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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, so here I'm looking at this mess of a composition at this point and I actually -- when I say mess of a composition, I think it looks great. It's like this wonderful, happy accident art image with big Russell in the background, the little Russell in the foreground. But it's not what I'm going for. It doesn't really message Martini Hour properly. So, tell you what, let's go ahead and scale Russell in the place so he is where he needs to be. And I'm still working inside the martiniHour_GuestSpot.psd image found inside the 23_masking folder.
And of course, I have made some modifications. I have dragged Russell in the place. He is just called Layer 1 right now, in my case. I'm going to call him new russell to indicate that he is the new and improved Russell Brown. And I'm going to move him in front of the other elements here, logo elements is turned off, so we can see what we are doing. And I need to scale Russell. Not only do I want to scale him though. I want him to grow sharper as I'm downsampling him. And because I'm going to the web, I want tiny sharpening, very crisp details.
And that's a great use by the way for that Bicubic Sharper setting. So, what I want you to do is I want you to press Ctrl+K, Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box. And I want you to switch Image Interpolation from Bicubic to Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction), which it is in this case. When you are creating web graphics, it's a really great feature in my opinion. I use it a lot, because it's the kind of sharpness that works well on screen, doesn't work worth beans for print. All right, so I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. And then I'm going to press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac in order to enter the Free Transform mode. Now, I can't see the handles, because Russell's head is so gargantuan, I have to zoom out in order to see all those handles right there.
But I'm not really interested in seeing the handles anyway. I'm just going to work from the Options bar. I'm going turn on the link and I'm going to press Shift+down arrow a few times with H selected. So, I went ahead and selected the H value, I could have just as easily selected the W value till I get down to let's say about 60%. And it dawns on me I can't really tell if I'm lining things up right or not at this point, because I can't see the little Russell in the background. I could change the Opacity value here inside the Layers palette. But if I did, then I'm going to get a washed out version of Russell. I don't want that.
Instead, if I want to maintain the intensity of the colors and detail and everything inside of the scaled image as I'm working on it, but I want to reveal other elements in the background, why then I would switch the mode from Normal to Multiply, another great use for a really great blend mode. And now I can see everything inside of the image. It looks great, so I'm going to go back here to the W value this time. So, now I'm going to press Shift+down arrow couple more times, maybe take it down to 30%. And actually 30% is exactly a match. Look at that. So, that must be what I did before. So, 30-30, looks great, go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept your modification and we now have new russell.
So, how does he fair? Well, let's get rid of old Russell here, rbrown, by turning off that layer. And then I'll drag new russell down below darken like so. Now, I just introduced it into the clipping mask, because after our darken was clipped by rbrown, this Darken adjustment layer so that it affects just the rbrown layer. And because I sandwiched new russell in between, it becomes clipped as well. While, we are clipping to an invisible layer, so everything is invisible. I don't what that, so I got to do a couple of Alt-clicks or Option-clicks on the Mac.
I am going to Alt-click here or Option-click here on the horizontal line between new russell and rbrown. Now, I can see him again, but darken is no longer clipped to anything. So, I'll Alt-click or Option-click on the horizontal line between darken and new russell and now it is clipped as indicated by this little down pointing arrowhead and everything is hunky-dory. Now, how do things look? Well, let's go ahead and turn on the logo elements layer and he looks like he is peeking over my logo, just fine, it looks totally awesome. Now, if you feel like he needs to be sharper still, then go up to the Filter menu. Make sure of course new russell is active. Choose Sharpen and then choose Smart Sharpen would be my recommendation for such a small item. And I have already established the settings I want to use, an Amount of 100%, Radius of 0.5 pixels. Remove is set to Lens Blur.
Now, I was telling you back when we were discussing sharpening that if you are trying to compensate for the effects of Image Interpolation for downsampling the image, then you really want to go with Gaussian Blur. But because, we have a very small image that's intended for screen use, so it's going to go to the web, Lens Blur is going to give us more tactile results. So, that's what I want in this case. I'll go with Lens Blur and I'll click OK. That's too much sharpening of course. So let's go and back it off by going to the Edit menu, choosing the Fade Smart Sharpen command, Ctrl+Shift+F, Command+Shift+F on the Mac. And let's change the mode of course to Luminosity, because we don't want to introduce any aberrant colors. And you will see things shift a little in the background when I choose Luminosity.
Notice that we have 4-5 details running outside of the head, which I like quite a bit. And then I'm going to take the Opacity value, because he's just way too sharp. I'm going to take it down to about 45%. Looks good to me. I like the fact that we have these nice dark edges around Russell's head. Now normally, if I were compositing Russell against a photographic background and I wanted an incredible effect, then I wouldn't want this darkness right there. I would work to get rid of it. I will show you how of course, all sorts of different ways to composite masked images inside of my full Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks series, which is just as accurate for Photoshop CS4 as it is to Photoshop CS3. But in my case, I don't want that appearance. Nobody is going to believe for a second that he was photographed behind this sign against the white background. So, I want to distinguish him from the white background as much as possible and so these dark edges look really great.
So, I'm going to go ahead and zoom out to take in the final version of this composition. And a word about martiniHour, it's a free audio podcast that's available to you at Deke.com. We'll talk about computer graphics and digital imaging which is the stuff I eat, and breathe, and drink, and everything, right. In the next exercise, we are going to transition to our final project in which I show you how to select translucent objects, specifically glass, so that you can see through the glass to a totally foreign environment and it looks great. Please, join me.
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