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Lesson 5: The Fun Stuff

Advanced Adobe Photoshop Tutorials

Table of Contents

Cast and Drop Shadows

You'll often hear the term drop shadow, but do you know what it means? A drop shadow is a shadow that appears beneath an object, like the shadow a book would cast if it were laying on a table (Figure 5-1). A cast shadow, on the other hand, is made when a shadow is thrown from an upright object (Figure 5-2).

Figure 5-1: A drop shadow makes the image look as if it's lying down.

Figure 5-1: A drop shadow makes the image look as if it's lying down.

Figure 5-2: A cast shadow makes the image appear upright.

Figure 5-2: A cast shadow makes the image appear upright.

There are several ways to create a drop shadow. The easiest is to use Layer styles. To create a drop shadow, start with a new file, then:

  1. Type the word "Shadow."
  2. Choose the Drop Shadow Layer style from the menu at the bottom of the Layers palette and use the settings found in Figure 5-3.

Figure 5-3: These are the settings I used for this drop shadow.

Figure 5-3: These are the settings I used for this drop shadow.

The angle and distance I used makes the drop shadow appear directly behind the object (Figure 5-4).

Figure 5-4: The shadow falls directly behind the object.

Figure 5-4: The shadow falls directly behind the object.

Note to Photoshop 5.5 users: Remember that Layer styles are called Layer effects in version 5.5. To reach them, Control-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) on the layer (in the Layers palette) where you want to add the effect. Choose Effects from the menu that appears.

Drop shadows are probably the easiest effect to create in Photoshop and cast shadows aren't far behind. Now we'll turn the shadow we created in Figure 5-4 into a cast shadow.

  1. Make this Layer style appear on its own layer. To do this, Control-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) on the Layer Style icon in the text layer (Figure 5-5).
  2. Choose Create Layer from the contextual menu. If you get the error message "Some aspects of the Effects cannot be reproduced with layers!" click OK and continue. This message doesn't apply to the shadow effect.

Figure 5-5: Control-click or right-click, then choose Create Layer from the list that appears.

Figure 5-5: Control-click or right-click, then choose Create Layer from the list that appears.

Your Layers palette will now include the Text layer containing the word shadow and a layer called Shadow's Drop shadow. Now you are set to create the Cast shadow.

3. If it's not already active, click on the Drop Shadow layer to make it active.

4. Press Command-T (Mac) or Control-T (Windows) to open the Free Transform bounding box. With Free Transform, you can resize, rotate, skew, distort, and add perspective.

5. For this example, we're going to distort. To select the distort option, Control-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) inside the Free Transform bounding box; then choose distort from the list.

6. Now click and drag the upper middle Free Transform anchor down and to the right (Figure 5-6).

Figure 5-6: Drag the anchor down and to the right.

Figure 5-6: Drag the anchor down and to the right.

7. Continue moving the anchor until the shadow is placed the way you want. To apply the transformation, you can either double-click within the bounding box, or press Return or Enter.

Here's mine (Figure 5-7). How did yours turn out? In the next section, we will expand on this technique to create even cooler type treatments. If you had any trouble, please leave a message on the Message Board and your instructor will answer your questions.

Figure 5-7: A shadow is being cast from the object.

Figure 5-7: A shadow is being cast from the object.

Awesome Type Treatments

I don't know what it is about embossed stationery that I love so much. I guess it's the simple elegance of it. In this section, I'm going to show you how to make type that looks like it's on embossed paper (Figure 5-8).

Figure 5-8: An "embossed paper" treatment.

Figure 5-8: An "embossed paper" treatment.

First, we need to create some "paper" to emboss.

  1. Create a new document.
  2. Create a Pattern Fill layer by clicking on the white/black circle at the bottom of the Layers palette. Then choose Pattern.
  3. In the Pattern Fill dialog box, choose Stone . Leave all settings at their defaults. (To see the names of the patterns, choose Small List from the Pattern drop-down menu (Figure 5-9).

Figure 5-9: The Pattern Fill dialog box.

Figure 5-9: The Pattern Fill dialog box.

4. This pattern is quite dark, so I applied a Levels Adjustment layer to lighten it. Click on the same white/black circle at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Levels.

