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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, I'm going to demonstrate series duplication inside of Photoshop, wherein you clone and transform a layer once and then you repeat that clone and transform process over and over again in order to create a pattern, basically a transformed pattern. You'll see what that means in just a moment. I have gone ahead and updated my document slightly, I have to tell you that. In a name of full disclosure, I've called it The cardinal clock.psd. I've gone ahead and sort of adjusted the layer effects that are applied to the hands, and then I went ahead and applied drop shadows to the numbers as well so that everything matches up a little better, which meant that I had to select the numbers independently and put them on an independent layer. In case you're thinking hey, hey, that's not there, you did a bunch of stuff behind or back here and this is a kind of stuff I'd like to learn how to do, well, then stay tuned for the next exercise, I'll show you how to do the number thing. But in the meantime, let's just do series duplication just for a moment.
What I want you to grab here is the second hand, which is of course the second layer right there and you can clone a layer and transform it if you want to, so you're going to be transforming a duplicate of a layer by adding another key to the common keyboard shortcut. So instead of pressing Ctrl+T or Command+T, you're going to press Ctrl+Alt+T or Command+Option+T, and that's what I've done. Now, it doesn't appear to go ahead and clone the layer right away but it will in just a moment. I am going to move the center of the transformation, the transformation origin target point right there to the center of these dials, and then I'm going to go ahead and just drag outside of the second hand like so, and the second I start dragging it, then the Photoshop goes ahead and copies that second layer and calls it Second Copy, which is actually the first copy of the second layer.
All right, anyway, so I went ahead and rotated it a little bit. What I want to do, I want to make sure that I'm creating an even pattern here. There is 360 degrees in the circle. So if I want 10 hands, that's pretty easy math right there. I'll go ahead and divide 360 by 10, and I would get 36. So let's go ahead and change that angle value to 36 degrees, and that's it. Then I press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to accept that modification. Now let's say we want to repeat that process over and over again.
Well, here it goes. You press Ctrl+Shift +Alt+T or Command+Shift+Option+T on the Mac and this is what happened. You just go ahead and repeat the transformation over and over again, and if you have a slight problem with the centering of your origin point, it's going to get magnified. I did have a little wonkiness going on, but it ends up working up pretty well, I think. This is the effect we get of a bunch of different second hands working in time with each other as it were. Now, I'm going to grab all the seconds layers, so I've got Second Copy 9 and I'll scroll down to second and I'll Shift+Click on it. So I've got all of the second layers selected. Then I'm going to go to my Layer palette menu and I'm going to choose new group from Layers and Photoshop will invite me to name this group, and I'll call the group Second Hands or something along those lines, and Click OK.
Now, they are all inside of one group, which means I can now transform them altogether. Now, you don't have to have layers in a group to transform them all together. You could just select a bunch of layers randomly inside of your stack, but since we had so many second hands to work with, grouping them was just a tidier way to work. So with the group active, I'll press Ctrl+T or Command+T to enter the Free Transform mode, and then I can do this number right here to rotate them all at once, if I decide that some other angle is more desirable, and then I would press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that transformation.
Now you might ask me, well, gosh Deke, some of those seconds hands have been transformed up to three times in a row, because you applied the first transformation in order to get the second hand down to a reasonable size, and at that negative 8 degree angle and then you performed a series rotation, which was the second transformation for 9 out of 10 of the second hand, and then you went ahead and applied a transformation to all 10 of the second hands at once. Is that not a destructive process? And the answer is I'm afraid it is. Heaping one transformation on to another is incrementally destructive just as saving an image over and over again to the JPEG format. Saving it, closing it, opening it back up, saving it again and closing it, opening it back up is ultimately destructive as well. But insofar as destructive processes go, nothing too bad and it's a cool effect, I just want you to see what your options are.
In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how I selected those white numbers and assigned a drop shadow to them. It's another masking trick that I think you'll enjoy.
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