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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 introduce you to a few of the old-school distortion filters that have been with us since Photoshop Version 1.0. Totally amazing! Now, I'm not going to show you all the distortion filters, because it gets fairly tedious after a while, and only a few of you would be all that interested. Instead what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you the three most fun filters to use, and then I'll leave you to explore the others if you like. These three filters also help set the stage for the kinds of modifications that we're going to be applying inside the Liquify Filter.
So I've gone ahead and opened this image Uffizi fellow.psd. Notice what we've got here is yet another variation on the clock design. This time with yet another Raphael dude right there in the middle. All right. But the hands and the numbers are kind of obscuring his face. Maybe we can do something about that. I'll tell you what we're going to do. First, we're going to start twirling the clock hands. When I say twirl, I mean they're going to be bending around in a circle as if they're being twirled this direction, into a vortex. Like let's select the minute hand right there. Then I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Distort. There is a ton of filters, some of which are very useful.
Displace by the way, an excellent, amazing filter that I spent an entire chapter on in my Photoshop Channels and Masks Series, if you want to check that out. Diffuse Glow and Glass, which are virtually useless in my opinion. Lens Correction, which is actually a very practical filter for correcting images. They just vary, and you'll just have to play with them if you're interested as I say, but Twirl is the one we're going to check out right now. Go ahead and choose the Twirl filter, and notice that it wants to twirl, as you can see, it wants to twirl the image. We don't have a preview out here inside the Image window; we just have this fairly lame preview frankly inside of the dialog box. It's not terribly accurate, but it's a little bit helpful I suppose. This thing is actually more useful. It tells you just how much twirling you're doing.
Anyway, I'm going to take this down to 60, is the value that I want. Then I'm going to Click OK. Notice that I'm actually really bending this hand here. I'll turn off hour and second for a second so that you can see I no longer have a nice circle in the middle there. That's because the shape of this image is not exactly square. This image is wider than it is tall, and so Photoshop is making the hand wider than it is tall as well. We don't want that. We just want to twirl it around. So I'm going to undo that modification. Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Then we want a circular selection. So we're telling Photoshop to twirl the hand inside the shape of the circle. The best circle at our disposal right now is this dude's head. So Ctrl+Click or Command+ Click on the thumbnail for the portrait layer. The thumbnail, very important that you do that, and that will load the selection outline.
Now, let's go ahead and press Ctrl+Alt +F or Command+Option+F on the Mac to bring up the Twirl filter again, and actually, I want to rotate this hand -60 degrees. But notice the dial is going to stay circular this time. I'll Click OK, and there we go. Nice! A little bit of displacement but not too much. Then let's go to the hour hand this time and repeat the filter, just by pressing Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac. Nice! Then let's go to the secondhand, turn it on, and press Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac. Also nice! All right. I'm going to press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to undo that modification. The next thing that I want to do is I want to go ahead and bend these numbers outward, toward us. I'm going to do that using this filter called Spherize. It's as if you're reflecting the image on the back of a spoon so that you're mapping the image onto a convex shape, that is it's coming out toward you.
There is a couple of different ways to work. If we had that portrait layer selected- I'll go ahead and Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on it again to restore that selection. Then I switch to the numbers layer to make it active, and then I went out to the Filter menu, and I chose Distort, and I chose Spherize. Then you can either bend it outward onto a convex shape, as we're seeing right here, or you can bend it inward, onto a concave shape, just like that. You can also bend the image onto a cylinder, if you prefer to apply just a Horizontal or a Vertical distortion, and this would be a Vertical distortion like that. This would be Horizontal, sort of your standard soda can sort of rendering.
Anyway, we want Normal. I'm going to take this up to 100% so it blobs outward like that, it's bending toward us. Click OK. The numbers are bending in underneath the frame at this point. So they're really coming out at us. Possibly a little too far, since they're getting covered up. I could apply a lesser effect if I wanted to. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, Ctrl+Alt+F, Command+Option+F on the Mac. Let's try 50% instead. Click OK. I get this effect so that the letters are only slightly hidden. That's actually not what I want. I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac and I'm going to Click off the selection here to deselect the image. I'm going to apply the distortion again, starting with the numbers layer. So I'll press Ctrl+Alt+F, Command+Option+F on the Mac and take this up to 100%. I'm moving the letters way, way out there, and I'm applying an elliptical modification this time because again my image is wider than it is tall. So Photoshop is looking. When it applies the Spherize filter, it's looking for the biggest ellipse that it can fit inside of your image.
Let's apply that same modification to the frame layer right there. So Click on the frame layer to select it and press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to go ahead and spherize it. Nice! Now, we're revealing a little bit of stuff at the background that we don't want to reveal. So let's go to the portrait layer down here, and I'm going to collapse the frame layer, so I have a little bit more room. In fact, let's collapse the Color palette, now I have a lot more room. With the portrait layer selected, I'm going to press Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac to go ahead and fill up that clock, and now the dials are just tiny on the inside. That's okay. I'm all right with that.
Now, the other thing that I want to do now is I want to squish this guy's head inward and ultimately we're going to get this interesting cone pattern, as you're going to see. We're going to do that using something that's nearly the opposite of the Spherize filter, the Pinch filter. Where Spherize either maps the image onto a convex or a concave shape, that bends uniformly, Pinch wraps it onto a cone essentially, that's coming out at you or going away from you, and by default it goes away. So I'm going to go up to the Filter menu, choose Distort, and then choose Pinch right here. 50% Amount value is pretty good, but again, you can look at this grid to get a sense of what it's going to do. That's 100%. It's pinching out onto this cone that's going away from us. Then if you enter a value of -100%, it's being wrapped onto a cone that's coming out at us, jabbing right in our face there. All right. So sort of a pyramid actually, something along those lines. It's a little point here in other words than the effect we get with Spherize.
All right. Let's take it to 50, 50 is good for our purposes, and Click OK. He bends outward. Oops, I'm revealing some garbage in the background. Don't want that. If you end up getting that when you're working with the Filter; I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, what you need to do is you need to load the Selection Outline. So Ctrl+ Click or Command+Click on that layer to load its Selection Outline. So the idea is if you want the layers to grow and shrink with Spherize and Pinch, then don't have a selection. If you don't want them to grow and shrink, if you want to mitigate that, then have a Selection Outline in place.
All right. Let's once again apply the filter by pressing Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac, so we're pinching them inward. Press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac again to pinch in more, and again and again and again and again. Notice how he's declining and turning into this wonderful color pattern now. That's great! All right. Now though, just because of the way the hands are organized here, I want to apply a little bit of twirling as well to a couple of these layers actually. Let's start with the numbers layer. I'm going to Click on the numbers layer to select it. Leave the Selection Outline in place. Go up to the Filter menu, choose the Distort command, and choose Twirl. Then let's change this value to +60 instead of -60. Click OK, and go ahead and press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac a couple of times in a row.
You might ask, well, why didn't you just go ahead and apply a larger twirl value? Well, when you apply really big modifications with the distortion filters, you get something I call ripped pixels, which means a lot of damaged pixels right next to each other. You get some very harsh transitions, and they look wretched. Whereas if you apply multiple passes of the filters, you get softer effects and that's what I want in this case. All right. Then I'm going to switch to the portrait layer, and I'm going to press Ctrl+F in order to twirl it as well. That's it. That's my finished effect, folks.
Version 1.0 filters still at will work here inside Photoshop, still somewhat moderately useful, as useful as they ever were I suppose. In the next exercise we will see something that is undoubtedly useful, and we're going to keep working in the world of classical art. Another Raphael painting, that we will modify with the Liquify Filter.
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