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PhotoShop 6.0 - The Escape. Creative Compositing - Part 3. Nick Rumbelow - April 2002. Table of Contents. Section 1. Introduction. Section 2. The Wall. Section 3. Decorating. Section 4. The Frame. Section 5. The Sunset. Section 6. Finishing Touches. Section 7. Summary. Section 8.

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PhotoShop 6.0 - The Escape

Creative Compositing - Part 3

Nick Rumbelow - April 2002

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Table of Contents

Section 1


Section 2

The Wall

Section 3


Section 4

The Frame

Section 5

The Sunset

Section 6

Finishing Touches

Section 7


Section 8

Where to Go From Here?

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The Final Result


The Completed Composition


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Section 1


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  • Continuing with the Creative Compositing series, “The Escape” helps you learn how PhotoShop 6.0 can be used creatively and effectively in our work in Presentations.

  • The series takes an “immersive” approach, throwing you in at the deep end, with detailed explanations of what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how to deal with it. The Tools are explained as they are being used, which allows PhotoShop to reveal its secrets sooner, and you can begin to enjoy discovering your creative potential.

  • By guiding you through the production of creative compositions, these tutorials aim to provide you with enough experience to anticipate some of the issues you may face in your work, and the confidence to experiment and understand the results of what you do.

  • But most of all, it is hoped that you will enjoy using the software, and not be held back by considering anything to be beyond you. Although PhotoShop may appear daunting at first, once you understand a few simple concepts about how graphics are produced, it is a very easy application to use. If you can imagine it, there’s a way of creating it in PhotoShop, just experiment.

  • In this tutorial, the focus is on creating photo-realism. It may sound obvious, but the truth is that to be able produce convincing results, you must first learn how to look! Don’t be held back by self-doubt - experiment, experiment, experiment.

  • The pace of this tutorial is a little faster than the others, so to help keep things clear, styles of text in this tutorial indicate the following;

    • Bold, black Arial: Instructions

    • Bold, blue Arial: Menu items, options or tools

    • Bold, red Arial: Settings or selections

    • Times New Roman: Theory

    • Italic Times New Roman: Illustrations


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Topics Covered

  • Palette Well

  • Custom patterns

  • Define Pattern

  • Seamless Patterns

  • Offset Filter

  • Clone Stamp Tool

  • Clouds Filter

  • Add Noise Filter

  • Define Brush

  • Hue/Saturation

  • Units and Ruler Preferences

  • Guides

  • Actions

  • Mosaic Filter

  • Shear Filter

  • Transform Selection

  • Colour Balance

  • Bevel & Emboss Style

  • Layer Mask

  • Perspective

  • Gradients

  • Snapshots

  • Bas Relief Filter

  • Colour Channels

  • Texture Channel

  • Lighting Effects

  • Focal Depth

  • Shadows

  • Pen Tools

  • Alpha Channels


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Section 2

The Wall

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The Wall

Getting Started

1: The Plan

2: Create a New Document

  • First, you’re going to build the wall with bricks

  • Cover it with plaster

  • Hang the wallpaper

  • Create the frame

  • Paint the picture

  • Tear away some of the wallpaper

  • Hack away some of the plaster

  • Distort some wallpaper as though the wall is uneven

  • Bring it all together by creating some lighting effects

  • To create the image at the correct dimensions to fit a PH1 placeholder;

    • Open a new image using the following settings(Fig. 2)

      • Width: 17.42 cm

      • Height:11.20 cm

      • Resolution:300 dpi

      • Mode:RGB Colour

      • Contents:White

3: The Bricks

Fig. 2

New Image

  • Leaving the Background layer blank, create a new layer and name it “Bricks”

  • As well as filling an area with colour, you can also fill with a pre-defined repeating tile pattern. But first you need to define the pattern you want to use;

    • Open the file S:\Training Department\Staff Personal Training\PS Training - The Escape\Escape Files\Bricks.jpg(Fig. 3)

  • 4

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    The Wall

    Repeating Tile Pattern

    4: Define a Custom Pattern

    Fig. 3


    • Select All by pressing Ctrl+A

    • Select Edit > Define Pattern

    • Accept the default name for the pattern and click OK

  • The contents of the selection have now been copied into a store of patterns, which will always be available as a fill until it is deleted.

    • Switch back to the composition and make sure the Bricks layer is still selected

    • Select Edit > Fill (Shift+F5)

    • Set the Contents to Use Pattern(Fig. 4).

      • The Custom Pattern option becomes active

    • From the Custom Pattern drop-down list, select the brick pattern you just created

    • Choose Normal for the Blending Mode, and set the Opacity to100%

    • Click OK

  • The image fills with the brick pattern, but it doesn’t look natural because it is a repeating tile and you can see the edges of the pattern tiles where they join. The pattern is not seamless.

  • Fig. 4

    Fill Patterns


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    The Wall

    Offset the Edges

    5: The Offset Filter

    Fig. 5

    The Offset Filter

    • Go back to the Bricks.jpg

  • To solve the problem, you will shift the top and left edges of brick into the centre of the pattern, and get the bottom and right edges to be shifted out of the pattern and wrapped back to replace the top and left edges;

    • Select Image > Image Size

    • You need to note the pixel dimensions, in this case 400 x 450 pixels

    • Click Cancel

    • Now select Filter > Other > Offset(Fig. 5)

    • You need the edges to offset half the pattern’s width and height;

    • Set the Horizontal edges to be shifted 200 pixels to the right

    • Set the Vertical edges to shift 225pixels down

    • The UndefinedAreas should be set to Wrap Around

    • Click OK

  • Fig. 6

    The Offset Bricks


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    The Wall

    Hide the Seams

    6: The Clone Stamp Tool

    Fig. 7

    The Clone Stamp Tool

    • So now the seams have moved away from the edges, into the centre, where you can edit them (Fig. 6). You will subtly clone from different areas of brick and paint over the seams;

      • Select the Clone Stamp Tool(Fig. 7)

      • Choose a 21-pixel brush set at 0%Hardness (100% feathered)

