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By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Creating a grass text effect in Photoshop

This week’s Deke’s Techniques continues the celebration of Spring that began last week with an exercise in creating type out of freshly cut turf. In last week’s episode, Deke showed you how to create leafy letters by using a Photoshop type layer as a mask. In this week’s free video, you’ll see how Deke renders type in freshly cut grass. Like last week’s leafy letters, this technique begins by using a Photoshop text layer as a mask for a grassy green photograph, and leverages the power of Refine Mask to ensure that the letters have appropriately rendered edges that do justice to the grass hedges of our masked image.

This week Deke also goes a little further to show you the nuances of working with grass on dirt, which requires anticipating how to lift the appropriate shadow color from the dirt that underlies the turf. A grass effect is particularly sensitive to the Refine Edge command, meaning that the letters tend to run together in an unfortunate way. To avoid this, Deke shows you how to split the layer mask into two parts in order to make sure the letters retain their separation. As a final step, if you are working with turf, you naturally need to embed a perfectly landed golf ball into your image. With careful application of the shadow, you can really sell this effect, as seen here:

Words with grass effect created in Photoshop.

See you back next week with another fresh technique from Deke!

Interested in more? • The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery• Photoshop for Designers: Layer Effects• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: FundamentalsPhotoshop CS6 Beta Preview

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This week’s Featured Five: Using Styles for creative efficiency

Styles is a catch-all term that refers to a set of particulars like font size, color, effects, etc. that can be saved and applied over and over again. With no need to re-set your style preferences every time, you can save your sanity, your wrists, and perhaps most importantly, your time. Variations on the styles feature exist in many different applications, from word processors, to graphic design applications, to web-page authoring programs. For this week’s Featured Five, I’ve selected five free movies that reveal how styles can help you work more efficiently in five different creative applications.

1. Creating your first style with Microsoft Word

It’s quite possible that the first time most of us encounter the concept of a style is in Microsoft Word, where it can be very handy to establish font type, color, and size styles for various repeating elements of a document. In Word 2010: Styles in Depth,Mariann Siegert covers the whole gamut of style tools that Word provides. Here’s an unlocked excerpt from chapter one of the course that demonstrates how to create your first style:

2. Applying styles to objects with Adobe InDesign

InDesign, Adobe’s layout program, allows you to create five different kinds of styles, depending on what kind of elements need to have repeat formatting, and you aren’t just limited to creating text styles. In this excerpt from chapter five of InDesign Styles in Depth, Michael Murphy introduces object styles, which allow you to repeat the created attributes of your specially designed frames:

3. The nuances of style creation in Adobe Illustrator

Of course, InDesign isn’t the only place you may be working with text elements that would benefit from style creation. In this video from chapter six of Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text, Mordy Golding takes a look at the particulars of working with text styles in Illustrator:

4. New styles features in Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta

For those of you who have struggled with managing your text settings and effects within Photoshop, your day has finally come. In the latest latest beta version of Photoshop, character and paragraph styles have finally arrived. As with any new feature, there’s a little bit of a learning curve. In this movie from Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview, Deke McClelland gives an overview of the new Photoshop text and style enhancements feature. (Note: For a limited time this course is completely unlocked, so consider checking it out as my featured five-plus bonus of the week.)

5. Creating styles for an entire website in Dreamweaver

You can efficiently establish a consistent look for every similar element in your entire web site by using Creative Style Sheets (CSS) in Dreamweaver. In this excerpt from chapter six of Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training, James Williamson takes you on a tour of the CSS Styles panel and reveals how much time can be saved by establishing consistent styles for your site.

Feeling inspired to explore some of the uncharted learning paths on your own to-do list? Remember, 10 percent of all lynda.com content is free to try. Just click on any of the blue links on any course table of contents page in our library.

Free Movies

I’ll be back next week with five more free selections. In the mean time, have you recently seen any free movies from lynda.com you’d like to share?

Suggested courses to watch next:Word 2010: Styles in DepthInDesign Styles in DepthIllustrator Insider Training: Type and TextPhotoshop CS6 Beta PreviewDreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

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