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Line Art and Pen Tool

Lesson 12 from: Adobe Photoshop for Photographers: Beyond the Basics

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

12. Line Art and Pen Tool

Lesson Info

Line Art and Pen Tool

So now I want to start getting into how to do selections and masking so for selections and masking, I'll just give you some examples of the type of images that we might work with and let's take a look so just think about it if you wanted to isolate this tower and the dude that's there from the background put a different sky in think about how much time it might take you to get in between all the little bitty corners in the tower, you'll see how to do that very quickly coming up here. What if you wanted to put in different sky? How long would it take you to remove the background from that tree so that the new sky khun go in between every little branch? I don't know what you did doesn't sound like something I'd look forward to, right? But we'll learn how to do it here's another example of a tree just to show you a complex one some of these trees don't have leaves, some do it doesn't matter, it would technique ideas would be the same and it would usually work just about as good unless the...

leaves on the tree are blue, which trying to think of a tree with blue leaves because the sky is blue, you know, ah here's, just animals, we have things that are furry, fuzzy harry feathered they usually have edges that are much more complex and in order to remove the background or just select them it's not the most straightforward thing if you don't already know how tio think about it there's an example of a furry guy weaken try something like that or we have hair you especially we got little frizz ease on it in there and we don't want to give her a haircut uh there's a house that for, you know, frizz ease and there the background is relatively similar in color has been tried out again getting the background on trees more frizzy hair we could get rid of the background on the clouds that you want to put them in a different sky maybe uh that kind of stuff. So anyway, those were some of the types of images that I want to show you how to be able to isolate areas to either copy that and pasted on top of a different picture or two just isolate it so that you can adjust an area separate from its surroundings when we do that let's start though, was something of a relatively simple level. It will progress deeper in as we spend more time. So the first thing I want to show you how to remove the background on or select is if you have a logo uh where some other what's known as leinart leinart is where uh, usually you have something that's, solid black and a white background examples would be a logo or your signature. What say you want to sign your images on screen and you don't want the white background that comes along when you scan your signature or take a photo of your signature? Um, in this case, what I have is an example is this graphic, which my wife karen, created in I only have it in a flattened version where it's not a separate layers and I would like to be able teo get are very clean looking separation of this from its background, but this could just as easily be your signature your logo to make it more difficult. I'm going to make part of this I have a soft edge because you might have a logo that has a little drop shadow under it or something else. So I'm just going to it's not gonna look the best here, but I'm going to blur this a little bit just to show that we can maintain that soft edge. This is not limited to something that has a crisp one. All right, so how we gonna end up doing this? Well, first off, the problem most people encounter is the attempt to select the background and hit the delete key to get rid of it. Any time you try to select the background and do that, you're going to find that a little bit of the background clings onto the edge of the original usually it's because when you look at the edge it's not one hundred percent let me turn off one feature that, uh I absolutely hate it's called the pixel grid if you have resumed up on your picture so much so that you can see the individual pixels that make it up those individual pixels air so obvious that for some reason adobe decides to put lines around them to make them even easier to see if you go to the view menu there's a choice called show and you find a choice called pixel grid and if you turn it off then it doesn't do that but if you look at the edge here you notice where it's not just this color and then white there are some intermediate colors, so whatever selection you make is going to get this selected and when you hit delete sure it'll deleted out here but it's got to be able to delete it perfectly within here and most techniques wouldn't do that with my technique it's gonna be absolutely clean in here and we're not going to cut off any of what's in there either so what do we need to do? Well, instead of deleting the background, we're going to recreate the logo I mean, I'm going to start off, I'm going to end up with a brand new layer in that new layer will be full of the solid color in there will be no hint whatsoever of the old image in it. I just need a selection that looks like this in order to accomplish it, so let's, try it out. Well, the first thing is, I don't need any color in here because we can choose a color later on, so I'm gonna go over here and choose I can find it, do you see de saturate takes me a while to find it de saturate right there, then I need to make sure the logo is truly black in the background is truly white, because sometimes if you sign your name on a sheet of paper and then you take a picture of it or scan it, the paper doesn't necessarily end up being perfectly white. This image probably has it perfectly white, but I'm going to make it so it's. Not so for a moment here, as if I just scanned it and it didn't come in white here's what I would do, I choose image adjustments levels don't tell anybody you saw me use levels, though, because I'm known for using