Build Water Scene


Filters and Smart Objects


Lesson Info

Build Water Scene

This is a perfect time to talk about making something out of nothing, in this particular section. So we have some, for me, new discoveries. They're not actually new. But new to me. And we're gonna look at creating some imagery, quite literally from virtually nothing, versus, you know, adding one little stock shot. We're gonna talk about adding some weather and elements, and again, while y'all are looking at this, I hope you guys can look beyond what you're seeing, and think about how you might utilize this in your own workflow. And, yeah, I think we're just gonna jump right in, and... Jump right in. Awesome. So we're gonna talk about this fabulous third party plugin called Flood 2, and it's by a company called Flaming Pear. They've been around for a good, long time Mm-hmm. as well. And this one you can buy a demo for. Excuse me, you can have a trial free demo, and then if you like it, please buy it, 'cause I really want them to stay around. They're pretty good. They're pretty...

awesome. And what I'm gonna do; I just wanna show you the breakdown before we go into this because it can maybe seem a little complicated, but it's actually quite easy. So, what this image is, it was literally just a stock image of some fishermen that I wanted to put in a water scene, and there's this awesome plugin called Flood 2 where you get to use this... Literally, literally, it is a gray layer that makes that. I mean literally. Gray to water. ♪ Aah ♪ And you can sing like that when that happens. We have the lens flare that we use for the sun because it's all about the lens flare today, I believe. They're free, man. They are free from Photoshop. Keep using them. Use two. And then, the mountains. The mountains are drawn with the Lasso tool. I mean the Lasso tool, and a little smudgy, smudgy, paint, paint. That's all it is. It's nothing. So, I'm gonna walk through this file, and hopefully you'll find it as fun as I found it, because I have to tell you, I was really excited about that. And then afterwards, I'm gonna take you through how you can possible change it up and make it into something a little different. So let's go ahead and open that file. All right. So, to start, I kind would like to discuss the Flood plugin on its own. So we're just gonna look at Flood plugin just on the lovely mountain that's in the photo. And these are two different versions of Flood. You can use the plugin called Flood on a flat image, and create a water scene, a reflection scene. It will take this scene that it is in and reflect it into the water. You can have kind of a calm scene, or perhaps a darker, deeper water scene. And what I'm gonna do is in fact, I'm just gonna delete those real quickly. And, good production habits: you always make a copy, right? Just be safe. And you're gonna go to your Flaming Pear. You'll find that on, and get your Flood 2 plugin, and give it a shot. And it'll open up, and you're gonna go like, okay, what is this? Now you're not gonna panic because when you get... That's the theme of the day, is not to panic. When you get your Flood plugin and you download it, they have this very nice guide, and it'll walk you through. You're gonna get the Flood plugin document from them, not from me, all right? And it'll walk you through some how tos. It'll take you five minutes to read. Go ahead and read it. You'll enjoy it. And what it's gonna show you is that the horizon line, you can move up or down. You can offset. So you keep the horizon... What that's gonna do is change the perspective of the water. I'm gonna make it simple for just a second. Might be a little bit easier to see it on this monitor. You can change the... Oh look at this! Now imagine for a second, you're working on a job and you need to find a perfect stock shot of the water in a lake. Right? Mm-hmm. Take you forever. No, you're gonna find this. Now this function, I find it a little odd. The spinning. Now imagine if you've got a file that, it's turned, I guess. Seriously, I can't find a reason to use the spin. But that's all right. And the simple, the waviness. And this is where it gets a little fun. You can make it crystal reflection. Look at that. Come on, you know; I know there's someone out there in TV land going, ooh! And it's bouncing... It's bouncing the light that's already in the shot. Right. Now you could use this to make a reflection, even if you weren't using the Flood plugin. Let's say you want the water. Let's say you wanted to use this for something else. You wanted it on ice or in another file. You could still use this plugin to generate the reflection for you. The complexity; so you can make the water crackers crazy. Like oh! Further away. I cannot tell you... Titanic, did you get to work on Titanic? Yeah. I got to work on Titanic. They had these bis, these brochures. They did a lot of advertising, a lot of print. And we had to do these water extensions out for these fold outs, and it was back when some of the towers weren't so fabulouso. And we did an 8 gig file, and we went in there where there was a bug that was going around in Photoshop, like the flu. You could open up the file, the 8 gigabyte file, which back then, this was in the dinosaur days where 8 gigabytes was enormous, and you could see the layers, but the document was blank; and I had to rebuild that file three times. It took four days. And now I'm like, Flaming Pear probably existed back then, and I just didn't know about it, and I could have just done this in five minutes. All right, embrace the love. All right, brilliance. We're gonna talk about the brilliance. This, I love this part. This is the refection. Look at that. Isn't that gorgeous? And the blur. You can change the blur. And you can also change the color of the water. Now I have to tell you, I tend to, as you've seen in some of the other demos, I tend to not do too much with the color. In this section I tend to do that on the, my end on the outside with adjustment layers, 'cause that's kinda the world I live in. The ripple. The ripple is a little strange. This little icon here controls the ripple; and you can move it. And this is down here. So, imagine you have a hand coming out of the water, and... What's that kid from Friday the 13th? Who came back and tried to kill everyone? You know, ah, little creature coming from the black lagoon? You could put that in there, if you like. I have yet to use the ripple. Perhaps if you had a fisherman in the water, and you wanted to use that, that would be a good thing to use. Now, this is a simple water version. There's also the complex water version, which is really like, holy Jesus. And you can make crazy water. 