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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved my progress as All war paint.psd and we're almost done with this composition at this point. We just have a couple of background images to add, but they turn out to be foreground images. They're both in front of her, they are just out of focus. So here's the idea. This is the final Na'vi girl.psd file, and if I zoom out, you can see that we have this foliage over here on the right-hand side. And my reasoning was this. I'll go ahead and turn off those two layers. When she's set against this grass, it's obviously a lawn in the background.
Even though it's quite out of focus. It's obviously earth. So either she's vacationing here on earth or they planted grass on Pandora or something like that, but I wanted her to feel very much at home, on her home planet. So I experimented with a few things. I turned the background sort of a lavender color and I made a bunch of sparklies, and I didn't like any of that jazz. So finally, I tried putting these blurry leaves in the foreground, and I think that really sold it. That made it appear that she's sort of in this jungle environment.
And then, of course, you know the dragonfly, why not. So in this exercise, we are going to bring in these leaves and we are going to scale them so that they fit the composition, and we are going to blur them as well. It's not going look pretty at first. At first, it's going to look absolutely disastrous. But you'll see, it ends up working out quite nicely. All right, so I am going to switch to another image that I have opened here that's called Tree fragment.jpg. And it comes to us from Inna Yakusheva of the Fotolia image library and it's just a dinky little image as you can see here.
If I click on this arrowhead, in the lower-left corner of the image window, and I choose Document Dimensions, I can see that it measures 262x376 pixels, which is amazingly tiny. But I don't need it to be big, because it's going to be so darn blurry. I want it wildly out of focus, but we do need to start things off by selecting it. Well, there is a variety of different approaches we can take. We could try something like the Quick Selection tool, which wouldn't deliver very good results, neither would the Magic Wand tool.
They would seemingly be easy but actually, the approach I am going to take is incredibly easy. I'm going to switch over to the Channels panel, and I really urge you to think about using masks, as often as possible inside of Photoshop, because they're more accurate than standard automated selection outlines and they tend to be really easy to put together in many cases. Notice, if I switch over to the Blue channel, this image is already masked. I mean we have an incredible amount of contrast going on here, between the white background and these nearly black leaves.
So this Blue channel will serve as a great basis for the mask. We are going to go ahead and drag the Blue channel onto the Page icon down here at the bottom of the panel, in order to create a copy, and I will name it my mask or something along those lines. The first step, if we're going to select the leaves and deselect the background is to make the leaves white and the background black. I'm going to do that by going up to the Image menu, choosing the Adjustments Cmd and choosing Invert, or I could just press Ctrl+I, Cmd+I on the Mac, and bang, we get something very near to the final mask that we are going to need.
The next step is to increase the contrast of that mask. I am going to go to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose Levels, now you may wonder why I'm applying a static color adjustment at this point instead of an adjustment layer, like we've been using so far. The reason is when you're working inside of a channel, any single channel inside of an image, then you don't have access to layers anymore and every modification you apply has to be static. So I am going to choose the Levels Cmd and I am going to move the dialog box over, so I can see what I'm doing.
Notice that this histogram is showing us that there are a ton of very dark colors over here. So black is on the left and white is on the right, which means there is a lot of very light colors as well but there's not many luminance levels in between. I want to cut off all these dark colors and make them black and I want to take all these light colors and make them white, and just leave these guys in between for a little bit of organic softness. So I am going to raise this black point value to 20 and notice that puts us safely on the other side of that big mountain right there, so that all those colors are going to turn black on this.
Then I am going to take this 255 value, currently white, and I'm going to reduce it by pressing Shift+Down Arrow three times in a row, maybe even four. Let's take that down to 215, so that anything with a luminance level of 215 or brighter is going to become white. That means all of those light colors are going to white and we'll end up selecting everything inside the leaves. All right, I'll click OK in order to apply that modification, there is my mask. I want to load it up as a selection outline, of course. So I'll press Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac, and click on that channel in order to convert it to a selection outline.
Go back to RGB like so, switch to your Layers panel, and now we are going to perform a drag-and-drop. We can do this in a couple of ways. you can get to the Move tool on the fly by pressing and holding the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac. But why don't we just go ahead and select the Move tool manually here. We'll go ahead and grab that tool., keyboard shortcut, V, and then I am going to drag it up. If you can see both of your images at the same time, we're going to move these leaves into the All war paint.psd file.
If you can see both images open at the same time, you can just do a drag and a drop. Drag from the Tree fragment.jpg image, drop into the All war paint.psd image. I can't see both of my images at the same time. So, I could drag this image and drop it onto the title bar, if I wanted to and then drag it back into the image window, I'll show you that technique in another exercise. What I am going to do in this case though, is bring up my 2 Up display option. So I'll go up to the Application bar, click on this Arrange icon right there and then select 2 Up.
I would rather my Tree fragment.jpg image be in this right-hand window. So I'll go ahead and drag its title bar and drop it into this right-hand window, like so. Now, I can see the All war paint image on the left-hand side and leaves on the right-hand side. Let's go ahead and drag this vertical barrier over to the right. I am going to do a drag-and-drop. drag from one image, drop into the other image. Oh my gosh! It's a little bit small, which means that we need to go ahead and transform this image to make it larger.
All right, so let's get rid of the Tree fragment image over on the right-hand side or at least get rid of its window. You can do that by going back up here to the Arrange Documents icon, clicking on it and choosing Consolidate All, or you can press my keyboard shortcut, if you loaded dekeKeys, of Ctrl+Shift+ A, Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac. Then I am going to drag this guy over to the right, so it's just off to the side a little bit. Let's go ahead and name this layer, blurry leaves, because that's what it's going to be. Tell you what, we are going to scale this layer, so that it fits the image and we are going to blur it into place, and it's going to start looking something other than ridiculous, starting in the next exercise.
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