Monthly Archives: January 2015

Shiny Surfaces – Part 3 – Bad Weather and a Cold Drink

Welcome back! For the three tutorial’s in today’s post, we’re again creating water with Steve Caplin’s  How to Cheat in Photshop, 6th ed. But, unlike last week, these tutorials deal with water in other forms.

Snow and Icicles
As many winter holiday images are created months in advance, long before wintry scenes ca be photographed, our first tutorial has many work applications. It turns out creating snow isn’t hard, but it is a lot easier when using a graphics pen tablet drawing device  than with a mouse.  The first time I ran through this tutorial I didn’t have a graphics pen tablet and the results weren’t as convincing.  The image on the right was re-created using the graphics tablet and, I must say, it was ever so much easier to do.

SnowBothTo create the winter illusion, the snow began as a very light grey shape drawn on a new layer. Then the Dodge and Burn Tools were  used to give the snow some shadows and highlights.

The icicles also started out on a new layer as grey shapes, which also received a Dodge and Burn treatment. Then the Plastic Wrap filter was applied and the layer mode changed to hard light.

The snow bank creeping up the wall was created using a very low opacity brush set to  Dissolve and then applying white paint on another new layer.  Next Gaussian Blur was used to soften this layer.

Finally, curves adjustment layers were used to make the wall bluer and give the windows that warm glow.

Making it Rain
I love rainy days, which means  I loved completing this tutorial.  Recently, I used this same technique for a Friday Challenge submission, but that image will have to wait for a future blog post.  For now, you’ll have to be satisfied with the image pair below.

Making it RainBothFor this transformation, it helped that the original image was photographed on an overcast day.  Changing an image of a sunny day to a rainy one is much more challenging as there are hard shadows to remove.

As with the previous tutorials covering reflections in water, the background layer couldn’t just be flipped vertically to create the reflective puddle on the sidewalk and in the street. Instead, the buildings had to be sheared to match the perspective. The reflection layer was then masked so that the sidewalk would look damp and the street would have puddles. Next, the Ocean Ripple filter and the ZigZag filter made the reflection layer look more like water.

To produce the rain, a new layer set to Hard Light Mode was created and filled with a mid-grey.   To make the texture of the rain,  Gausian Noise was used and then the Motion Blur filter was added to develop the wind-driven look. 

The mist was created using the clouds filter on a new layer and then masked back so the mist appears only at the top of the image.

Finally, the lights were turned on in a couple of the windows using a Curves Adjustment Layer, resulting in a realistic effect.

A Cool Glass of Water
Since I originally completed this tutorial using a mouse, I planned to redo it using my graphics pen tablet device and then show only that completed image. But, I decided to let you see how much less convincing the results are with a mouse as seen in the middle image below:Glass of waterThree

Similar to previous water techniques, the ice started out as grey shapes on a new layer.  Again the Dodge and Burn Tools were used to create the shadows, with Highlights and the Plastic Wrap Filter giving the ice a shiny surface.  To make the ice look semi-transparent, the ice layer mode was changed to Hard Light.

The bubbles were created on a new layer with a brush that had it’s spacing set very high.  To make the resulting dots look more 3D, the Emboss effect in the Layers Styles was applied.  Then, the bubbles layer mode was changed to hard light.

Caplin apparently didn’t like the brown tint in the glass of the original photo, so he instructed his readers to make it bluer.  The shadow behind the glass was created by duplicating all the glass and contents layers, merging them and shearing them. Finally, the shadow was faded by using a gradient on a layer mask.

Still, I’m sure you’ll agree the middle image’s result is less convincing than the image on the right, where the graphics pen tablet device was employed.

Next: Shiny Surfaces – Part 4

Shiny Surfaces – Part 2

Happy New Year! In celebration, this week’s blog entry showcases three wet and wild exercises from How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed, by Steve Caplin.  Well, that may be a bit of an overstatement. They do all feature water, anyway.

Water: Moats and Reflections
Hampton Court Palace, which was the Royal residence for Henry VIII and all his wives, serves as the first water feature.   At one time the Palace had a mote as can be seen by the water stain in the original photo on the left, below.  Caplin tasks his readers with re-filling the mote.

Water moats BothThe first step was drawing in the shape of the water in a mid-grey.  The edges shouldn’t be perfect as they need to suggest a slight waving of the water. So, Caplin suggested the Lasso Tool instead of the Pen Tool or the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

The next step is duplicating the background layer, flipping it vertically and using the water layer as a clipping mask to begin to create the reflection.  Unfortunately, just leaving it at that won’t work. Sections of the buildings need to be selected and separately sheared so they fit the perspective.  These separate layers then need to be grouped and the whole group have the opacity lowered around 80% to look more like a reflection on water.

Caplin added a swan to his image but didn’t supply his readers with one.  I located one on Google Images, cut it out and added it.  I also had to match the swan and it’s reflection to the background by desaturating it using curves adjustment layers.  Next, all of reflected layers were merged and a wave filter was added to create the rippling effect.  Also, I made an eliptical selection around the swan on the reflected layer and applied the ZigZag filter to create a waving effect around the bird.

Finally, Caplin has his readers tint the water.  Instead of a nice blue, Caplin suggests a muddy green, as mote water wasn’t exactly “clean.” If you’re unfamiliar with castle sanitation of the period, you can Google that on your own.

Making Water From Thin Air
Since creating reflections is tricky, Caplin provides his readers with another tutorial on the subject.  This time  a reflecting pool is created from a sandlot, as seen in the image pair below.Water-from-thin-air Both Much like in the first tutorial,  water is created by painting in mid-grey on a new layer.  Also similar to the first tutorial,  simply duplicating the background and flipping it vertically will not create a convincing reflection.  The boy, the wall and the rest of the background all need to be put on separate layers and sheared separately.

This time, however, instead of applying the Wave filter, Caplin has his readers create a rippled water texture in a separate, much larger, document using the clouds filter and then the glass filter.  Next, the new document is then dragged into the image file and then the grey water shape is then used as a clipping mask.  Additionally, Caplin suggests deploying the Perspective mode of Free Transform to give the waves some depth, tinting it blue and then reducing the opacity to about 30%.

Finally, since the pool is shallow, Caplin suggests reducing the opacity of the original water layer so that the original sandpit just starts to become visible. All very realistic effects, I’d say.

Submerging in Water
The last watery tutorial of post was originally a Friday Challenge.  But, instead of creating water, an object (in this case a late-model Corvette) is submerged in a pool as seen in the image pair below.  Submerging in water BothTo create the partially submerged effect, the area of the car that you wish to place under water must be masked out with a layer mask.  Then, the layer containing the car and it’s mask is duplicated. Next, the mask in the duplicate layer is inverted so that the “dry” part of the car is masked in that layer.

At this point, the whole car can be seen again.  To create the appearance of the car being partially submerged, a wave filter is applied to the “submerged” part of the car in the layer with the mask that blocks out the “dry”part of the car and the opacity is then reduced to around 30%.  To complete the effect, a shadow is added under the car.

Next: Shiny Surfaces – Part 3 – Bad Weather and a Cold Drink