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So as you may recall, we're in the middle of creating a magical pattern generating smart filters file. The idea is that we're creating one synthetic effect after another using filters, and nothing but filters. No drawing, some Adjustment layers, but that's about it. So everything is automated and I'm just getting you started. Once you finish up with these exercises, you can go your own way and discover other filtering variations. I've saved my progress as Synthetic starfield.psd found inside the 30_smart_filters folder.
And in this exercise we're going to take the starfield and we're going to convert it into a kind of stucco pattern that you might see on a drywall or exterior wall and we'll look into a couple of variations. So let's start things off by turning off the Levels Adjustment layer. The layer that's called starmaker. Then we need to click on the Base layer and somehow transform this blurry noise into a texture and that somehow is the Emboss filter. So go out to the Filter menu, choose Stylize, and choose Emboss and these are the values I recommend. You can experiment with your own values as much as you like, but I've got an Angle of 45 degrees, a Height of 3 pixels, and an Amount of 300%.
Then click OK and you can already see this stucco pattern emerge here. Let's give it some color by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click and hold on the black-white icon go ahead, and choose the Hue/Saturation command, and let's name this guy color and that's it. So this will be the color layer because we're going to infuse the Base layer with color. Click OK. Turn on the Colorize check box. And the values I'm going to use are 30 for the Hue value, and then 15 for the Saturation value, but of course, this is your wall painted any color you want.
Don't need to change Lightness, by the way, just use Hue to dial in a color value and then Saturation to determine it's intensity and that's it. So that's one variation on a drywall pattern. Now, let's say we want a more deluxe pattern, something that has a little bit of sculpting going on. Why I'll go down to Smart Filters here. Don't turn off the Smart Filters heading, but do go ahead and turn off all the filters we've applied so far. So click on Emboss and drag down to Add Noise to turn everybody off for a moment. And of course, we're just temporarily hiding them, we can come back later.
Make sure your foreground and background colors are black-and-white as by default, if not press the D key. And then go up to the Filter menu and everything is dimmed, which means I have the wrong layer selected. So go down to the Layers panel and click on Base to make it active. All right, now I back up to Filter menu, go down here to Render and remember I was telling you that there are two random noise generating filters inside of Photoshop; one is Add Noise for single pixels of noise and the other is Clouds which generates fractal noise. Now Difference Clouds works along with it.
It's basically applying the Clouds filter subject to the Difference mode so that you can heap one cloud pattern onto another, but Clouds is your general one stop fractal noise filter. So go ahead and choose it. And right now we're seeing this sort of brownish noise because we still have the Color Adjustment layer turned on. That's just fine leave it on. Now, let's go ahead and take Clouds and put it at the back of the stack. So drag it down to under Add Noise there. Now turn on Emboss which will turn the clouds pattern into a texture, like so.
Very interesting, sort of a kind of parchment texture and then go ahead and turn on Gaussian blur if you want to smooth the texture over a little bit. And then turn on Add Noise as well and then we get this kind of bumpy parchment texture. And you can see the difference here; if you turn Clouds off now, this is what a fairly flat stucco pattern looks like. And then if we turn on the Clouds filter, we end up adding a little bit of wave. So these filters, in other words, just keep on giving. Let's heap on one more filter. I'm going to go up the Filter menu choose Sketch, and choose this guy right here, Note Paper. And that's going to bring up the big old filter gallery.
And notice we now have a kind of palette knife effect and these are the default settings by the way, Image Balance of 25, Graininess of 10, and a Relief of 11. You might want to take that Relief value down a little bit that so that we have some smaller shadow. So I'm going to take it down to about 6 like so and then click OK in order to accept that modification. And now we have a kind of palette knife pattern going on. If that adds too much contrast for your taste, then go ahead and double-click on the Settings icon right there for Note Paper and then you can reduce the Opacity value.
I'm going to take it down to, say 75%, and click OK. If, at anytime, you decided that you like something along the way better than what you're seeing now, all you have to do is turn off one of these effects. So I could turn off Note Paper like so in order to see what I had before. You can also try turning some of the other filters off, for example, if I turn Note Paper back on here, and then I turn off Clouds, then I will remove some of that sort of sculpture variation that I had going. I'll turn Clouds back on. Let's try turning Add Noise off and we end up getting an entirely different effect this time around. All right.
Turn Add Noise back on and now let's try turning off Emboss. And we end up with these, kinds of, landmasses going on inside of this pattern. And at this point, you could double-click on Note Paper in order to change its settings. And now try adjusting the Image Balance function. So notice if I reduce the Image Balance, we end up getting more water, I suppose, at this point. I am not sure what's water and landmass, but anyway, we get more of the light stuff. And then if we end up increasing the Image Balance, we end up getting more of the dark stuff.
So just drag that back and forth until you get an effect that you like. And I might stop at something like 26 I guess. Things are looking good to me and then I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. So you can see just how flexible this file is. This is kind of stuff you could never do with static filters or if you did, you'd be tearing out your hair because you'd have to keep making a re-approach in order to try out each one of these different effects. This way though, it's just a matter of turning the filters on and off and incidentally here is something else to bear in mind, if you want to vary the behavior of clouds, if you want to come up with a different clouds effect, all you do is double-click on Clouds and Photoshop goes ahead and rewrites it, because there is no Clouds dialog box, it just reapplies the filter.
And if you don't like that, just double-click on Clouds again and everything changes onscreen. In the next exercise we're going to try our hand at swapping out Note Paper for a few of the other filters available to us in the filter gallery.
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