'Cause there is such a thing as crazy water. I do believe. Mm-hmm. Anyway, that is the plugin. I'm just gonna go ahead and hit okay. Now on this, this is kinda destructive. But meaning, you're actually applying this to the pixel layer. But it's not really a big deal because you all have good work production flows, and it's on a separate layer. Ah! You could do that if you like, 'cause that's what I do. And then the problem with this is in the settings. You don't have the settings. So, keep in mind what you've done. You can do a Smart Object on this. I find it to be a little buggy, okay? With Flood plugin. So, that being said, I'm gonna go ahead and close this, and deconstruct the other file. And hopefully you will find it as magnificent as I found it. All right. So here's my little scene. My little fishermen scene. Let's close up some windows here. All right, I'm just gonna start from the bottom. Okay. Now, I built a sky, and I work in an environment where, as I've said before, I don't get to make the final decision. Someone else is always changing their mind, or my mind for me. And while this was a piece for me, it's a habit that doesn't die easily. So I have a tendency to put everything on a separate layer, just in case. So, what you're gonna see here is just a basic gradient, basic black gradient, and then I went, oh, I might want that a little darker. Okay, and then, oh I might want it a little darker again, still, and it's just a habit I have. What I did is I just made a basic, dark background. Do you see how I have some soft atmosphere painted in? We did this before. It's just a little white paint; it's nothing. I didn't put that in 'til later, 'til I had the fishermen in. So I'm gonna go ahead and turn that off right now. And then I made some fabulous mountains. I am not kidding when I said I took the Lasso tool and I went like that, and I made a layer of gray. So I'm gonna do it up top here. Should I spell it right? Is that an option today? Perhaps. I filled it with 50% gray. Now what I did when I built the file is I literally did that. I filled it with 50% gray. I changed the mountain range. And then I changed the tone later, after I put the fishermen in. So if you're gonna build it, just mix and base like building blocks, I would say, right? Just build some light guiding points, and then you can change it later. And then, do you see the double D darken? That was for you. Mm-hmm. Inside joke there, sorry. All right, so there's a little darken layer. Again, I did not put that on until after the fishermen were in. So I'm gonna go ahead and turn that off. And then, this mountain layer. This little side mountain. Isn't that a complex mountain? Crazy. Again, the last... You made that? I did. Wow. I went to art school and everything. Look at you go. All right. Now the Flood plugin on this one. So, it's a Smart Object for you to see. It's not an actual Smart Object, meaning the filter is not still editable. And, do you notice I left it named? This was my third attempt. I bought the plugin; actually I didn't even buy it at that point. It was a free download, and this was my third try. And what I did was I literally filled a layer with gray, and I went in and I said, okay, so what about this Flood thing? And I went, oh. Oh. Oh wait a minute. And I started playing around, changing the highlight, changing the glitter. Look at that light. Come on. Someone else has to be excited about this. Look at this. Look, you can change it. Move it over here. Move it out, move it in. Make it taller. Do you see how it's... Do you understand what I'm doing here? The glitter is here. Glitter; isn't that sweet? You could pull it higher. You're just playing. I'm just playing. I'm just having a good time. Going to kindergarten for a living. That's right. So I'm gonna go ahead and close that. And I just played around; that was my third attempt, and this is what I ended up with. And it was just literally gray layer, and I went, oh, well I don't want a gray sky, I wanna be able to manipulate it. Very complex master. Very crazy. Nicely done, Miss Carney. Now, when I started working on it, I decided I wanted the sides to be a little darker. Or, excuse me, I wanted the light to be a little less, so I did a Levels move. I love Levels moves for black and white; and this is basically a black and white move. So you'll see, I just moved the midpoint of the 50% grays down a little bit. Now, let's go ahead and put the fishermen in. So here are the fishermen. It is nothing radical. It is a stock shot of some fishermen. It's a nice shot. I wish I shot it. I didn't. It's masked out. There's a little bit of smudging on the water. It's nothing you can really see, so I'm not gonna bother showing it to you. There's a Levels move you'll notice when the water it turned on, and then there's a hue shift. And why there's a hue shift? I'm gonna put a gray layer underneath here, just so you can see. Is 'cause the netting was a little orange, and I wanted that out. So I put a hue shift. Now, the mask is a little, tiny bit complicated. And I did a channel pull in. I'm certain here at Creative Live you guys have masking classes. You can talk about channel pulling, and doing a decent mask. But that's a channel pull to get the mask. You know what be good on that is your Particle Shop brush. You could get in there and start... You know what? You could. Now Every once in a while I get a good idea. You do have a good idea; now, however, I