curves in levels, there is a slider on the right side that forces areas toe white in here they'll be a bar chart known as a history graham and if that history graham does not go all the way over to the right edge or if it extends over a bit like a big hump near the end your background is not pure white what I need to do is usually with what's known as leinart which is this kind of a graphic there'll be two humps on your history graham one near the left one near the right all you need to do is move the upper right slider in toads on the opposite side of that hump and that's going to force the background to white then after you've done so what you want to dio is move the opposite slider this one forces areas to black move it to the other side of the other hump that what we just accomplished is the paper turned white the logo turned black if I turn off the preview chop box you might be able to see it hears before here's after look at the white paper do you see it changing? Look at the logo you see it changing so all you're going to do is you open up levels and you pull in the outer two sliders intel there at the opposite side of the humps that air there they originally were on the outer side now they're on the owner okay, now we can get a selection of this exact shape, including the soft edge that is in some areas here by doing the following, I'm gonna go to the channels panel, a lot of people never go there it's usually in with your layers, so if you have your layers panel there, it should just be sitting right there. But if for some reason it's not, you could go to the window menu and that's where you'll also find channels and all that's going to do is bring that panel to the front, but if it was already setting here grouped in with your layers, you could just click on its name to bring it forward. Now to get a selection. I'm gonna move my mouse over the little thumb now for this top channel, and I'm going to hold on the command key, which is controlling windows and click on it. I just did I just command clicked on top of that little thumbnail image that produced a selection in that selection. We would be good if I planned on hitting a delete key to delete the background, but I know that it would leave a little hint of the old background stuck to the edge, so I don't not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to go the select menu in twos in verse inverse gives in the opposite of the selection you have right now all the white areas air selected when I choose inverse all those black areas will be selected instead, so I have an extremely precise selection of this uh graphic and now I'm going to go to my layers panel I'm going to create a brand new layer by clicking on the adjustment layer icon that's the half black and half white circle the bottom of the layers panel and I'm going to choose a choice called solid color and I can choose whatever color I would like my logo to be I could make it blue, green, red, whatever I want and when I click okay I throw away the layer that contains the original so there is no hint of it in my file when I'm done so we have completely replaced the logo that was there with a fresh one in because this is what's called a solid color layer that means it can on ly contain this color it cannot contain any other color that's there and so it can't have any hint of the old background feel background we threw that letter away. Let me put a new thing behind this just so you can be sure that there's no hint of the old background clinging to it I'll create something called a grady in't layer that's what layer full of ingredient and then I'll put that underneath by dragging it down in my layers panel and doesn't matter how close you look at this thing it's going perfectly blend with whatever colors underneath there so those partially transparent pixels on the edge they blend perfectly with green there up here they've been perfectly into red whereas if I had done that using a different method I'm receiving show you what it would have looked like it'll take me a moment to get to that point you're actually gonna find me use the history panel it's gonna be crazy open less take me a second here I'm going to come in here issei paint with what this image looked like right after I choose that okay, this is something you won't need to reproduce you would only need to do this if you're teaching, so ignore what I'm doing right now I'm really cheating to get that back we'll take that go back into levels again and okay here's what it would've looked like had I deleted the background by selecting the background even with an extremely good selection and hitting delete. If I hide this and I looked close, you're probably going to see hints of the old background we see if we dio especially yap hear I thought, can you see hints of white up here? It doesn't look like black fading to read looks like black going to gray ish and then read same with over here can you see that or if I look over here where we have that soft edge she'll probably notice it more right there does that look like the wrong color doesn't look like blue going in whereas if you look at my version usually you're not going to see an intermediate if I make this logo black you'll see it better there you see its black just fading out whatever color is there so the time that I would use that as if you have something like your logo where you have something like your signature and you want to use it to sign your prince visually on on the since we've already done this and we've got the background too go away we could make this available at any time where it with one click you could apply it to any image you ever have that kind of convenient if we have it where we have our logo and surrounding that it looks like a checkerboard then I think we could go up to the edit menu let me see if there's a choice in here called defined brush preset if I choose to find brush preset give us a name click okay now I can close this file because that is stored within photo shop on close it and I could go open any file I want I can change my foreground