      • In the Clone Stamp Options at the top of the screen, set the Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 50%

      • Select Aligned

        • This means that the point you are sampling from will follow relative to your cursor movements. If this option was not checked, you would keep on sampling from the same place, which can make it look very obvious that you have been cloning

      • You want to sample from this layer only, so keep Use All Layers unchecked


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    The Wall

    Seamless Tile

    7: Cloning

    Fig. 8

    The Edited Bricks as a Seamless Tile

    • To set the point from which you wish to sample first, hold the Alt key down

      • Notice the cursor has changed into a stamp icon. This indicates that the sample point can be set

    • With the Alt key still held down, left-click to one side of the seam you are about to cover

    • Let go of the Alt key, move the cursor over the seam, and left-click a few times

      • Whenever you click, the seam is replaced with the area sampled

    • Sample the brickwork from the other side of the seam, and continue to cover it

      • For the best, least noticeable effect, keep changing the sample point, and just “dab” with mouse, rather than painting in long strokes

      • Eventually all the seams will have vanished (Fig. 8)

    • SelectAll again (Ctrl+A), and define the pattern once more (Edit > Define Pattern)

    • Accept the default name again

    • Close Bricks.jpg without saving

    • Now swap back to the composition

    • Press Shift+F5 to open the Fill dialog box (Edit > Fill)

  • This time, when you pull-down the Custom Pattern menu, a second brick pattern has appeared. New patterns are always added top to bottom, left to right

  • 8: Adding & Deleting Custom Patterns

    • Delete the old pattern (the one on the left) by right-clicking it and selecting Delete Pattern

    • Select the new brick pattern, and keep the other settings as before

    • Click OK

  • Now the bricks are seamless, and the wall is filled more convincingly (Fig. 9)

    • Save your composition

  • 8

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    The Wall

    The Edited Brick Wall

    Fig. 9

    The Brick Wall


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    The Wall


    • You can display the names of the colours in the Swatches palette by clicking the little arrow at the top-left of the palette to show the Swatch Options, and then selecting Small List

    9: Plaster Mixture

    Fig. 10

    Add Noise to the Plaster

    • Create a new layer above the bricks, and name it “Plaster”

  • For this, you will basically create a grey layer with some noise in the tones. Think of graphic noise as visual white noise, like a random disturbance. The best starting point for getting some natural variations in the tone is to generate some clouds;

    • Choose 15% Grey as the Foreground colour from the Swatches palette by left-clicking the colour

      • Hovering the cursor over the colour swatch will reveal its name

    • Set the Background colour to 40% Grey by holding Alt while you left-click the colour

    • Select Filter > Render > Clouds

    • Repeat the filter (Ctrl+F) until you are happy with the balance of tones

    • Add some grain to the texture, by selecting Filter > Noise > Add Noise

      • Use the settings as in Fig. 10

    • Finally, blur the effect by selecting Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, using a Radius of 4 Pixels

    • The texture should now look like Fig. 11

    • You will come back to these two layers later, but for now, hide them so that they do not interfere with the next stage

    • Save your composition

  • 10

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    The Wall

    The Plaster Texture

    Fig. 11

    The Plaster Texture


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    Section 3


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    Design the Wallpaper

    10: The Plan

    Fig. 12

    Draw the Flowers

    • As we’re too poor to buy our wallpaper, you’re going to design and make it yourself;

      • You will draw a flower (or any other shape)

      • Repeat and transform it

      • Define it as a brush

      • Paint more flowers

      • Define the flowers as a pattern

      • Fill the wall

    11: Create a New Layer

    • Create a new layer above the Plaster layer. Don’t worry about naming it, as it will be merged later

    • Set Black as the Foreground colour

    • Draw the flower’s leaves using a small feathered Paintbrush, then use a slightly larger brush to draw the petals (Fig. 12)

      • You don’t have to draw flowers, you can create whatever shape you like, even just a couple of squiggles


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    Design the Wallpaper (cont’d)

    12: Scale and Arrange

    Fig. 13

    The Finished Flowers

    • Scale the flowers down to about a quarter of their size, then move them out of the way so that you can draw the next flower

    • Create another new layer and draw the other flower in the same way

    • Scale this flower so that it is the same size as the others

    • Arrange them all offset from each other as in Fig. 13


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    Design the Wallpaper (cont’d)

    Fig. 14

    Scale Options

    Reference Point


    Use RelativePositioning

    Horizontal Scale

    Vertical Scale

    Horizontal Skew

    Horizontal PositionReference Point

    Vertical PositionReference Point

    Maintain Aspect Ratio

    Set Rotation

    Vertical Skew

    13: Merge the Flower Layers

    14: Define a New Brush

    • Link the flower layers together, then merge them into one and name it “Wallpaper”(Layer > Merge Linked)

    • Select Edit > Transform > Scale

    • In the Transform Options at the top of the screen, click the Maintain Aspect Ratio chain icon to constrain the proportions (Fig. 14), then set the Width Scale to 1cm and press Enter twice

    • Now the flowers are ready to become a brush;

      • Zoom-in by drawing around the flowers using the Magnifying Glass Tool

      • Use the Rectangle Marquee Select Tool to draw a square selection over the flowers (Fig. 15)

        • If you begin to select, then hold the Shift key, the selection will be constrained to a square

      • Select Edit > Define Brush, and name the new brush “Flowers” (Fig 16)

      • Deselect


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    Design the Wallpaper (cont’d)

    Fig. 15

    Preparing the Flower Brush

    15: Create the Wallpaper Pattern

    • You are now ready to use the new brush to create a pattern;

      • Create a new RGB Colour image, measuring 250 x 250 pixels at 300dpi, with the contents set to White

      • Select the Paintbrush Tool

      • From the Paintbrush Options at the top of the screen, click the Brushes drop-down menu, and select the Flowers brush from the bottom of the list

        • Notice the brush is about a quarter the size of the canvas

      • Choose four similar colours from the Swatches palette as the Foreground colour, and stamp the four flowers as inFig. 17

