Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

Scaling and compositing layers


Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Scaling and compositing layers

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.
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  1. 21m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 34s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 35s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 46s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 8s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 55s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 55s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 33s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 42s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 52s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 39s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 43s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 51s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 52s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 7m Advanced May 29, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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 Online Training Library®.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Defining the essentials of masking
  • Resizing images with content-aware scaling
  • Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
  • Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
  • Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Scaling and compositing layers

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 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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: My Polygon tool is locked into a very small size. I can use the Transform tool to increase it's size once drawn, but I must have something set that will not allow me to freely draw it like I can the other shapes. What could be causing this problem?
A: This could be caused by a value associated with the Radius option of the tool. Click the down-pointing arrowhead to the right (a few tool icons over) from the Polygon tool in the options bar at the top of the screen. This brings up pop-up panel. If the Radius option has a number value, select that value and press Delete or Backspace to clear it out. That should fix the problem.
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