Monthly Archives: March 2015

Shiny Surfaces – Part 6 – Jars and Bottles

Hello – If you’ve come to my blog for work samples, please follow the related links, above. If you’re here for this week’s installment please read on….

Clearly, shiny surfaces are significant to master as there are so many lessons covering them in How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed., by Steve Caplin.  But there’s only one more after this, so hang in!

The next three tutorials from Chapter 9 of take Photoshoping glass up a notch.  In this post, the first two tutorials cover putting things inside glass containers.  The final tutorial puts all of the glass skills together.

Enough introduction let’s commence.

Putting Things in Bottles
Caution: the images that follow might turn the stomachs of more sensitive viewers. Well, they did for  me anyway.  Caplin must have quite the sense of humor as this tutorial involved floating a brain in a jar. It took me longer than I expected, both to complete this task and to get the image panel ready for this blog, because I found I needed to take a break from looking at the pictures.

Many budding Photoshop artists put things in bottles. Where they fall down is creating the refraction caused by the liquid, as seen in the third and fourth images in the following panel:Things in bottles Original BottlePanel

To start, the green bottle is lightened using the Curves and Hue/Saturation Layer Masks, to enable making the brain more apparent through the glass.  Then, a desaturated Hard Light mode Layer of the bottle is put at the top of the stack, this puts the reflections from the glass in front of the brain – as they would be in reality. Next, the “liquid” around the bottled brain is created by drawing a shape made from a rectangle with ellipses at both the top an bottom.  This shape’s Layer mode was then switched to Hard Light and the section of the “liquid” behind the floating brain was masked out.

This is were most people  trying to create this sort of image stop.  But, to make the image look more realistic, another copy of the brain is made and a horizontal-only Spherize filter is applied to it along with brightening the color slightly so it looks like it being seen through the liquid.  Finally, the top  of the Spherized brain was masked out so that the original brain would be visible above the “liquid,” making  the refraction effect complete.

Distortion With Backgrounds
In the previous example, the jar didn’t have a background that needed distorting as well as the object inside the jar. Now we’ll cover that. To do so, Caplin uses a Friday Challenge called Put the fish in the glass, from July 9, 2004.   At the time, the latest version of Photoshop was “CS.” However,  when I took my CS3 course some years later, this skill still wasn’t covered. If you’re a regular reader, you know Caplin’s How to Cheat consistently goes beyond my CS3 course. But, I digress.

Like the brain in the bottle, distortion holds the  key to making a fish look as if it really is swimming around inside the glass.  But, this time, background distortion plays a starring role, as seen in the panel below:

Distortions PanelNote how just putting the fish in the glass without the distortion doesn’t look as realistic. Rather, it looks like it’s pasted to the outside of the glass. To get the fish inside the glass starts with reducing the opacity of the layer with the fish on it. However, doing so causes the background to bleed through the fins and tail in a most unrealistic way.  To compensate,  the part of the background that is showing through the fish is cloned out.  Now, doesn’t that make for an exotic drink?

Glass: Putting it all Together
This tutorial is a perfect example of how Caplin doesn’t give all the steps.  In fact, in this tutorial he leaves out a great many. Here’s what he gave us, and where we needed to go:

Putting it together BothIt would seem, at first, that it was just an exercise in changing a grey shape into a bottle and distorting the view of the window behind it. Caplin does provide instructions for that. However, there’s still the matter of creating the reflection on the table and on the greenhouse glass.  Caplin’s only instructions are to go back to the previous tutorials and figure out how to apply them to this situation. Now the vase just needs some flowers, but I’ll have to consider coming back to that another day.

So, we’re almost finished with Chapter 9. After one more post on the getting you surfaces all shiny, I’ll give you some more Friday Challenges. It’s worth the wait.

Next: Shiny Surfaces – Part 7 – A Grimy Window and a Hirst Case.