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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
I'm going to pass along now another advantage, I was telling you there are four advantages to vectors over pixels inside of Photoshop. Well, this is kind of a fifth advantage, but it's not really an advantage of vectors over pixels in Photoshop, it's an advantage of vectors in Photoshop over vectors in Illustrator. There are lots of great things about vectors in Illustrator, and you can learn all about those great things. If you check out my Illustrator series, I have a series called Illustrator CS4 One-on-One. As I'm talking, I've already filmed the Fundamentals portion of the series, which is tons of videos. I'm going to film before I die; hopefully, I'm going to film an advance series and a mastery series, just like I've done here for Photoshop. So check that out, obviously, I'm so in love with Illustrator, I think it's a great program. But the advantage that Photoshop has over Illustrator where vectors are concerned is that these vectors are fully compatible with layer effects, so that you can use layer effects and vector-based path outlines together. You really don't have layer effects inside of Illustrator.
Not the same way, you do have some apparent stuff that's available to you, but you don't have the same degree of control over drop shadows and you don't have inner shadows and bevels and some of these other effects in Illustrator. That's why I had to create this specific illustration inside of Photoshop. So here I'm working inside of Type to vectors.psd. I've gone ahead and reverted it back to its original appearance. This image, of course, is found inside the 24_vector_shapes folder. Then just so that we're filling up the screen a little better, why don't we scale this? Because we can. I'm going to go up to the Image menu, choose the Image Size command, and enough already of this Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction) thing; that's become my default setting because I changed the preference in the previous chapter. Let's cancel out. Fix that. Ctrl+K, Command+K on the Mac, in order to bring up the Preferences dialog box.
Let's change Image Interpolation right there to Bicubic (best for smooth gradients), and then click OK. Then press Ctrl+Alt+I or Command+Option+I for the Image Size command. Now there is our default setting, all three checkboxes on, very important. Let's go ahead and change the Width value to 800 pixels, what the heck, and then we'll have a Height of 800 pixels as well. Make sure Scale Styles is turned on; all of these checkboxes need to be on. Then click OK to see it grow inside of your video. So I'm going to increase the Width here a little bit of my Layers palette so that we can see the names of all my layers, because a few of the layers have both vector-based and pixel-based masks associated with them. We'll see how that works in the next project when we actually build a vector-based photo illustration. But what I want you to see in this exercise is how these layer effects aid in the creation of this wonderful illustration right here.
So I'm going to go over to my Layer Comps palette right there and I'm going to switch to Base layers, first of all, so that you can see that if there were no layer effects associated with them, all of the Base layers are just gray or white, so dark gray, light gray or white. That's it, no color, no depth, no nothing associated with them. Let's start though so that we can build things up here with Spikes only, so that we're just seeing that Spikes layer. Now notice, in addition to the vector- based spikes, well, don't worry, we'll see how to create these things. I just want you to see all of the things that you can do with them first. These vector-based spikes right there are filled with gray, so this solid color swatch shows you the color that's assigned to the vector shape and then I also have a pixel-based layer mask so that I'm cutting a hole. Notice that if I Shift- click on that layer mask to turn it back on, I'm cutting a little bit of a gradient hole in those spikes, and we'll see why that is useful in just a moment as we build this thing up.
Now let's go ahead and twirl-open the effects and you can see that I have a series of layer effects applied. I'm going to turn them on in opposite order, here, starting with the Gradient Overlay, so we've got a little bit of gradient going on. That's nice. There is our color, so we can infuse color into these boring, drab vector objects. Then I can add a Bevel and Emboss. Now so far, we're not really doing that much that we couldn't do in Illustrator. Illustrator does actually let us do everything we're doing so far. You can do Gradients, obviously, you could add color and you can create these kinds of layer masks, they're called Opacity Masks inside of Illustrator.
They are a little harder to create, but they are there, but you don't have a Bevel and Emboss. So you're not going to get something this radically cool. You might get something else radically cool. I don't need to jump on Illustrator. It's a great program. I'm just saying this you ain't going to get. Then this Inner Shadow, which is so awesome. Illustrator, eat my dust! Then I'll go ahead and add a Drop Shadow here, and we get this effect here. So this is kind of unique basically to Photoshop. Awesome! Then I would go ahead and add this circle layer, which is drab and gray and boring and dull, and then I would turn on its layer effects right there, after twirling it open.
In a moment, we'll come back to this circle layer, in the next exercise; we'll show you something else we're going to do with it. But for now just twirl it closed, if you're working along with me. Twirl this guy open, coil. Now I should note, I'll go ahead and turn on the coils, you cannot draw spirals inside of Photoshop. So what did I do? I actually drew them in the Illustrator. Yes I did, I drew it in Illustrator, converted it to path outlines, so that it worked right inside of Photoshop. Then copied and pasted it into Photoshop, something that you can do. I tell you how to transfer vectors between Illustrator and Photoshop in my Illustrator series, or I'll tell you as soon as I finish recording the whole thing.
But for now just note that you can, and it's just a Copy and Paste operation. Then I added these layer effects right there. That's something you can do in Photoshop but you can't do in Illustrator, of course. Then I felt like it was getting too dark in the center, this thing was kind of overwhelming the Tip and it was starting to look like a burner on a stove or something. So I added a little bit of layer mask to the center to kind of wipe that out a little bit. Let's go ahead and twirl that close. Then I went ahead and added this right there and whole idea is that I wanted the spikes to look like they were blurring a little bit. So this is a pixel-based layer because it's blurry.
I went ahead and added a little bit of a layer mask there as well to constrain the appearance of this effect, just inside the circle. So it looks like the circle is sitting on top of the spikes and creating kind of a blur effect, essentially. Then of course, I've have got some layer effects right there that I'll go ahead and turn on. Nice, and finally, I've got the vector-based Tip letters, and I'll go ahead and twirl those open. Now all I went ahead and kept with the drop shadow and a stroke but notice that I have a lot of other layer effects that are turned off right now that I decided not to use.
They're really cool. Notice I got this Inner Shadow right there and I got this Bevel and Emboss effect that will in a moment, you can't see it too well until I put on the Gradient Overlay. There you can really see the effects of Bevel and Emboss. There it is off, there it is on. Nice, and there is the Gradient Overlay for a little bit of depth we're not actually seeing much of it. The Color Overlay has ended up trouncing on top of it. But we could create some kind of interaction if we wanted to. But here's my point, I thought this looked really, really great and it does big, but as soon as you reduce that Tip icon on the page to less than an inch to its printed size, it gummed up the words and you couldn't really read it very well. So, beautiful as it was, I went ahead and turned these guys off, but I did not throw them away, I kept them, so that I could use them in the future if I decided that they were worthy.
Why throw them away, they are not taking up any space in memory or anything; they are not hurting us one iota. Now, the one thing that is hurting us one iota is this circle layer, and the reason is notice that it's set to an Opacity of 100%, Fill Opacity 100% as well. So as a result we're getting this gross interaction, and by gross it mean icky interaction between this gray and the Color Overlay and the other stuff that's going on here. So we're sort of graying out the effect. I want that effect to really pop and sizzle and look super-duper great and integrate better with the rest of the icon.
The way it does here in the final version of the icon, check that out. That's what we're looking for. Let's go back to last document state right there, by clicking in front it, so we have the bad version. I'm going to show you how to get from bad to good, in the next exercise.
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