      • Select All by pressing Ctrl+A

      • Select Edit > Define Pattern, and also name the new pattern “Flowers”

      • Close the new image without saving

    Fig. 16

    Defining the Brush


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    Create the Wallpaper

    Fig. 17

    The Flower Pattern

    17: Adjust the Appearance

    • If you’re not happy with the over-all appearance of your wallpaper, you can shift the colours;

      • Later on, you will be applying Lighting Effects to the wall, and much of the pattern might fade into the shadows, so add definition to the pattern by using Auto Contrast (Image > Adjust > Auto Contrast)

      • Select Image > Adjust > Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U)

      • Adjust the Hue and Saturation sliders until you are happy with the tones

      • Save the composition

    16: Fill the Wall With Flowers

    • In the developing composition, zoom-out again, make sure the Wallpaper layer is active, then select Edit > Fill (Shift+F5)

    • From the Contents drop-down, choose Pattern, and then select the Flowers from the Custom Pattern menu

    • Make sure Blending is set to Normal, the Opacity is set to 100%, and Preserve Transparency is not selected

    • Click OK

    • The layer fills with the pattern, replacing the original contents (Fig. 18)


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    The Finished Wallpaper

    Fig. 18

    The Wallpaper


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    Section 4

    The Frame

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    The Frame


    18: The Rulers and Guides

    Fig. 19

    The Guides in Place

    • With the wall built, now you can make the frame;

      • Create a new layer at the top of the palette

        • Don’t worry about the name yet, as it will be merged with others later

    • The frame is going to measure 7.5 x 7.5cm, it will be 0.5cm thick, and you will use guides to set it up;

      • If the Ruler is not visible along the left and top edges of the screen, select View > Show Ruler (Crtl+R)

      • Select Edit > Preferences > Units & Ruler, and make sure the Ruler Units are set to centimetres before clicking OK

      • Zoom-in so that you can see half-centimetre marks on the rulers

      • Select View > Snap To and make sure Guides is ticked

      • Select the Move Tool and drag a guide from the vertical ruler, and set it at 5.5cm

      • Drag another guide from the vertical ruler, and set it at 6cm

      • Drag two more guides, and set them at 12.5 and 13cm

      • Now drag four guides from the horizontal ruler and set them at 2, 2.5, 9 and 9.5cm(Fig.20)


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    The Frame

    Build the Frame

    19: Select the First Piece of the Frame

    20: Actions

    • Select the Rectangular Marquee Select Tool, and from the Select Options at the top of the screen, make sure Feather is set to 0px and the Style is set to Normal

    • Select the rectangle that forms the bottom piece of the frame (Fig. 20)

    • From the Swatches palette, select a Pale Brown for the Foreground colour, and a Dark Brown for the Background colour

    • To create the wood effect on each piece, you will need to perform the same actions four times. Similar to using Macros in Microsoft Word, you can record a series of actions to be repeated at the click of a button by creating a new Action;

      • If the Actions palette is not visible, select Window > Show Actions

      • From the bottom of the Actions palette, click the Create New Action button, or click the Actions Options arrow and select New Action (Fig. 21)

      • Name the new Action “Wood”, leave the other settings as their defaults, and if it is not already activated, click Record

        • Notice the Record button has turned red

      • Select Filter > Render > Clouds

      • Select Filter > Noise > Add Noise, using the following settings;

        • Amount:20%

        • Distribution:Uniform

        • Monochromatic:On

      • Select Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic, using a Cell Size of 4 Square

    Fig. 20

    First Frame Selection


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    Action Name



    Play Selected Action

    Create New Action Set

    Create New Action

    Delete Action

    The Frame

    Build the Frame (cont’d)

    Fig. 21

    Actions Palette

    21: Shear the Wood Texture

    • Select Filter > Distort > Shear using the settings as in Fig. 25using the following method;

      • Position the bottom handle first (Fig. 22)

      • Create a new handle by left-clicking on the line where it is intersected by the first gridline. Drag this handle to near the left edge of the box (Fig. 23)

      • Click the line where it is intersected by the top gridline to create another handle, and drag it into position as in Fig. 24

      • For the final handle, click the middle of the line and drag upwards (Fig. 25)

      • Set the Undefined Areas to Wrap Around

      • Click OK

  • The speckled effect is now warped into a wood grain pattern.

  • 20

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    The Frame

    Shearing the Wood Texture

    Fig. 22

    First Shear Handle

    Fig. 23

    Second Shear Handle

    Fig. 24

    Third Shear Handle

    Fig. 25

    Fourth Shear Handle


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    The Frame

    Create the Other Pieces

    22: Use the Wood Action

    Fig. 26

    The Four Pieces of the Frame

    • Rather than just duplicating the layer, each piece will be unique;

      • Create another new layer

      • With the Rectangular Marquee Select Tool still selected, click inside the selection and the drag it up so that it is above the piece you just created (the wood pattern does not move, just the selection)

        • To constrain the movement to a straight line, start moving the selection first, then press and hold Shift

      • Now the process will be repeated, so end the Wood Action recording by clicking the Stop button (Fig. 22)

      • To apply the Wood Action, click the Name in the Actions palette to activate it, and then click the Play button

      • Repeat this another two times, to make the four pieces of the frame (Fig. 27)

      • Delete the last empty layer created by the Action and Deselect


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    The Frame

    Create the Other Pieces (cont’d)

    23: Reposition the Pieces

    Fig. 27

    The Pieces in Place

    • Now to put the pieces together;

      • Select the layer containing the top piece, and select Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal

    • The grain now flows in the correct direction

      • Select the Move Tool, and move the piece into position at the top of the guides

      • Activate the next layer down, and select Edit > Transform > Rotate 90o CW

      • Move this into position as the left piece

      • For the next layer down, select Edit > Transform > Rotate 90o CCW, and position it as the piece on the right

    • The frame should now look like Fig. 27


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    The Frame

    Create the Other Pieces (cont’d)

    24: Mitre Joints

    Fig. 28

    Cut the Mitre Joint With a 450 Selection

    • Join the pieces by cutting them into mitre joints;

