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Not-So-Obvious Smart Techniques

Lesson 9 from: Everyday Adobe Photoshop: From Workflow to Smartflow

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

9. Not-So-Obvious Smart Techniques

Lesson Info

Not-So-Obvious Smart Techniques

Overall, the whole idea behind this class is how to be more efficient and productive and creative every single day, so there hopefully will be lots of things where, at this moment in time, you might go okay? I'm not sure when I use that, but then they'll be that time three months from now where you're faced with a challenge like no when the minute that might be the solution. So the first thing we're going to talk about this little segment is what I refer to is not so obvious techniques, meaning when most people think about productivity and things like that, they think of things like actions and things of that nature, and we'll talk about that later, but these are things that are perhaps not so obvious in terms of how you might work, and the first one is something that's actually been around and photo shopped for a long time. But it's not one of things that people well, let's just say it's not obvious. In fact, when we had the discussion about, I think I mentioned yesterday that adobe l...

ikes to use the word to say, I want to make things discoverable, you know that you would just happen upon this is one of those things where, unless you're the kind of person that just double clicks on everything and says, what does this do? Chances are you wouldn't discover it just sort of by nature, and the sad part is has been around for a long time, but it's not the kind of thing that people usually discover, and they're referred to his blend if sliders it's actually technically part of layer styles, but mostly what we think of later styles they think of, you know, drop shadow bedlam in boss, things like that, so the way it works is I'll just start off with a a simple example not to say that we would do this, but I always like to start this way to give people an idea of what it looks like. So on a new layer, I'm adding a grady in't that's just simply goes from black to white, and I want to blend this in with the underlying layer somehow. Normally, that means blend mode, but the problem with blend modes I shouldn't say that because ramos, you're great, but that'd be one downside to it is if I choose a blend, moded says, take every single pixel on this layer and apply the blend mode. So for example, here if I choose, multiply, it blends it in completely of one. So whatever blend modi pic it's just saying, take the all the colors on this layer and blended in with the shade below if I want to make this layer partially see through I can't really do partial see through without making a mask here when I lower the opacity, the entire layer is being coming see through so what the blend of sliders allow us to do is use a very different way of blending things together, and the easiest way to get to it is just double click not on the layer itself but just to the empty place on the right here and that brings up the layer style dialog box and normally people see one of these chosen because they go into it by clicking on drop shadow or stroke or something, but I haven't and you see all this part in the middle here that says general blending and it has blend mode, normal opacity, those two settings there are exactly the same as the's ones at the top of the layers panel so if you wanted to, you could now at the last moment decide oh since I'm here, I also want to adjust the blend motor of the capacity but the part we want talk about is down here at the bottom where it says blend if you see it says this layer and underlying layer so this layer is the layer I'm on underlying layer and it probably should say because if you had multiple layers that would attempt if it made sense to have multiple layers blending and then it looks like kind of a grady in't with black on white end one on one and white on the other for both of them. And by the way, that's got nothing to do with the fact that this is a great in't. It always looks like that. So that just coincidental, it also helps describe what's happening here. So right now, because each and the triangle is, as faras have go, it means no blending is happening, but what this allows me to do is change the opacity based on the shade. So for example, if I take this black triangle and start to move it in, you can see what's happening is the darker parts of that grady in our becoming see through. So the further I drag it, the more see through it becomes, and if I put it back, it's still there, if I take the white end and drag it, the same thing is happening. And of course, I could do both ends if I wanted to and let me pause and say, this is just to describe what it does is, I can't imagine that many times where I would stick ingredients on top of a photo and try and make both ends see through, but just so you kind of grasped the idea of what's happening here or and this is where it starts to get interesting and say, what if I leave this layer the way it is and take the underlying layer? And now, as they start to drag this slider at a certain point, the darker parts of the underlying photo are going to start to poke through or go the other way and say, if I take the lighter parts of the photo, this creates some really interesting possibilities, because now I'm starting to have her shape kind of come through the layer without doing any kind of selecting or masking it's just based on color and intensity. Now the on ly kind of initial drawback is, as you saw, I think a couple of times a certain point like there, if I zoom in a bit, you can see and see how that edge of that is very jagged. That's, because this triangle is so pixel specific that it says pixels up to here are see through the next pixel is not so very often. The edge doesn't look very clean because it's in a case like this, it's, not solid colors it's, kind of because it's graduated, so there is a solution for it, and it's probably one of the most unusual. Interface designs if you look really closely you see in this triangle city looks it is a little white line in the middle of that triangle that's a way of somehow telling you that that triangle actually has two halfs that you can split apart but it doesn't split by nature so that's the part that's a little weird is that by default it's you click on the triangle it moves as a whole but if you hold out option or ault seem a little bit