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Lesson 4. Publishing a Newsletter > Using Photoshop's vanishing point feature

Using Photoshop's vanishing point feature

Vanishing Point is a great new feature of Photoshop that enables you to make perspective-correct retouches to a picture. While previously one had to clone and distort elements to fit them in the perspective of a photo, you now can, for example, easily add windows to a building, or edit the pattern of floor tiles or walls. The result is very realistic, providing the picture has perspective planes.

The photo you are about to edit shows several red huts beside the sea. You will add a window to the front of one hut.

The file VanishingPointFinal.eps in your Lesson04 folder shows the result of adding several more windows, and their reflections in the water.

Start Photoshop, and open the file VanishingPoint.psd from the Lesson04 folder.

To protect the original photo, and to be able to compare it with the results after you apply the Vanishing Point filter, create a copy of the layer.

In the Layers palette (Window > Layers), select the Background layer containing the photo, and choose Duplicate Layer from the palette menu. In the Duplicate Layer dialog box, name the new layer vanishing point and click OK.

With the new layer selected in the Layers palette, choose Filter > Vanishing Point to open the Vanishing Point dialog box.

In the Vanishing Point dialog box, use the Zoom tool to zoom in on the hut closest to you.

On this hut, define a surface plane by clicking the corner points of the left wall, aligning the sides of the plane as closely as possible with horizontal and vertical features of the wall in the picture. Once the four corners are defined, you can move, scale or reshape the plane by moving the corner points. Photoshop tries to help with finding good corner point locations: if it sees a problem with these, it displays the bounding box and grid in yellow or red. Move the corner points until a blue bounding box and grid are displayed, indicating that the plane is valid.

With the Create Plane tool still selected, Ctrl-drag / Command-drag the right edge node to tear off a perpendicular plane to the right. Then, position the newly created plane so that it extends to the right side of the wall.

Marking the plane as precisely as possible is important. If the plane extends too far to the right, the perpendicular plane can go very wrong. (See illustration on next page.)

With the Marquee tool, select an area slightly larger than the left window.

Alt-drag / Option-drag the selection over to the left side of the hut.

You have now added a new window in the left plane, but this needs to be mirrored horizontally to sit correctly in perspective.

Select the Transform tool, and then select the Flop check box to mirror the window horizontally.

Click OK in the Vanishing Point dialog box to close it, and to apply the modifications to the image in the vanishing point layer.

This gives you only a first impression of the many capabilities of this new Photoshop feature. To learn more about this feature, search for “vanishing point” in the Adobe Help Center under Help for Photoshop, or the Photoshop CS2 Classroom in a Book. In the Lesson04 folder there is a file called VanishingPointFinal.psd, containing a version of the image with more windows added, along with their correct reflections in the water. This image will be used in the next steps of this lesson.

Distinguishing Between Pixels and Vectors

Desktop publishing graphics can be divided into two types: pixel-based images (bitmapped, or raster images, primarily created by cameras and scanners) and vector images (constructed with drawing programs).

Pixel-based images, like photos, are made up of pixels, or little squares (you can detect them when you zoom in). Adobe Photoshop is a widely used program that lets you manipulate pixels. To produce a medium quality print of your pictures for your newsletter, make sure that the file is at least 250 ppi (pixels per inch), while for viewing on screen, 72 ppi is fine. If you have an image 500 x 500 pixels large, for example, it can cover an area of approximately 7 x 7 inches for on screen viewing, while for printing, this image should not be reproduced at a size larger than 2 x 2 inches.

Vector images consist of artwork formed from paths, like a technical line drawing, or the outline of a logo. Adobe Illustrator, or a similar program, is often used to create such artwork. The big advantage of vector images is that they can be enlarged or reduced without losing detail.

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