      • Select the layer containing the bottom of the frame

      • Make this the only layer visible by holding Alt while clicking the layer’s eye icon in the Layers palette

      • Use the Rectangular Marquee Select Tool to make a small square selection anywhere (hold the Shift key)

        • This selection will become a cutting tool

      • Choose Select > Transform Selection, then holding the Shift key, rotate the selection 45o, then press Enter

      • With the Rectangular Marquee Select Tool still active, move the selection into place as inFig. 28(a), and press Delete

      • Move the selection to the other end of the frame piece, and press Delete again as inFig. 28(b)

    • Now for the next piece;

      • Activate the next layer above

        • It becomes visible

      • Hide the previous layer by clicking its eye icon

      • Move the selection into place, and cut the corner away by pressing Delete

      • Move the selection to the other end and cut that corner too

      • Repeat this process for the remaining frame pieces




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    The Frame

    Join the Pieces Together

    25: Merge the Frame Layers

    27: Bevel the Frame

    • With all the pieces in place, you can now join them together in one layer;

      • Reveal all the layers (including the brick and plaster)

      • If there are any gaps, just scale the piece so that the piece fits the guides by snapping to them

      • Link all the frame layers together

      • Merge the linked layers by selecting Layer > Merge Linked (Ctrl+E)

      • Rename the layer “Frame”

      • Hide the guides, they will not be required again till later (Ctrl+H)

    • Finally, bevel the frame by selecting Layer > Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss

    • Use the following settings (Fig. 29);

      • Style: Inner Bevel

      • Technique: Smooth

      • Depth: 500%

      • Direction: Up

      • Size: 10 px

      • Soften: 0 px

      • Angle: 120o

      • Use Global Light: On

      • Altitude: 30o

      • Gloss Contour: Linear

      • Anti-aliased: On

      • Highlight Mode: Screen (White)

      • Highlight Opacity: 75%

      • Shadow Mode: Multiply (Black)

      • Highlight Opacity: 75%

    26: Adjust the Colour Balance

    • Use the Auto Contrast function (Crtl+Alt+Shift+L) to enhance the grain

  • What kind of wood would you like this to be?

    • Select Image > Adjust > Colour Balance (Ctrl+B)

      • By default, the Midtones are selected, and Preserve Luminosity is on

    • Adjust the sliders to change the balance of colours in the Midtones to however you want, then do the same to the Shadows and Highlights

  • By adjusting the colour balance, you can make the frame look like mahogany, rosewood, teak, oak or pine, etc, you can even stain the wood your favourite colour.

  • 25

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    The Frame

    Bevel and Emboss Layer Style

    Fig. 29

    Bevel the Frame


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    The Frame

    Align the Frame to the Wallpaper

    • When layers are aligned, the linked layers will move to alignment with the active layer

    28: Align the Frame

    29: Save

    • With the frame complete, all that remains is to align it to the centre of the wall;

      • Activate the Wallpaper layer

      • Link it to the Frame layer, but keep the Wallpaper layer active. When layers are aligned, the linked layers will move to alignment with the active layer

      • Select the Move Tool

      • Use the buttons in the Move Tool Options at the top of the screen to align the frame to the centre of the wallpaper (Fig. 30)

      • Unlink the layers

    • Your composition should now look like Fig. 31

      • Save your work

    Fig. 30

    Layer Alignment Options

    Align Vertical


    Align Left


    Align Right






    Left Edges


    Right Edges




    Align Top


    Align BottomEdges

    Align HorizontalCentres


    Top Edges


    Bottom Edges


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    The Frame

    Complete the Frame

    Fig. 31

    The Completed Frame


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    Section 5

    The Sunset

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    The Sunset

    Setting the Sun

    30: Create a New Layer Set

    31: Edit the Transparency

    • The sunset scene is going to be made from several layers. Since the new layers are going to be related, create a new layer Set between the Wallpaper and Frame layers to keep them in. (Layer Sets and Gradients are covered in the previous tutorial “Creative Compositing Part 2 - The Forest)

      • Name the Set “Picture”

      • Create a new layer within the Set and name it “Gradient”

      • Display the guides again by pressing Ctrl+H (View > Show Extras)

      • Delete the existing guides by dragging them to back to the rulers with the Move Tool or selecting View > Clear Guides

      • Drag a new horizontal guideline from the ruler to about one third of the way up from the bottom of the frame

        • This will be the guide for the horizon

      • Make a rectangular selection the size of the frame

        • You will need this selection several times later, so save it by choosing Select > Save Selection, naming the selection as “Frame”

      • Select the Gradient Tool

      • Set the Foreground colour to Pastel Yellow Orange, and the Background colour to Pure Orange Red

      • Click the sample in the Gradient Options at the top of the screen (not the arrow next to it) to edit the gradient (Fig. 32)

    • Make sure there are only two Opacity Stops (above the sample gradient), and two Colour Stops (below the sample), and that they are at the ends of the sample

    • Set the Opacity Stops at 100% as no transparency is involved

    • Set both Colour Stops to RedOrange by left-clicking them, setting the Colour to Background, then clicking the stop a second time to apply it

    • Move the cursor to just underneath the sample until it changes from the pointer to a finger, and left-click to set the middle Colour Stop

    • Set the Location of the new Stop to 45%, and set the Colour to the ForegroundPastelYellow Orange

    • Set the Location of the left Colour MidpointController (the little diamond) to 75%

    • Click the middle Colour Stop again to display both Midpoint Controllers, and set the one on the right to 25%

    • Click OK

    • Drag from the top to the bottom of the frame, holding Shift to constrain the gradient in a straight line

  • The frame should look like Fig. 33

  • 29

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    The Sunset

    Setting the Sun (cont’d)

    Fig. 32

    The Sunset Gradient

    Start Opacity Stop

    End Opacity Stop

    Start Colour Stop

    End Colour Stop

    Middle Colour Stop

    Midpoint Controller

    Stop Settings


    Slide38 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Setting the Sun (cont’d)