what that means is now I can split the triangle in half and now I'm creating almost like a little transitional zone so what happens here is everything to the left of this half of the triangle becomes completely see through having the right is opaque and this is one of those kind of things where it's kind of see through kind of not so if you're moving the triangle and you think I like the idea but it's a little too hard edged than splitting the triangle will help so for example here as I started to try and use the underlying layer it looks ok but the edge is a little hard then I can start to separated and get a really interesting kind of ghostie fine art type thing happening the reason that I suggest pursuing this is an idea is that sometimes compared to the alternative, this is so much faster like if I tried to get that same affect some other way frankly a I don't know how I would do it, but b would definitely be much faster because it involved well make a layer mask and fill it with black and then paint some overlay mode into a whole bunch of things just to get to this point, whereas here I just moved a few sliders and every time you do is going to be different because it's completely dependent on the combination of what layer you have on top of what you have underneath, take the same photo and second to show you what I mean by that. But the best part of this one of the many parts it's good about it is it's non destructive. So even though I've done something, it looks pretty dramatic to this layer that little symbol beside layer to tells me something's going on here so if I say this is my psd file and come back three weeks from now, I can look at and go what is going on here if I double click on it, it brings it right back where I left it so it's not permanent the only way to be permanent if you did one of those evil merge flattened type things that we know we don't want to do so as a result by nature it is very nondestructive so that's kind of the the theory of what it does, how what I use that in a in a practical way well, there's a number of options I'm going to take let's use this one and I'm going toe place that into my documents because it's like when that happens just said that photo shop was busy and it really isn't but it just decided to say that just to kind of messed me up here all right? Sorry they were having in place in photo shop because a camera raw file it starts there and I'm going to click ok for now so it's going to bring that in and we will talk more about the whole smart objecting later on normally I'm not a big fan of re sizing anything up, but because this is I know this is a big enough file and the fact that it's really just a texture I'm overlaying anyway I'm not terribly worried about it normally when we overlay a texture, the first place we go is one of these blend modes and try a blend mode it's like ok that's kind of need maybe that one or overlay or something all right, so that's kind of interesting, but what if you want to do it a little more dramatically by saying I wanna take areas of this image so the same idea you double click off to the side and just start experiments and what happens if I take the underlying layer like about kind of a ghost? Anything happen? That's kind of cool and what's really interesting is you, khun really experiment fact the other day, just without even thinking about it, I said, what would happen if I took this triangle and sort of past the white one and discovered I was making some interesting things along the way? Take this layer, start toe, make it, we'll see through at the same time, you can also still experiment, say, and I think I'd like to try multiply now. So now that's getting kind of interesting that always has that old photo kind of look happening, and that was just a photo I took of interesting wall somewhere that two sticks in a folder of textures that I have just for purposes like this. But even in this case, I've done some pretty dramatic things. Nothing is permanent about this, and in here there are things that I noticed when I watched people working here. There are some areas where they see words like advanced blending in there like, you better not touch that then because that's like advanced, and I'm not sure what is going to do well, I always mention this in every class I ever teach I think this preview little check box I like to call that permission to experiment because if I see things like channels rgb and have no idea what that does that I just try it and turn things on and off, and I'll see that's kind of interesting what happens if I do that? Okay? And basically as you go through, you can just because you haven't done anything yet, you haven't clicked, ok, you're just in a preview mode, so if you want to experiment and try things, say, what happens if I do this, then you certainly can. I'm kind of like the way this looks except for one thing and that's it's doing weird things right on top of her face, which wouldn't be ideal. So that's ok, because technically, at the end of the day, this is still a layer, so I could certainly add a layer mass to it and take my paintbrush, not use that weird brush that I did yesterday, but pick just a regular old brush let's get one hundred percent view, so we can see yeah, that's definitely kind of weird, so I probably want to say let's, not put dirt on her face, and I might even lower the capacity to, like forty percent and go over some other areas that are also kind of odd. That's where the fun part of this is that that I didn't go into this with any expectation of I know exactly what's going to happen because I certainly didn't and I'll give you a little bit of foreshadowing of what's to come because this is a camera raw file that I placed in so therefore automatically has this smart object back and forth ability so at this eleventh hour where I'm almost finished I still have the ability to double click on this and go back here and say let's dark and the exposure and maybe even change it to a great scale or something like that see what that does and it may change it dramatically they may have little effect and that's because you ok I don't like that so let's undo that but that's the whole point is that I'm not going down a path where step one do this step to do this is like well if I put a smart object for a camera on top and start playing around with blended sliders, what will happen and that's where you can start to see some possibilities? Here's another simple example I have a type player on the shape layer on