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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, 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 CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
I've saved my progress as the Formatted logo.psd. In this exercise we're going to fill out this transparent area above the original photograph. So here I am coming up with this composition on the fly, let's say, and I have a little bit of headroom up here above the model, but I don't have nearly enough. I've got to have room for the full logo, and it's okay if the model's head cuts into the logo a little bit. That actually demonstrates that we're comfortable with our logo and that everybody recognizes our magazine, and so on.
However, if we cut away too much of the logo, it becomes entirely illegible and nobody knows what we're talking about. So right about where we are is good. We'll just have a little bit of cut, going slightly into the O, well into the U, although that will still be recognizable, and we'll have the model cutting through the swash like crazy, but that's just a logo element. That's not a legibility element, so that's fine. But in order to get the composition right, I need a lot more headroom. So how do we take a background and make it taller or make it bigger? Well, the way that we're taught to work inside of Photoshop, at least Photoshop CS4 and later, is to use Content-Aware Scale.
Just to give myself a little more room, I'm going to collapse my Color panel here, and I'm going to drop down to my photograph layer, which is that original image from Andre 01:17 of the Fotolia Image Library, and so we're led to believe that we need some sort of automated solution. For example, I could select the photograph layer, and I could go up here to the Edit menu, and I could choose Content-Aware Scale, a command that I will demonstrate to you in a later chapter of the series, because it does actually have some positive uses. With any degree of luck, you can scale a background independently of a foreground inside of an image, but there has to be a lot of contrast going on.
And where this image is concerned, if I go ahead and scale the image upward, I'm stretching the model's forehead and her forehead is coming farther into the type, and we're also distorting the model to a large extent. If I press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, this is the Content-Aware Scale version of the image, and this is the original version of the image. So the post version, after Content-Aware Scale, basically gives her a big giant squishy head, which I don't want, for fairly obvious reasons I think, so I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac.
So automation has failed me. It's always worth a try. Go ahead and give that command a shout and see what it comes up with. But here's an oldie but a goody technique that actually works great. It's one of those tricks that I have to admit to you, it's really a hack, but you'd be surprised how well it works. So you go ahead and get your Rectangular Marquee tool. Then you select the top portion of the image in our case and you want to make sure that you have some margin above the model's head. So I'll go ahead and zoom in here, so we can see what that looks like a little tighter.
So you want to leave yourself some room, about half a pica, above the model's head, just a few pixels, maybe 10 or so pixels. Then once you've selected that portion of the background image, go ahead and jump it to a New layer, just to be careful, because we are going to apply a permanent modification here. Press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to jump and name the layer all at once. I'll call it top area and then click OK. Now, with this little bit of information selected here, I'll go up to the Edit menu, and I'll choose Free Transform, your standard transformation feature that allows you to scale and rotate and apply perspective distortions and warps.
We'll see more of this one in a later chapter as well, or you can press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. Notice that you now have a series of handles around the perimeter of your layer. Now all you do is you just drag this top handle. Notice that that's all you do. You just scale this area vertically like so, and you're done. Once it snaps into alignment with the top of your composition, as it will, if you want to give yourself a little extra room because you're not sure, maybe you want more room later, why, then you can go ahead and give yourself some margin by dragging it up too far.
I figure, what the heck? I might as well do that. Then you might want to take a look at your numerical values up here in the Options bar. I have not scaled the Width at all, so it remains 100%. My Height is now 158.76%, so that's quite the interesting level of interpolation. If you decide to modify this Height value, this is very important. You would have to change your reference point here, because right now it's the center. So if you were to increase any of these values, you would transform the layer with respect to this center target right there, which would throw off the registration down here at the bottom.
So if I were to say, gosh, I want to round off this value, let's say, then I would first click on this bottom reference point inside this little reference point metrics. Then I would change that value to say 162. Then I'd press the Enter key a couple of times in order to accept that modification. Now, zoom in on the image, and you will notice that we have a very clean transition. There is no edge. This is a seamless cut that we've applied. Now, it's abrupt. Notice the sort of elbow in this fold right there, in the drapery in the background.
So in other words, we're starting off the stretch at a very specific point in that background. However, even if you zoom this image in beyond 100%, I'm now at the 200% zoom ratio. You're not going to see any scene at that location. Just in case you're wondering where it happens, I'll Ctrl+click or Command+click on this top area layer to load its selection outline. I thought it started right about there. It turns out it starts a little higher. So it's very difficult to see the actual effects of this kind of scaling and yet it is so easy to pull off.
So just select some random portion of your background that does not include the foreground. Make sure, by the way, to use the Rectangular Marquee tool, because you want a nice clean slice. It has got to be a slice exactly along a pixel line, and the Rectangle Marquee tool is the only thing that's going to give you that kind of edge. Then go ahead and jump that section to a new layer and scale it using the Free Transform command. In the next exercise, we're going to redraw this pixel-based swash using a series of vector-based shape outlines.
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