    Fig. 33

    The Gradient Applied

    32: Add Some Clouds

    • Create a new layer above the Gradient layer, within the Picture Set, and name it “Clouds”

    • Set the Foreground colour to CMYK Cyan, and set the Background to White

    • Select Filter > Render > Clouds

    • You can keep pressing Ctrl+F to repeat the Clouds filter until you have a pattern you are happy with


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    The Sunset

    Layer Masks

    33: Fade Using a Layer Mask

    Fig. 34

    Layer Mask

    • To fade the clouds into the gradient you will apply a Layer Mask. A Layer Mask is similar to a Quick Mask, where black will add to the selection and white deletes from it, but the main difference is that the layer remains untouched, while the attached Layer Mask hides or reveals the contents;

      • Select Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All

    • Reveal All means the layer will remain visible, while areas covered by the Layer Mask will be hidden. Hide All would hide the layer, revealing only the areas covered by the Mask.

    • Notice the colour swatches on the Toolbar have changed to black and white, ready for the Mask.

      • Make sure the Foreground colour is White, and the Background is Black

      • Select the Gradient Tool

      • From the Gradients drop-down menu, select or create a Foreground to Background gradient (White to Black)

      • Drag from the top to the bottom of the frame, holding Shift to constrain it to a vertical movement

        • The black areas of the gradient cause the attached layer to become transparent

    • In the Layers palette, the Layer Mask appears as an extra thumbnail next to the Clouds thumbnail, with a chain icon between them to indicate they are linked (Fig. 34)

    Layer Mask Selected Indicator

    Layer Mask


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    The Sunset

    Snapshot vs. History

    • It is strongly advised to take regular snapshots, as the History palette is limited

    34: Take a Snapshot

    Fig. 35

    History Palette

    • We’re going to experiment with the Layer Mask, but afterwards, we want to be able to return the composition to the way it is now. Instead of having to work your way back through the History palette, you can take a snapshot;

      • Left-click the New Snapshot icon in the History palette (Fig. 35)

    • A thumbnail representation of the composition appears in the top section of the palette. Later, when you need to return to this point, you can just click this thumbnail.


    Create New DocumentFrom Current State

    Create New Snapshot


    Slide41 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Hide All vs. Reveal All

    35: Experiment

    36: Create the Sea

    • Now back to the Layer Mask. Suppose you’ve changed your mind about having the sky fade out like that, and you want to remove the Mask;

      • Drag the Mask in the Layers palette to the Trash Bin

    • You are prompted to either apply or discard the Mask before it is removed.

      • Click Discard

    • The graduated transparency is deleted from the layer.

      • Staying in the Clouds layer, select Layer > Add Layer Mask > Hide All

    • This time the clouds disappear, though the layer is still intact.

      • Select the Gradient Tool again, and apply any Black to White gradient

    • By applying a Hide All Mask, the Clouds layer is only revealed through the white areas of the Mask

      • Return the composition to the state recorded in the earlier snapshot by left-clicking its thumbnail at the top of the History palette (Fig. 35)

    • Notice all the events in the History palette are greyed-out ready to be erased by whatever you do next.

    • While they are greyed-out they are still available, and clicking one will take the composition back to that stage.

      • Deselect

      • Save your work

    • To be able to add perspective to the sea, you will create it too big for the frame, and then distort it;

      • Create a new layer within the PictureSet, above the Clouds layer, and name it “Sea”

      • Make a large selection extending outside of the frame as inFig.36

      • Set the Foreground colour to Pure Cyan Blue, and the Background to White

      • Select Filter > Render > Clouds

      • Use the Auto Contrast function to brighten the pattern (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+L)

      • SelectFilter > Sketch > Bas Relief, and use the following settings;

        • Detail: 15

        • Smoothness: 1

        • Light Direction: Top

    • The texture now looks as though your are looking down on the sea, raised where the white areas of the clouds were, and depressed in the darker areas (Fig. 37).

    • The sea texture was discovered by experimenting with the filters.


    Slide42 l.jpg

    Fig. 36

    The Sea Selection

    Fig. 37

    Bas Relief Filter Applied After Clouds

    The Sunset

    Create the Sea Texture

    • The Sea texture was discovered by experimenting with all the filters


    Slide43 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Creating Distance

    37: Add Perspective

    Fig. 38

    Delete Excess Texture

    • Now to add some depth and perspective;

      • Select Edit > Transform > Scale

      • Bring the top edge of the sea texture down to the horizontal guideline, and the bottom edge to within the bottom of the frame

      • Press Enter to confirm the transformation

      • Select Edit > Transform > Perspective

      • Drag one of the top corners in towards the picture, so that it is under the frame. The other top corner follows with it

      • Press Enter to confirm the transformation

      • Make a selection over the areas of the texture which are left outside the frame, and press Delete(Fig. 38)

      • Deselect

      • You can adjust the tones of the sea if you wish, by changing the Hue/Saturation, Levels, and ColourBalance

        • Add to the story; if the sun is setting over the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean, the sea will be a bright cobalt blue, whereas if it were setting over Brighton, it would be paler, desaturated, and the blue would have a grey-green tint

      • Save your composition

    Delete These Areas


    Slide44 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Create the Sun

    • Lens flares are discussed in detail in Creative Compositing Part 2 - The Forest

    38: Add a Lens Flare

    Fig. 39

    The Sun Spot

    • To make the sun, you will create a lens flare and colourise it;

      • Create a new layer named “Sun”, and position it between the Sea and Clouds layers

      • Fill the new layer with Black

      • Paint a small white dot, using a 21px brush to mark the position of the sun (Fig. 39). For artistic effect, avoid placing the sun in the centre of the scene, as the secondary flares will be more dramatic from the side

      • Select Filter > Render > Lens Flare

      • Set the Brightness to 100%, and select the 50-300mm Zoom as the Lens Type

      • Position the flare on the white spot in the Flare Centre window

      • Click OK

    • Some of the flare extends outside the frame. To delete this you need the selection you saved earlier;

