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In this exercise, I am going to show you how to create these slime trails underneath the letters. If you're working along with me, go ahead and scroll down your Layers panel, click on the smear layer to make it active, and turn it on as well. Now, if I were to Alt+click, or Option+ click, on the eyeball in front of the smear layer, you'll see this red slime set against a transparent checkerboard background. You may even recognize this slime from Chapter 01. In fact, this is the very same smear pattern that I used to create that thriller effect. And this is kind of an M.O. for me; if I spend a sufficient amount of time on an asset, especially if it requires a lot of hand-tweaking, then I am very likely to use that asset over and over again throughout my artwork.
So what starts off as a kind of blood smear can be repurposed in a matter of minutes into this kind of slime trail. So let me show you how that works. Now, for starters, I have already flipped the pattern upside down. I have gone ahead and stretched it horizontally as well. We need to make a few other modifications. So I will go ahead and Alt+click, or Option+click, on the eyeball in front of smear in order to reinstate those previously visible layers, and I am going to press Control+Minus, or Command+Minus on the Mac, to zoom out a click here. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu, and choose the Free Transform command, or you can press Control+T; Command+T on the Mac.
I am going to start things off by reducing the height of the graphic, and I want it to be about 52%, and I am going to go ahead and dial in that specific value here in the H field in the Options bar. Now, the next trick is to go ahead and slant the smear, and you can do that by pressing the Control and Shift keys, or the Command and Shift keys on the Mac, and then dragging up on that right-hand handle. You may figure you just have to kind of eyeball things, or you would go ahead and drag the bounding box up a little bit, so that you can see if the angle of the top of the bounding box matches the angle of letters.
However, you may recall that the angle of these letters is exactly 7 degrees. If you take a look at the V value up here in the Options bar, you can see it's approximately -7 degrees; it should be exactly -7 degrees. And then I am going to Shift+drag the smear trail down a little bit, so that the ends of the drips appear below the letters, and I am going to go ahead and zoom in so I have a little more control. I want this guy to land right here at Y: 687. So that should be the Y coordinate value, assuming that that little delta is off, the triangle should not be selected, and that the center reference point is active.
That way, you and I get exactly the same result. Press the Enter key, or the Return key, a couple of times in order to accept that transformation. All right! Next, I'd like you to change the blend mode of this layer to Multiply. Now, that gives us a deep red, almost bloody effect. The letters should not be bleeding onto that wall; they should be kind of rusting on to it. So let's go ahead and change the color of this effect here, not by dialing in a new color and filling the smear with that color. Rather, what I am going to suggest we do is change the virtual color by reducing the Fill value to 0, and here is a little trick.
Many of you know that you can press Shift along with a number in order to change that Fill value. So Shift+6 gives you 60%, but more often than not, I'm flitting back between 100%, which is Shift+0, and 0%, which doesn't have a keyboard shortcut. So if you want to quickly dial in a Fill value of 0, press the Shift key, and go ahead and scrub that Fill value to the left. That's the quickest way I know to do it, anyway. So we want a Fill value of 0, then I am going to drop down to the fX icon, and choose Color Overlay.
And I am going to click on the color swatch, because by default, Color Overlay delivers an even brighter shade of red than we had before. I'm going to change the hue value to 30 degrees, saturation value to 90%, and the brightness value to 40%, so kind of a grim, dirty brown. Click OK, and then we will change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Click OK in order to accept that color. Now let's go ahead and mask the smear behind the letters. We are just going to hand paint this mask for the most part. So go ahead and click on the Add layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then select the Brush tool, which you can get by pressing the B key.
Make sure that the blend mode is set to Normal. The Opacity should start out at 100%, and we're going to be painting with black, so I'll press the X key to make the foreground color black. And I'm also going to increase the size of my brush a little bit. Let's see how big it is; it's 150 pixels, and the Hardness is 0%. That's very important. Press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to hide that pop-up panel, and then just go ahead and paint on the right side of that Y in order to get rid of some of that smear. And then I am also going to paint on the left side of the M to get rid of that area.
And I am going to paint back and forth behind the letters, like so, in order to get rid of any of the brown behind those letterforms, because they wouldn't be casting the slime in that direction. Now we need to go ahead and paint between the letters, but if I just start painting in at 100% Opacity, we get some pretty obvious breaks in the slime, and the result isn't necessarily as natural as I am looking for. So an opaque brush stroke between the C, and the Y; that works out okay. But if I reduce the size of my brush, and try to paint between the R, and the C, we get an awfully bright stripe left in between those letters. And if I do the same inside the R, again, a very bright stripe.
So the reason I am bringing this up, and the reason I keep painting, by the way, even though I'm not liking the results, is because then we'll come back, after I paint between all these gaps, and paint with white at a reduced Opacity level. So I've gone ahead and painted down the center of the R, between the R and E, between the E and the M, and down the gaps inside of the letter M as well. Now I am going to press the x key to make my foreground color white. I am going to increase the size of my brush, and I'm going to press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity to 50%. And now I will go ahead and paint back in those areas that I just painted away a moment ago, and I may paint a couple of times if I want to reinstate more slime. All right! At this point things are looking pretty good.
I am just going to take a few more stabs at the slime here. And basically, my impression is that more slime is better, because that gives us a higher impact grunge effect. Now I am going to press the 0 key to take the Opacity level back up to 100%, and I am going to paint under that R; I kind of went too far in a few places here when I was painting back and forth behind the letters. And now, just to make sure that my mask is in pretty good shape, I'll Alt+click, or Option+click, inside of the layer mask thumbnail here in the Layers panel, and now press the X key in order to switch my foreground color to black, and I am going to paint this top area, like so, just to fill it with black.
And then I may paint along here just a little bit, because I don't want to be revealing too much slime in these regions. Now, if you were to size up this mask, it's not the most accurate thing on earth, but it does the job. We are just looking for a kind of subjective effect at this point. So go ahead and Alt+click or Option+ click on that layer mask thumbnail again to return to the full color image. I am going to do one more thing. I am going to go to the Channels panel, and I am going to Control+click, or Command+click, on the all letters channel in order to load that as a selection outline.
I am going to switch back to the Layers panel. Press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. My foreground color is black, so I am going to press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete, to fill those letters with black there inside the layer mask. All right! Now, press Control+D, or Command+D on a Mac, in order to deselect the image. I didn't have to do that, because any of the slime that I just got done masking away is actually covered up by this 3D layer right there, but this actually provides me with some additional flexibility. Because what I can do, if I want to, I can go ahead and turn off that 3D layer and I leave a wake of the letters in the background.
So this is a fairly realistic effect. If we were to take these letters down in real life, that slime residue would remain on the wall. Anyway, I am going to go ahead and turn that mercy 3D layer back on. And one final modification; I am going to switch back to the smear layer, and let's go ahead and reduce the Opacity of that smear by pressing the A key, and that takes the Opacity value down to 80%. So much for the slime trail. In the next exercise, I will show you how to create those heavy-duty wires.
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