5. Use the settings in Figure 5-10. Adjusting the highlights and mid-tones (white and gray input level triangles, respectively) adds more contrast, while increasing the shadow output levels (black triangle at bottom) lightens the overall effect.

Figure 5-10: A Levels Adjustment layer lightens the stone pattern.

Figure 5-10: A Levels Adjustment layer lightens the stone pattern.

Note to Photoshop5.5 users: The Pattern Fill layer isn't available in versions prior to 6, so I would suggest using a combination of filters -- such as noise, dry brush, and photocopy -- on a layer filled with light gray. Then apply a Levels Adjustment layer (although the settings in Figure 5-10 might be too much).

Now that we've handcrafted our own paper, its time to emboss. Believe it or not, this is the easy part.

6. With the Type tool, click anywhere within the canvas to add text. Make the color of your text black (or some other obvious color) for ease of placement.

At this point your image should resemble Figure 5-11.

Figure 5-11: Your image should resemble this one.

Figure 5-11: Your image should resemble this one.

7. Once you get your type placed where you want it, change the color to white. Set your colors to their default by pressing D. Then, with the Text layer active, press Command -Delete (Mac) or Control-Delete (Windows) to fill the Text layer with the background color, white.

8. With the Text layer active, click on the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Bevel and Emboss.

9. Use the settings in Figure 5-12.

Figure 5-12: The Bevel and Emboss Layer Style dialog box.

Figure 5-12: The Bevel and Emboss Layer Style dialog box.

10. If you have more than one Text layer to emboss, Control-click (Mac) or right-click (windows) on the Layer Styles icon (left portion of the layer) and choose i. Then Control-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) and choose Paste Layer style for all remaining layers.

11. Finally, use the Multiply Blending mode for all embossed layers so that the texture would show through the text.

  1. Photoshop is an awesome tool for creating this kind of effect because embossing can be quite expensive when printing. Sometimes "faking it," as we have done here, can be just as rewarding to the eyes and easier on the pocketbook.

Turning a Page

I'm sure you've seen drawings or illustrations that represent a Post-It note with an upturned corner. In this section, I'm going to show you how to create it using the Pen tool and the Airbrush (Figure 5-13).

Figure 5-13: A Post-It note with an upturned corner, a common effect.

Figure 5-13: A Post-It note with an upturned corner, a common effect.

To begin, create a new document. In the New Document dialog box, choose transparent under the Contents section at the bottom of the dialog.

  1. Draw a Rectangular marquee (hold the Shift key to make a square).
  2. Fill the marquee with a light yellow and name the layer Note.
  3. With the Pen tool, draw a path similar to Figure 5-14.

Figure 5-14: Draw a path similar to this shape.

Figure 5-14: Draw a path similar to this shape.

4. In the Paths palette. Command-click (Mac) or Control-click (Windows) on the path thumbnail to load a selection in the shape of the path.

5. Go back to the Layers palette and create a new layer. Name it Corner.

6. Fill this selection (on the new layer) with the same yellow as the Note layer. Do not deselect.

7. Click on the Foreground color (yellow) in the toolbar. Choose a darker shade of yellow from the Color picker and click OK.

8. Select the Airbrush tool and a soft-edge brush. Paint along the lower-right edge of the corner to add a shadow. Do not deselect.

9. Click on the Foreground color and pick a light shade of yellow from the Color picker and click OK.

10. Now paint a highlight in the upper-left of the upturned corner and then deselect.

11. Select and delete the lower-right corner of the Note layer (Figure 5-15).

Figure 5-15: Delete this corner of the Note layer.

Figure 5-15: Delete this corner of the Note layer.

12. Apply a Drop Shadow layer effect using these settings:

Opacity: 75%
Angle: 18 degrees
Distance: 3 pixels
Spread: 0 percent
Size: 9 pixels

13. Choose Create Layer from the Layer Styles drop-down menu to put the shadow on its own layer. Then click on that layer to activate it.

14. Use the Distort transformation (Edit > Transform > Distort) to make the shadow appear where you want it. Clicking and dragging on the bottom-left, top-left, and top-right corners (individually) will help place it.

15. Then use Command -click (Mac) or Control-click (PC) on the Note layer thumbnail to load a selection the shape of the note.