      • Select Select > Load Selection and choose the Frame selection from the Channels drop-down menu

    • The shape of the frame is selected, but you actually need to select everything outside the frame;

      • Select Select > Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I)

      • Deselect


    Slide45 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Create the Sun (cont’d)

    39: Adjust the Flare

    Fig. 40

    The Lens Flare, Rendered and Adjusted

    • Change the Sun layer Blending Mode to Screen to allow the rest of the layers to show through

    • Select Image > Adjust > Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U), and adjust the Saturation to +50

    • Press Ctrl+B (Image > Adjust > Colour Balance) and experiment with the tones

  • Now that the sun is in place, if necessary, you can adjust the appearance of the sky;

    • Left-click the Clouds Layer Mask in the Layers palette (Fig. 36)

    • Select the Gradient Tool

    • Set the Foreground colour to White, and the Background to Black

    • Experiment with creating different gradients, fading the clouds into the sunset, until you are happy with the balance (Fig. 40)

    • If you want to change the height of the horizon, just select the Sea layer, and scale it

  • 38

    Slide46 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Colour Channels vs. Alpha Channels

    • Alpha Channels are greyscale representations of saved selections

    40: Colour Separations

    Fig. 41

    The Channels Palette - RGB Selected

    • The sea needs to look as though it is being lit by the sunset, but before that, a quick word about Channels;

    • An RGB image contains three greyscale versions of itself; these are the Colour Channels. Each one represents the distribution of one colour in the image. For example, you have a channel to determine where red needs to be, and how transparent the red should be in those places, and the same for the greens and the blues.

    • A Channel is a Mask, or rather Masks are Channels. The areas of a Channel’s colour are represented by white, while the areas that do not contain that Channel’s colour are represented by black. Shades of grey represent a percentage of colour present in that area.

      • To demonstrate this, view the Channels palette by selecting Window > Show Channels(Fig. 41), and then left-click each of the channels in turn (Figs. 42-45)

    • The three Colour Channels are combined to create the composite image. Being able to separate colours means that you can target a particular colour and adjust all occurrences of it in isolation. For example, in a photo of green fields under a blue sky, you could apply Levels to just the fields by targeting the Green Channel, without affecting the blue sky, etc.

    • In addition to the Colour Channels, selections can also be saved as channels. The Frame selection you saved earlier has been stored as an extra channel at the bottom of the palette, and by dragging a channel onto the Load Channel As Selection button (Fig. 41), its shape becomes that selection again. Selections stored in this way are known as Alpha Channels.

    Colour Channels

    Load Channel

    As Selection

    Alpha Channel


    Slide47 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Separated Colour Channels

    Fig. 42

    Red, Green & Blue Channels Together

    Fig. 43

    Red Channel

    Fig. 44

    Green Channel

    Fig. 45

    Blue Channel


    Slide48 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Lighting Through a Texture Channel

    • Texture Channels emboss Lighting Effects through Colour or Alpha Channels

    41: Lighting Effects

    42: Texture Channel

    • With this in mind, you can apply some lighting to affect the Blue Channel of the sea;

      • Select the RGB Channel to make sure all the Channels are on

      • You no longer need the guideline, so delete it by selecting View > Clear Guides

      • Select the Sea layer

      • Load the Frame selection either via the Channels palette or by selecting Select > Load Selection

      • Select Filter > Render > Lighting Effects

      • Use the following settings and place the light source as inFig. 46;

        • Style: Default

        • Light Type: Omni

        • Intensity: 35

        • Gloss: 100 - Shiny

        • Material: 100 - Metallic

        • Exposure: 0

        • Ambience: 21

        • Texture Channel: Blue

        • White is High: On

        • Height: 12

    • To set the Light Colour, click the swatch and set the RGB values to 255,255 & 200 respectively

    • Set the Ambience Colour the same way, using 255,125 & 75 for the RGB values

    • Position the light above the horizon, slightly to the right, to correspond to the position of the lens flare

  • The Texture Channel will emboss one of the Colour Channels, or any other selection saved as a Mask (Alpha Channel). By checking the White is High option, any white areas will be lifted according to the amount set in the Height control. If this option is not selected, but a Texture Channel has been chosen, the dark areas will be raised instead.

  • This is a very powerful feature for adding form to your textures, and if it is used subtly, it can really enhance your photo-realism.

    • Click OK

    • Deselect

  • 41

    Slide49 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Lighting Effects

    Fig. 46

    Lighting the Sea

    Light Colour


    Light Position/



    Colour Swatch




    Slide50 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Create Focal Depth

    43: Add a Graduated Blur

    Fig. 47

    The Sea With Lighting Effects Applied

    • The sea is looking more natural now, but it is still in stark contrast to the rest of the image;

      • Set the Sea layer Opacity to 85%. This allows some of the Yellow-Orange gradient to show through, adding to the ambient effect

    • To be more convincing, the sea should blur as it gets further away. For this you will create a Quick Mask;

      • Double-click the Quick Mask Mode icon to display the Quick Mask Options and make sure Colour Indicates is set to Selected Areas

      • Click OK

      • Select the Gradient Tool

      • Make sure the gradient runs from Black to White

      • Click on the horizon, and drag down to the bottom of the frame

      • Return to Standard Mode so that the selection is represented by the “Marching Ants”

      • Apply a 1-pixelGaussian Blur filter

      • Deselect

    • The image should now look like Fig. 47

      • Try fine-tuning the Sea layer if you wish, by adjusting the Levels, Colour Balance, and Hue/Saturation

    • The picture is complete now, so to keep the Layers palette tidy;

      • Collapse the Picture Set

      • Save your work


    Slide51 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Different Types of Shadows

    44: Drop Shadow

    45: Perspective Shadow

    • As a final touch, the frame needs to cast some shadows;

      • In the Layers palette, double-click the Bevel and Emboss Effect attached to the Frame layer to open the Layer Styles dialog box

      • In addition to the Bevel and Emboss settings, select Drop Shadow as the Style from the list on the left of the dialog box (make sure it is highlighted), and use the following settings;

        • Blend Mode: Multiply

        • Opacity: 75%

        • Angle: 1200

        • Use Global Light: On

        • Distance: 10 px

        • Spread: 0%

        • Size: 10

        • Contour: Linear

        • Anti-Aliased: On

        • Noise: 0%

        • Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow: Off

      • Click OK

    • The Layer Style has added some depth inside the frame as though the light is coming in from the top-left corner, which is fine for the shadow cast across the picture from the frame, but if were really hanging on the wall it would lean slightly towards the viewer from the top, and cast a different kind of shadow.

