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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.
All right, what's next? Well, first of all, i f you're just joining me you can open this document. It's Title invert. psd found inside the 16_adjust_layers folder. If you've just been diligently working on with me, stick inside that original drive-in screen composition. We've have got these letters that are inverting everything behind them, they're very difficult to read however. So I want to create a high contrast version of this effect. Basically, I want to convert everything inside of these letters to either black or white. So we have big high impact effect, and here is how we're going to do it. We're going to use something called a Threshold layer and we're going to affect the contents of this adjustment layer only, not everything, just this one adjustment layer.
And the way we're going to do that is I'm going to have you press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click this Black/White icon, and choose this command right here, Threshold and you're invited to name the layer. I'm going to call it BorW indicating that it's going to be either black or white and I'm going to turn on Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask. So we're affecting just the one layer below, just the Invert layer and nothing more, and click OK. There are some options for this adjustment and the idea is the Threshold here and anything that's darker than Threshold value becomes black and anything that's lighter becomes white. 128 is just fine, by the way. So that means that the lightest half of the colors inside of the image are white, the darkest half are black. That's great.
So I'm going to go ahead and hide the Adjustments palette for now. It affects just the interior of the letters because it's clipped to the letters and nothing more. Now if you happen to get a different effect, if you happen to see this where you are applying a Threshold to everything inside the image, and you may say, well, Deke this doesn't quite match your description because we are seeing black but we're not seeing white, we're seeing gravel. That's because we have the Shadow on top. Notice that this Shadow layer right there is being multiplied. When you multiply one layer into another, you don't affect black at all, but you completely cover up white.
So this is what the effect really looks like when the Threshold adjustment layer is not clipped. It's therefore affecting everything below it; adjustment layers always affect all layers below. So the text is not affected, the blue text that is, because it's up there at the top of the layer stack. It's above Shadow even inside this Text elements group right there. All right, but anyway, back to my question, what do you do if you end up getting this effect here and your Threshold effect is sticking out all over the place? There is a few different ways you can work, but from the Adjustments palette, you can turn on this little option and it's the Clipping option, so that this adjustment affects all layers below right now. But if I click on it and then I move away and hover over it again, now it's telling me that this adjustment clips to the layer and it affects just the one layer below and nothing more.
All right, so that's the way to go. There are some other things you can do. That's just a new thing you can do from the Adjustments palette. You can also press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click this horizontal line between the two layers. Notice that unclips and then if I Alt+Click or Option+Click again, it clips again. So it's clipping this layer into the contents. So this layer, and worry not for the Shadow layer, this is how the composition would look, but once we have the Shadow layer, it looks like this instead, which is good but not great. It's certainly, incrementally more legible but we haven't done everything we need to and we're going to do everything we need to, to this title, all of the remaining steps, because they're just little micro steps, in the next exercise.
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