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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.
Over the course of the next few exercises, we are going to be experimenting with a few creative filters that work inside of this filtering environment known as the Filter Gallery. Now on its own, I'm not that big fan of the gallery. However, there are certain filters that only work inside the Filter Gallery and combined along with smart filters it can be somewhat useful. It has its advantages. I am working inside this image called Kill Jill art.psd. I want you to make sure that you have the Model layer selected right here. It is the Smart Object, and as a result, if I go up to the Filter menu, Convert for Smart Filters is dimmed because it's already been converted for Smart Filters.
All right, we've seen a handful, actually quite a few filters so far, none of which call upon the Filter Gallery. The Filter Gallery is exclusively reserved for a few old-school creative filters that came to us years and years ago via this thing called Gallery Effects that Adobe purchased when they ended up assuming all this, the makers of PageMaker way back in the day. The Gallery Effects filters are somewhat interesting. They are also a little frustrating to use on occasion, but they can produce effects that you are not going to achieve using other filters inside of Photoshop.
Those filters appear mostly in the following menus here. Artistic and then Brush Strokes, and there is also Sketch and then we have Texture down here. So those four sub-menus contain filters that bring up the Filter Gallery, no matter what. So I'm going to go to Artistic and I'm going to choose this command, Cutout, and then we'll see the gianormous Filter Gallery interface that wants to take over your entire screen, and it's rather another one of these independent utilities like Vanishing Point or Liquify, one of those, only not nearly is capable in my opinion.
All right, so I'm going to go ahead and move our image preview over here, just by dragging inside of it. And note that I was telling you that there are those four sub-menus that contain most of the Gallery Effects filters. So there they are, Artistic, and we are seeing the various Artistic filters here represented as thumbnails. So we see what the filter would like if we were applied it to a mobius tube. Then we have Brush Strokes right there, and we have Sketch a couple down, and then right at the bottom we have Texture. Notice that we also have a couple of others. Under the Stylize sub-menu, there is one filter Glowing Edges and then under Distort, there is three more: Diffuse Glow, Glass, and Ocean Ripple.
So those are them. Notice there is no Unsharp Mask, there is no Gaussian Blur, there is no Median, there is no Smart Sharpen, there is no High Pass, there is no Reduce Noise, there is no Shadows/ Highlights, there is no Variations, there is none of the really great core filters in Photoshop. There is just the rinky-dink special effects. I am going to twirl these guys closed. Now, I'm not saying for a second that they are not useful at all. It's just they are the kinds of filters that you are going to refer to every blue moon. Anyway, here is the Cutout effect. I think it's too cutty-outy. We are changing the image too significantly here. So I'm going to modify my settings a little bit here. I'm going to increase the Number of Levels, which is going to give me more levels to work with inside of the image. That is, more colors. Ultimately, we are saying that we are going to have 6 different luminance levels left per color channel.
Then Edge Simplicity needs to be turned way down in my opinion. So that we have less simplicity and more complexity. Then Edge Fidelity is fine at 2. You can increase the fidelity if you want to, but it's not going to do you much good. So I'll keep it at 2 here. One of the many problems with the numerical options that are available to you with these various Gallery Effects filters is that they are really rough and tumble. They totally vary. There is no rhyme or reason to them. One of the interesting things about the Filter Gallery is that it allows you to apply multiple filters at a time, much in a same way as you can apply multiple filters to a single Smart Object using Smart Filters inside the larger world of Photoshop. But it's not handled nearly as well. It all happens just inside of this dialog box.
Let's say I want to go ahead and add another filter. So I would click here to add another effect layer, supposedly these are layers, fine. And I'll go ahead and click on this bottom one and I'll switch it out. Right now I have two applications of Cutout going on, for Underpainting. Then I would be applying this layer of Underpainting underneath the Cutout before I apply Cutout. So Underpainting is first, Cutout second, just as we see with Smart Filters inside the Layers palette. We can change their order too. I could move Underpainting above Cutout in order to create a completely different effect. I can adjust my settings as much as I want.
So why am I denigrating this wonderful utility? Well, it's only happening so long as we are inside of this dialog box. As soon as I click OK, the damage is done, unless I'm working with Smart Filters of course, in which case I can come back. Also, we don't have access to blend modes or opacity modifications here. So we don't have our Blending options. So what I recommend is that you only apply one filter at a time from inside the Filter Gallery and then modify your settings on a filter-by-filter basis there inside the Layers palette and that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to take this Underpainting filter, which is active right now, and I'm going to click on the Trashcan to get rid of it and I'll be left here with the sort of scarecrow version of this woman's face here, perfect.
Then I'll click OK in order to accept that modification, and now you can see, I do have an application of Smart Filters. I've got the Cutout filter right here, and now I can modify my Blending options. I am going to do so by double-clicking on the little slider icon, to bring up the Blending Options dialog box. I'm going to switch the blend mode to Linear Light, and then I'm going to reduce the Opacity value down and notice as I reduce this Opacity value, that I'm doing a great job of integrating the effect with the original artwork and I'll take it all the way down to 30%.
This variation of Opacity is analogous to Fill Opacity. So when you are working with a Fill Opacity 8, you are going to get some nifty effects out of this Opacity setting right here. And you may recall the Fill Opacity 8 from our discussion of blend modes way, way back when in the Advanced portion of this series. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and click OK. I have now applied the first Gallery Effects filter to our composition here. In the next exercise, we are going to do some jazz odyssey filter experimentation here inside Photoshop. Stay tuned!
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