buried inside the Pixel Bender. So go figure. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and turn off RippleBlocks so that basically everything is turned off at this point, even the Filter Mask. Now, I'm going to go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Pixel Bender and I'll choose Pixel Bender Gallery and we'll see RippleBlocks this time around. I'm going to go ahead and switch over to Kaleidoscope right there. At first it doesn't look like any great shakes, but it is. Go ahead and crank Fade up to 1, so that you have no Fade going on whatsoever. Every thing is absolutely opaque.
By the way, this value goes from 0.5 for a quick drop after transparency to 1 for 100% opaque. Then you also have some Fade color options at your disposal right here, if you want them. So if I were to add a Fade, and then I were to crank 1, I would add some green to the Fade, like so. You can see how that works right there. If I were to crank up 2, I would add blue. The question becomes, what happens if you crank up 3? After all, I told you that 3 was generally alpha and we already have Fade for alpha.
Well, 3 turns out to be black. It's sorcerer's magic, I tell you. So anyway, see how I can now Fade to black if I want to. That's there, if you wanted. But I don't think anything of the options I've showed you so far. I'm going to go ahead and set Fade to 1, and I'm going to set that Center point to 1090, which is a pixel different. Then I'll set 1, which is a vertical value to 542. Then you can rotate the tile pattern, but if you're going to turn it into an actual tile pattern that you can use with Photoshop's patterning feature, then you want to set the Rotate angle to -3.142.
Now you can go ahead and rotate the tile pattern if you want to, if you're just going to be using it right out of the box here, as it's created by the Pixel Bender. But if you want to integrate it with Photoshop's own patterning feature, which requires upright tile patterns, then you want to set that Rotation angle value to 0, like so. Now I'm going to Tab down here until we get to the Size value. Actually I'm not going to Tab down, I'm just going to drop down, what the heck! I want to show you how you can increase that value if you want to. That's increasing the size of the tiled area. It's not increasing the size of the frog. We're not magnifying the frog. We're just magnifying the portion of the frog that we're repeating over and over again. What I love about this frog is he very easily turns into sort of a jewelry pattern or something like that.
Now at a point, you start recognizing him as a frog that's kissing himself for whatever. But if you take it smaller, then you end up getting this sort of scarab effect, which I just think is delightful. This is what I wanted, a value of 120. Now notice what that value is. I'm not suggesting you always want to use 120, I'm suggesting that once you find a value that works for you, remember it, write it down, what have you. Click OK in order to create that effect. Now, let's say you want to define that as a tile pattern that you're going to use in Photoshop using Photoshop's own Patterning feature. Then you would switch to your Rectangular Marquee tool. You would go ahead and switch the Style from Normal to Fixed Size and you would enter twice that value you saw just a moment ago.
So 240 and 240 is what we want for ours, because the single tile which is being flipped in four directions here. That single tile is 120 pixels. Well, Photoshop's Pattern feature can't do any flips, so you want to go ahead and enclose all four pieces right there. That's why you have to multiply it times 2, both wide and tall. Then just click around some portion of the pattern and it doesn't matter if you just slightly get it like this or if you exactly center, whatever, you proceed to be as the center of the tile. It really doesn't matter, because it is seamless and repeats over and over and over again, ad nauseam. So just select whatever region. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose Define Pattern.
I'm just going to go ahead and call mine frog eye, because after all, that's what it is. Click OK. Then I'll create a totally different image this time around. Let's say I'll make it something like 1200 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall or something along those lines. I don't want the background to be transparent. Let's go ahead and make it white. Click OK and zoom in on the image. Now I'll go ahead and add a pattern layer. This isn't the only way to fill an image with the pattern. This is just the best way, the most flexible way.
I'll go ahead and click on the Black/ White icon down here at the bottom of the Layers palette and I'll choose Pattern. Then I would make sure that the pattern I just created, which is frog eye, is selected, great. There's lots more patterns that are available to you inside Photoshop, lots more libraries. For some reason, CS4 just includes two by default. Don't know why. Then you can scale it, like so, and you'll see the results. Or in my case, I'd probably want to take the scale down to a reduced size so that we're sharpening the effect there. Then I'll click OK. And now you have a pattern tile that you can use over and over again inside the Photoshop.
So you can do something wacky like this frog eye pattern or you can do something very useful like a Noise or a Texture pattern inside of Photoshop. New technology improves our lives, here inside Photoshop CS4.
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