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In this installment, The Tools, Bert demonstrates how he uses the brushes, filters, and textures in Photoshop to create everything from the trees in Central Park to the billboards on Broadway, and shares his techniques for keeping his project organized with layers and groups. He also touches on the importance of channels and channel calculations, and how the evolution of the tools in Photoshop from CS3 to CS5 shaped his work.
- Making a chain brush
- Understanding the layers in lights
- Using the 3D tools in Photoshop
- Using layer styles
- Creating wood and fabric textures
- Applying a layer mask
- Linking layer masks with layer styles
- Understanding channels
Skill Level Intermediate
In this tutorial, we're going to look at layer groups. Layer groups allow you to take multiple layers and put them into a single folder, making it easy to organize things, especially when you have image like Times Square which is made up of so many different objects that are made up of so many different layers. It allows me to go in there and keep things organized and easy to find. We're going to look at how the layer groups also made it easy to go in there and get complex areas simplified. We're going to zoom in over here on this Marriott Hotel right here and we are going to get a little closer and we see that there's multiple rooms here.
Now, this is a low res file, so I am going to open up the actual file for that building itself which is right here. Now there's a lot of pieces missing. I only create the pieces that are visible. But this is high res version, so if we zoom in closely, we could see all the details that's involved in each room. Now being a hotel, all the rooms in a line are pretty much the same. Same paintings on the walls, same furniture, and so on. So you could see that there is a little variety as far as the paintings on the wall, but the furniture is pretty much the same everywhere across. Now the difference that we see here is that the lightning in the rooms is different.
All right, the key here, we have this room being lit from somewhere over here on the side. And we see a reflection on the bedspread and so on. Here the chair has been moved a little bit and the lamp is lit. Okay, over here somebody is watching television. You could see their feet underneath the covers, and so on. Here again, there's a lit from the side. Here's a light from the other side, and so on. Here's one that's completely dark inside. Here's a lamp by the bed is lit and everything else is dark. So it looks like each one of these rooms is totally different, right here.
Look at those three and we see that all three are different. Same furnishings, but the atmosphere is different because the lightning is different. Now, did I go ahead and create three completely different rooms? No. Right here we'll look at a simple file that was created just for this tutorial in which we see the interior part of the room, right there. Above here on the second floor there is nothing. Now when we look at the layers, we see that there is the windows, right there. It's a 5 by 12 and then there is a group here.
Opening that you'll see that there's two subgroups, the Chair and the lamp, and the other elements of the interior of the room, the Painting on the wall, the bed, the ceiling, and the wall. The lamp is made up of multiple layers as well. We have a pole. We have the pole in back. We have the shade, and so on. So, all these things are in there. So I am going to just close this group. And to create a group all you do is click on that little icon right there, and that will create a group. And then a layer you put into it or new layers that you create while that group is open will automatically be put into that group.
So I'll now do here is all the interior elements of that room are in that group. So what I am going to do I am going to duplicate that group. I will call this upstairs. So there's a second group. So now I am going to take that entire group and move it up above just like that. All right, so there they are in the exact same position. It's little bit over. They're directly above. Now because we're looking at it a different angle, we're going to see things differently.
We're going to see more at the ceiling, less at the bed. So let's move it down a little bit, like so. All right, that's one start. And we're going to see more at the top of the painting. The painting would be a little further down. So we're going to open up that group and look at that Painting on the wall which I am not going to move a little further down, so we see more of it. And the bed as well. I am going to move that a little further down so we're seeing less of it, because we're at the different angle so we're seeing less of those items here. Okay, the chair, the chair would be down pretty far so that's good. The lamp is good.
Now what we're going to do is we're going to change the mood by changing the lighting. This particular lighting is going to be completely changed. Again, we should see more of the ceiling. So what I am going to do is I am going to take the wall and the ceiling there and move them down, like that so we see more of the ceiling. Okay, because we're again looking at this different angle. So now let's go in there and start changing the lights. I am going to pick up the colors of the lighting on the wall by picking this light color here for my foreground and I am going to pick the darkest brown for my background, right there.
And I am going to select the ceiling first. Now my light is not going to be somewhere way over here on this side of the room. So I am going to get a Radial Gradient and I am going to lock the transparency for that layer. So it's only going to affect the active pixels. I am going to draw a gradient right through there like that. I am going to get the wall and I am going to take a linear gradient. If I don't lock the transparency, when I go ahead and do this, it's going to kind of fill up everything, you see.
I want to do that. I just want to fill that layer, so I lock the transparency and then I'll throw a little gradient right through there like that. So now we see that the lighting is somewhere over here out of our field of view. So that's going to affect the few things in this scene. For one thing, the bed should get a little darker. So I am going go to the bed here and I'll just choose one of different adjustments. We will just go in there and say Hue/Saturation. That will allow us to go in there and bring down the Lightness and bring down the Saturation a little bit. Now Lightness, some more so little darker in there. See, just like that.
Now the painting on the wall, that should be darker as well. So I am going to go in there to Hue/ Saturation again and say make that darker. But we have this light coming from over here, which means it should cast a shadow now. So this time I am going to give the painting on the wall a layer style. I am going to give it a little Drop Shadow. The light is coming from this direction, so I am going to put this right over there and there you see that now we have this little shadow on the side of the painting right there. We can make a little more distance so that it as a nice long shadow because the light is somewhere near the wall. Click OK there.
And now our painting is darker and it has a shadow that's being cast by this light way over here. The lamp, we have to turn this lamp off because we have another lamp on way over here. So I am going to go to layer for the lamp. There is a bulb right there. So I am just going to use that Hue/Saturation. We'll just bring the Lightness all the way down to -100, which made it pretty much black. It turned off. So now I've got go over in there and throw in the shade. So I am going to pick some colors from here. And I'll pick up this tone right there, and from the background the same tone which I'll make even darker.
A darker tone like that. And I am going to get this shade and I'll lock its transparency and throw the light tone on this end here, because this is picking up that light from way over there. Then I am going to take the inside of the lamp which is right here. There it is. Its transparency is locked. I am going to throw a gradient inside there, which I am also going to make a little darker. So let's just go in there and darken that because that is the inside of the lamp, right in there like that. Click OK. Now that lamp is turned off. Now the pole has a little bit of a light in there.
Let's go in there and take the pole and we'll darken it. For now, the pole is nice and dark. And you notice that the chair also has some highlights, but every element of the chair is in its own layer, making it easy to make adjustments. But there you could see the armrest. So I could take the armrest and darken it. You could take away the Inner Shadow that it has and just darken the whole thing completely. And the same thing with the Chair back, which is that section right there, yep.
This we'll do with a little burning. We'll just burn this side right here just to darken that side a little more, just like that. And there you could see that now we have two totally different rooms. They have the same contents, but you can see that the entire mood has been changed because the lighting was changed. But it made it really easy to do it because all the contents were in a group. The group was duplicated and then the elements within that group were modified to change the mood of the room.