color to whatever color I would like my logo to bay if I grabbed the paintbrush tool and I go to my brushes, you know how at the very top you can usually, uh, access your brushes? The very last brush in the list will be one that looks just like my logo, and I applied as many images I want you can only be one color, though I can't have it magically have blue in one spot of green and another cause you're always painting with your foreground color. But the main thing is if you ever get a graphic like your llegar a signature and you remove the background so it looks like a checkerboard, then you can go to the edit menu in choose to find brush and whatever you use your paintbrush tool, the very last brush in the list will be the last one you made. You can change the size of that brush the same way say should change the size of any brush. You could come in there and you know you can use brackett keys to change its size. You can use the drag method, change the size, there's all sorts of things you can do with this. It'll give you the wrong preview it'll give you a circle preview, but you're really using your logo, so yes, I want a big, big I want it tiny when I got tiny so anyway, a lot of people like to be able to do that because they like me on the stamp their logo or just some sort of copyright notice or something else and that's one method for doing so you first need to remove the background on said logo or atleast get the background white in the the logo to black then you can define us a brush all right so that's how to do what's known as leinart leinart is usually something that is a solid color single solid color on a white sheet of paper then other things I think we're going to wait until tomorrow to do the tree and the hair so we can concentrate on one other technique and then weaken really spend most of our time when it comes to selections tomorrow on hair because a whole bunch of things we could do with hair once you remove the background on hair if you put a new background behind it you could deal with color issues that are on the edge and really having to refine it. I want to make sure we have a good amount of time there so I want to cover another tool that I find if you want to get really good at making selections you should know but very few people are good at it especially very few photographers it's rare to find a photographer get out graphic designers yeah, photographers now so let's say I wanted to select this particular object and I wanted to isolated from its background so I can use it all on itself well, there are many different tools I could use the fastest would probably be the quick selection tool it looks like a brush with a little dotted circle behind it the quick selection tools really nice in that I can come in here and paint on this image and what happens is when I click with this it's going to look at the color that's underneath my mouse and it's going to spread out to try to include other things that are very similar it's going to stop spreading out when it notices a big jump in brightness or a difference in color or a difference in texture so when I click right now you say that it found that one little area to be similar to what I clicked on and now I could drag a little bit and it's going to make that selection larger and larger on you see how it kind of pops around the edges of things wherever it notices that there is a difference a sudden change in one of those qualities either in brightness in color or in texture but it's going to have trouble right down here at the very bottom because there's a shadow at the very bottom of this in that shadow is very similar to the shadow hitting the floor so let's see how it's going to do you see how suddenly started getting the background? So did pretty darn good around most of this, but it didn't quite get the shape of bottom. I can tell it to take away from the selection by going up here, there are three icons what the three icons dio is the icon of the left would create a brand new selection. The next time I click replacing the one is already there. The default setting is to add to the selections on that means I can let go multiple times and click each time you're just going to be adding to the selection that's the default or I can hit the one with the minus sign, which means when I paint take away from this election that's already there so I could either click on this icon it's got the minus sign on it or I could hold down the option key, which will temporarily choose it on ly for the length of time of the option key held down that's all the windows. When I let go, it'll go backto whatever setting that used to be, I usually just hold down the option key because I use this all the time and now I can paint across the area that I don't want selected and it will take it away from my selection and let's see yeah, darn it I'll choose undo you see if I just do a smaller portion here I'm letting go now more often just so that it won't screw up it's not that it's not going to screw up I'm going to make it so the only part that I need to deviate from this tool to something else is the smallest area the part it really couldn't handle that's what a screwed up we'll choose undue see if I get a little bit of that know screwed up all right, so right there is where were at its limits it's because that shadow looks too similar where tending the floor and where it's hitting the other area how can I deal with it? Well, first thing I could deal with is before I even made the selection I could go over here to my uh layers panel and I could do an adjustment layer to just brighten up that area to make it so it's easier to see the detail it's there I'm actually going to do that, but usually when you create an adjustment layer if you have a selection active it thinks that you only want to select change that particular area so I'm gonna want to change the entire picture I'll go to the selectmen you therefore and choose save selection so I can save this selection where I get it back later then I'll get rid of my selection so we can affect the whole image and