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Photoshop Smart Objects explores the creation and use of Smart Objects, one of the most technically demanding tools in Photoshop. Deke McClelland walks through the four primary purposes of Smart Objects, and focuses on one of their most practical advantages, non-destructive transformations. This feature allows any object to be manipulated in any way, while still maintaining its original pixel information. Finally, Deke shows how to crop compositions without affecting a single pixel, even in masks. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I want to build on this woodgrain pattern that I've basically sort of woven into the guy's flesh over the last couple of exercises. I want to build on it by adding something that's going to simulate some woodgrain texturing. I am going to do that using a combination of the Find Edges and Emboss Filters, here inside Photoshop. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Luminance filter mask.psd found inside the 06_filter_masks folder. I just happened to know this works by the way, this combo of Find Edges and Emboss.
But as I work through this exercise, you'll see that even I am mystified by the results and we have to sort of figure out a different approach. Anyway, let's go up for now to the Filter menu and choose Stylize and choose this command right there Find Edges, and what it does is it traces the edges inside of your artwork. You recall that as edge is an area of rapid luminance variation. So for example, between the bright sky and the dark jacket, these few pixels right here around the border would be an edge. When you choose Find Edges, you go ahead and trace those edges.
Now, this doesn't look like any Find Edges effect I have ever seen before and that's in part because I have this layer mask turned on. So just so I can get my bearings and figure out what in the world I am doing, I am going to Shift+Click on that layer mask to turn it off for a moment. Now this looks closer to what I was expecting. Problem is this woodgrain is getting into way. So for now, I am just going to turn off Mezzotint too and that's going to affect the behavior of Find Edges. So turn off Mezzotint and then it doesn't have to trace that woodgrain and we end up getting this effect here, which is exactly what I expected.
So these dark lines around the very defined edges. So you get very definite lines around the most definite edges and lesser lines around the less definite edges, inside the image. Now then what I can do is apply Emboss to this effect in order to get some texture around those edges. So we are turning edges into texture using this effect right here. So I'll go up to the Filter menu, I'll choose Stylize and I'll choose Emboss. Now by default, I believe you see these values here of 135 and 3 pixels of Height and an Amount of 100%.
By the way, remember I was telling you anytime you see pixels that's resolution dependent. So you want thicker edges with higher resolution images. In my case though because I am just trying to get these little bits of texture here, I am going to take that Height value down, which is going to produce thinner edges. So this Height value determines the thickness of the edges. Then I'll leave the Angle value to 135 degrees. All emboss is really doing is offsetting two images, whatever Height value you've given, away from each other and inverting one and burning it into the other.
So anyhow, you are going to get these weird edges going on. It's not really lighting the scene the way you think it is, the way it kind of looks like it is, but you can use this Angle value to specify the angle of the simulated light source. Anyway, I am going to change this back to 135, which is the default. Just because it happens to look at for this image, and then I am going to drop-down to Amount and I am going to crank that up to its highest value of 500%. So we've got 135, 2 and 500 and you click OK in order to accept that effect. Now that looks terrible once again, just like the High Pass filter that we saw in the previous chapter and you may recall I use the Overlay blend mode, actually I ended up using Linear Light, but any of them will do, your Soft Light, your Overlay your Hard Light, all of those will drop out the grays and leave the texturing in place.
The problem is I really want to apply Overlay to both Emboss and Find Edges together, because if I apply it just to Emboss, check this out. I'll double-click on little slider icon there and change the blend mode to Overlay, which drops out the grays, keeps the darks and the lights and we end up applying Emboss to the Find Edges effect. Click OK. All right, then we have to go to Find Edges, double-click on it, we get this warning that says you are not going to be able to see emboss anymore, because it's on the top of Find Edges. Gosh, it doesn't look much different.
Then I am going to choose Overlay again. Overlay is not going to work for Find Edges, because it gets rid of the grays. It doesn't get rid of all those brights. So we are going to end up with this weird effect here. You click OK and you get this. And then I add Mezzotint back into the mix and you get this and then I Shift+Click on the filter mask to bring it back and I get this. Holy moly, this isn't what I want at all. This is what I want. Let me show you. Excellent textures.psd. That's what I want is that effect right there. Look at all that wonderful texturing that's going on.
That is created using Emboss and Find Edges, but you'll see it's on the separate Smart Object, and that's the moral of the story, folks. I'll return to the image at hand here. If you want to merge the effects of two filters, normally every filter is treated independently, right? They are all on the same filter mask, which can be somewhat frustrating, but each one of them is treated to its own blend mode and Opacity settings. So they are all treated independently. If you want to merge them together, you have to create a separate Smart Object with its own Smart Filter set and I'll show you how that works in the next exercise.
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