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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 we are going to pile on a couple of more layers and then save that out as a layer comp. Very easy stuff as you will see, not hard at all. And then in the next exercise we'll do something a little bit more advanced, just so you get a sense of what your options are inside of the program. All right so, here I'm working inside still that same document, Layer comps project.psd. I have clicked in front of Hadrosaur elements. That's where we are seeing everything, right here, like so inside of the composition. But there's still a couple of more things, if you go way to the top of the Layers palette, you will see two layers called Text and Backcard. So I'm going to zoom out from my composition, not quite that far, I'm going to change the zoom level to 58%.
Works pretty well for this image on this screen. Let's go ahead and collapse the Layer Comps palette for a moment. I'm going to turn on the Backcard layer, like so, that's what that looks like. You can check out what's going on. We have got a Multiply assigned to Backcard and we have got a 90% Fill Opacity value, which doesn't have any special effect on Multiply but it does have a special effect on the layer as opposed to its various layer effects right there. So you can see how it's built up. This is what it looks like without those effects, this is what it looks like with these effects.
We'll spend an entire chapter on layer effects later in this series. But anyway you can check them out if you want to, who is contributing what. Inner Glow is doing the real work, it's the one that's creating the darkened edges right there, as you can see if you turn it off. All right, I'm going to turn it back on. Collapse is going right there by clicking on this up arrow icon so that we are just saving a little vertical space inside of the Layers palette. Let's go and twirl close TV adjustments as well. And then I have got some text, some handwritten text right there. Finally it's within my grasp! once I have destroyed him, this world will be mine! So let say for the sake of the narrative don't you know, I want to go ahead and save this out as a layer comp and I'm going to by bringing back my Layer Comps palette and what you do if you are working along with me, and what I'll do even if you are not working along with me is I'm going to go down to this little Page icon and I'm going to click on it.
Now this little Page icon is always making new stuff, right? New layers, new channels, new paths. But this is one of the rare ones that by default brings up a dialog box. And I'm going to go ahead and name this comp something like Talk Bubble, even though strictly speaking it's not a bubble but its close enough to being a talk bubble. And then you have the option of determining whether you want to save Visibility, which is just who's on and who's off. And by default by the way this is what you see, just Visibility is going to get saved. Or whether you want to save Position elements, that is, where the items are located horizontally and vertically.
And by the way the Position is only saved if you have moved an item by either dragging with the Move tool or Ctrl or Command+Dragging it with some other tool, or if you nudged it from the keyboard. If you use that transform trick that I showed at the outset of this chapter, where you grab for example the Badlands and you press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, or you choose the Free Transform command, what have you. And then you enter a Position value, like 200 pixels is what we entered in order to shift the Badlands down 200 pixels. If you do that then your position will not be tracked. That throws off this option and the reason is because it's considered a transformation, and layer comps do not track transformations. They can't track scaling, they can't track rotation, they can't track any of that jazz. So they also forget to track movement, when you do it that way, its crazy. I would call it a bug, but anyways it's the way it is. But if you want to save the position of items then you would turn on Position.
I am going to tell you something about Position only turn on if you really mean to. Don't go just turning it on arbitrarily because many times you are going to want to take a layer and move it across many different compositions. And if you save Position and then you perform a movement, you are only going to move it inside that one composition, you are not going to move it inside the other compositions. So you just need to bear that in mind. If you leave composition turned off then you can move for example the Hadrosaur to a different location and it will move inside of all the other comps as well.
But the better thing to do is just leave it off by default. When in doubt leave it off. I'm going to leave it off for now here. And then Appearance, I'm going to tell you, for this one which means a lot. Appearance means a ton by the way. I'm going to tell you when in doubt turn it on. Now what it saves, just like I said, so much. It says it saves the layer style, which would be the layer effects like the drop shadow and the glow and all that and that's true. But it also saves the specific numeric settings that are associated with that style. So not only whether the drop shadow is on or off but also what color the drop shadow is, how big the drop shadow is, how blurry it is and so on, are all saved as a part of the appearance. So you can have different drop shadows on the same layer that are saved differently with this Appearance option using different layer comps. Also it saves the opacity, it saves the fill opacity, it saves the blend mode, it saves any of the advanced blending settings. Those Luminance Exclusion slider bars that I was showing you, all that stuff gets saved thanks to Appearance. And it's a mighty powerful, very, very wonderful option.
All right and then you can enter a comment and whatever comment you want is fine with me. I'm just going to say I have no comment because I really don't. I'm coming up with nothing here. But you could put a nicely useful comment in this location so that other people could come along or you of the future could come along and get a sense of why in the world you created this comp in the first place and then of course you click OK. Now it's not your only option. You can always come back and make changes if you want to but I'm going to click OK and there is my new comp and now I can switch between Hadrosaur elements, which doesn't have the talk balloon, and talk bubble, which does have the talk balloon, which is neither a bubble nor a balloon and yet I'm calling it both. After all now you may say Deke that's the dopiest layer comp I have ever seen because all you did was add two layers and that's pretty easy buddy. I mean we don't need a layer comp for that. Aha, but it sets the stage nicely for the next exercise in which I'm going to show you a more useful, a more helpful use of a new layer comp. We are going to be comparing this one to the next one. Stick with me.
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