Open Photoshop Elements. You can find a shortcut on your desktop or find the program in the Windows menu at the bottom left of your screen.
Again, we will be using the Photo Editor mode and creating a new file.
Your file should be called “Creature” and should be 8 inches by 10 inches OR 10 inches by 8 inches. Your resolution should be 300 pixels/Inch. I like a transparent background for this one.
As always, we should save the project right away. Go into the File menu and Save As… (NOTE: You only need to Save As… the FIRST time. After that, you just Save (Ctrl + S)
If you see this annoying box, save yourself some annoyance and click “Don’t show again”
As always, save your work in your Documents folder. The program will want to save it in Downloads, but you should CHANGE THAT to DOCUMENTS:
Again, make sure that your file name is right and that the type remains Photoshop (.psd)
Once again, switch out of Quick mode into Expert:
I always like to have my Layers panel open, especially for this project:
The first job is to place the photo of the person you are working with:
Kind, generous Mr. Robson has likely given you a photo in your Documents folder or maybe on your desktop. If you do not have a photo, you should ask kind, generous Mr. Robson to either take one of you or send you one of him. You can also find a couple in the same DropBox folder as the GWMS logos, or by clicking here.
The photo will pop onto the background and look something like this:
This time, you do NOT need to fill the entire background (yet), so just hit Enter on your keyboard or click the green checkmark:
We will be starting with the Quick Selection Tool:
This tool is pretty easy and pretty self explanatory. All you need to do is click and drag on the wall behind me/you. Do NOT draw on top of the person or you will have to start again. Just the wall!
You should see a flashing line appear around whatever you’ve selected. It’s often called the “dancing ants.”
If you didn’t get all of the wall the first time, look at the bottom of the screen and make sure that you are on “Add to selection” and you can go draw over the rest of the wall:
When you’re done, you should see something a lot like this.
Once you’ve selected all of the wall, what we actually want is the opposite of this. Photoshop makes it easy to switch your selection around. Go into the Select menu and click Inverse (Shift + Ctrl + I)
Now what we’ve got is just the person selected, no background. We want to take the person and put it on a separate layer without the background. To do this, we need to go into the Layer menu and choose New then Layer via Copy (Ctrl + J)
If you look in your layers panel, you should now have a separate layer.
In Photoshop, you often end up with a lot of layers, and sometimes it can get really confusing figuring out which layer is which. For this reason, I want you to get in the habit of renaming your layers as you add them. To change a layer’s name, all you have to do is double click on it in the Layers panel and then type in a new name.
Name your bottom layer “Original” and the new one “cutout”
You can turn off a layer so that you can’t see it by clicking the eyeball icon next to the layer. Do this with your “original” layer so you can see your cutout.
The next fun thing to do is to change your character’s skin colour. For this one, we’ll make sure the Quick Selection Tool is activated
But we aren’t actually going to use that one. Down at the bottom of your screen you’ll see a new panel with a bunch of tool options. You want to switch to the Magic Wand Tool
The Magic Wand Tool selects an area of a similar colour. You can control how many shades of that colour you select at once by adjustin the “Tolerance” slider. For my skin, we’ve found that a number around 67-70 works well.
Now all you have to do is click on my face to select just my skin.
If your number is too high, you’ll select too much. If it’s too low, you won’t select enough. No matter what you choose, you’ll likely have to fix up a few areas, like for example my many chins.
Here it might help to zoom in a bit to get a closer look. Use the Zoom Tool (looks like a magnifying glass)
It can either zoom in or out, so make sure to select the right function.
With the Zoom Tool activated, just click on the area that you want to zoom in to.
There are a few selection tools that could help us here but we’ll stick with the Magic Wand Tool for now. It would be wise to turn down your tolerance for now though.
These selection tools can do 4 things. Start a new selection, add an area to an existing selection, subtract an area that you don’t really want selected, or merge selections.
You could also try the Quick Selection Tool
You may have to play with the size of your brush though
Dending on whether you want to ADD parts in that the initial selection missed or SUBTRACT things that shouldn’t be selected, you may need to adjust the buttons at the bottom.
I like to make sure that the eyes are not included (leave those alone)
I also like to remove my mouth from the selection and leave that alone.
Once you’ve perfected your selection, you may wish to zoom out. You can use the Zoom tool OR use the shortcut Ctrl + 0 (I use that one a lot)
Now it’s time to give your creature a new skin tone. Go into the Enhance menu, choose Adjust Color, and then Adjust Hue/Saturation (Ctrl + U)
Make sure that the new box that pops up isn’t blocking your creature’s face. Grab the top of the box and move it over so you can see the face.
Now basically you just play with those sliders and have some fun.
Hue changes the shade. Move it one way and the face should turn red/purple, the other way it turns green
The Saturation slider makes the face more or less colourful (it adds in or removes colour)
The Lightness slider does exactly what you’d expect. It makes it brighter or darker.
Please do NOT go crazy with any of the sliders. If you adjust any of them too much, you will lose detail and won’t be able to recognize the person any more.