will disagree only slightly. I mean, you're shocked by this. Is, do you remember that Particle brush, when you, when I brush straight down, and that line went like that? So, it'd be a little hard to control to make a net, however, you could transform it after you paint it. So yes, that's... In that shot, yeah. That's a good idea. And then in the Particle Shop, I did not show you, they do have a fabric brush that is a little more net weavey. Can you say that? Weavey, yeah. It's like a net, and it's a weave; net weavey. All right. (laughs) I made up new words here. (laughs) Do you have to pay extra for that new words? Not around you. Uh-uh. Oh! And then look here. This fill in shot; what you're seeing here, you guys, is, I just thought the density of the net was not quite strong enough, so I just added a little black fill on the nets. Okay, so there's my boating guys. Let's get rid of the gray layer. So let's take a look at what we have. And you can replay this, so if I'm going a little fast, you can replay this and turn it off and on and see. We're gonna go back to the background. Let's zoom out so you can get a good view of this. Let's not look at my menu palette. All right, there's a black background, a little darker, soft atmosphere; oh, the mist is coming up from the water. There should be some music playing behind this, shouldn't this? Bom ba And here come the mountains. In the background; do you see them coming out? Mm-hmm. Let's zoom up a little bit. I want that little darker to get a little bit more depth. That very, very well done... That is a fine mountain Now that is best mountain I've even drawn. Let's put the water in. All right. I just wanted it taken down just a bit. You see? Just a bit. And then I added a reflection. So what I did is I just copied the boaters, flipped it, put a little mask. I did a channel pull for the water. Mmm. Just gonna show that for a second. So, if you have a file... Let me just review channel pulling for one sec. I know it's not a masking class, but I think it might be useful to talk about. Masking is always useful. All right, so, let me set this file up for you. All right, so right now what we are looking at, is we are looking at my layers, minus the boaters. Yeah, I got some mountains. And then it's basically a black and white file, so these channels are effectively, all the same. Because black and white on a RGB channel, they're basically the same. I'm gonna make a copy by dragging one of the channels by it's name to the Add a Copy icon. It's gonna be called the Green copy, 'cause that's the one I grabbed. Lisa is gonna suggest you do Levels. Command, L. You're never gonna forget this. Command L. Lisa says Levels. Now, the idea here is you have to know what you're trying to get for your channel. And a channel is a stored selection. So if I'm trying to get the waves or the water to be my selection, I wanna bring up the density of the grays and the blacks, and I generally leave the white triangle where it's at, and I only bring up the blacks. And that provides me a selection now. It's stored in the Channels. I don't know if you guys know this, but a Channel is a stored selection. And if I Command, click on that channel that I just made, and I move that out of the way, I now have a stored selection that is active; I'm back in the Layers palette, and now I can do whatever I want with it. I can use it to fill a layer. I'm gonna fill it with magenta so you can see it. Or, what I could use it for, like in this case, is I can use it as a mask to reveal the shadow of the boaters. Capeesh? Mm-hmm. You guys following along? Yes. So then the boaters show up. And then again, I did a Levels move just to reduce the density of them a little bit, but that was an after, it was an after thought. Here is my sun. Do you love the lens flare? The lens flare is your friend. Now, y'all notice this little icon here to the right, right here? That means there's something going on. And what that something going on is your Smart Filters. So what I did is, as I said earlier in the segment, is the lens flare is often a little sharp, and I like to add a blur to it. It's a little two point blur. This one happens to be on the boaters. Let's close that one. This one, a gaussian blur, and, wait, what is that? It is a Hue/Saturation. Why is that? Do you remember when we made the lens flare? Lens flare, pardon me, before? It's colored. I didn't want any color in here, so I just took the Hue/Saturation down. Before, color, and a little too sharp. After, no color, no sharpening. I like it. No color, no sharpie. Yeah, yeah. All right, and now here are our boating friends in their stunning glory. And what I... You have a picture. And I think this took me, an hour? And I think it took me an hour 'cause I needed to figure out what I was gonna do in the plugin. That's not bad. An hour. Right? Start to finish. I like your channel pull where your shadows are. When you mask that in, then when you're looking at the waves, it only shows you the shadow that you would see on the water. Yeah. And you wouldn't see the shadow hit behind the wave, and it just adds that bit of realism to it. Right. Now, and thank you for pointing that out. I'm gonna tell you, that was not a stroke of genius on my part. Do you remember earlier, I said get a stock shot and look at it? I had some stock shots to use as reference. So I was looking at a stock shot of some other boaters, and actually in fact, the stock shot of these particular boaters, and I was like, well, what's going on in there? So I could reproduce this. Now, I wanna talk about... Before I move on to how you could change this up, I wanna talk about a finishing technique. And what that would be is overall grain. Overall grain, and I wanna reference the resonance. How do I wanna talk about this? There is, it's my personal theory that there is something that happens when you add grain to a digitally produced image. And it's kinda like film versus video. Some of you are old enough to remember soap operas that were done in video. And do you know that they