Special Effects for Composite Photography

Lesson 9/9 - Water Effects


Special Effects for Composite Photography


Lesson Info

Water Effects

So this one is really cool. This actually is a technique I'd done years and years ago. A much earlier version of PhotoShop. And gave me a pretty good result. And then I revisited it just a couple months ago. And with, 'cause I wanted to see if there's new, you know, been any new developments in PhotoShop that would make it more interesting. And it certainly has. So, so we're gonna, I'm gonna end up applying it to this wood background. But for the moment, let's minimize that. Let's make a new document. And, let's go ahead and make this 2000 pixels by 1100. Want it be a horizontal format. So, this is another one of those things where I discovered this by accident. Just by blending a couple of filters together. And, they were filters I never would have thought of blending before but as you pay attention to the results you get, as you blend these things you think, it leads to one, and then to the next thought. You're thinking, well, what if I tried this? I wonder, that kind of looks like t...

his. What if I tried this? So that's what happened here. So in, I'm gonna create a new layer. And just give it a base color fill. Just do a simple gray. And I'm gonna go to the filter menu. And we're gonna go to stylize, I'm sorry texture. I go down here to stained glass. And just as you might expect, I'm gonna make the cells a little bit bigger, this gives you, this is where I would look by default, gives you this effect of stained glass. Just these random shapes that all have little border elements around it. But if you wanna experiment with it, and increase the border thickness you can actually make those shapes a little bit further spaced apart. And you can actually increase the cell size. You can make them much much bigger. Here I'm gonna put this at around 25 ish for the cell size. And we got, 18 I think will work fine there. Yeah, that's fine. So that gives me that. Now, I'm gonna go in here and use levels. I wanna force the gray shapes to white. So I'm just gonna grab the white eyedropper tool and just click on one of the gray shapes. And forces those elements to white. Now, gonna go to filter and go to blur, this is where I deviated from my original technique. Because previously I would go, and Ill just show you. On my original technique I would then go to stylize, I'm sorry sketch. I don't know why I keep wanting to go to stylize. But go to sketch and choose plaster. I have no idea how plaster came into the, into the equation when I originally did this. But you'll see right away, actually let me set my default to colors again so you can better see it. But, you can see right away it has the beveling almost looking like a water element. And this is how I redid it originally. But then I, as I got to this point I was thinking, hmm, let me try something else. So go to filter and go to blur. And do a gaussian blur. And let's do it fairly large. About 10 pixels I think will be fine. And it just blurs the edges. Now, I'm gonna use levels again to force the contrast. And this is gonna give us the more rounded shapes. And it's gonna even space them out a little bit more. Now we're looking like more organic water drop shapes. And I got, and so at this point I was thinking, ah, we're onto something here. So now what I wanna do is extract those drop element shapes there. They're still on the background here. Now knowing what we know about extracting from white, or black backgrounds, just simply go to the channels palette. Command click on that RGB channel. It becomes, it's a luminance based selection. But because the image is pure black and white it's selecting all the white shapes. So I'm just gonna create a new layer and fill it with white. So now we have the shapes. Or actually let's put, let's fill it with black so we can see it. So now we have all the shapes. And they're extracted on and they have transparency now. So let's take this element and go ahead and bring it over to the wood background. Scale it up to fit there. Now to make it look like water, I'm gonna go and add a layer style. Now actually I'm gonna go ahead and pull the style, I saved the style, and I will make the style, I'll add the style to the dial. I'm gonna go in here and I'm just gonna go and activate the style there. So there is the style itself. I'm gonna go in here and break it down so you can see. So I'm actually gonna turn off the pattern. 'Cause we're using a different image here. So here's what this style is made up of. I've got a bevel and emboss. Actually let's turn all these off for the moment. So it starts with a bevel and emboss. And again this goes back to what I was talking about is looking at these features as what they do, not what they're, not what they are. So here in the bevel and emboss I've got a simple inner bevel, smooth. Depth is really high at around 300. Size is around 27. Go down here to the shading, you'll notice I've got the highlight and shadow modes really going crazy here. I've got linear dodge with a white color. And of, it should be around 50 there. What that is creating, that highlight, is it's creating that little specular on the water drops here as you can see. Then the color dodge, I changed that to a lighter, or rather a darker gray and put it in color dodge because that's giving me that kind of, edge light right on the bottom over there. You can kind of see, you'll see it be a little bit more defined once we get the other ones added. So it gives me that effect. And what I did was I studied a picture of water drops to, to really achieve this affect. Found one online and really just kind of broke it down. So it looks like the light's coming through, hitting that specular and then display, or dispersing and that's what you're getting that little bit of light shining on