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  1. #1
    Abnormal Brain
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    In this tutorial, we'll be building a basic animation featuring a simple pulse/glow effect.

    We're going to learn to make these Iron Man avatars...



    ...using this image:



    I chose this Iron Man image because it already contains some of the data readout text we added in the Iron Man sig tutorial, so it will nicely complement the sig, and be less work for us at the same time!

    This tutorial is aimed at the beginning- to intermediate-level Photoshop user, and we'll be using the Pen and Rectangular Marquee tools, Layer Blending Modes, a Custom Brush, and the Animation palette to create our avatar.

    I'm using Photoshop CS3, but I've tried to limit tools and commands retroactive to Photoshop 7. I'm also using a Mac, so Windows users should substitute all references to the Command Key (Mac) with the Control Key (PC), all references to the Option Key (Mac) to the Alt Key (Windows), and all references to the Delete Key (Mac) to the Backspace Key (Windows).

    If I use a Command or Filter that is unavailable in your version of Photoshop, LMK and I'll try to suggest an alternative for you.

    Note: If you're not using Photoshop CS3, you'll need to have a copy of ImageReady installed if you want to proceed with creating the animation beginning in Step 10. When Adobe acquired Macromedia, ImageReady got the boot in favor of the much more feature-rich Fireworks, and ImageReady's basic feature-set was added to Photoshop CS3's toolkit.

    There are 17 steps in this lesson, so don't forget to save your work early and often!

    Ready? Let's begin!
    Last edited by FrankenFan; 07-01-2009 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Added Windows key commands.

  2. #2
    Abnormal Brain
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    Step 1

    Open the im.jpg image in Photoshop, and Zoom-in (Space Command Click) to Iron Man's helmet lens on the left side of the image (his right lens). I zoomed-in 700%.

    Select the Pen tool from the Tools bar and set up the Options bar to look like this:



    The Illustrator users among us will be very familiar with the Pen tool, but if you've never used it before, don't be intimidated by it. It's an essential tool and it's really easy to learn. In this lesson, you are going to create corner points, smooth curves, and convert a smooth curve to a corner point.

    Click once with the Pen tool on the upper left corner (1) of the lens, and again on the lower left corner (2). You've just created two corner points.

    Now click on the lower right corner (3) and drag out and up slightly to the right, to follow the curve of the bottom of the lens. Note: Do not release your mouse button! Click-hold-drag in one continuous motion!. You have now created a smooth curve.

    Your Pen tool selection should look like this:



    Next, release your mouse button, and hold down the Option key to convert the Pen tool to the Convert Point tool. Note: You should see the forward slash to the right of the Pen tool icon change to an inverted "V" pointing slightly to the left.

    Now click on point 3 again to convert it from a smooth curve to a corner point.

    Next, click on the upper right corner (4) of the lens.

    Finally, click and drag up and to the left on point 1 to follow the upper curve of the lens and close the path.

    See? Easy!

    Your completed Pen tool selection should now look like this:



    From the main Photoshop Menu, go to Windows>Paths to open the Paths palette. Double-click the Work Path path layer and rename it Lens Path.

    Save your PSD document and name it im_avatar.psd.
    Last edited by FrankenFan; 03-30-2008 at 09:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Abnormal Brain
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    Step 2

    Press Command Option 0 (zero) to view your image at actual size.

    From the main Photoshop menu, go to Windows>Layers to open the Layers palette.

    Press Command Shift N to open the New Layer dialog, name the layer Lens Glow, and press Enter to create a new layer above the background layer.

    Next, select the Brush tool from the Tools palette and choose a 3-pixel brush with a Hardness of 100% from the Brushes palette.



    Now click the Set Foreground Color swatch on the Tools palette and enter the RGB values 0 174 239. Click OK to exit the Color Picker.

    With the Lens Glow Layer active, go to the Paths palette, and click on the Lens Path path to select it, then click on the Stroke path with brush icon on the bottom of the palette (second icon from the left).

    Click in the empty space under the Lens Path path to deselect it.



    Your im_avatar.psd file should look like this:

    Last edited by FrankenFan; 03-30-2008 at 08:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Abnormal Brain
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    Step 3

    With the Lens Glow layer active, click the FX icon on the bottom of the Layers palette and select Outer Glow from the pop-up.

    Enter the settings shown, below, and click on the color swatch and enter the RGB values 0 174 239 in the Color Picker.



    Now change the Lens Glow layer's Blending Mode to Screen.

    Your file and Layers palette should look like this:

    Last edited by FrankenFan; 03-30-2008 at 08:51 AM.

  5. #5
    Abnormal Brain
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    Step 4

    Next, with the Lens Glow layer active, press Command J to duplicate it. Name this new layer Lens Pulse.

    Your file and Layers palette should now look like this:

    Last edited by FrankenFan; 04-01-2008 at 09:08 AM.

  6. #6
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    Step 5

    Press the letter D on your keyboard to set the foreground and background colors to their default black and white, then press X to change the foreground color to white.

    Select Layer>New>Layer... from the main Photoshop menu to create a new, empty layer above the Lens Pulse layer. Name this layer Lens.

    Return to the Paths palette, Click the Lens Path path to make it active, then click the Load path as a selection icon (third icon from the left) on the bottom of the Paths palette.

    In the Layers palette, select the Lens layer, then press Option Delete on your keyboard to fill the selection with white. Alternately, from the main Photoshop menu, you can select Edit>Fill... to fill the selection.

    Your file and palettes should look like this:

    Last edited by FrankenFan; 04-01-2008 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Added Windows keyboard command.

  7. #7
    Silly question but do I open the Iron Man image using Photoshop or Imageready?

  8. #8
    Abnormal Brain
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    Quote Originally Posted by carbo-fation View Post
    Silly question but do I open the Iron Man image using Photoshop or Imageready?
    That's a good question, carbo!

    First open the the Iron Man image in Photoshop, then switch to ImageReady in Step 10 to create the animation.

    I've added that distinction to Step 1. Thanks for pointing that out!

  9. #9
    Thanks FrankenFan! Now let the training begin.

  10. #10
    Abnormal Brain
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    Quote Originally Posted by carbo-fation View Post
    Thanks FrankenFan! Now let the training begin.
    Keep us apprised of your progress!

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