top of a cloudy sky and I'd like to make it look like both of these were kind of in amongst the clouds a little more in the past what I would have done is I would have made us rough selection of the clouds and put it on top and tried to lower the opacity and done all these steps to try and give that illusion. Now one of the first things I would try and this is important to note one of the great things about the blend of sliders is the results is almost instantaneous so in about five seconds you'll know if this idea is even worth pursuing or not and if it's not then go okay aboard trying something else but by the time you do all those other steps like copy and duplicate and mask that takes a lot longer so for me the blend of sliders often ate well, let me try this first because I know it's quick another example that in a second but for here I just have to kind of look at and say, well I don't want anything to this layer probably I'm assuming it's the underlying layer I should do because it's those clouds I want to kind of push through so if I start to drag and see it's already look at the tea in the are of the word travel it's a little too much so that I do that option or all split the triangle thing and just like that guy that got a little puffy clouds kind of happening here and let's make it just a little more maybe there we go on one of the interesting parts of this I think is as I mentioned before, technically that blend of sliders considered part of the layer styles normal people think of layer styluses, drop shadow and so on as well talk about another section's if you have a layer style that you like and you want to put it on one arm or other layers you can copy and paste just the layer style it's like in this case I can right click and choose copy layer style go to this other layer right click and choose pace layer style now it was already done now if I don't like it want to tweak it, aiken certainly double click on it and try slut you different settings but that took like hardly any time at all to create something that's still nondestructive in the past I've seen people do things like take there a racer and a race things fifty percent andan rast arise and all those things we don't like to do this took not that much time in fact, it would take even longer if I wasn't narrating if I was just doing it it would take like five seconds but because I was having to explain it, so when you do it yourself it'll take even less time unless you narrate at work which would be, you know, weird, but but the beauty of this is that here's another example in that first scenario, said one method would be to copy and paste the cloud but by doing it this way everything remains at the ball so I take my move tool and move it around you see wherever it goes the effect is still there because ultimate saying whatever's on the underlying layer make it poke through the layer on top so doesn't matter what it is and this is still live type so if I decided this time to change the typeface I could and that's what I always go in thinking, how can I give myself a cz many opportunities to try different things? And not only that, but if I had a whole another document I could even copy and paste the layer style and try and do that or just start from scratch remembering that any time you see this little symbol it means it's going to remember how you left it. So in this case, clicking ok is not a bad thing. I always talk about how clicking okay is evil in this case it's not because it's just saying we'll leave this these blend if sliders the way that they are the that's the good news about the blend this liars the downside to it is it's kind of all or nothing so sometimes it almost works but not quite and it's really maddening so but here's another example. What I often use it for and that's before I pursue a lengthy process like making a layer mascot all making a selection. All that kind of stuff I might just want to see doesn't even look good. Like, in this case of trying to mock up a magazine cover and is like, in part from the magazine, they have put the person in front of the name of the magazine. Well, in order to do that, take a look at my layers panel. You can see she's on a just the background layer so she's not extracted. So if I needed to, I'd have to make a selection, make a masked duplicate, do all these things to give the illusion of her being in front. But before I go to all that trouble, I want to even see if it even makes sense if it even looks half decent. So one of the advantages of the blend of slider is you can tell pretty quickly if you it's going to work or not because you just move a slider some on the wrong later. Sorry about that one thing. Why not? That was happening. Here we go. That's not bad I mean it's not perfect but in there in order to just see do even like this idea of not in a matter of seconds it's already looking pretty good so I'm going to say I'll just do that I always like to do a little bit of separation of the triangle just to try and get a slightly softer edge click ok and again in this case I could choose that um here copy layer style and then on this bar I want to basically or style now it didn't quite work there, so I double click and just go a little further trying get rid of that bit of blue in there and ultimately I might still end up saying ok at a certain point it's going to be easier for me to add a layer mass and cover that up, but the real point of this discussion is sometimes when you compare the alternative just to try something, it would take you twenty minutes and then kind of go yeah, I don't really like it this way the blend of sliders often we'll give you a very quick way to go well let's see what that looks like and I find that on a percentage basis most of the time it works the way you want and on a maddeningly small percentage of like oh that's so close but at least you know now it's worth pursuing the idea especially if you want her to have, you know, a blue thing on her forehead that looks fantastic, but in that case I would just add a layer mask and just paint that little part away just to make finalize it because I could question, could I? So the division between her hair and say like the blue line um could I see that a little closer and that's and that's examine this case? You're going to see it's it's kind of obvious when you zoom in close but still not bad, but it could use a little bit of help in there that's a part where frankly, if this was a real magazine cover, I probably ultimately do an actual