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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 am still working inside Automation boy.psd. So far I have scaled and moved and rotated the type, but it's not a successful match as I think even a child could see here. The angle of the I, for example, is in no way shape or form in keeping with left-hand edge of the sign and nothing really about text matches. It's a very clumpy mimic at this point. So the question becomes; should I go ahead and reapply the Free Transform command and try to finesse the results or should I undo and start over? If this were a pixel based layer, the answer would be definitely undo and start over, because every time you apply Free Transform to a pixel layer, that is a layer with an image on it, such as this greenbot layer right here which represents the green robot.
Then you rewrite the pixels inside the image. You basically rewrite all of the pixels inside of that layer, and so each and every repeated application of the Free Transform command is a destructive operation. The only exception to that happens when you wrap the image inside of a Smart Object, and I will explain how that works when we come to smart objects in the mastery portion of the series, but for now, here we are working on a vector based text layer. So because this is a text layer, or it could be a shape layer as well, you can apply Free Transform as many times as you like without incurring any permanent damage, because you are just scaling and rotating vectors.
However, with this layer selected, I will go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command. Of course, I urge you to press Ctrl+T, Cmd+T on the Mac; I am just doing this so you can follow along, but check out what happens here. Photoshop has gone ahead and reset the bounding box to a rectangle. Now this is an extremely irritating convention, because there is no way I am going to get it right inside of this rectangle. I need direct access to the bottom right corner of the N and the top left corner of the I, or If you prefer the bottom left corner of the I, and the top right corner of the N, it doesn't matter.
I need access to the exact shape of this text block, if I want any chance of matching it to the sign in the background. So what it really comes down to, thanks to the fact that the bounding box has become reset, it's of no use to me anymore. It really isn't. I am not going to get any thing done with it. So, I might as well press the Escape key to abandon the Free Transform mode, and then press Ctrl+Alt+Z or Cmd+ Option+Z on the Mac to go ahead and undo that last application of Free Transform. Now let's start things over by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Free Transform, but it's not there. Why? Because of another irritating convention inside of Photoshop, if you ask me. After you get done undoing, you're returned to your previously active layer, like anyone would want that.
I want to stay in the layer I was working on. But anyway, the background layer was apparently selected when I first opened this file. So I need to click on I love Automation, because you can't apply Free Transform to the Background layer, unless you have a selection. So I will go ahead and click on I love Automation, and then go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform. I hope I am conveying why the keyboard shortcut is so great, as opposed to wandering up to this menu all the time. All right, so as promised at the end of the previous exercise, in this exercise, I am going to tell you what's going on with this guy right there, that target, which is what I call the transformation origin.
That's an old school term that's been around for eons now. You may also call it after the tip up here in the Options bar, notice that it's called the Reference point, but whatever you call it, I like transformation origin, because it is the origin point about which the transformation occurs. Now that doesn't really apply to movement. Notice if I just drag the text around, the transformation origin moves with it. However, if I apply a rotation by dragging outside the bounding box, notice that I am rotating around that transformation origin.
So the origin point remains stationary and I rotate around it like I am working with the fulcrum of the seesaw, and you can send that transformation origin to different locations if you like, either by clicking here inside this little Reference point matrix, and so you have got not only the center point right there, which is active currently, that's why it's black, but you also have tiny little representatives for each one of the bounding box handles, so for each one of the corners, then the top center and the right center and the bottom center and the left center.
And clicking on anyone of them, for example, I will click in that top center point, changes the location of the origin point. So the origin and this little graphic are in communication with each other. Now what if you decide to drag the origin to a totally different location like so? I will go ahead and put it in the center of the T as in tion, right there, and then when I drag, notice the origin remains stationary, and I am rotating the text around that origin. If we go up here to the Options bar, the matrix is blank, because it doesn't have a representative for that particular point, and if I now want to resend it to the center or some other location, I just click in there and the deed is done.
All right, here is another way to work. I am going to go ahead and make my text much smaller for a moment, and I am going to rotate it like so, and I will put it about here with respect to the robot's head. Now notice what happens, if I either drag the origin point or here is something else you can do. If you just want to set the origin point in this specific location, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click, and I am going to Alt or Option+Click right there between the robot's eyes, and now if I drag outside the bounding box, I rotate the text around the robot's head.
So that origin point can come in very handy. Now, how do you work with it when scaling? Because you may have noticed, if I just start in scaling my text, I am scaling with respect to the opposite handle. So as I drag the bottom right-handle, the top left-handle stays in place. Well, if you want to scale with respect to the origin point, you are better off by the way, in terms of understanding it from the get-go, you're better off getting rid of this rotate value. So let's go ahead and reset the angle value, not to 90, that would be bad; rather to zero, will be more helpful I think, and then I will also make the text a little bigger so we can see what's going on, and I will click in that center matrix point right there in order to return the origin to the center of the text.
Now then, if you want to scale with respect to that center point there, you go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac as you drag the corner handle and that will scale, notice with respect to the origin, the origin stays in place, everything else moves around it. Now why in the world was I saying that we wanted to go ahead and reset the angle value? Well, let me show you. If I now, rotate the text like so, so when I Alt+Drag or Option+Drag a corner handle, then I not only scale the text as you see me doing, but I also skew it, and the reason is when you have the Alt or Option key down, you lose all constraints.
You can drag this corner handle wherever you wanted to go, and as long as a text is upright, that just goes ahead and scales the text. But once a text is even slightly rotated, you are free to apply slant values as well, and you are just slanting free form at this point without any hope of actually getting any real work done, but I just want you to notice that that is an option available to you. So that's how the transformation origin works. Remember that you can move it to any location by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking inside your image window.
Also, remember that you can reset it just by going up to the Reference point indicator and clicking inside of the center of that matrix. In the next exercise I am going to show you a preferred, less haphazard way to skew.
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