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Welcome To WebDesignTutorials.net Photoshop Tutorials Area - Faking Images: Lights and Shadows
Faking Images: Lights and Shadows
I One of the first things that people feel compelled to try with Photoshop is
taking one person's head and putting it on someone else's body. All well and
good, and I'm down with that sort of play. But there's a line between obviously
faked stuff (see the National Enquirer) and seamless work.
When you take one image and add it to another to "fake" a scene, most of the
time you're using existing images (say, a photo of your high-school prom date
and a background of swarming locusts), and these images are often unrelated.
Not that a high school prom date and swarm of locusts have nothing in common;
I mean that the photo of your prom date was most likely taken using a soft
spotlight (so that there are very few shadows) and every unsightly zit was
airbrushed away. The locusts pic, on the other hand, was probably scanned from
a newspaper or encyclopedia, and thus grainy with dark light and poor brightness
and contrast. You could futz around on the combination of the two images forever,
but something will always be off. The lighting slightly awry, eyes looking
in the wrong direction, shadows falling in weird ways. Everyone will know it's
a flat-out fake.
You could create your very own images, thus ensuring that the lighting and
angles are correct. Or just work with a single image and tweak it (so that
things like differences in lighting aren't an issue). This route is pretty
simple: It's all about the Path tool.
A Path Less Traveled
Jim dismissed it as superfluous, and I have to admit that the first few times
I used it, I wasn't a fan. But slowly I realized the power of the Path tool.
The Lasso tool is just great for little jobs, but for total detail, the Path
tool's the way to go. Click on the Path tool's icon (the little pen nib), and
you'll see that it's not one tool, but five. So ... five times the fun.
Let's pretend you're trying to catch the eye of the head cheese in Marketing.
With zero budget and no resources, all you have is Photoshop. And an evil imagination.
An impressive side-project ad campaign would do just the trick. So you think
long and hard, and finally you hit upon the perfect solution: Your company
will become a NASCAR sponsor! But you know the chances of getting your company's
logo on a car, even over a back left tire, are slimmer than Karen Carpenter
[sick]. But, you're only a Path tool away from a car customized and detailed
to fit your fiendish needs - and all from the comfort of your very own desk.
The hardest part about this process is finding just the right NASCAR photo.
Going to the NASCAR site is a good place to start. Or maybe you could scan
in a trading card. The idea is to get one that features the car at a good angle,
with sponsor logos prominently displayed (you'll see why as we start enhancing
it). Make sure to get a clean picture (without a lot of driver stats, captions,
etc. to remove - you could always erase these using the clone tool, but that
will just up the chances of your final image looking fakey).
Now, on to the actual path process. Open your image in Photoshop and make sure
it's in RGB mode, and that its size is final (get all your scaling and cropping
out of the way). Click on the Path tool, which should give you a pen nib cursor.
Pick the car you want to brand with your logo and click on the outer edge of
the bumper. This sets the first point. Don't worry if it's not perfectly on
the bumper, we'll go back and clean it up later. For now, simply continue to
click on points around the car, paying particular attention to "corner" areas
like the wheel wells, spoiler, roof, and front bumper. Leave out the parts
that you don't plan on modifying, like the tires. Keep going until you click
on the point you started with (the pen nib will get a little circle next to
it when you roll over that first point).
Go over to your layers window, click on Paths, then select Work path. Click
on the arrow in the top right-hand side of that window, and then click Save
This brings up a dialog box - name your path (choose something like "outlinecar" so
you can distinguish it from any other paths you may create later) and save
it. Now let's tidy up our path.
Click and hold on the pen nib (in the tool bar), and select the one with the "+" next
This allows you to edit and add to the points of your path. To get the anal
precision you need, Zoom In on your image (to the point where the image gets
lost). Make any adjustments you need (the pen nib turns into an arrow when
you roll it over an existing point) until each point is exactly where you want
it to be. To accommodate, say, a particularly curvaceous bumper, you may need
to add an additional point between two existing points. Off of that new middle
point, you'll notice bars at either side - play around with these bars, pulling
and moving them until your line is suitably warped to fit the contours of the
Once you're done tweaking the path to perfection, there's no need to save the
path again (but you should save the image).
Turning Paths into Layers
With the Path still selected in your Layers window, drag "outlinecar" over
the clear circle at the bottom of the window. This selects it (and gets those
ants marching around the path). Now click on Layers to create a new layer (make
sure this layer is positioned above the others). Next fill the area with a
color, any color, using the paint bucket or Alt + Backspace (hit Control +
H to hide the ants if they're too distracting). Now your car is a different
But it looks kind of dumb, huh? Windshield missing, head lamps gone. Hey ...
no problem. Hide (or delete) the layer you just made. And now make a new path
for each area you need control over by repeating the above process and saving
each path as a separate item (and saving your image often). I'd do windshield,
headlamps, and bumpers since those are all different colors, creating a path
and then a layer for each. Once you have all your layers, it's time to "repaint" your
ride. Start with the general outline, filling it with the color of your choice.
Select the windshield and headlamp layers and delete the color from that first "general
outline" layer. And you now have a car with a solid color fill, with windshield
and headlamps visible and intact. But the solid color fill is still too "flat" to
be convincing, isn't it?
To create something that actually looks realistic, you have several options.
Either lower the opacity in that layer, or you can fiddle with the various
attributes to the layer (normal, dissolve, etc.) to see if any of them give
you what you're aiming for: essentially, your color with the actual shadowing
of the original. A little tweaking should get you there in no time.
It's time for your logo. Make a layer (again, above the other layers) and bring
in your logo. Using Layer->Transform and Scale, Perspective, and Distort
you should be able to bend it to the correct angle of the hood, roof, and front
bumper. The blurring that occurs should work to your benefit. The finishing
touch is simply a matter of using the Burn and Dodge tool (second brush in
the second row of the brushes window at 28 percent).
Use it to darken or lighten the edges, drop the opacity a little, and maybe
hit it with a slight added blur so that it doesn't stand out (I'll go into
more depth about this later in the tutorial). And you're just about done.
The Last Lap - Adding Those Finishing Touches
Give it a once-, twice-, and thrice-over and see if it really looks real. The
places where it won't are probably where your artistry abuts the original -
the windshield and headlamps, and where your fill color meets the rest of the
image. These can be addressed with the Blur tool and/or the Eraser tool (using
the first brush in the second row of the brushes window for both). If you're
erasing, drop the opacity down to about 60 percent and simply go around these
edges to loosen the crispness that wasn't in the original.
Voila! Introducing your very own NASCAR. Turn it into a JPEG, put it up on
your intranet, and "accidentally" bump into the head of marketing on your way
to lunch - tell him how you were up at Sears Point over the weekend to see
[name of driver here] driving your logo-branded NASCAR. And suddenly you'll
be promoted, raised, and bonused like never before. OK, OK, we all know that
isn't the way it works, but you get my point.
So your homework for tonight is to fake something - a bus with a different
ad on it, your dog with a tattoo, your graduating class with Day-Glo orange
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