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3.3 Creating the Glowing Smoke Background

Now let’s use some custom stock images of fluid effects to create a glowing smoke-like background for the electric figure in our design. This approach makes good use of adjustment layers, layer styles and masks to generate the colorful glow effects.

3.3 Creating the Glowing Smoke Background

Hey guys, welcome back to Event Flyer Design. My name is Kirk Nelson. We are working our way through this concert flyer, and we find ourselves now on lesson number 13. In this lesson, we'll work on filling the background areas with some glowing, smokey type of elements. So, here we are with the results of lesson 12, where we added in these glowing lines that look almost like a neon sign. In this lesson, we're going to work on adding some more colorful, vibrant, almost smoke like elements in here. And, to do that, we're going to use some additional files that I've included with the course files for this lesson. I've included six different files that has a fluid effects image. And, these are ones that we're going to use to create these. I'm going to show you how we're going to make these work for us. Let's open one of them up, and take a little at this. Now, I've created these by dropping drops of ink into a water container that had a white background on it, and just photographing through the glass of the container to create which is really these fluid effects. But they also work as a type of smoke effect. And, so clearly if I wanted to be a glowing smoke effect on our flier there, it needs to be inverted, we need it to be white on black, and not the other way around. So, lets go to Image>Adjustments>Invert. That looks a little bit better. Now, I'm noticing there is some color information in there. Really don't want that. So, Color>Adjustments, Black & White. And, we can pull down some of these areas to get a little bit more contrast, even from the Black and White filter. Now, we do see some of the bottom portion of the container that's visible. Let's paint that out using a soft brush, black paint, set it up to 100% there, so we want these edge areas to be a full 100% black. Otherwise, we may end up getting some hard lines where we don't intend for them to be. All right, now let's increase the contrast on that some. Image Adjustments, we use Levels to do this to add a little more darkness to it, because if it's too bright, it just tends to look kind of cloud-like. And, I wanna see more of those swirls. I wanna see more of the fluid effects in there. The kind of smokey trails going on. And, by making the contrast increased enough that the dark parts get darker, we get more of that. So, then we can just grab this file, and drag it over into our project file. Now,it came in above the lines for the merged glow that we had before. I'm gonna pull it down below that. In fact, at this point, I want to group all of those glowing lines together, just for easy layer management. So, that's all those. Let's use this and position it to where it fills maybe one of the, the elements that we are trying to color in. Scale it down. Maybe I'll put it in say, the vest area. Again, the warp tool is really, really helpful for positioning very fluid, very liquidy type of elements. These type of elements are really forgiving to distortion. And, it can look just as right to be heavily distorted as it was with no distortion. And, the ideal here is we wanna create flow from the liquid effect photographs. And, we want the flow of these smoky, glowing areas to follow along with the contours and the natural flow of the position of the model. So, let's say we put it, say about like that. The next step is to add a glow to it. And, it's not technically a glow, it's a color overlay. So, I'm adding a Layer Style, and we use the Color Overlay option, and I'm going to set this to that bright magenta color that we've been working with on her vest. Remember the glow that we created for the vest's lines had this color. Now clearly, we don't want it to be this big rectangular shape. So,we changed the Blending mode to either Overlay or Soft Light, whichever works well for your composition. Soft Light's a little more dialed down and muted than Overlay. Overlay seems to be a little bit more vibrant. For this purpose, I'm actually gonna go with the Overlay. And then, I'm changing the Blending Mode of the Layer to Screen and adding a layer mask. So, that I can now, constrain where that effect is being applied. I want it to be mostly on the vest area, so I'm going to paint out these other areas. So, the primary idea of to this technique is to continue layering up these smoky textures until we get some really great and vibrant and energetic effect on this design. Some things to be aware of is when you're working with multiple blending modes, sometimes things can get a little odd looking. For instance, I have this layer brought in. It's the same type of layer that we had before, but I've got it set to normal. Notice how it obscures the other blending mode of the layer that's beneath it. And, that's to be expected. But, if you don't understand what's going on, you may think that the other layer completely disappeared. That's not the case. You just have to change the blending mode of the layer that's over it. Usually the screen will work all right, but, of course, you can shop through and find other blending modes that might work well for you. Linear Dodge is usually a pretty good candidate, too, cuz it intensifies that screen effect. And sometimes, you might want to bring down the opacity, just to make it work a little bit better. Be judicious with the layer masks. Sometimes, it's nice to have some spill over. Sometimes, you want a really nice tight cut in to add a shading effect. Mostly, you want to make sure we're not seeing any of these hard cut off lines from the edges of those textures. So, you'll always want to look for those, and paint those out. So,'ve layered in several more of these smoke textures, and I've added the color overlay, layer style, and I've adjusted the blending mode, and added layer masks, and hand painted the masks to control exactly where I want the smoke effects to appear. And, I think this gives a really good example of some of the trouble that you can run into when using multiple blending modes. If I reveal the vest smoke layer, or a group of layers, again, you can see I'm getting some strange blending towards the bottom here. By hiding it, it disappears, revealing it, it comes back. So, I know that that's what's responsible for that. So then, the point is to go in and find out where the offending layer is. And, use the corresponding layer mask, and remove those elements. Now, sometimes you may think that the blending works now, and that'd be fine. But again, you want to make sure you're in control of it. Happy accidents happen, but it's always helpful to know where those accidents are coming from, in case you want to remove or reproduce the effect at a different time. Now, while this effect is really useful, and it creates some really nice brilliantly colored effects, it does have some limitations. For example, in the hair here, the reddish color is pretty consistent going from the base of the hair all the way out. Now, I faded it out pretty well, so I think that works well. But, I would actually like the color to kinda have a gradient to it. To go from a really bright red that's almost a white, and fade out towards this fiery red around the edges. So, to create that effect, I'm gonna create a new layer, and clip it to that hair, smoke layer that I already had. And, then use my Gradient Tool set to Foreground, to Transparent, and make sure I've got a white foreground color, and add some white areas. Now, look what happens. It looks like everything is completely messed up there. Well, that's because I have to change the blending mode. I'll change it to Overlay. And, then just by changing the blending mode you can see how it brightens up the elements right in close to where the gradient started. So, we can go ahead and add a little bit more of those, just to help enhance the way that color looks. And, then ultimately, if it is a little bit too bright you can dial back on that opacity. Things are starting to look really, really great here. This is very vibrant, very energetic. It looks like it's full of movement and life. I'm going to add one more technique to this to make it even more so. I'm going to create a merged layer at the top. Again, that's holding down the ALT key, going to Layer, Merge Visible. That's the option key on the Macintosh to do that. I'm going to call this Mergeglows, and I'm actually going to turn this into a smart object. Because, I want to run a filter that I want to be able to possibly re-edit later on. That's in the Blur filter set, and it's actually the Radial Blur. I'm going to set the Blur Method to zoom, and move the center up towards the right. Cuz, my thought here is that these streaked lines will be coming out from where I'm expecting to put the title. So, I wanna make sure that's in the title safe, and I know that I may end up moving the title, so that's why I wanted this to be applied as a smart filter. So, I can go back and I can move it again. And, that's done just by double clicking that Radial Blur and shifting that center point. Okay, so once the blur is to a place you're happy with it. Go ahead and set this blending mode to screen. And, look how that just makes that pop. In fact, it might be a little bit too intense. So, you know what's next. Dial back the opacity. And, we end up now with a really vibrant and beautiful image so far. All right, guys, that's it for lesson 13. Be sure to check out lesson 14, where we begin dealing with the title text, and how to fold that in to this design.

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