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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I am still working along inside Four- point template.psd found inside the 27_pen_tool folder and, I am busy at work adjusting the curvature of the segments associated with this former ellipse, so that they match the contour zigzagged boundary in fact of this water droplet. So I am going to drag this control handle here upward, so it matches the red control handle and I should get a cyan result as I am seeing there. Bear in mind that we are dragging the gray points and handles we are not dragging the red ones. Now here is something else you can do.
In addition to dragging around points and dragging handles as well you can drag a segment directly. So notice I can go ahead and drag that segment and adjust its curvature directly. Now this only works I should say with curving segments. If you have a straight segment you are not going to be able to drag it and add curvature to it. But the interesting thing here is, notice if I go ahead and drag too far, that I am going to once again cross the control handles and I am going to end up with a very pointy result, so I will undo that.
I also want you to notice as you are dragging the segment that you are moving both control handles associated with that segment at the same time and they remain locked into their previous alignment. However these levers were aligned, and let me make it clear what my terminology is here. This square thing is the anchor point, this round thing at the end is the control handle, and the straight line between the two is the lever. Notice that these levers have a specific angle associated with them right now, whatever that angle is.
When I am dragging the segment those levers remain locked into their angles, so they might grow very short or they might grow very long relative to each other but the angle of the levers remains fixed. So that's something to bear in mind when you are working with curved segments when you are dragging them around. Something that can go wrong is if you drag the segment in wrong the location like so. So if I drag that segment up and release I am in for a world full of hurt at this point because, now these control handles are locked into this weird alignment right on top of each other.
So one's piggybacking onto the other and if I try to move this handle away what frequently happens is that they both go down with each other like so and I have this pinch at this location, and this is never something I would want. I don't want this kind of smooth point. It's a very unfortunate occurrence. These kinds of points can happen in Photoshop when Photoshop creates the points for you as well. So remember with the light bulb example when we were adding various shapes inside of a single vector mask and then we combined them together using the Combine button, why you can end up experiencing these kinds of points.
If you find them, the way to release them is to either get rid of them of course, you could just delete this point and add a new one, or you can drag the segment. If you drag the segment, because the angle of those lines is locked, you can easily draw that wayward control handle out of that mess. Anyway that's what I have gone ahead and done, so I have got a good system going once again, I have got a good smooth point and I will go ahead and drag the control handle directly in order to move it into alignment with the template. Here is another thing you can do, while you are working away with your control handles.
If you drag, notice this guy right now is, or was, before I started messing with it, an absolutely horizontal lever. If you want to go ahead and preserve a perpendicular lever then you press the Shift key as you drag and that's actually going to constrain you to the nearest 45 degrees. So you could switch to a diagonal lever or a vertical lever as well. I am going to take it back down to absolutely horizontal. Although I don't want it to stay that way actually because absolutely horizontal doesn't have that much to do with his droplet. So I am going to move this anchor point into position like so and I am going to drag this control handle to this location and this guy over to this location and we end up with this effect, as soon as I release anyway, we end up with is this effect here.
All right let's check our work, let's make sure we are happy with what we have and I am going to do that by turning off this darn template here, the points & handles template, so I can see better what I am doing, and I am going to zoom in on my droplet and I may even try turning on the background droplet for a second and turning off single drop, in order to see where that edge is and it's hard to know because we are taking a vector path and using it to trace the real world and the real world has some lumps and bumps in it. So notice that this isn't exactly a smooth edge here.
The water droplet either bends down a little bit and then conforms differently to a different portion of the leaf texture or we are seeing some sort of light refracting differently inside of the droplet, or it maybe a shading issue, who knows. I want to keep it nice and smooth, so I am going to have to make a decision about where I want to cut it off. I will go ahead and bring back that single drop layer and the vector mask seems to be selected by default so that's nice. I will go ahead and select that segment there and I could drag it back just a little bit like so.
So drag directly on the segment in order to reign it in, but then I am going to miss this edge there and I have to bear in mind that I am going to have the shading layer underneath, and if I have any softness built into that shading layer, the one that has the amorphous layer mask, you may recall that one, then I am going to expose this edge and that might not look good. So I just have to be as careful as possible is what it comes down to. Anyway, I think I am going to cut that guy off, I think that's what I will do. And I can always change my mind later so it's not the biggest deal there. This looks pretty good.
I might take this down just ever so slightly there. Of course when you take one control handle down you are taking the opposite side up. That's a function of working with a smooth point, so just bear that in mind. Even if you are not seeing the control handle, its happening, and we are not seeing the control handle because the anchor point isn't selected. In this case I only have the segment selected so I am just seeing the two control handles associated with that segment. If I want to see the opposite control handle, I have to click on the anchor point and there it is. But even when you can't see it, it's still working away on the path outline.
So this must be why I raised this to this degree, so I have got to get that control handle over there on the opposite side down. This looks pretty good so I am shaving off a little bit of an edge there, I could kind of work with that if I wanted to, but you know every action where the smooth points are concerned has an equal and opposite reaction. So I am cutting off the bottom of this side of the droplet. It may be I need to move my points to a different location, so that might end up helping too. But then you are going to have to adjust the positioning of your control handles some more.
Anyway, I am going to take this guy up a little bit, so I clicked on this segment to make the control handles visible and then I am dragging up this edge. That looks pretty good to me actually. So now I am going to zoom out, and to check my work, to see if I have got a water droplet that's worthy of my attention so far, I am going to bring up the Masks panel, I am going to restore the Density to a 100% like so. Hide the Masks panel, hide that droplets layer, so I can see the layer rendered against white, and hide the mask as well and this is my mask outlined so far and I will tell you what.
Not quite right, I am going to go ahead and click on it one more time to select it and I am going to nudge that anchor point up ever so slightly by pressing the up arrow key and I might nudge this guy a little bit too. So I nudged it up in over to the right. That looks to me like a slightly better match. Anyway there you have it. That's one way to work. To take a basic shape outline, something like an ellipse, and modify it using the White Arrow tool until it conforms to your image. You can always add points if you wanted to, subtract points as well using the Pen tool, so those options are still available to you.
In the next exercise, as opposed to modifying an ellipse, we are going to draw the path from scratch using the Pen tool.
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