let's do an adjustment I'll come in here and you can use anything that could brighten and darken but I like curves so that's where I go click of this little hand symbol and curves and I could click my picture, drag up and say brighten that sucker up now isn't it much easier to see where the base of the ampersand is? So I'm gonna go back and load the selection we had a moment ago back in I'll just go over here and she's load selection from the select menu and as long as I can remember its name, I can choose it from here and get it back you look exactly like it did before now let's, go back to that tool and see if you can do a better job. The only thing is we have more than one layer in our layers panel now in any time that's the case if we needed to be able to see the information in the layer below we got to turn on sample all heirs otherwise it only looks at the layer that's active and that's not where the ampersand is, so now I'll come down here, I'll hold down the key that takes away and let's see if we can do a better job does that make sense? Then I can throw away my adjustment layer because I never needed it in the end I never wanted it and then I can add a layer mask now if you're working on an older version of photo shop you can't add a layer master the background layer the background layer special is that little lock symbol in it and you'd have to double click on the name background and change it in orderto addle air mask well don't be realised that you lot of people have been double clicking on the background to change its name and they changed it so now with photo shop see see you can just click on the layer mask icon in it'll renamed the letter for you it just changes to layer zero okay so isolated the background there if I put something else behind this let's just say I want a white background so go over here and choose solid color from the adjustment layer pop up then maybe choose white put that underneath dragging it down in my layers pal for some people that would be good enough for me it's not look at the edge I can see kind of jag he's here just a little bit up here there's a notch it's actually not that bad down here there's just a little weird spot in an ej well if this is a mask I can click on the mask in paint on it if I paint black hides white shows. You probably don't want to use this brush. That's that's, the brush we last created, which was the, uh, the one the shape of our logo. All right, so what I could do right now is if I paint with white, I can make things show up, and I could just fix that spot. I could paint with black black hides things, and I could get rid of that spot, and I could come around here, just fix it wherever I don't like it. I'm just looking around the edge. I think there was one other spot up here that, uh, black would hide things I need to show. So it's, which over the white okay, so I could do that and that's. Not too bad. So the thing we learned there is the quick selection tool could do an ok job, especially when things have really crisp edges, where it's obvious where the subject ends in the background, begins correct. And if it has problems somewhere usually it's going to be where the dark part of that object blends in with the dark part of the background. Usually it's, where the shadow is at the base in the way we counteracted is we do an adjustment layer. If I knew ahead of time that it's probably going to have an issue I would have started with the adjustment layer and just say in the adjustment layer let's brighten this thing up add some contrast to it to make it easy to see that edge then make my selection and I only needed that to pop off from its background just so that tool could work better in when I'm completely done I can throw away the adjustment layer just trash it and so that's great but sometimes this is still not going to do a great job let's say that was a car if that was something like a car then I might end up with a good ad dry might not it really depends on the object but if what we have is something that has smooth curves in a lot of nice straight lines usually it's going to be a man made object is in nature we don't usually have much other than maybe some stones they might find they have been rounded by water on the beach or something like that most the time with nature you have things that are more furry fuzzy harry and just the complex so if it's something made by man it's something like a car or something like this shape then the tool that could be used would be the pin tool the pen tools the thing that most people especially photographers never master I'm going to use a very simple graphic to show the pen tool, and over here in my tool pound near the bottom, just above the text tool is the pen tool. The pen tool actually has more than one tool that comes along with it. Let me show you where those other tools are hidden. If you click and hold on the pen tool there's more than one choice, all of these choices have to do with the pen tool, and they have various features. The main one is the top for of creating a path in the bottom, which we will access on occasion. Other than those, we also have a little arrow tool down here that's related to it there's two of them. What the pen tool is really good at is creating extremely crisp edges that are as smooth this could possibly be and nice straight lines. To create straight lines, you click and let go, click and let go, click and let go like this to create a smooth shape instead of a straight line, you click and you drag like this, and if all you do is click and drag and click and drag, click and drag, you get one really smooth shape throughout where you can't tell where one curve ends and the next begins there's no like abrupt transition instead, it's a smooth transition the leaky well, if you want to trace around an object like this here's, how I would approach it, I would click wherever you see a transition from one curve to the next. So in this case, obviously this curve down here changes into that one, and it happens right there does not that's where I'd click, then if you need