16. Invert the selection (Select > Inverse); then delete the shadow that falls outside the border of the note.

17. Activate the Note layer and add a Drop Shadow Layer style with the settings from Figure 5-16.

Figure 5-16: Use these settings for the Drop shadow.

Figure 5-16: Use these settings for the Drop shadow.

18. Link all layers and choose Edit > Transform > Rotate.

19. Finally, add text to your note to complete the effect!

Spice Up a Logo

A lot of logos have a tendency to be black and white for ease of reproduction, cost effectiveness, and all sorts of other reasons. But lately I've noticed quite a few of logos that have been spiced up with highlights, shadows, and other techniques. So let's try to do a logo makeover. Follow along to create a cool logo of your own, here's the one I created (Figure 5-17).

Figure 5-17: A logo I created.

Figure 5-17: A logo I created.

For this logo, I started with a simple black and white icon: the i surrounded by a circle. Then I added type across the top, like so many other logos you've probably seen.

To recreate my logo, let's go step by step:

  1. Create a background filled with a radial gradient. Mine is a light-to-medium orange emitting from the dot in the i.
  2. Add a soft bevel to the background.
  3. Add a soft glow and pillow emboss to the black and white icon.
  4. Add a soft deep bevel to the type.

And there you have it. Maybe you can think of some other logos that you can practice creating or recreating. It will help you learn your way around Photoshop.

Colorize Line Art

Clip art is abundant and relatively inexpensive, which is probably why it's so popular. But often, clip art can look a little plain. In order to produce materials with flair on a budget, you can incorporate this tip into your next project.

Coloring line art is simple. Begin by opening a line art file in Photoshop, then proceed with the next steps.

1. Choose the Magic Wand tool and use these settings:

Tolerance: 254 (to select all color but 100% black).

Contiguous: On (so the wand will select only where you click).

Anti-aliased: Off (this will ensure that the color will not have any partially filled areas within the selection border).

2. Create a new layer above the line art layer and name it "color." Set the Blending Mode to Multiply.

3. Select the areas you want to fill with the Magic Wand. Choose a foreground color and press Command + Delete (Mac) or Control + Delete (PC) to fill.

4. Continue selecting and filling until all areas are filled. Figure 5-18 shows my line art before and after colorizing.

Figure 5-18: Plain and colored line art.

Figure 5-18: Plain and colored line art.

  1. I wanted to go a step further so I chose the Bevel and Emboss Layer style for the color layer. But instead of leaving it with a plain bevel effect, I decided to add a Gloss Contour, which can be found in the lower portion of the Bevel and Emboss dialog box (Figure 5-19).

Figure 5-19: The Gloss Contour adds a new dimension to Bevel and Emboss.

Figure 5-19: The Gloss Contour adds a new dimension to Bevel and Emboss.

With the contour added, I get something that resembles a foil embossing (Figure 5-20). I think these contours are one of the coolest new features of Photoshop 6.

Figure 5-20: The finished line art resembles a foil embossed artwork.

Figure 5-20: The finished line art resembles a foil embossed artwork.

Well we've covered everything from basic drop shadows to adding zing to simple line art. Now you're ready to impress your boss, family, and, most importantly, yourself with all that you've learned. We talked about creating Cast and Drop shadows and the possibilities they offer for different effects. In this lesson, we reviewed some awesome type treatments that you can use to spice up clip art for a logo or just plain type. You also learned how to turn a page and to colorize line art. This is a good foundation for the next lesson: Working with Color.

In the next lesson, we'll focus on what's probably the most headache-related aspect of the graphic design industry: color. We'll go over the color primer on how to read numbers and other color basics. You won't be an expert after this next lesson, but you definitely will have a good foundation to build on. Don't forget to do your quiz and assignment and stop by the Message Board.

Other Resources

Try Real World Photoshop 6: Industrial Strength Production Techniques by David Blatner and Bruce Fraser.

If you're looking for something a little less advanced, try Photoshop 6 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, by Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas.

Also, check out these sites:

www.photoshopuser.com -- Become a member!
www.planetphotoshop.com -- Contains resources and tutorials
www.designsbymark.com -- Tutorials and tips gurus.onlinedesignschool.com -- Tutorials and tips

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