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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.
So as I was saying, we need to be able to apply some perspective distortion to this text, in order to get it to match the angle of the sign. However, we can't, because one of the rules of Photoshop is thou shall not distort live text. We can skew it if we want to by Ctrl+Dragging one of the handles or Cmd+Dragging on the Mac, but that's hardly the same thing. So what we need to do in convert this text to a different kind of layer and then apply the distortion. So I am going to go ahead and Zoom out a little bit. And I am still working inside Automation boy.psd, and I am going to press the Escape key in order to escape out of the Free Transform mode.
Now very briefly, I want to show you something here. Notice with this text selected, I can press Ctrl+T, Cmd+T to re-enter the Free Transform mode, and the reason I'm doing this is I wanted to show you how I can entirely bypass the scaling and the rotation if I want to. If I just start in skewing, I can get the same results I achieved just a moment ago with fewer Drags. For example, check this out. I will go ahead and Ctrl+Drag this side, that would be Cmd+Drag on the Mac, and then Ctrl+Drag this side, so I am essentially scaling, rotating and skewing all in one operation this way with a high degree of control mind you, and now let's say that I get the center right there, that transformation origin where I wanted to be, and now I want to skew with respect to that origin then I would press both the Ctrl and Alt keys.
This would be Cmd and Option on the Mac, and Drag in order to skew with respect to that transformation origin. And then I would just go ahead and Drag this point in a little bit, and I am pretty much there. So far fewer Drags required, if you know that you are going to be skewing or distorting upfront, just start in doing it right from the get-go. All right, anyway, I am going to press the Escape key as I was saying to leave the Free Transform mode. Now, I am going to have to convert the text to a different form and in such a form, the text will no longer be editable.
So If I want to still be able to come back to this text and make modifications later, then I should duplicate it, and I am going to do that by pressing Ctrl+J or Cmd+J on the Mac and then turning off the original underlying layer there. Now we have a new layer called I (love) Automation copy, and by the way, if you want that relationship maintained between the layer name and the text itself then don't get rid of that word copy manually by double-clicking on it here inside the Layers panel and modifying it. Instead do this number here. Switch to the Type tool and just select, let's say a random character and replace it, just enter that exact same character again.
So I replace the O with an O, press the Enter key on the keypad and then notice that Photoshop goes ahead and updates that layer name. Now what we need to do here is convert the text to a more standardized layer, and our options are these. Go ahead and right-click on an empty portion of this text layer, and you will bring up this shortcut menu, and notice that we can go and rasterize the Type, convert it to pixels. We can create a work path. That's going to create a Pen tool style path in the Paths panel that we can use for a variety of different purposes but is basically going to disappear the type while we work on it, because it will no longer have any layers form associated with it, or we can go ahead and Convert to Shape, and that's the money command in our case, because if we rasterize layer then it becomes pixels, and then every time we transform that layer, we have to basically damage it because we have to rewrite the pixels, and it may not be horribly damaged or anything like that, but it's slightly destructive, whereas if we convert to shape, then we're always working with vectors and so at least we protect the vector-based nature of the text.
So that's the way to go. Go ahead and choose the Convert to Shape command, and now notice that we get this typical shape layer meaning that we see a color swatch right here which represents the color of the text. So that's our solid fill layer, and then next-door, we have a vector mask. And the vector mask happens to have taken on the shape of the character outlines. All right, so now at this point here's what I would like you do. If you're working along with me, turn off that Vector Mask or at least so that we are not seeing it any more by clicking on it, and now we no longer see the gray outlines here inside the image window.
Then go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform or better yet press Ctrl+T, Cmd+T on the Mac, and now notice that in addition to Ctrl+Dragging or Cmd+Dragging one of the side handles like so, you can also Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+Drag a corner handle in order to distort the type, and I'm going to Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+Drag, that's a Ctrl+Drag on the PC or Cmd+Drag on the Mac, all four of the corner handles, so that basically I am nailing the corners of the sign, like so.
And the other thing you should notice about our Bounding box by the way, is that it's tight to the bottom of the text. We don't have all this extra room for a potential descender because now that it's a shape, Photoshop has no idea that descenders might even exist and because they're not here, the lowest point in this text is the tip of the tip of the bottom of the heart there. We are seeing a very tight and much more useful Bounding box. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom in, so that we can take this sign in a little more clearly here because I really want to make sure we've nailed those corners.
So I am going to Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+ Drag, so we absolutely have alignment there with each one of those corners. So I am just doing a little bit of adjusting. You cannot nudge these points around. You have to actually physically drag them by the way, and that looks pretty good. Then I'm to go ahead and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag one of these corner handles. I am going to press the Shift key as well. So I'm doing a Shift+Alt+ Drag of the corner handles. Shift+Option+Drag on the Mac, because if I don't press the Shift key, I am going to get this wonky thing right here which totally ruins the skew that I've applied.
So Shift+Alt or Shift+Option+Drag the corner handle, until you make the text a little smaller. We don't want it to be tight to the edges in other words. I just wanted to match the angle there. Now, I want to take that text in a little bit and probably about there is right. Then I'm going to Alt+Drag or Option+ Drag this bottom handle, so the text isn't nearly so tall, because I don't want it to appear quite that stretched. I want it to appear more or less normal. All right a couple of other keyboard tricks that you might want to know about here. If you Ctrl+Alt+Drag or Cmd+Option+ Drag a corner handle, you're going to move both that handle and the opposite handle toward each other or away from each other like so, with respect to that transformation origin.
I will go ahead and Undo that maneuver. Another thing you can do, if you want to change your perspective of the text, is mash your fist. You can press Ctrl+Shift+Alt or Cmd+Shift+Option, all at once and then Drag one of these corner handles, and notice that you're dragging the other corner handle, that is the neighboring corner handle either along the side or at the top depending on the direction of your Drag, and that's going to create a perspective effect. So again, for the full on perspective, it's a Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Drag or Cmd+Shift+Option+Drag on the Mac of the corner handle.
We don't want that because that doesn't match the sign, but still it is available to us if we decide to take advantage of it. I'm actually pretty happy with what I've got here. I think we have a good angle match. I am tempted to monkey with it little more, but I think I've done a good job, like this handle wants to come in just a little bit. So I tell you I have a done a good job, and then I proceed to go ahead and adjust it. Anyway, I am doing a Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+Drag of that one handle, and then I seem to be doing another Ctrl+Drag or another Cmd+Drag, and I might go ahead and tuck this in just little bit by Alt+ Dragging or Option+Dragging that side handle.
Whatever modifications you want to make, ad nauseam of course, have at it, do so, and then once you feel like you're done, once you feel like you have a good match, then go ahead and press the Enter key here on a PC or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that transformation. And notice that that goes ahead and scales that vector-based shape layer with a higher degree of flexibility than we had when we were working with editable text.
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