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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to use the Motion Blur Filter and then in the next exercise, I'll show you Radial Blur; both of them are directional blur effects as you are about to see. I am going to go ahead and switch back to the Angry blocks.psd image and I'm looking at the top two angry blocks here and I have got 1 TL, the top left image right there, this layer is selected. I'm going to go up to Filter menu and I'm going to go down here to Blur and then of course, choose Motion Blur because that is the command we'll be applying for starters.
And it allows you to apply a bidirectional effect. Right now we are seeing the results of scrubbing back and forth along a horizontal plain because the angle is set to 0 and the distance is set to a mere 10 pixels and let's go ahead and raise that distance value to like 100 pixels so you can see how it's going back and forth. If you want to, you can control the direction of this filter using something along the lines of a layer mask and I'll show you how to do exactly that in the layer masking section look for a Jet of Motion Blur, that's the name of the exercise that's associated with the Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks series briefed of any kind of layer mask or any other specialty function, you are going to get a bidirectional effect like we have here. You can move the angle of that effect to anything you want by clicking inside this little wheel or entering an angle and I'm going to change my angle to 90 degrees. So it's going straight up and down and then I'll click OK.
Now, it might seem like looking at what we're seeing on screen, the effect gets chopped off down here at the bottom of the image. You can only go so far and then it gets chopped off and that's not actually true. I'm going to go ahead and scroll down inside of my image just a little bit and I'll hide this 3 BL layer right there so we can see that indeed we do get a soft transition. So this does have a nice drop off associated with it, motion blur does. It also has some noise built into it. It's designed to produce an organic effect, a naturalistic effect that will look at home inside of your continuous tone photography.
All right, so I'm going to go ahead and turn that layer back on, scroll back to the top. There is not that much too motion blur, so I want to show you a little trick here that you might find useful because it can be a great texturing tool in addition to imparting motion as an effect to an image, you can use it to create texture. I am going to switch to this 2 TR layer right here, this guy and I'm going to go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose the Noise command and then choose Add Noise and let's go with the heaping helping of noise. I'm going to increase the amount value to 50%, Gaussian distribution so that we get a lot of darks and lights, and then finally I'll turn on Monochromatic, so we aren't introducing any aberrant colors and then I'll click OK in order to accept. What it looks like a complete mess at this point, right? I have just covered this poor guy with a bunch of iron filings. No wonder he is an angry block.
Then I'll go up here to the Filter menu and incidentally, if you want to go ahead and modify the image as well as its transparency mask, then you go ahead and leave this Transparency function turned off. However, if you want to protect the transparency mask, then you would turn it on. So why don't we go ahead and try turning that check box on just by way of a demonstration here. And of course I could have done that by pressing the Slash key there, with the question mark. Now, I'll go to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Motion Blur. You can just go ahead and accept the last setting we applied here and you will get the big striated lines, which are pretty nifty. So you can create a quick and dirty line pattern if you want to, or you can work incrementally and I'll tell you what I'm going to do.
I am going to change the distance value to something like 12 pixels here, so that we have just a little bit of texturing going on, a little bit of drag on that noise, so we have these lines of noise that are appearing and there is all kinds of ways to adjust noise by the way. You can apply the Gaussian Blur to noise in order to make the noise little chunkier, a lot of different things you can do. Anyway, I'll click OK where this effect is concerned and then I'm going to press Ctrl+F to repeat the filter of course since Motion Blur is now at the top of the Filter menu. I'll press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac several times in order to continue applying motion blur to this layer. So I don't know how many times I have done it now, probably in excess of 12 times that I have applied the filter and we end up getting this very interesting organic texture pattern right here.
All right, so just a couple of random applications of motion blur here inside of Photoshop. In the next exercise, I'll show you Radial Blur, which allows you to spin an image or make it zoom out at the viewer.
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