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Photoshop Tricks, Part 2

Part 2 covers how to make a photograph look like a painting, create a seamless fractal tiled image, to use Adobe Dimensions with Photoshop, and how to retouch a drop shadow you've added to an image. (From Inside Photoshop CS, Sams, ISBN: 0672326442.)

Author Info:
By: Sams Publishing
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 35
September 15, 2004
  1. · Photoshop Tricks, Part 2
  2. · More Fun with Pseudo-Painting
  3. · The Minimize Command and the Spatter Effect
  4. · Trick 6: Creating Organic-Looking Objects Using Photoshop Filters
  5. · Trick 7: Creating a Bronze Guy
  6. · Trick 8: Creating Images Using Adobe Dimensions with Photoshop CS
  7. · Remove the Background
  8. · Adding Elements to the Composition
  9. · Trick 9: Coping with a Horrific Photo
  10. · Trick 10: Fixing a Chopped-Off Drop Shadow

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Photoshop Tricks, Part 2
(Page 1 of 10 )

For tricks 1-4, see Part 1 of this article.

BoutonTrick 5: Making a Painting from a Photo

This trick is at the top of my bag because it just dawned on me a week or so ago that the new Photoshop CS brushes could indeed be used in combination with the Lighting Effects filter to produce painting-like compositions from photos, models, or other photo-realistic endeavors. "Just like Painter does," I exclaimed to myself upon gleaning the similarity in approach between my idea and what Painter does in the Apply Surface Texture command.

We use a fanciful poster instead of a photograph in the steps to come because, until you get a real grasp on the technique here, you can make loved ones look hideous with a minimal amount of effort.

You Need Layers to Make Different Paint Strokes

Unlike Corel's Painter (or whoever owns Painter this week), in which you can paint and try out different brushes and then apply the resulting textures on a copy of the artwork using the Clone command, Photoshop doesn't work on clones of images. Therefore, if you want different areas to have unique textures that look like you have painted them with a real paintbrush, you need to compose your piece in layers.

Let's begin by unfolding this mysterious property that Photoshop offers:

Setting Up Your "Painting" Brush
  1. Open Fat_Star.psd from the Examples\Chap24 folder on the companion CD.

  2. Press Ctrl(Command)+N to create a new document window, about 200 pixels by 200 pixels. This is where you test the flow amount of different brush tips. Choose the Brush tool, and set the Flow to 5%. If you changed the painting Mode in the preceding exercise, set the Mode back to Normal. Choose the Chalk 60-pixel "novelty" brush that's shown in Figure 24.24.


Figure 24.24  These are more or less the things you need before trying to make this silly astrology poster into a fine painting.

  1. Get a feel for the brush's characteristics using the doodle pad image window. Click the Fat_Star.psd title bar to make this the active document. Click the Background layer on the Layers palette to make it the active layer.

  2. Press D for the default colors (black should be the foreground color). Make sure that the Quick Mask option is set so that colored areas are selections; to do this, Alt(Opt)+click on the Quick Mask icon until the circle is colored and the rectangle isn't on the face of the button. Your work is in Quick Mask mode now, so here's your chance to paint all over the place. The more "character"—random, uneven strokes—the better for the finished painting (see Figure 24.25).


Figure 24.25  Knock yourself out. This is about as much fun as is legally possible!

  1. Press Q to exit Quick Mask mode. Click the Channels tab to view the Channels palette, and click the Save selection as channel icon at the bottom of the palette to save the selection as an alpha channel. Click the Alpha 1 channel to switch your view to the alpha channel.

Insider - You don't want this willy-nilly texture to dominate anything except the blue background. So, now you have to remove the star and the glow and the horoscope symbols from the alpha channel.

  1. Ctrl(Command)+click the Fat Star title on the Layers palette. From a view of the alpha channel, press Ctrl(Command)+Delete (Backspace) to flood the star selection area with white (the background color). Press Ctrl(Command)+D to deselect (see Figure 24.26).


Figure 24.26 Remove the star's silhouette from the alpha channel, and it will show no brush strokes when the Lighting Effects filter is applied.

  1. Repeat step 6 with the glow layer, the signs, and especially that straggler Leo, just above the background. You can quickly select the remaining layers by Ctrl(Command)+clicking the Leo layer, and then Ctrl(Command)+Shift click the glow layer and signs layer to add them to the selection. Does your image look like the one in Figure 24.27?


Figure 24.27 Remove all silhouettes that you don't want "paint textured."

  1. Return to the Layers palette, click the Background layer to make it the current editing layer, and then choose Filter, Render, Lighting Effects. Choose Directional for the Light type and the Alpha 1 channel for the Texture Channel, as shown in Figure 24.28. The setting for the Height slider is minimal; you're making paint strokes, not trying to rival the Mariana Trench. Dispense with the fancy options below the lighting boxes (in other words, use the settings shown in the figure to keep Metallic, Shiny, and other settings minimal). Drag that point on the end of the light in the proxy window toward and then away from the center until the exposure of the proxy window looks the same as the color in the Background layer. Click on OK to apply.

  2. Save your work as Fat Star.psd to your hard disk. Keep the file open for the next exercise.


Figure 24.28 Use the Lighting Effects Texture controls to apply the paint strokes saved in an alpha channel to the Background layer.

This chapter is from Inside Photoshop CS, by Gary Bouton (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672326442). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.

Buy this book now.

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