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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're going to turn this orange goopy layer here into beautiful liquid. It's going to look like some sort of translucent orange drink. Goodness knows it's not going to have any pulp in it. It's some fake-y drink. It's Happy Juice after all. I am still working inside the document called Happy logo.psd and I've selected the Splatter layer of course and I've turn on the Effects, Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow. We're going to now add a Bevel and Emboss effect, so go ahead and Click the Effects icon, choose Bevel and Emboss and we don't want any Contour or Texture for this effect. These sub effects right here are a waste of time, where this cool groovy liquid is concerned.
So here is what we are going to do instead. First of all we're going to confirm that we have an Inner Bevel that's very important and then I'm going to go ahead and increase the Depth just a little bit to 120% and you can see so far we don't have anything even moderately resembling juice at this point. It just looks kind of plasticy, like a very thin layer of plastic effect that's sitting above the sky and casting a shadow on to it. Excellent! All right, the Technique should be Smooth, the Direction Up for this specific effect, those don't really affect the liquidness of it at all. It's just the setup stuff we want. I'm going to increase the Size value to 20 pixels, so that we've a little bit of edge going here and I'm going to accept our Global Light settings. Angle 130 degrees, Altitude 67 degrees, that's fine by me. Again, none of this is really getting us to our goal. It's just setting the stage, don't you know? Here is something that's going to start getting us toward our goal little bit, the Gloss Contour, this is very important. We are not going to get a liquid effect with a Gloss Contour that looks like a line. So Click on it, in order to bring up the Contour Editor, so Click inside of there, notice we don't want to Click on the arrow because we're going to have to load a custom contour as you will shortly see. And notice that it looks like a Curves graph and you can Click by the way in order to create points on this curve and then move them up and down like so. And the key to getting a liquid effect is something like what I've done here, where we get some flat spots at the top and the bottom of the graph because those are going to create some average shadows and highlights.
Remember I was telling you about how you can make arbitrary maps with Curves. Well here we're making arbitrary contours and that creates a combination of shadows and highlights along the edge and gives us something that's looking more like a liquid effect as you can see here. Now it's really looking, you know, sort of more of a richly detailed plastic at this point because it's still opaque, but getting us toward our goal, don't you know? All right, so I've a very specific contour and mind however, that I've created for you in advance. So Click on the Load button and go to the 21_layer_styles folder. I believe when you first Click on Load you will go to a Contours folder that's completely empty that has no contours, whatsoever, as provided to you by Adobe. Because I think they have accidentally set things up so they take you to the wrong contours folder, there is another one. But anyway I digress, you want to go to 21_layers_styles and Click on Liquid shine.shc right there, that's the Contours file and then Click on Load and that's what it looks like and look at the nice wonderful glows and shadows that you get out of that effect. Click OK.
Now then let's monkey with this Screen and Multiply options. In order to really sell the liquid here, we need very harsh specular highlights meaning that they really pop and they just go brilliant white, they completely flatten out on you. And we need shadows that are really intense as well. So, we're going to switch from Screen which is you know a solid lightening mode, right, but it's not really so over the top as Linear Dodge. So go ahead and grab Linear Dodge there and we're going to do the same thing. You notice that our highlights are popping a lot more. They are also kind of turning yellow. Don't worry too much about that.
We are also going to change Multiply to its over the top compadre here, which is Linear Burn and that's going to really intensify the color of the shadows. Now let's take that Opacity value down, actually you know what, I'm going to change the color of this Shadow a little bit. I don't want it to be black; I want it to be this. I'm going to change the Hue value to 30 which is orange and then I'm going to change the Saturation value to 100 so it's some really intense orange and then I'm going to lighten the Brightness value or else that just going to set here to be black. And will take that value up to 35% which gives us a very dark orange, also known as Brown, Click OK and now, ooh, look at the color that's coming out of there.
Now let's take the Opacity value, down to 35% and I'm going to also select the Opacity value for the Highlight Mode and take it down to, to like 60% and that's going to seeing like I'm going in the wrong direction because I'm getting very yellowish highlights now and very orangish shadows, that's okay, it's going to work for us as you'll see. Now what I want you to do is Click OK. We are done. These are the settings we want to apply, behold the settings. Make sure you are matching mine of course. Then we don't want Anti-aliased by the way. We want that off. So we want some nice sharp transitions. Click OK, in order to accept that effect. Now then I'm going to have you do two things. First of all, we're going to reduce the Fill value here to 85% and that's going to reduce the Opacity of the orange fluid without changing our highlights or shadows one iota.
So let's change that to 85% like so, so you can just barely maybe see through the orange. Actually it doesn't have much of an effect so far. But it will, once we marry that with a blend mode of Screen. So go ahead and apply the Screen mode there and there you get your, oh, liquid effect, gosh that looks good. Look at this detailing right there, isn't that amazing? It's so awesome. This little area of spots kind of underneath the J and u in Juice, so nice and we have all kinds of stuffs like that going on inside of this liquid.
Num, num, num, no wonder, this kid is so happy. Because this would take a long time for you to do, right? If you were sitting there fooling around with settings and say just doing what I tell you to do. You are fooling around with these settings trying to see what's right, what's not going to work, what is going to work, you finally land on the most beautiful combination of settings ever made then you want to save them out. You want to go ahead and save all of your effects out as a replicatable layer style and we'll do that in the next exercise.
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