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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.
Alrighty gang, in this exercise we are going to take this clock face from the image called Clock parts.tif and we are going to superimpose it on to the cardinal's face right here inside of Cardinal i Tondo.psd. Now in order to prepare things properly, I want you to make sure that the emboss layer is selected below the frame layer. So just for those of you who have been fooling around with this composition that you make sure the layer, whatever it is, the layer directly below the frame layer is active. Then switch over to Clock parts.tif and we are going to select the clock face using that mask that we created in the previous exercise.
So go ahead and switch over to the Channels palette and notice that we have the RGB channels and a Mask channel and you may also have your own clock parts channel. Doesn't matter. Use any one you want. So in order to convert this mask to a selection, you are going to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and you are going to Click the thumbnail for either mask or clock parts, depending on which one you want to use. You can use either one of them. I am going to go with clock parts just so that I'm using the one that we created on the fly just a moment ago. Ctrl+Click on it, Command+Click on the Mac in order to load that mask as a selection and now notice that I have not only selected the clock face, I have also selected each of the three hands. I don't want the hands; I just want the clock face. So I'm going to select just the clock face, using the Rectangular Marquee tool. So go ahead and get yourself that tool. Then press the Shift +Alt key or the Shift+Option key on the Mac and drag broadly around the clock face like so without including any of the hands.
So you should have a selection outline that looks something like the one you see on screen before you right now and you want to get that entire clock face inside the selection then release and by virtue of the fact that you had the Shift+Alt keys down or the Shift+ Option key down on the Mac, you have intersected those two selection outlines. So you are only keeping the clock face and not the hands. You may recall that trick from back when we discussed selection outlines, way, way long ago. All right, now I want you to press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac to get the Move tool on the fly, then drag the clock face like so and notice that I have left behind a little bit, a tiny bit of clock face in the background. So you can see that stroke that's around the white hole and that indicates that it selected just too little, too few pixels associated with the clock face, which is a good thing. If you are going to err on one side or the other, you want to select too little as opposed to too much, because if you select too much, you are going to have a big sort of white fringe around your clock face and you don't want that.
All right, so I still have the Ctrl key down, the Command key down on the Mac. I'm going to drag and hold over that Title tab right there for Cardinal i Tondo.psd so that Photoshop switches over to this image. This of course is assuming that you are working in the tabbed image mode as I am. And then move your cursor back into the image window and drop. You don't have to press the Shift key to drop or any of that jazz, just drop the image into place. It doesn't matter where it land and notice that it's way too big. So we are going to have to go ahead and scale the image to fit the composition.
So some kind of scaling has to happen. We can either reduce the size of clock face to fit the composition or we are going to have to increase the size of the composition to fit the clock face. I say we reduce the size of the clock face, because that's going to give us better results down sampling instead of up sampling and of course it's a lot easier to do. All right, so step number one where reducing the size of this clock face is concerned is to go to up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command. Now it might be tempting to go to Transform and choose the Scale command. But if you do that, then you are locked in the scaling, all you can do is scale and nothing more. Whereas, if you choose Free Transform, you can scale, you can rotate, you can skew, you can distort, you have a lot of options available to you and you also have a keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. Scale has none. So go ahead and choose Free Transform.
Now depending on how you are zoomed in, you may or may not see any handles whatsoever. Right now I can see a little bit of the bounding box around the item that we are going to scale and I can see one handle and nothing more and I should be seeing the corner handles too, if we are going to scale this proportionally, because otherwise if I just drag this side handle here, I'm just going to squish the clock face. All right, so I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, which brings up an important point. You have one undo when you are in the Transform Mode. One undo and nothing more. If you make more than one mistake in a row, and you want to back up two steps, you are not going to be able to. You will have to press the Escape key in order to escape out of the Free Transform Mode and then restart your transformation by pressing Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac.
Now how do we get to the point where we can see all of the transformation handles? So we can see everything associated with the transformation boundary. Well, you go up to the View menu, really great trick, and you choose Fit on Screen or you press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on the Mac and then you will zoom out far enough to take in all of the transformation handles. Now notice that we've gone out too far to accommodate the image by itself. Notice this, I'm going to press the Escape key for a moment, so we don't have the transformation boundary anymore and I'll press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 which invokes Fit on Screen and we fit the image on screen like this.
However, if I press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac to invoke Free Transform and then I press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac, we get this instead. So the Fit on Screen command is smart enough to go as far out as you really need to go to get your work done. Brilliant, in my opinion. Now I'm going to drag this corner handle like so, you can drag any of the corner handles you want, you got four to choose from. I'm going to drag this bottom left one and I'm going to press the Shift key to create a proportional resizing like this. Now notice as I'm dragging this corner handle, I still have the Shift key down. You have got to keep that Shift key down throughout the life of your drag here, throughout the entire time you are dragging.
Notice that the only thing that's remaining stationary is the opposite handle. So in my case, the top right handle is remaining stationary as I drag the bottom left handle. That will become important in just a moment. But anyway, go ahead and release the mouse button and then release the Shift key. Now let's go ahead and move this clock face more or less into the center of the frame like so. It's too big, but it is more or less centered and now let's zoom in a little bit so we can see what we are doing. You may notice a little bit of a screen refresh problem, don't worry about it. It should ultimately settle down. Photoshop tends to buffer various versions of the image as you work and it's selecting between those buffered images. All right, so let's say that the clock face is more or less centered as it is and so you want to keep it centered as you continue to scale it. Well, now rather than scaling with respect to the opposite corner handle as I was a moment ago, I'm going to scale with respect to the center by dragging this corner handle and then pressing the Shift key of course which creates a proportional resizing, but also the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac which scales with respect to the center like this and keep those keys down until you are done dragging.
So I'm going to drag to about right here, I suppose and then I'll release the mouse button and then I'll release the Shift+Alt keys here on the PC or the Shift+Option keys on the Mac. Now let's zoom in ever farther. I want to zoom to the 100% ratio so I have the most control and I'm going to nudge my image into play. So I want to nudge it from the keyboard, I'm pressing the Right Arrow key in my case in order to get it exactly centered inside the frame and you may need to press the Up or Down Arrow keys as well in order to center the image vertically. I'm pretty happy with this right here. Now I say we have the most control at 100%, because bear in mind when you are nudging from the keyboard by pressing the Arrow keys, not Shift+Arrow keys, that always moves the selection ten real image pixels. But when you are pressing the Arrow keys by themselves, you are always moving in screen pixels, one screen pixel at a time. So when you are zoomed out, you are moving the image farther than when you are zoomed in. This is good, 100% is what we want. This looks beautiful.
We are not ready to press the Return key quite yet, because we need to make the clock face big enough to be just slightly covered up by the frame so that it fills the frame. So I'm going to press Shift+Alt once again, Shift+Option on the Mac, drag this corner handle yet again until the clock face is just big enough to fill the frame all the way around and it is. So I went ahead and released the mouse button, then released Shift+Alt and now I'm going to finish the transformation by pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and you are done. In the next exercise I'm going to tell you this just totally minuscule technical little detail. It's a very important thing though. It's very technical. After that setup, of course you will stick with me.
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