Shiny Surfaces – Part 1

We end 2014 by moving on to Chapter 9 – Shiny Surfaces – of How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed., by Steve Caplin. In this chapter I discovered many fun tutorials compared to the workaday Chapter 8 – Heads and Bodies.  Naturally, even fun tutorials have practical uses.

Introducing… Plastic Wrap
If you joined this blog at the beginning, you’ll recall that my previous Photoshop course was a few years ago and covered CS3. The  book for that course had a paragraph on the Plastic Wrap filter, which discussed the technical aspects of the setting controls. However, like so many other Photoshop features, that course didn’t go beyond the obvious to explain the many uses for the filter.  By contrast, Caplin’s book uses this filter over and over. So much so that it seems to be one of his favorite tools.

In the first tutorial Caplin shows how Plastic Wrap can be used to create spilled liquid, but without the mess:

Introducing Plastic Wrap BothFollowing Caplin’s instructions, I first drew the irregular shape using a 50% gray and a hard-edged brush. Then, I used the Dodge and Burn tools to create highlights and shadows. Next, I applied the Plastic Wrap filter and changed the shape’s layer mode from Normal to Hard Light so that the gray would disappear.  Afterwards, I added the tint by using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer so the liquid would look like syrup.  Finally, to make the image that much more convincing, I duplicated the background layer, applied a wave filter and masked out all but the part of the jar’s rim that would be distorted by being viewed through the liquid.  A convincing spill and nothing to clean up!

Getting Hot and Sticky
You may recognize the next technique as the one I used to create the “hot dog” banner image for this blog.  If you haven’t seen the hot dog banner yet, click the “refresh” button of your browser until you do.  In any case, below is the image Caplin provided and my completed version:

Hot and sticky Both

To begin, I removed most of the mustard on the original dog.  After sampling the color from the mustard remaining in the lower right corner, I painted the lettering with a hard-edged brush.  I actually had to re-do the lettering because it turns out the color I sampled initially was too dark. Also, at the time, I was using a mouse as a drawing device and it took many tries to get satisfactory lettering. Now I have a graphics tablet, which makes this sort of project much easier. (Actually, it makes doing practically everything in Photoshop easier.  If you don’t have a graphics tablet, I strongly recommend you consider getting one. Or, ask for one as a birthday gift – which worked for me.) But, I digress.

After the lettering, I added some mustard drips with a smaller brush.  To make the letters look more three dimensional, I first used Emboss from the Layers Style dialog. Next, I merged the layer and then added a little Gaussian Noise and Gaussian Blur to give the lettering a little texture. Finally, to add a shiny look to the letters, I created a duplicate layer, desaturated it and set it to Hard Light and then applied (you guessed it) Plastic Wrap.

I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
Originally, this tutorial was a Friday Challenge because there is a trick to getting bubbles to look realistic. In this How to Cheat in Photoshop edition, it’s in the book.  Below is the original image and the version I created following Caplin’s instructions:

Blowing bubbles BothAs in the “spilled liquid” section of this post,  the bubbles started out as gray shapes. However, this time I used a slightly lighter gray.  Similarly, I also used the Dodge and Burn tools to add shading and highlights.  Then I simply painted the colors onto the bubbles and also added four very light gray squares to suggest the reflection from a window.  Next, I changed the layer mode of the bubbles from normal to Hard Light.  Finally, I made a copy of the bubble layer, applied the Spherized filter and created a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to add a little more color.  Not a bad effect.

“Well that’s it for 2014. I’ll see you all next year!”

Next: Shiny Surfaces – Part 2

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