selection and a mask to make sure it was perfect, but in this case it was quicker to just say do I like it or not? Maybe you're trying to show a client what do you think of this? This is almost like in the in the old days of of print, but when we do mock ups where you lay something interesting, people kind of idea with placeholders there's kind look like this to me that's a lot of what this is it's kind of mock up to say it would look sort of like this and sometimes your luck out and it's like ok done other times they're like, I still want to tweak it a little bit in this case. Frankly, I would probably do my cheat I would do instead of going back making a mass because I just add another layer and sample this color and just paint my own little extra hairs in just to fool the eye into thinking it was there was no little bits of white there that's great. So I guess the bottom line with the blend this lighters to me, it's always worth trying because eight times out of town you'll be like great and those other two times you be like that. Still not bad. The on ly thing to remember about the blend is like this is really important is it's the entire layers? In other words, if you had a layer of like that cloudy sky, you can't just say, just make those clouds that are white. Any white clouds will be affected so there's, no way you can identify just one part of it. So there have been times where, for example, I had a photograph of a house that was all white and then there was a white picket fan, so I just wanted the white house to be affected, but of course, that affected the fans, too. And that's, just the way the blend of sliders work, and often that you can kind of work around it. But put in the right perspective, I think there's some really interesting possibilities and the fact that it's combined with other things, I I use it for this all the time. I love putting textures on top of photos, and this is now my default starting point is blended sliders with a combination of ah, blend mode of some kind and these air all both layers, our live camera, raw objects like go back and forth and tweak each one that to me is a tremendous possibility. And again, totally non destructive. So it's not like that. Any point you're going well, I'll have to live with that. This is all just, you know, at this point, if I hated it, I could just say, you know what? Never mind delete that layer, and I'm right back to my original photograph. You're going to cover this later, but I was wondering if you could elaborate on things that are destructive versus things that air nondestructive that's, what couldn't you do? And what can't you do or certain? Shouldn't you try right and and I along the way I will and the main thing is and we've already talked I sort of joked about my five forbidden fruit of photo shop but those were the key any time where you're doing something it's going to take multiple layers and turn them into one layer that's bad I mean unless again there's some compelling ways and I've never had recently come up with one so many of those ones that are like flattened, merge or race delete where you're just removing pixels completely are the danger once I think because those are ones where they are by nature destructive and if you try to come back later you can't bring back pixels that air deleted unless you do it almost right away. So that's why I like masking versus deleting or we'll talk later about smart objects versus rast arising type those kind of things unfortunately the reality of photo shop is the way it is right now is that some of the most destructive things are right in your face like we do talk about yesterday all these adjustments those air very destructive because as soon as you move a slider and click ok that's your new photograph as opposed to using adjustment layers where they're much more nondestructive by nature so we'll continue to talk about those men and I guess my question should be re fate phrased are there things that you cannot do an adjustment players that um, the on ly thing that I wish they'd just wears could do is if you're working on a layer mask where the layer mask has got black and white and gray pixels, and you want to just, like, say, darken the mask, you have to use those regular things like levels or curves, you can't use an adjustment, so that means justin, where wouldn't can't be applied to something like a mask, which would be nice if it could so that's. In that case, you have to kind of live with the fact that if I darken this channel using, say, levels that's your new mask, it's still somewhat nondestructive, is the very least, you could always delete the mask and start again. But if I've done two hours of work on that mask, you know that's where it starts to get a little bit. But there's, the good news is there's, not many of those cases anymore. Most of things, I think it often for many people, comes down to habits and creatures of habit kind of stuff where someone told them five years ago, you have to rest, arise your tight, nor to do that so they still do, because they missed the fact that you don't have to anymore no problem I'm suffering from, you know, retrain the brain yeah, well, it's, I read in rolling stone article once about creatures of habit, and the example they gave was that when you're in your own kitchen, you can cook quickly. But if you visit our friend's house, they said, you know, go ahead and cook for me. You're, like, lost because where's, the frying pan is not in that drawer. You know, because we do things out of habit is kind of the same thing here is that you have a path. You follow the path of least resistance, because this thing you're familiar with and that is the hardest part, is to retrain yourself, to say, how else can I do this in a way that, you know, is easier, so and that that that is the hardest part of all of this is just kind of remembering to do that kind of thing.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I enjoyed this class by Dave Cross. I like his method of teaching and found him very easy to follow and I learned lots of good tips on smart objects and working non destructively. I have just made the move from PS Elements to Photoshop CC 2014 so have lots to learn so I look forward to more from Dave in the future. Thanks Dave, I thoroughly enjoyed this class.

Roni Chas


a Creativelive Student

Dave Cross is a wonderful instructor! He has a fantastic teaching style and has great mastery of his subjects!

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