Adobe Photoshop Tutorial. Copyright Michael B. Karbo.

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    Exercise: A Flower Power Pongo

    Earlier, in one of the booklet’s exercises, you made the image file pongo.psd. That is a picture of a small dog, and you need to use that now. Pongo has to be placed on a colored background, which is made in two layers using a layer mask. The two layers will be painted with artistic brushes, and the whole thing is blended to the almost psychedelic.

    1.   Open the image file pongo.psd. Insert two new layers.

    2.   Rename the three layers to pongo, blue and violet, and arrange them, as shown in the following figure. The pongo layer is on top and not visible (the eye has been clicked away). You start by working on the bottom layer, violet:

    3.   Save the image file again.

    4.   Now you are going to paint with a violet color on the bottom layer. First select a violet foreground color.

    5.   Then select the brush took (b). Now you need to use a very special brush. Start by clicking on the small arrow to the right of the brush icon in the settings line:


    6.   That opens a new dialog box. Click there on the small circle button to the far right:

    7.   That opens a menu with lots of options. Choose ”Small List” like here:

    8.   Then it is easier to navigate between all the many available brushes.

    Use your own custom brushes

    There are many brushes in Photoshop. But you can actually customize each of them almost without limits.

    1.   Choose the brush next to the bottom in the list (Airbrush 75 Tilt Size and Angle):

    2.   This brush has to be fitted, so it will behave a little different. There are so many options, and you can experiment for yourself. Start by selecting menu items Window --> Brushes. That opens the dialog box where you can adjust (and almost program) the individual brush.

    3.   There are a great number of effects that can be turned on and off, and effect parameters that can be changed. Make a selection by the Color Dynamics effect. Select also the beam by Color Dynamics, so it turns blue as shown below.

    4.   In the right side of the dialog box you see the parameters for Color Dynamics. Set the Hue Jitter effect to 20%.

    5.   This means that the color tone changes while you work with this brush.

    6.   You are working on the violet layer, and have a violet foreground color. Paint with the brush now. Cover the picture area with vertical strokes. The color tone changes as you paint:

    7.   You need to cover the whole layer, but it does not necessarily have to be perfect.

    8.   Select the layer blue (and make it visible). Choose a light blue color. Remove the brush effect Color Dynamics. Cover the layer blue with horizontal strokes.

    9.   Now the blue layer has to be equipped with a layer mask. Youo do that in this way: Click on this small button (Add layer mask, number two from the left) in the bottom of the layer palette:


    10. Then an empty layer mask appears in the layer beam:


    11. This layer mask shall be used to blend the two layers ”blue” and ”violet”. The mask now has to be selected. Select the default colors (d), then reverse them (x), so black is the foreground color. Remember that the colors are reeversed when you work in a layer mask.

    12. Select the Gradient Editor tool in this variation (using the settings line):

    13. Drag a line from the center of the picture toward the side. That makes a ”hole” in the middle of the blue layer. By us the layer mask gets to look like this:

    14. Now we have to work some more on the mask. Choose menu items Filter --> Pixelate --> Crystallize …, and try Cell size 100. Click on OK; then you get a crystal effect in the mask, which is seen in the blue color.

    15. Then select Filter --> Noise --> Add Noise… and choose 15% Gaussian like here:

    16. Then click OK, and select the Gradient tool in the Transparent Stripes version:

    17. It is important that the layer mask is selected – click once on its thumbnail. Drag a short little line in the picture. That results in new holes in the mask. Try to make a few more here and there in different sizes. Try also the Diamond Gradient variant:

    18. That gives some funny patterns in the mask:

    19. Now make the pongo layer visible. The dog stands on the somewhat crazy background.

    20. Select the violet layer. Insert a new layer (try to use the shortcut Control+Shift-+n), and name it yellow. Choose a brush and a pure yellow color. Paint in the new layer. The effect is seen through the mask.

    21. Now play around with the picture. There are really countless possibilities. Each time we do the execise we get a new result. You can see a few examples on the home page for this booklet.

    22. Save the best picture.

    Figure 50. The dog Pongo i flower-power surroundings.

    Preset Manager

    The whole brush system is new in Photoshop version 7.0. The idea is that you can choose brushes from different brush collections, and you can create new brushes by changing a brush’s parameters.

    Preset Manager is a central dialog box, where you can manipulate the different collections of not only brushes. But also swatches, gradients, styles, patterns, contours, custom shapes and preset tools. All these tools (many of which are not mentioned in this booklet) have in common that they are found in libraries, and Preset Manager is thus a general user interface to handle them. Select menu items Edit --> Preset Manager to see them.

    Figure 51. Preset Manager controls the collections within eight different types in Photoshop.

    The idea in Preset Manager is that you can arrange and select those brushes or color transitions, which are goig to be shown by default in the settings line. There are many other libraries with both brushes, color transitions etc. That are not shown (unless you ask for them). Try to click on the small arrow here:

    Then the menu ”Preset Type pop-up” opens, which now deals with the brushes. There you can choose the brush collections Assorted Brushes, Calligraphic Brushes etc.:

    If you want the original collecction read in, you need to select the menu item Reset Brushes.


    If you are a large-scale consumer of items like brushes and color transitions, Preset Manager gives a smart access to the various collections. Each individual collection has a small file, which is stored in Photoshop’s program folder \Presets on your hard disk.

    Figure 52. Brush collections etc. are saved in small files in the Presets folder.

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