Join Bert Monroy for an in-depth discussion in this video plastic sign, part of Photorealism with Bert Monroy: Volume 2.
- [Instructor] In this tutorial, I'm going to create the plastic letters that you would see on theatre marquees, or church marquees for that matter. Basically a sign that's stenciled onto a piece of plastic, and then applied onto the marquee. To create this effect, let's first start with the marquee itself. For my foreground color, I'm going to pick a nice, kind of a yellowish color like that, and for the background, something similar, but a little darker. About like that. That looks good. Those two colors right there. And with my Gradient Tool set to Radial Gradient, I'm going to create a gradient so that the light color is right in the center, and go out to the darker color on the outside edges.
Just like that. In a new layer, we're going to call this layer "Metal Strips." Those are the little strips on which we attach the plastic sign. For my foreground color, I'll pick a light grey color. And for the background color, a darker grey color. And with my Marquee tool, I'm going to select a long rectangle right along the edge. From one end to the other. Just like that. And, with the gradient tool, I'm going to fill that, with that gradient.
Now I'm going to duplicate this down. I'm holding down my Option and Command keys to do it, by the keyboard. Those are the keys on a Mac. And I'm going to just drag this down, like so. And drag another one down. 'Cause we're going to have multiple strips there, in case you want to have multiple signs. We can now deselect that. Now to make these pop away from the background, I'm going to double-click on that layer, and bring up the layer styles, and just give it a Drop Shadow, that's all it needs.
That's going to make it pop away from the sign. Click OK. Now I'm going to return my foreground and background to black and white, 'cause my text will be black letters stenciled onto clear plastic. Now with my text tool, I'm going to type in, right here, I have it set to Helvetica Bold, 200-point. I'll type in, "Lynda." Now, I'm going to scale this. Let's play with it, so it's nice and tall, like this, and let's make it a little narrower.
Put it in position, let's make it very tall, so it just goes from end to end of the metal holders there, and let's just scrunch it in a little. That looks good. Click OK. Now, the plastic is kind of rounded. It bulges, because it's snapped into this metal frame here, and sometimes it's a little bigger, and makes the letters kind of pop out. So, to that text, I'm going to apply a Warp Text. I'm going to give it Bulge. Now it's bulging from the center out. I want it to be on the vertical, so that it's going to bulge out on the edges, like this.
Maybe a little more might be good. Click OK. Now it starts to have the feel that I want. The next thing to do is to create the plastic, on which these letters have been stenciled. In a layer behind the text, and on top of the metal strips, I'll create a new layer. And we're going to call this one, "Plastic." I'll now turn to my Pen Tool, and I'm going to choose Paths, right there. The first one creates a vector layer. That's not what I want, I just want the path.
I'm going to start right up here. Just above the metal strip, I'm going to click and drag, to pull out a handle. Notice it's following the curvature of the text. Not going into it, or away from it, it's following that curve. And I'm going to pull it out to about a third of the distance to my next point, which'll be at the bottom. Down here. And I'm going to click, and drag. Again, I'm following the direction of the path. Now, if I didn't get it right the first time, it's okay, this is a path that can always be adjusted later.
Now I need to create the next point way over here, and this handle right here's going to create a curve. I don't want that, so I'm going to Option-click on that, to make it a corner point. Not a curve, but a corner point, and come straight over here, hold down my Shift key to constrain it, and click. Now, I need to follow a new curve. So, I'm going to Option, which is Alt on a PC, and click on the point itself, and pull out a handle. Click and drag, and I got a new handle, which again is going to follow this curve.
It's not going to go into it, or away, It's going to follow this curve, and come up above, and click and drag. And I get the little curve on the other side. Now that letter is already curved, so maybe we should straighten this out, just a little bit. You see? This can always be adjusted after the fact. Now I'm going to bring this up, just a little, and Option-click on it, to make it a corner point, and close it off. I'm still holding my option key, because the original point over here was a curve point, so I want it to end up as a corner point.