had that kinda cheap kinda quality to them? Almost too much realism? And film has grain, and I believe in our culture, and in our visual culture, we have this notion that grain kinda gives them kinda authenticity. So, I often, I find if you add some grain, or noise to an image, first of all, it hides your mistakes. Let's just say the truth. It steps on it. It's a term we use in retouching. It's stepping on a piece. And what it does, is it can kinda mask some bad masking lines, or cut lines. It also just adds a tooth to the piece. If you have any soft spots, it'll unify that, as well as if you have different shots, different film grains in it. If you have an overlying grain, you'll see that one last, and you won't see the big, chunky grain, and the little tight grain. You'll see this last grain on top. Yeah, it's a unifier, yeah. And there's not a job that goes out of my house without it, period, paragraph. So, it is a finishing technique. So I'm just gonna show you how I do that. And there's many ways. We're gonna talk about some different ways throughout the course of this class to do some grain. But I'll just do my standard one. So I'm gonna make a brand new layer. I like to use Command, shift, N, because I'm old school. That's how I do it. And I'm gonna call it grain. Now when I say grain, I mean noise. Let's just be clear. But I'm using it as a grain tool. And I like to fill it with 50% gray. I could have done this when I made the layer itself, but I'm gonna do it step by step so y'all can follow along. I'm gonna fill it with the color of 50% gray. Not 50% of black, the color 50% gray, and 100% of it. And I'm gonna say, okay. Now, I like to do this, at this point, I'm gonna put it on Overlay. On the mode, pardon me, on the mode, Blending Mode layer mode. On the mode Overlay, 50% gray disappears, okay? So on the Blending Mode called Overlay, the color 50% disappears. So now I have a gray layer that is basically invisible. And if I add pixels or texture to it, it will now show up. So I'm gonna use the standard, Add Noise. Okay, we're entering a personal decision making process here. Oh, really? Yes, this is very personal, adding noise. So, for my grain, I'm gonna keep this small. At this point, I'm gonna add a grain of three. I tend to do gaussian versus uniform. I don't care what you do. You're gonna have your own preference. I'm gonna pick gaussian. Now I tend to not do monochromatic. This is a black and white image; you're gonna want it monochromatic. But as a general rule on a color image, a four color image, I do not do monochromatic. I think it makes skin tones look green. Black on flesh, so black dots on flesh will look green. So, on a four color image, this is very personal, I do regular four color grain, and then I do a Command, U, Command, U to get the Hue/Saturation up, and I just take the saturation down about 50%. Now you'll go out there and see movie posters, and you will see a black and white grain on four color image... And is their skin green? Yes it is. Oh, man. Can't have that. But I have to admit, I'm a little bit in the minority on this. So now I've made grain, and you can say, okay, well that's awesome, but it's a little too much. Well all right, cool. Change it to Soft Light mode. And you can also scale it, it you like; Command, T, and make it bigger. But I just, I don't know, I just wanna say that's a nice finishing touch Mm-hmm. to it. So, that being said, I'm gonna move on to a variation on this image. There's one other thing I do. Once he put the noise down, I blur it ever so slightly. Yeah. And you don't get that chunky, edgy noise to it. Right. It just makes it look more film grainy. Yeah, so let's talk... Film grainy, that's a good word too. If you're making up words, I'm making up words. Absolutely. All right. I don't have grain on this image. So let's see the grain, real quick. So, again, a brand new layer, grain, fill it with a color of 50% gray, add your noise that's a regular monochromatic, put in on an Overlay, or Soft Light. And you can see, it's a little chunky. So what Simon is talking about is adding a little bit of blur. And let's talk about this for a second. He means a little bit of blur, like .3 or .5, right? Mm, .3 is where I start, yeah. Yep, yeah, that's pretty average. And so what you'll see if you guys look up there, hopefully on the monitor this will show up. It's ever so subtle. Now, back in the old days when people actually shot film, you would scale your grain slightly higher. You would, what do you call that axis thing, when you... Altergraph? Yeah, altergraph it. So you either make it slightly longer, or wider if they were using sheet film or roll film on the movie poster because the film had a little pull to it. Really? That's antique. I'm talking about antique. And there were horses and buggies, and that's how people got around town. (laughs) Dear God. All right, film. It was a thing back then. All right, now, so this is basically the same image, and I, you know, our clients, we have cuckooberry clients. We love them, but they are cuckoo. But you can have a movie where they're like, oh yeah, we're selling it with fishermen, and it's this nice little scene, and then they'll come back and they're like, no actually, it's this dangerous thing and it's coming towards Las Angeles and there's a flood. And it's the same movie. And also the direction is entirely different. And the only difference with this is I stuck in a city. I stuck in a shot of Las Angeles taken from my iPhone. You shot that? I did, on my iPhone. Can you imagine? Look at you go. Masked in. It's nothing. But easy, and it's fun. And nothing. Nothing to say about that, other than I love this plugin. It's glorious. When you do assets for jobs, what is now paramount is social media. And you have banner sizes, and you have all these different things you have to do. So, I am forever now realizing that I'm gonna have to make a banner on any job that I do, a long horizontal. So I find this water technique was really cool for adding type, and you can just make long horizontals easily.

