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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.
All right, so I have got two different documents opened this time around. I still have Tip pixels.psd and then I went ahead and saved my progress inside of the other document as Type to vectors .psd in which I have gone ahead and converted my text to shape outlines. Both of these images are found inside the 24_vector_shapes folder. And in this exercise, I'm going to tell you about three of the four great advantages of vectors over pixels. Now it's not like pixels are bad, I need to make that perfectly clear, we have been spending a ton of time with pixels inside of this series of course so far.
So obviously pixels rock. And they are especially necessary for representing photographic images. There is no way currently to represent photographic images without pixels. However, vectors have their own rocking quality as well as you are about to learn. So advantage number one to vectors, they print at the full resolution of your printer as long as you have a postscript based printing device. So if you have a postscript printer, then even if you have got a very low resolution image and it's filled with vectors, all the vector outlines will print smooth and silk.
They will print as smooth as if you created them inside of Adobe Illustrator. So you can check that out on your own if you like, those of you who have postscript output devices. If you don't, if you just have a standard inkjet device or something along those lines or a laser printer that isn't equipped with postscript, why then, you will just get the standard pixel output. That's advantage number one, a little obscure but it's there. Advantage number two is that vectors are uniquely editable. So for example, if I'm working here inside of my pixel based version of the Tip file right there.
Notice that I have this pixel based spikes layer that has these gray spikes that are colored using layer Effects. We'll see that shortly. And then we have got a little bit of pixel based layer mask right there and if I wanted to modify the spikes layer, then I could by getting something like the Paint Brush, for example, and then lets go ahead and set the foreground color to the same color that I used here, the same gray. I will do that by switching over to the Eyedropper tool for a moment. I'll switch sample to current layer and then I'll just click on that star in order to lift gray. All right, and thanks to the fact that I have this sample option now inside Photoshop CS4. I can lift the gray pixel color without lifting the colors associated with the layer effects and so on. All right, now I'll go ahead and grab the Paint Brush and I'll paint on this layer. And let's go ahead and make sure that we have a nice sharp brush here, we do. And I'll go ahead and paint on this layer and notice, wow! The layer effects go ahead and pick up as well. So that's pretty groovy.
However, let's say what I really wanted to was I wanted to move one of the spikes to a different location. Well, that's very difficult to do with the pixel-based layer. It has to essentially redraw that spike whereas with a vector-based layer, it's very easy to do. So I'm going to undo that modification that right there because that's not what I want. Let's switch over to Type to vectors.psd in which I converted the type to vectors and then I'm going to go ahead and grab this Arrow tool. Now notice that it's called the Path Selection tool, whatever. I call them, these two tools right there, the Black Arrow tool and the White Arrow tool, which makes a ton of sense because the keyboard shortcut is A for Arrow even though the word arrow never appears in the official description of the tools. So the Black Arrow tool or Path Selection tool if you prefer.
Let's go ahead and switch over to the spikes layer over here. What it does is it allows you to select a whole path at a time and move it to a different location or what have you, you can scale it, you can rotate it and so on. Go ahead and undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Go ahead and click off of the spikes in order to reselect them, so then I can show you that the Direct Selection tool or what I prefer to call the White Arrow tool allows you to select specific points and segments. So I could say you know this spike right here doesn't want to be at this location, it wants to be slightly over like so. Then this guy wants to be over here like so and so on.
So you have a completely different editing option available to you. You are editing this path outline by moving its anchor points, adjusting its segments and so on. So you are adjusting the path as if it was a Bezier based path outline, which it is. So that's great. All right, so that's another advantage, I'm going to go ahead and undo those modifications however, because I don't want to just adjust those spikes, I like where they were. I'm pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z or Command+Option+Z on the Mac to undo those changes. Oh! By the way, this is a little bit of a tip for you. When you have one of these tools selected right here, these are all the vector-based tools by the way, vector-based Pen, vector-based Type. So type is vectors inside of Photoshop. We have got the Path Editing tools of course, the Arrow tools and then have the Path Creation tools. When any of these tools are selected, you can hide and show the vector mask outline by pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. See how that works. So pressing Enter or Return hides and then pressing Enter or Return again shows.
Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and hide those path outlines by pressing Enter or Return once again. And then the third advantage is that the illustration is going to be smaller in memory. Notice down here in this little dock item in the lower left corner of the image window, we are seeing in the pixel based image that the layered version of the image is 4.77 megabytes whereas with the vector based version, it's just 1 .75 megabytes in memory. Now it's very important to note that this is in memory. On disk it may be completely different and in fact where these two images are concerned, the Tip pixels.psd document, it's a little smaller on disk. It's 600K versus 700K and that's just the function of the native PSD file formats run-line compression for what it's worth. But in memory, which is where you are editing the image, the vector-based version of the image is smaller. Finally, there is the fourth advantage and this is the best advantage of them all, vectors are scalable, pixels are not. You are going to see exactly what that means; this is such a big thing that I devoted an entire exercise to the topic. And that of course would be in the next exercise.
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