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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, we'll put the finishing touches on our composition, and I'll show you how to turn a layer into a floating knockout that cuts holes in the layers below it. So the first thing I am going to do is turn on the features layer here in order to bring in the eyes, and these cartoon hands. Now, I want to create the effect of the shadow being cast onto the dinosaur, so I'll make sure the hadrosaur layer is selected, and then I'll drop down to the fx icon, and I'll choose neither Drop Shadow, nor Inner Shadow, but rather Gradient Overlay, which is great for creating shadows that look like they were cast not by the layer, but onto the layer.
All right. The first thing I am going to do here, assuming default settings, is change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply, so that we drop out the whites, and we keep the blacks, and we turn the entire gradient into one big shadow. Then I want the shadow to go at a different angle, so we'll go ahead and drag this angle line until I get an angle of -146 degrees, meaning that the shadow is going down and to the left. The shadow is too opaque at this point, so I'll reduce the Opacity value to 70% in order to achieve the effect you see in the video.
Now I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key in the Mac, in order to accept that change, and you can see that really does a great job of integrating the dinosaur into the scene. So if I click the eyeball in front of Effects, this is the untreated version of the dinosaur skeleton, and then if I turn the Effects back on, this is what it looks like now. Finally, I've got this caption group. I'll go ahead and turn it on, and you can see that it contains some, you know, evil dinosaur dialog, but rather than having these hand-drawn letters appear white, I want to cut a hole through the layer in back of the letters to reveal the Earth in the background.
So I'll go ahead and twirl open the caption layer, and I'll click on the text layer to make it active, and I'll go ahead and zoom in on that text as well, so I can better see what I'm doing. And here is how you turn any layer into a hole: you go ahead and click on an empty portion of that layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and then you'll see this option called Knockout. You can set it to either Shallow, or you can set it to Deep, but it's not going to make any difference at first, because it's entirely reliant upon the invisibility of the layer, and the easiest way to make the layer invisible is to reduce the Fill Opacity.
So I'll go ahead and take that Fill Opacity down to 0%, and you can see that we are now using the letters to cut a hole. Problem is, we are cutting a very deep hole. Well, what does that mean? I'll go ahead and show you by clicking OK, and scrolling down the list. We are cutting a hole all the way down the stack to the background image, and if I Alt+click or Option+click on the eyeball in front of the Background, you can see that it's just a synthetic star field set against a black background. I'll go ahead and Alt+click or Option+click again to bring back the other layers, and that's why we're seeing mostly black letters with a few white dots, which are the stars.
Now, if I were to double-click on the Background in order to convert it to an independent layer, and I'll call it stars, for example, and click OK, then I'd be cutting through that layer as well, all the way down to checkerboard transparency. So I am revealing nothingness essentially, which is not what I want. If I just want to cut through this backcard layer, then I'd select the text layer again, double-click on an empty portion of that layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, and I change the Knockout setting from Deep to Shallow, and that goes ahead and reveals the yellow, and the blues, by the way, of the Earth and the background.
So the trick is to set the Fill Opacity value to 0%, and in most cases, set Knockout to Shallow. Now, the reason knockout is working for us is because we're working inside of a group. So your layers have to be part of a group in order for this technique to work. If I were to select the group, and then press Control+Shift+G, or Command+Shift+G on the Mac, in order to ungroup those layers, then the text, once again, goes ahead and cuts all the way through to the background. We don't have a background, so it's revealing the checkerboard transparency. So if you want to contain a Knockout effect that's set to Shallow, then you need to select the Knockout layer, as well as the layers that you want to cut holes in, and then you'd go up to the Layers panel flyout menu, and then choose New Group from Layers, and I'll call this group caption, and then click OK, and we have the knockout that we're looking for. All right gang! We'll go ahead and press Shift+F in order to switch to full screen mode, and then press Control+0 to center my zoom, and this is the final version of the composition, begun with the Color Range command, finessed in the Quick Mask mode, and ultimately perfected as a layer mask here inside Photoshop.
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