    • Where the frame is further away from the wall, the shadow would be less defined, and the ambient light being reflected from the walls, and other objects in the room would cast slight secondary shadows, making the frame’s shadow look blurred.

      • Create a new layer between the Wallpaper layer and the Picture Set, and name it “Shadow”

      • Load the Frame selection saved earlier by selecting Select > Load Selection and choosing Frame from the Channel drop-down list

      • Fill the selection with Black (Shift+F5)

      • Select Edit > Transform > Skew and pull the top centre handle over to the right by about the width of the frame

      • Press Enter to confirm the transformation

      • Select Edit > Transform > Scale and bring the top edge handle down, also by about the width of the frame

      • Press Enter to confirm the transformation

      • Deselect

      • Use the Move Tool to nudge the shadow into place if necessary


    Slide52 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Casting a Perspective Shadow

    46: Apply a Graduated Blur

    Fig. 48

    Applying the Gradient for the Shadow Mask

    • Open the Quick Mask Options by double-clicking the icon on the Toolbar, and make sure Colour Indicates is set to Selected Areas

    • Press OK

    • Make sure Black is set as the Foreground colour, and White is set as the Background

    • Select the Gradient Tool and choose a Foreground to Background linear gradient

    • Click halfway up the shadow just created, and drag down to halfway between the bottom of the frame and the bottom of the composition (Fig. 48)

    • Return to Standard Mode

      • The top two-thirds of the screen has been selected

    • Apply a 18-pixel Gaussian Blur

    • Deselect

    • The frame and picture should now look like Fig. 49

  • All that remains is to group the related layers;

    • Link the Shadow layer to the Picture Set and the Frame layer

    • Save your work

  • 45

    Slide53 l.jpg

    The Sunset

    Casting a Perspective Shadow (cont’d)

    Fig. 49

    The Transformed Shadow


    Slide54 l.jpg

    Section 6

    Finishing Touches

    Slide55 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Creating Paths

    47: The Pen Tools

    Fig. 50

    Freeform Pen Tool

    • Now for a bit of vandalism. You want to be able to make a selection on the wallpaper with rough jagged edges;

      • Select the Wallpaper layer

      • Select the Freeform Pen Tool (Fig. 50)

      • Make sure Create New Work Path is selected in the Pen Tool Options at the top of the screen, and that Magnetic is not checked

      • Use a Curve Fit of 0.5px

        • This controls the amount of editing handles that will be created along the path as you draw it. A low setting creates more handles, and the line the will be more faithful to the movement of the cursor. With less handles (a higher value), the line will be smoothed out between them

      • Slowly draw the first shape of the torn wallpaper. Drawing faster will make a smoother line

      • Let go of the mouse button and draw the other area of exposed plaster (Fig. 51)

      • In the Paths palette, make the Working Path become a selection by dragging it onto the Load Path as Selection button (Fig. 52)

      • Press Delete

        • The plaster beneath is now exposed as in Fig. 53

      • Deselect


    Slide56 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Creating Paths (cont’d)

    Fig. 51

    Wallpaper Paths


    Slide57 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches


    Fig. 52

    Paths Palette

    48: Vandalise the Plaster Layer

    • Repeat the process for the plaster;

      • Select the Plaster layer

      • Create the FreeformPaths

        • Try to image how plaster looks when it is in need of repair. Give the picture a story.

        • How did the cracks appear? Are the edges likely to be sharp and pointed, or are there likely to be smooth chunks missing?

      • Load the path as a selection

      • Press Delete to expose the bricks

      • Deselect

    49: Add Depth to the Plaster

    • The plaster looks too flat;

      • Add a Layer Style and bevel the plaster layer (Layer > Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss)

      • Experiment with the settings until it looks right to you

        • Tip: It doesn’t need to be very Deep, or Soft, and try Chisel Hard as the Technique

      • Click OK

    Load Path as Selection


    Slide58 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Torn Wallpaper

    Fig. 53

    Exposed Plaster


    Slide59 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Attention to Detail

    50: Finishing Touches

    Fig. 54

    The Exposure Tool Group

    • Take a snapshot so that you can return to the current state if necessary, and then experiment;

      • For extra effect, you could use a Standard EraserTool, with a Spatter or other unusual brush, and just dab a few times along some of the edges of the plaster, or punch some of it out, as though it had been knocked

      • You could use similar brushes with the Smudge Tool (Fig. 54) to gently pull some of the plaster over the exposed bricks, adding variety to the texture

      • What about the exposure tools (Fig. 54)?You could Burn the plaster’s midtones with a small brush to create extra cracks. How about using the Dodge Tool to increase the highlights along a couple of the wallpaper edges?

  • Your composition should look similar toFig. 55

  • Smudge Tool


    Slide60 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Attention to Detail (cont’d)

    Fig. 55

    Exposed Bricks


    Slide61 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Unify With Lighting

    51: Continuity

    52: Raise the Red Channel

    • All that remains is to unify the whole composition with a common light source;

      • Select the Wallpaper layer

      • Select Filter > Render > Lighting Effects

      • Experiment with the settings, usingFig. 56 as an example

        • To set the colour of the lights to White again, the RGB values were set to 255, 255 and 255

      • Click OK

      • Select the Plaster layer

      • To open the last filter used, press Ctrl+Alt+F

      • Experiment again, but keep the light in the same place

        • You may need to increase the Ambience slightly to stop the plaster from being too dark

      • Click OK

      • Select the Bricks layer, and open the Lighting Effects dialog again. This time, add some form by raising the red channel slightly

    • Finally, select the Frame layer and press Crtl+Alt+F

    • Adjust the size and shape of the light, but keep it coming from the same direction. You need to make sure that some parts are not much brighter or darker than others

    • Experiment further, and again, raise the Red Channel slightly

    • Click OK


    Slide62 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Unify With Lighting (cont’d)

    Fig. 56

    Lighting the Wallpaper


    Slide63 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    Save for Web

    53: Pinch

    54: Save for Web

    • You could make the wall look even more uneven by making a rough selection on the wallpaper using the Freeform Pen Tool, and then distorting it using one, or a combination of the filters (try Pinch)

    • Save your composition

  • Remember, this work is in high resolution, so the composite is going to create a large file and will take up most of your allocated space on the network.