a straight line, just let go and then click where you need the end of the straight line to be if the other hand, you need a curve drag like this, and what you want to do is get these little handles that come out to point in the exact direction that this shape travels in. When we go in this case counterclockwise around it, just think, imagine you're an ant and you're standing on top of this dot, what direction would you take your very first step in? If you were to trace around this object going clockwise, he was going to walk around it, I wouldn't walk up that way, I wouldn't go this way, I would go almost exactly like that with my very first step, then I look for where does this curve change into a different shape comes around here, it's pretty consistent, maybe it changes right about here, click and if you need a smooth curve, pull out those handles this time think about the handle that's not where mouses it's the one pointing the other way and if you are a and walk around the shape and you bumped into this dot right here what direction? When you'd be walking in when you encountered it, would you be walking down like that two walking up like that? Or would you be walking more like about there? You need to get it just the direction that this edge is coming in, right when it hits this the other side that comes out here should be pointing in the direction that you would travel when you leave and I think that's approximately right you keep going in this curve comes around here and right about there it might start changing so you click again pastas handles and continue this process wherever you see I think the curve changes get in the handles where you need them like this. Then at this point we run into an issue and that is when I leave this point I would not continue walking down. I would walk up that way one night so I need this handle a point in the other direction and to do that, we need to access this little arrow tool you could click on this arrow tool come over here and move it but instead I usually use a keyboard truck up I hold on the command key that's controlling windows that gives you this arrow tool temporarily the problem is if I grabbed this watch what happens when I move it you see the other side moved to choose on do I need this side to move independently in order to do that we need to access this tool here that lets one side become independent of the other but I never actually go to that tool I instead hold down the option qi which is all time windows all that tool does is let me get this side independent of the other if I did it a second time it would usually become dependent again but for now I'm just getting that and I'm going to continue with the same process we did where I click where I think the curve changes and I put up these little handles wherever I think there's a transition in that curve I do that if I do that I have all that I need to precisely select this when I click right where I started to finish this doesn't quite look right this isn't going in the right direction and that's because if I came in here little handles uh this one doesn't point up the right direction that would have to you again go to that tool that allows me to move one side independent of the other is the option key it gives me that. I could get that. So now I have almost all what I need to select this. I have the dots in the right positions. I have these little handles coming out. They're all pointing in the exact right direction. But I figure out the direction they need to go in thinking about an ant walking across what direction with the anti walking in when it encounters a point. And when it leaves, that tells me the angles have one final thing to make this match up. And that is that little arrow tool. There is a preference for the aero tool I needed change. I only needed change at once. Uh, if you go to the arrow tool of top of your screen there's a setting up here constrain path dragging that's a feature that adobe added, you know, they changed the way the pen tool worked. The penta would work the same way for darn near twenty years, and they decided to change it, turning that on gets it backto working the old way. You only have to change that once. I'll actually go back to the pento because I usually stay in the pen, told the entire time now I'm gonna hold on the command key and my keyboard, clicking the line itself, and I'll pull on it. And I just moved it out to where it needs to go meaning out near the edge of the shape and if I pull it out there it just kind of follow the shape a little bit it should match up his long as they put those dots in the correct position and I got those little handles in the right direction the handles I thought about is if it was an ant walking around this shape where I put the dots is wherever I thought the curve changed that it suddenly became a more gradual curve that has suddenly changed direction but something changed in the shape of the curve this is a tool that most photographers never master you can partially see why because it's not the funnest thing to learn but once you learnt it you can make the smoothest selections of man made objects that are made out of really smooth curves in straight lines and you can do it in a way that no other tool you really give you so that is a path when you're done with it you have a past panel and also at the top of your screen you have some choices you could make a selection out of it you could turn into a mask or you could fill it in by making a shape for now I just hit uh over here in the past panel you can also name it's called work path but we don't talk a teeny bit more about that tomorrow. But it's. What I could use on something like that. Understand, to get the most precise, exactly. Amazing selection of it. Where you see no little jags on the edge, you see a perfectly smooth edge, uh, it's. A good thing to get used to. If you work on a lot of man made objects. Ah, lot of graphic designers use it for removing the backgrounds of products that you see in catalogues.

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