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3.4 Giant Turtles

The hero of our image is the massive mountain of a tortoise that houses the city on his back. So in this lesson we sample areas from multiple images to build up our city-moving amphibian.

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3.4 Giant Turtles

Hello everybody, welcome back to advanced Photoshop techniques, we find ourselves now, on lesson 3.4, where we add some giant tortoises to our scene. Here's the way our scene looked when we last left it. And in the course files for this lesson, you will find three stock images of turtles or tortoises, and all three of these are gonna be used in this lesson. The plan is to use the shell from this one, combined with the head and neck of this one, and then this third one will be one that will be one that we'll just try to fit in there somewhere as a secondary object. So let's go back in now, and reveal our sketch layer again. We can just barely make out that sketch of the turtle, but that's fine, because we don't really need to see more of it right now. We just want to generally know how we're gonna fit that in. And in thinking about it, I'm gonna want the turtle layers to be behind these foreground clouds, because the foreground elements should look like that they're closer. So they will kind of float on top of the midground elements. With that, let's get things started. We'll begin with a very, very rough and quick selection of this turtle here, at least the shell of this tortoise. Again, just a really fast rectangular selection. Ctrl+C for copy. Back over, Ctrl+V to paste. And it's facing the wrong direction, cuz look at the way the lighting works. I purposely chose this stock image because I think the lighting is going to work well for us, but it is facing the wrong way. So, edit, transform, flip horizontal. It's right at about there. Now, we're just roughing things in at this point, but that doesn't mean it needs to be a square. Let's grab our Quick Selection tool and just make a very rough selection of the shell area. And we'll add that as a Layer Mask so it isolates that shell. Now I do want to scale this down some, but again, I'm hesitant to do it before converting it to a Smart Object. And quite frankly, I think I want to paint in a little bit more on this mask too. I'd like to fade this out a little bit towards the bottom. And even reveal a little more of that leg, in case some of that would start to show through, it's entirely possible we might see some of that. So with that, let's right-click and say, Convert to Smart Object, and then transform this down in the place about where we think it might go. That looks pretty good, right at about there. It's got a good transition into the clouds, which we'll make even better later on. But one of the things that I was concerned about was that the top of the turtle looks very lumpy. It doesn't look like something that you could easily build a city on, even if it were gigantic. It looks like it'd be a little bit too hilly, for instance. So I wanted to flatten this out, just a little bit, so we'd have sort of a pad for that city to more easily rest upon. One of the best ways to do this, is with something known as the Puppet Warp. And to find that, it's in the Edit menu under Puppet Warp. And we get this grid here, which isn't entirely helpful, except for the first couple of places to add these pins. So as we click down around these edges, we sort of pin this mesh to its positioning. So these won't be moved when we begin warping things around. After that, I do like to turn off the Show Mesh, because I find that it just gets in the way. So my plan is to put some pins near the top, and pull them down to help flatten out some of this top area. Now, I'm getting some warping throughout the tortoise, that's not really what I wanted, so before I move that pin, I'm gonna add some additional pins to sort of keep this mid level area in place. And then, I can stop pulling down pins of the top area to create a much flatter, more even space to build our city on. So I ended up using quite a few pins, and taking quite a bit of time to make sure that the warping looks natural, that there weren't some pinching along where those pins are, and just gently moving some of these pixels into place to form a more level or non-lumpy top to the turtle. Now, because we had this as a Smart Object, the Puppet Warp is applied as a Smart Filter, which means that at any point, we can double-click on it and get these pins back and readjust as needed. And let's name that layer Turtle Shell. Next, let's try to figure out what we're gonna do with the head and neck. I really like the focus and the beautiful imagery of this photo, with the head and neck of this turtle. So let's begin once more, by creating a very rough selection, and this time, I'm not going to use the Rectangular Marque tool. I'm gonna use the Polygonal Lasso to just create a very, very rough selection around the outside here. This is a very quick and easy way getting through this and not having to worry about trying to create a really tight one. And then once more, copy and paste. And this one comes in really, really large, so let's scale it down a little bit to begin with, before we turn it in to the Smart Object. We'll make it just a slightly more manageable size. And that will preserve enough of those pixels that we're not gonna need to worry too much about losing a lot of them when we do scale this down, ultimately. So I'll make this the turtle head, right-click, Convert to Smart Object, and then scale it into place. Right about there, looks really good. Now it's possible you're wondering, why I didn't bother to create a tighter selection around here. Mostly, because I realized that this selection edge is not gonna be terribly easy to make. Even with the Quick Selection tool, it's gonna take a little bit of effort to get a nice edge around there. And if I didn't want to end up using this image for the turtle head and neck, well, I wanted to save a little bit of time in just roughing things in first. Now, most likely, I will end up using that, and so I'll have to come back later on to create that selection, and mask out that outside edge. But that's fine, cuz right now, we're just roughing this in. And likewise, with that other turtle. This one here, I think this one is going to look really cool to put all the way in the background, so you don't even notice him at first because the focus of your eye will be on this main tortoise. But as you start exploring the image, you'll see, oh look, there's another one in the background. So again, make a selection, copy, paste. This is gonna be a Smart Object, and then scale this down, and put him way back there, to where he almost looks like he's just another peak sticking out of the sea of clouds. And for this guy, I'll just go ahead and create a really quick layer mask there, and just kinda rough things in that way too. So I'll use my paintbrush with black paint to paint away that background area and some of the bottom as well. The whole point is just to demonstrate yet another method of quickly roughing in an object within our composition. And I really encourage you to use these type of techniques, to very quickly add elements, so that you can start working with the design of the elements and not have to worry much about the execution of the selection in the compositing. Because maybe you didn't like him back there, maybe you want him someplace else. And it's good to work efficiently by just putting things in, in sort of a temporary state and then finalizing it a little bit later on. So that's it for lesson 3.4, on adding these giant tortoises to our scene. Next lesson, 3.5, we finish up roughing out the composition, by adding a city to the back of the main turtle.

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