The ones below look TERRIBLE:
Once you’ve got your sliders adjusted the way you like, click OK
Now we’re going to turn off that selection (those Dancing Ants.) To do that, we need to go into the Select menu and choose Deselect OR Ctrl + D
Now for the most fun part! Go into the Filter menu, choose Distort, then Liquify.
There are 3 tools that I really like, but feel free to play around with all of them and see what they do. The first (top) one is called Warp.
For all of them, you may have to experiment with different brush sizes. Warp looks better with a bigger brush, but don’t make it too big!
Once you have a decent brush size, click on an area that you want to stretch and pull on it!
It’s that simple. That’s a lot of fun, but again, don’t get carried away. We always want to at least recognize the person.
Another fun one is Pucker, which closes an area in
Again, experiment with your brush size
Click on an area and hold down your mouse to close that area in. THis works great on open eyes or mouths.
Bloat is the opposite. It works the same way, but expands an area. Again, great for eyes and mouths.
You can also twirl an area clockwise or counter clockwise. It just takes something and twists it either way.
If you get carried away, you can press Revert (try again) or Cancel (no thanks.) If you like your work, though, press OK!
Make sure you’re zoomed out (Ctrl + 0) and you have nothing selected (Ctrl + D)
Click on your original (background) layer
We’re going to put your creature into a new habitat. Figure out what type of environment might be suitable for this character.
I highly recommend a photo site called Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/) There, you can download Creative Commons images that you can legally use in your projects. This one is great because you don’t always have to even give them credit for the photos, which works really well for projects like this.
If you wish to use another photo site, please use a Creative Commons site. You can find many on my website on the Links page, under Copyright Free Content.
If you go to Unsplash, all you have to do is search for whatever background you want. Keep it general. Things like “mountains,” “trees,” or something like that will give you good results, but something very specific (George Waters Middle School) will likely not show up.
Type in your search and look for a good image. If you find one, you just have to click the little downward arrow at the bottom of the photo to get it:
When you use someone else’s content, you’re usually supposed to give them credit. Most Creative Commons sites make this easy. Normally you’d follow the directions below, but we don’t really have anywhere to put the credit, so we’ll skip that step.
Make sure you Save your photo. It’ll likely go in your Downloads folder.
Now you just Place the image into your file in Photoshop.
Use the Move Tool to stretch it out and fill up the background
Rename your picure layer to represent what is on it:
You should also use the Move Tool to move your cutout layer into the best position on top of the new background.
If you want to, you could add some neat effects to your character as well.
On the bottom of your Photoshop window, look for Styles and click it.
This gives you a variety of effects that you can add. It opens on Bevels (which are neat rounded edges) but there are many others hiding underneath. My favorite for this part is Outer Glows:
This is a bit of a common (overused) one:
Try some others:
If you like the style but don’t like the colour, you can adjust it:
The last real thing that we have to do is figure out what this creature will be called. You’ll have to come up with a clever name for your new creation.
Switch to the HOrizontal Type Tool (looks like a T)
As with anything else, I always want you to make your own choices about how your text should look, so make sure you take your time and choose a font that looks good to you. Never just go with the font that the program recommends.
Choose a colour that makes sense with your background and creature.
I chose one that was close to the colour of my creature:
It doesn’t stand out very well yet and is somewhat hard to read.
Again, switch to Styles down at the bottom
And look at your various options for making your text look better. Feel free to play around with any of the options and see how they look. You can always Undo (Ctrl + Z) if you don’t like an effect.
The two I like most for Text are Stroke and Drop Shadow. Stroke creates an outline around your text, making it much easier to read:
See, much easier to read!
But maybe you don’t want it black or want to adjust the size, or something else. Click on the little wheel at the top right of that panel (right below Share)
Here you can adjust the colour, size, position, or kind of fade out the effect
Drop shadows also make your text stand out. It kind of raises the text off of the page and gives it a bit of a 3D effect:
And that’s pretty much it! Just check that everything looks good.
Open your Layers panel
And make sure that your layers are named properly. Make sure that there are no extra, unnecessary layers. If you want to get rid of a layer, just highlight it and press Backspace or Delete or press the little trash can above the layers.
Before you close and drop off, you may want to take a picture of your project to post on your website. Make sure you can see the whole thing (press Ctrl + 0 if not).
To activate your “camera”, press Fn + F11 (or, if that doesn’t work, just F11 works for some people.) Click and drag a box around your project and save that on your computer by pressing the top option.
When closing/saving your work, make sure that you save it in your Documents folder!
Go to your Edublogs site, log in
Create a New Post
Call it Creature
Post your picture if you like:
If you like, change your display settings to have your works go next to your photo:
The important part is that you need to answer 3 questions IN DETAIL:
1) Describe the project. Tell me about what you were supposed to create, what was supposed to be included, and what new things you might have had to learn/do.
2) What do you like about your work? What are you most proud of? Come on, celebrate your achievements! If you aren’t proud of your work, FIX IT so that you are! Explain why you like your work or what stands out as looking most interesting/impressive.
3) No matter how great your work is, there’s something that COULD be better. If you had all of the time in the world or if you had to do this project again for whatever reason, what would you try to do better? There must be something! If you say “Nothing” that will also describe the mark that you will get for this question!
Once you’ve got all of that done, DROP IT OFF!
Drop Off instructions