    • All that remains now is to compress the final to make it suitable for the PowerPoint presentation;

      • Select File > Save for Web (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S)

      • Experiment with the different settings to determine which will yield the best results with a target file size of around 100k

        • Save for Web and compression are covered in detail in previous tutorials

      • You may find that a High-Quality JPG, 800 pixels wide is the best compromise between quality and size

      • Click OK and save it to a familiar location

      • Load your new image into the PowerPoint presentation, and print it to test the result

      • Finally, make any adjustments in PhotoShop, though bear in mind that printed results depend on the toner levels


    Slide64 l.jpg

    Finishing Touches

    The Final Result

    Fig. 57

    The Final Result


    Slide65 l.jpg

    Section 7


    Slide66 l.jpg



    • Section 2: The Wall

      • Plan for the end at the beginning

      • You can define a selection to become the pattern to fill an area by choosing Edit > Define Pattern

      • To fill an area with a defined pattern choose Pattern as the Contents in the Fill dialog box, then select your custom pattern

      • To create a seamless tile for a custom pattern, use the Offset filter to bring the edges of the pattern into the centre, then use the Clone StampTool to cover the seam by sampling from nearby areas

      • When using an AlignedClone Stamp Tool, the point you are sampling from will follow relative to your cursor movements

        • An Un-alignedClone Stamp Tool will sample from the same point each time the left mouse button is clicked

      • For the most natural cloning, paint by dabbing with the brush at different opacities, rather than with long strokes

      • You can display the names of the colours in the Swatches palette by clicking the little arrow at the top-left of the palette to show the Swatch Options, and then selecting Small List

        • Hovering the cursor over an individual colour swatch will also display its name

    • Section 3: Decorating

      • Linked layers can be merged by selecting Layer > Merge Linked

      • Selecting Maintain Aspect Ratio in the Transform Options will constrain the proportions when scaling

      • To make a square selection, begin the selection using the Rectangular Marquee Select Tool, then hold the Shift key

      • To create a custom brush, make a square selection, then choose Edit > Define Brush. The new brush now appears in the Brushes menu


    Slide67 l.jpg


    Summary (cont’d)

    • Section 4: The Frame

      • To display the Rulers, select View > Show Ruler (Ctrl+R)

        • New Guides can be dragged from the Ruler

        • To set the Ruler units, select Edit > Preferences > Units & Ruler

        • To snap selections to Guides, select View > Snap To and make sure Guides is ticked

      • A series of actions to be repeated, such as filling selections and applying filters, can be recorded using the Actions palette

      • Colour can be adjusted by selecting Image > Adjust > Colour Balance (Ctrl+B)

      • When layers are aligned, the linked layers will move to alignment with the active layer

    • Section 5: The Sunset

      • Related layers can be grouped into Layer Sets

      • When a Layer Mask is attached to a layer, the layer remains untouched while the Mask hides or reveals areas of it

        • Reveal All means the layer will remain visible, while areas covered by the Layer Mask will be hidden

        • Hide All would hide the layer, revealing only the areas covered by the Mask

        • A Layer Mask appears in the Layers palette as an extra thumbnail joined to the Layer to which it is attached by a chain icon

      • Take regular Snapshots

      • The Bas Relief filter creates an embossed effect by raising white areas of a pattern, and depressing dark areas and applying the Foreground colour to them

      • Perspective can be applied to a layer or selection by choosing Edit > Transform > Perspective


    Slide68 l.jpg


    Summary (cont’d)

    • Create Lens Flares in their own layers

    • Alpha Channels are greyscale representations of saved selections

    • An RGB image contains three greyscale versions of itself; these are the Colour Channels. Each one represents the distribution of one colour in the image

      • A Channel is a Mask, or rather Masks are Channels

      • The areas of a Channel’s colour are represented by white, while the areas that do not contain that Channel’s colour are represented by black.

      • Shades of grey represent a percentage of colour present in that area

    • Selections can be saved by choosing Select > Save Selection. They are then stored as Alpha Channels in the Channels palette

      • Selections can be loaded by either choosing Select > Load Selection, or by dragging the saved selection’s Alpha Channel onto the Load Channel As Selection icon in the Channels palette

    • Texture Channels emboss Lighting Effects through Colour or Alpha Channels

  • Section 6: Finishing Touches

    • The Pen Tools create versatile editable Paths which can be converted into selections

    • To help achieve photo-realism make good use of the focal tools, such as the Blur and Smudge Tools, and the exposure tools such as Dodge, Burn and Saturate

    • Lighting Effect help to unify the whole composition

  • 59

    Slide69 l.jpg

    Section 8

    Where Do We Go From Here?

    Slide70 l.jpg

    Where to Go From Here?


    • For further study, the following websites offer PhotoShop tutorials, covering a wide range of skills and special effects;














    Slide71 l.jpg

    Where to Go From Here?


    • To help improve future tutorials, please use the feedback form included in the same directory as this tutorial to let me know what you think;

      • Did you find this tutorial easy?

      • Did it work?

      • Are the instructions clear, are there areas which are not explained well?

      • Is the theory clear, did you understand what you were doing?

      • Was any information missing?

      • What topics would you like to see included in future tutorials?

    • Note

    • Samples of the author’s PhotoShop work can be viewed at www.implicateform./