Thursday, February 7, 2008

Manipulating Layer Effects As Pixels

Recently it seems that I barely have time to squeak out a layout before my son wanders in, so I never have time to blog about them...

This one is a rather quick one that I did to commemorate his newest haircut, which actually shows his ears. His longer hair was cute too, but he was starting to look like a hood'--and I'm sure I'll have enough of that during his teen years!

When I finally found a photo I liked, his eyes were looking a little bruised, and dodging (using the dodge tool, that little lollipop-looking thing that makes pixels a shade or so lighter) didn't really take care of the problem satisfactorily, so I performed a Filter-->Distort-->Diffuse Glow on it. Now he looks like an angel. =)

The title work came together rather quickly in terms of placement, but I felt it needed something, so I did end up using a 3-pixel stroke of light blue around it. Then I didn't like how that cut the words apart, so I created layers for all the effects. To do that, use the "hide/show all others" by right-clicking on the eye next to the layer in question. All the others will disappear. Then, right-click on the layer effect symbol on the left-hand side of that layer, and choose "create layer". Actually, if you have all the layers where you're trying to do this highlighted at once, it'll create a separate layer for all of them. In fact, it creates a separate layer for *each* effect, such as one for the drop shadow, one for the outline stroke, one for the emboss, etc.

I only had the stroke effect on the title, so it created three layers, one for each of my words. I then nudged each of the stroke layers down and over a couple of pixels, leaving the upper connection between the words until I liked what I got. I did a little selective erasing where the connection was being cut off between the words by the stroke, too.

This creation of layers for the effects is quite handy; I've used it in a couple of different situations. One is to manipulate drop shadows so they look a touch more realistic--it's pretty easy to lasso the portion you want to work with, go to Edit-->Transform-->Warp and do what you need to to the shadow, and click on an another tool to get the apply dialogue, say yes--and now your shadow is not quite so even, and more as if real light were falling on the object.

You can also manipulate the drop shadow when you're trying to get a vellum effect. To make vellum, select a shape, fill it with white at 30-40%, then give it a drop shadow. Whoops! The whole thing fills with grey--what's up with that? Never fear: create a layer for your effect. Then go to the original vellum layer and select your shape, then move to the shadow layer and *delete* that portion of the drop shadow. Ahhh, much better! Now your vellum is still pristine white, but you can get a drop shadow too...

Oh, the layout! I really got side-tracked on this one. =) By the way, the swirly white things? Eraser.

Heather Taylor, New Haircut

1 comment:

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