Painting shadows and highlights in nontransparent areas

In this part of the lesson, you'll lock the transparency on the Bark layer. This restricts your painting on the layer so that you can add shadows and highlights to only the tree itself. Because all the transparent areas are protected, you don't have to worry about any paint strokes spilling onto the background outside of the tree outline.

There are two techniques for protecting the transparent areas. One is to select the layer you'll paint on and use the Lock Transparent Pixels option (*) in the Layers palette. The other technique, which you'll use here, is to create a new layer and then group it with the previous one. When you apply brush strokes or effects to a layer that is grouped with a second layer, those brush strokes or effects apply only to pixels of color on the first layer. (Any transparent areas will be unaffected.)

1 In the Layers palette, select the Bark layer (in the Tree layer set), and then select New Layer from the Layers palette menu. (Don't use the New Layer button this time.)


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2 In the New Layer dialog box, type Highlights and select the Group With Previous Layer check box. Then click OK.

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□ (No neutral color exists for Normal mode.)

The Highlights layer appears with a small arrow pointing to the Bark layer, indicating that these two layers are grouped. (This arrow may be difficult to see while the Highlights layer is selected.)

3 On the Swatches palette, select a warm brown color from the bottom row of the swatches, using a color that is somewhat darker than the tree-bark color.

4 In the toolbox, select the brush tool. Then use the Brushes palette to select a brush, such as the Soft Round 21-pixel brush.

5 Make sure that the Highlights layer is active in the Layers palette, and then paint shadows on the right sides and lower edges of the branches of the tree, as if a light source is outside the image to the upper left. Also paint shadows into the gnarly areas of the main branch.

As you paint, you don't need to worry about painting outside the tree area (because those areas are protected) or that the effect isn't subtle (because you'll adjust that later).

You can adjust the brush size and opacity of the paint as you work, using the settings on the tool options bar. To change the brush size on the fly, press left-bracket ([) to move to the next smaller brush size; press right-bracket (]) to switch to the next larger brush size.

6 In the Swatches palette, select a brown color that is lighter than the original bark color, and use it to paint highlights on the upper and left sides of the branches. Then select white, and add touches of bright highlights to some of these areas.

7 When you are satisfied with the highlights and shadows (although the results are still not subtle), choose File > Save.

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