So be nice and straight. But I got this path. The path is nothing until I do something with it. I have the layer selected, of "Plastic," and I'll pick a nice grey color like, let's say this grey right here, and I'm going to go to the Path Palette. There's my path. I'm going to fill it. Just like that. We can now turn off that path, by just clicking in the palette somewhere. Let's go see that layer. The layer is now filled with grey.
I'm going to bring down the opacity for that layer, just a little, so we start to see through it, and it starts to look like clear plastic. Just like that. Now, let's start giving this a little dimension. In a layer on top of the plastic, but below the text, I'm going to return my color to black and white, and we'll get a nice, big paintbrush. Let's just say we use, let's try the 100, let's see how big that is. Maybe we'll go to 200, that's a good size.
And I'm going to click right in here. Let's make sure everything's turned off. Other Dynamics, let's turn that off, so we get a nice, straight, even line. And I'm going to click right here. I'm going to Shift-click on this end. That connected the two clicks. I can even move this up a little bit. Just like that. That's going to give me this nice, dark area, down here. I'm going to turn that into a clipping group. Right here, going to Option-click between these two. That's going to make it tied into that area down below.
If it's not strong enough, we can duplicate it, and then we get a little darker area. See, now it starts to multiply itself. And we get this nice little dark area at the bottom of our plastic. Now, the clipping group is turning the bottom layer, the plastic layer itself, into a mask for the layers above it. We're only seeing those layers through the active pixels of this layer. The reason they got light is because, since this layer has a reduced opacity, the opacity for the black strip will also be reduced.
Now, the shadow indicates that we have a light coming from somewhere. So, we're going to throw a little highlight right across the top, here. Now, we want the highlight to affect the letters as well, so we're going to create a layer on top of the letters, and there we're going to use white. I get my paintbrush again, and that's a little big, so let's go with a smaller brush. Let's see, a 65 looks good. I'm going to click out here, and let's make sure everything's turned off. Yes.
I'm going to click here. Shift-click on the other side, and it creates this highlight going straight across. I'm going to bring down the opacity, just a little. Just a little bit, so we can kind of see the letters a little clearer. Now, we can't clip this. The reason being that if we clip the text, for instance, the text is going to disappear, based on the opacity of the base layer. So we're not going to clip the text to the sign. Also, since the highlight is above it all, we can't clip that as well.
So, we're going to have to somehow eliminate the stuff back here. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to turn the original layer of the plastic into a selection, by Command-clicking on it. See that? Then I'm going to say, Inverse, which means everything else is selected, except the sign itself. I have the layer of the highlight selected, and let's make sure, by naming it. We'll call it, "Highlight." That layer is selected, so when I hit delete, the highlight outside the area of the plastic sign has now gone away.
Now, the sign's still not finished. The black letters themselves, they're opaque. The plastic is clear, but the letters are opaque, which means this strong light coming in would make the letters cast a shadow on the marquee behind. So I'm going to duplicate the text, and the one in back, that's this one here, I'm going to go into the Text Warp for it. So we go to the Text Tool, and we'll say, None.
Which means the type'll get back to being straight again. Now, I'm going to modify this text, and give it a filter. So it can no longer be text. So I'm going to go into my layer, and Rasterize it. It is now pixels. So now I can go in there, and do something like apply a Gaussian Blur to it. Let's just soften it up. Just like that. Click OK. And, I'm going to go in there, and play around with the scaling of it.
I'll pull it way down, just like that, and let's pull it up, so it's just below the letters. There, and there. We can see it, right below the letters. And way down, below the sign. Make that happen. We'll bring down the opacity for that shadow, like so. And then I'm going to select the area below the plastic itself. Right in here, this area here, and delete it. And what we're left with, is a plastic marquee, as you would find on a theatre somewhere, or some club, or whatever.
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- Plastic sign
- Icy letters
- Metal plate
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- Speeding bullet
- Bottle glass composition
- Waving banner
- Colorizing comics
- Wedding photo