the edge there. So that's adding a little bit, a little bit of realism to that. So next you wanna add a little bit of an inner shadow. Using a similar effect, it's just enhancing that glow inside of the shape there. And then I add a drop shadow. And then I added another drop shadow. So now you can create, anytime you see a plus sign next to a layer style that means you can create another instance of that style. So that's giving me that effect there. And we'll get to the pattern in just a minute. So, you can add a color overlay, and the reason I did this was to create a little bit of color variation between the dots, or what, the wood you see through the dots and the wood itself. Now the reason we can see through the water drops, of course goes back to what I was talking about a white ago, with that fill and, the fill opacity and the regular opacity. You'll notice the fill is at zero. We just wanna see the layer style here, which is that water drop effect. So now with that layer style in place, and I'm actually gonna go in here and make that background a little bit darker, which will help bring out the drops a little bit more. But now because this effect is on its own layer if I go and grab and brush, and once again let's just go to a simple round brush. But if I go and paint on this layer, it's gonna fuse with those drops as I paint. So I could go in here and do things like, you know, write my name. It's a little thick. But I would probably make it a little bit thinner. But, you can also do, add other effects to it. Now this is another thing that I added to this is again, kind of a variation of another technique. I wanna, I don't want it just be, it looks like lines of water dots. You know, there's some randomization. But I wanna add larger puddles in random places. So I'm gonna go to the filter menu. I've created a new layer. And I'm gonna go to the filter menu and go to render and choose clouds. So, I'm gonna go, I just made the cloud fill. I'm gonna go to filter. Go to blur. Do a massive gaussian blur. Let's do about 25. And I'm gonna go to image adjustments and choose threshold. That's gonna force the image to black and white. But because of the randomization of the clouds now I get this more organic look of giant, what looks like water pools. So I'm gonna go ahead and click okay there. Just as I did before I'm gonna go into the channels. Command click to make the selection. And when the selection is active, I'm just gonna reselect the layer that has the style and then just fill it. And now we've got those random dots. Or the larger pools of water in addition to the other elements there. Now, if I had more time I would show you how to animate it. But instead of that, I'm gonna show you mu finished one. That I did originally. And I think it still has the animation applied to it. Yes it does. So once you get to this point. But if I hit play here you'll see that I animated a couple of random drops. And we're just, it's gonna come in from the top here. Now it's gonna take a second 'cause it's rendering. But any questions while that's doing that. Let's see, there it, there it is coming in. The annimate's in. You can see if fuses with the existing drops as it's coming in. It snot taking the, in reality it would take the drop, you know the water with it. It's not able to do that. But it's actually able to kind of flow through there and create this really interesting look there. But, so what was the question. When you're creating all of these effects, do you keep detailed notes while you're, when you're experimenting creating them? Or do you just play around and, come across something? I just play around all in here. Actually no, I don't, I don't take notes. I, I guess you could say, one form of note taking for me is saving the files at certain states. If I do a certain effect or I do a certain style I will save, and if there's a certain aspect of it. Like maybe there's a discovery I made where, you know, like this water effect, a lot of that was by accident. But when I would see it I'd be like, all right I'm gonna save it at this. And I would name the file water effect. You know, and then maybe put a little detail in there. That's probably my note taking. And then I'd go back and refer to it. And, and just kind of refine the effect from there. So, but mostly it's all, that's how nerdy I am with it. It's, it's all up in there, so.

Class Description

In this class, we will explore a variety of special effects that can add that polished look to your compositing work. You will see how you can get creative with custom brushes and layer effects. We will also explore some more advanced effects using 3D.

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Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.1.1


Pat Saizan

Great short course. Love to see advanced photoshop classes like this. Cory is great and an excellent instructor.

Beth Krzes

i found this class to be very informative. the image and description were a bit misleading but I did enjoy the subjects covered. well worth the time. I think he went through the steps quickly, you do need a better than average understanding of layers and tools as he isn't always clear as to the "path" of how to do certain steps. I took notes, attempted the project and listened to the lesson again to reiterate the sections that my notes weren't too clear. also was more focused on watching the process vs just writing it down. would recommend this class to anyone who wants to step up their skils in PS.


Wowza. I have watched a lot of Creativelive classes and this one really blew me away. Corey demonstrated some amazing techniques. He moves quickly and does not go into a whole lot of depth. It took me several times watching to catch everything that he does. I feel very inspired to try out some of these new effects in my workflow. Thanks. More classes from Corey please.