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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 changes as Exoskeleton.psd, and in this exercise we're going to take this hard outer shell that we've associated with the letters in the word Spiders here, and we're going to transform it slightly, because if I press Ctrl+1 or Cmd+1 on the Mac to zoom into 100%, I'll zoom in even a little farther here, so you can see that we have some pretty choppy transitions around the various edges in this texture pattern, and that's because I magnified the pattern to 400%. If I just left it at 100%, it would be so tiny that it wouldn't show up properly at all.
Anyway, what that did is, it upsampled the pixels, so we have some pretty rocky transitions. You can see all this stair stepping, for example, going on inside this one line in the letter D, I think where we're looking at right now. Anyway, I'm going to zoom out, so that we can take in a little bit more at a time, and I'll switch over here to Bevel and Emboss and double-click on it. The solution to this particular problem is actually pretty simple. You go over to the Soften option. It not only Softens off the edges created by the Chisel Hard Technique, but it also softens the edges inside of your textures as well.
So I'll go ahead and raise that value to 2 pixels, and you can see that goes a long way towards smoothing off those transitions there. So Soften set to 2 pixels takes care of that problem for now. Now, the other issue I want to take care of is that I have these very dark edges on the upper-left sides of each of the letters, and I'd like to temper that with a little bit of a reflective bounce. In other words, a highlight that's being bounced off the background into the Shadow region, and I can get that effect using Inner Shadow.
And the reason I'm going to use Inner Shadow to create what's essentially a glow, rather than using one of the Glow effects, is because I need a directional glow. I need it to come in from the upper-left corner. If I apply Inner Glow, it will be wrapped around the insides of the letters uniformly, and that won't look right at all. The great thing about the two shadow effects is they are capable of imparting directional shadows as well as directional highlights or glows. If you want omni-directional shadows or highlights, and by omni-directional I mean coming in from all sides or going out in all directions, then you want to use your Outer Glow, or Inner Glow Effects.
All right, so I'm going to go up to Inner Shadow. For starters, I'm going to dial in a very bright color. So I'm going to click on this Color Swatch, and it's black, oh my gosh! What am I doing using black as an Inner Shadow effect? No wonder these edges are so darn dark at this point. Anyway, I'm in a dial in a complementary color such as a Hue value of 215, as I've been using right along so far, and then I'm going to Tab to Saturation 25, and then for the Brightness value I'm going to change that to 100%. So we end up getting a bright effect indeed that isn't showing up at all inside of our composition. Why is that? Well, I'll click OK.
It's because of Multiply. So I'll go ahead and turn off Inner Shadow for a second. You might see a little bit of a difference there. Sure enough, the letters actually brighten up after we trash the inner shadow effect. When we turn it on, they get slightly darker, and we have a little bit of blue darkness that's being added, because we're multiplying in this very bright color. That still results, as long as it's not white, if it's anything even slightly darker than white, then we're going to add some darkness to the image. We need to change the Blend mode, and I'm going to change the Blend mode from the when in doubt darkening effect Multiply, to the ultra lightening effect, Linear Dodge (Add), and that ends up getting us a very bouncy highlight effect.
Too much frankly, but we'll address that in just a moment. I'm going to leave the Opacity value cranked up to 75%, and these guys are fine. Distance 5, Choke 40. I'm going to take the Size value down though from 35 pixels to 25 pixels, and that will ultimately result in a bounce. So we should have, in other words, Highlight starting in the upper-left corner there followed by shadow, followed by highlight again. However, our overall color scheme right now is very bright, and I can darken things up by going to Color Overlay, and rather than using this low saturation blue as a screening effect, which means we are brightening things up quite a bit here.
I could darken things up quite a bit by switching to Multiply. And I think I've gone too far in this case, because I'm really losing the blue effect entirely; instead, I'm going to switch to a neutral colorization effect, which is this guy down here Color. So go ahead and choose Color from the Blend mode pop-up menu there, and you will achieve the effect that you see before you now. I'll go ahead and apply my settings, and I'll zoom out as well. The one additional concern I have is that I'm not sure I'm using the right texture, because right now it's giving the letters kind of a clunky feel, and I'm just not clear on whether I like that or not.
So I'm going to switch out the Texture, at least try to fiddle around with it, see what else is available to me. I'll double-click on Bevel and Emboss to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. Then I have to click on Texture. Notice Texture is not listed there inside the Layers panel. So I'll go ahead and click on Texture to make it active, and then let's try out some other textures that are available to us, like, this guy right here what's he called, Metal Landscape. Let's see what that results, and then that's pretty interesting. And in fact, I have to say, all these grayish looking kind of blobby patterns right here end up producing pretty interesting results, like here is Molecular. Wow! That's cool.
It gives us chiseled letters. The one I ended up going with, however, is this guy Strings, because it creates a series of string patterns through the letters, which I actually quite liked, and I thought it looked a little bit like a jewelry effect. And then, after I went ahead and hid that panel, I took the Scale value from 400% down to 250%, which it helped get rid of some of the jagged edges. Then I took the Depth value down to 20 like so, and we end up getting this effect right there. And you know what? I'm going to turn off Link with layer just a moment, because I want to show you what that means.
Currently if I drag these letters around to move them, then the texture will move around with them. However, if I turn off Link with layer, which I will, and click OK, and then Ctrl+Drag the letters around, notice that the Texture stays put, and the letters move around outside the context of the texture. Just thought I'd show you what that check box does, I don't know that's particularly practical, but you might be able to adjust your alignment a little bit by turning it off. Anyway, Ctrl+Z Cmd+Z on the Mac to Undo that movement.
Now I don't think the whole spiders and butterflies metaphor makes any sense, so I'm going to go ahead and change out some of my text by double-clicking on the T thumbnail, in order to highlight my text, and I'll change it to Chains, like so. And actually you know what, Ctrl+A, Cmd+A on the Mac, then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+> here on the PC or Cmd+Shift+Option+> in order to increase the size my text, and then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+> or Cmd+Shift+> to increase it another couple of pixels. So we now have a Type size of 152 points, which fits better.
Press the Enter key on the keypad to accept that modification. Press Ctrl+Shift+Down Arrow a couple of times to scoot the text downward, on the Mac that would be Cmd+Shift+Down Arrow a couple of times, and then I'm going to go ahead and replace the butterflies text as well, which is entirely editable as you can see here, like so. And we end up getting this final effect right there, which is quite a bit different than the effect we started with, recall, if I click on Chains in order to make it active here inside the Layers panel, and I click on this layer Style, Stepped contour.
This is the effect we represented with a few exercises back, and this, Sparkles, is what we're presented with now, and all it took was some very a satisfying and parametric modifications to a few layer Effects settings, here inside Photoshop.
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