Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Duplicating a layer, part of Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
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Now the first step in our ambitious undertaking here is to distort this girl's face. So for one thing, we need to make her eyes much bigger. And, if you saw the movie, you may recall that their eyes are very wide set, as well. And we need to increase the size of her brow, because the Na'vi in Avatar had very big brows. At the same time, they have these flat noses. So we're going to have to reduce the size of her nose, tuck the tip of the nose in a little bit. And she is sort of smiling here.
Our final Na'vi is not smiling. He's got a grim, just frank expression, because he's got war-paint on, or she does, or whomever, but they're ready for battle. So you may also notice that I've gone ahead and raise the cheekbone a little, a few other structural modifications here, without affecting the hair anymore than we have to, because this girl here has the best Na'vi hair on the planet. It's absolutely good to go. So we want to keep it intact. And we want to do the most realistic, credible job possible.
So we're going to brush in our distortions using a command under the Filter menu called Liquify. Liquify is quite complicated, I'll be honest with you, but it's also extremely fun. And I find when I show this command to students that they leap right in and start using it, and it helps to break the ice with Photoshop. So it's a good place to start. All right. But before we do that, we need to make a layer. You can see that we have a handful of layers ready to go here inside the layers palette. They're all turned off, except for the Background layer.
So that's the only one with an eyeball in front of it. Now this group of layers here, this little folder, it has an eyeball in front of it as well. But if you twirl it open, by clicking on this little triangle, you'll see that none of the layers inside of the folder have their eyeballs turned on. So that's why everything but the base layer, the Background layer here, is invisible. Now this layer is made of pixels, like a standard image layer inside of Photoshop or some other program. And that means that I could go to the Filter menu, choose Liquify, and just start painting away.
However, that's not the best idea, because if something goes wrong and you discover it later on down the line, which is the way it always happens. The way things tend to work inside of Photoshop is that you'll apply a big edit, you'll think everything looks great, and then you'll take a break, come back a couple of hours later and start noticing the problems. Once you start noticing those problems, you want to be able to make your way back to the original image and fix those problems. If you don't have a layer to work with, then you have to back step like crazy, or you have to revert to the original file.
So I might as well protect that original image by duplicating it to a new layer. Here's how you duplicate a layer in the program. You go to the layer menu, you choose New, and you choose this command right there: Layer via Copy, which is somewhat crazy, because it's a terrible name for a command. And it's also hard to get to, because you have to go this New submenu here, and it doesn't particularly make any sense. However, what people tend to do, once you're experienced with the program, you just press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J, and that's J for jump.
So if you just think about jumping the layer, you're in good shape. That's Command+J on the Mac. Let me show you how that works. I'm going to escape out of the menu. I've got my Background layer selected. Make sure it is clicked and selected. It is possible not to have any layer selected inside of Photoshop, which will really throw you at times. You want to click on it, make sure it's blue or some other highlight color, and then press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac, and look at that. You've got a Background copy. You're ready to go. Now you don't want it to be called Background copy.
I definitely advise you to get in the habit of naming your layers as you go, makes it much easier to sift through a complex file and even a simple one. And especially if somebody else is going to follow in your footsteps, it's great to have layer names to work with. So all you've got to do to rename a layer is double-click on its existing name, and then I'm going to call this liquify eyes, like so. Then I press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that new layer name. That's all there is to that. Now, I want you to go up to the Filter menu, and I want you to choose this command right there, Liquify, or you can press Ctrl+Shift+X or Command+Shift+X on the Mac, and it brings up this completely different program that's now running inside of Photoshop.
Notice we have this collection of tools over here on the left-hand side. We have all these Options over here on the right-hand side. And then we have the image ready to paint in the center. And we are going to begin to liquify this image in the next exercise.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
- Assembling photorealistic compositions
- Understanding image size and resolution
- Correcting the brightness and color of images
- Creating accurate selection outlines
- Retouching and healing photos
- Mastering layers and effects
- Printing and exporting to the web