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Photoshop at Work: Creating Layer Effects

If you have read the whole chapter, you probably saw it coming: The exercise for this chapter is to re-create the wacky patriot. Page 3 of the PDF workbook (download the workbook at the Web site http://www.ps6.com/) has the original cropped version of the fellow that was used for the image. This exercise will require creating new layers, a Layer Mask, a Clipping Group, a Layer Clipping Path, and applying at least one layer effect. With all that done, you will have a pretty good idea of how layers work and you'll know how to handle them. This series of events could be handled differently to create the same effects, but this series exercises as many options as possible.

  1. Open the image Page 3 in the PDF workbook as an RGB image.

  2. Be sure you can see the Channels, Layers, and Path palettes. This image will have a single layer, two alpha channels, and a Path.

  3. Duplicate the original layer (Layer, Duplicate Layer).

  4. Desaturate the duplicate layer (Shift–Cmd–U) [Shift+Ctrl+U].

  5. Create a new layer (Layer, New Layer).

  6. Move the layer created in Step 5 below the Duplicate created in Steps 3 and 4. Use (Option–Cmd–[) [Ctrl+Alt+[] to move the layer down one level.

  7. Load Alpha 1 as a Selection (Shift–Cmd–Click Alpha 1) [Shift+Ctrl+Click Alpha 1].

  8. Fill the selection with the foreground color (Edit, Fill). The Foreground color really doesn't matter, but it should be 100% Opaque.

  9. Click the Link box next to the Desaturated layer created in Steps 3 and 4.

  10. Choose Group Linked from the Layer menu (Layer, Group Linked). The result should be that the duplicate created in Step 3 is clipped by the layer filled with the foreground in Step 5. The face will show with alternating stripes of white and red.

  11. Create a new layer (Layer, New Layer).

  12. Move the layer created in Step 12 to the top of the layer stack. Use (Shift-Option–Cmd–]) [Shift+Ctrl+Alt+]] to move the layer.

  13. Fill the new layer with blue. To do this, double-click the foreground color, select a blue; then choose the Paint Bucket tool (K) and click it over the image. The new layer should be filled with blue and obscure the rest of the image.

  14. Load Alpha 2 as a Selection (Shift–Cmd–Click Alpha 2) [Shift+Ctrl+Click Alpha 2].

  15. Change the selection to a Mask by choosing Layer, Add Layer Mask, Reveal Selection. This should mask out the blue over the eye and reveal the image below.

  16. Click the Path in the Paths palette to activate it.

  17. Add the Layer Clipping Path by choosing Layer, Add Layer Clipping Path. This should clip the outside of the blue into a star shape, revealing the rest of the face outside the star area.

  18. Apply a Bevel to the star by choosing Blending Options (which opens the Layer Styles), and click the Bevel and Emboss effect on the menu at the left of the dialog box. Increase the depth of the effect as desired.

At this point you will have something very close to the result shown earlier, but in full color red-white-and-blue. Try variations by altering the effects for Step 18, and changing the shape of the Mask, fill layer content, and clipping path.

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