Class Description

Learn how filters and smart objects can enhance your images when you incorporate them into your retouching workflow. Make adjustments to your file without overwriting your original image. Professional high-end retoucher Lisa Carney will show you the many tools within filters and how to use them to improve and speed up your post-processing workflow. You’ll learn about:

  • Transforming edit functions
  • Camera Raw Techniques
  • Understanding Liquify
  • Blur and distort techniques
  • Adding textures and stylized looks
  • Incorporating third party plugins into Photoshop® like Alien Skin Software and Nik

Gain more control over your portraits or product retouching by understanding and incorporating filters and smart objects.


Pat Saizan

This is one of the best courses I have taken on Creative Live. Just amazing. This is geared towards intermediate to advanced Photoshop users. So happy to see an advanced class!! Very happy to see Alien Skin being used as a part of this course. Highly recommend this course.

a Creativelive Student

I can't say enough about this class. I am looking forward to watching this again and applying all I have learned at my leisure. Lisa Carney is am amazing instructor and I loved Simon as well, they did an awesome job! Just the handouts alone are well worth the price of the class. Thanks for another class filled with excellent content and lots of laughter. I own all of her classes and will certainly purchase any other's she instructs. Way to go Lisa! Well done and Exceptional!

Jeph DeLorme

Great class presented in a way that keeps your attention. This class is packed full of fun ideas with a ton of great take-aways for your 'bag of tricks! I would recommend this class 100%!