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Knock Out

Lesson 10 from: Photoshop Power Tips and Tricks

Jesús Ramirez

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Lesson Info

10. Knock Out

Lesson Info

Knock Out

This is another feature that a lot of people don't use that I find very useful, especially for people who are doing any sorts of graphics. Not necessarily with text, but text is a very good example as to why it's so powerful. So we have this design here is very simple. We have this background image of LA. Right above that we have a very simple gradient map. A gradient map is just a layer that applies colors based on the luminance values of the layer below. So, if I select gradient map, and, for example, click on the one that I was just using. I think that's the same one. Yeah, it's a different variation of it, but basically the same. You'll notice that it applies orange and purple. Basically, the pixels on the right hand side are the brighter pixels. The pixels on the left hand side are the darker pixels. So, it maps the colors that you select here onto the luminance value. So if I go with black and white, I get a black and white image of course. But in this case, I don't want to do th...

at. I want to be creative and create this cool looking effect. Then I have this element graphic over it. It's simply a vector graphic. This could also be a pixel layer, it really doesn't matter, in this case it's a vector graphic. And the word "Knockout," cause that's what this tool is called. So, if I wanted to create a hole in this graphic and reveal the content below it, what most people would do would be to press Control, Command on the Mac, click on the text layer thumbnail in the rectangle layer, I would create a layer mask. And then press Control+I, Command+I to invert. There you go. We have Knockout, it looks great. But what if I want to change the word? What if I wanna call it something else? All I have to go in, change the word. And then select it, delete the layer mask, create a new layer mask and do all that process all over again. So you can see it becomes very inefficient really, really quickly. So, there's a tool called Knockout that knocks things out, believe it or not. So, with the Knockout layer selected, I can also hold Shift and select the rectangle and press Control+G, Command+G on the Mac to put those into a group. And this layer, this is the one thing, the bottom most layer does need to be a background layer, so if you go into New, Background from Layer. So usually you never do that. Usually you do the opposite. Usually you remove the lock; I'm actually adding the lock back in there. So, Layer, New, Layer from background. Layer, New, Layer from background. And what I'm gonna do now is go into this layer called Knockout. And I'm gonna double click on it. And where it says "Knockout," I'll select Shallow, reduce the fill, and notice what happens. You get exactly that same effect. In case you don't know, fill also controls the opacity of the pixels in the layer. However, fill does not effect the pixels that are generated in the layer style window. So if I were to make a drop shadow, and brought the fill opacity to zero, the shadow would still show. If I brought the regular opacity to zero, nothing would show. But anyway, so fill in this case is removing the black, but is revealing the effect that the shallow knockout created. So, just by simply changing the knockout to shallow, we had made that text layer into sort of a mask that's punched a hole through everything down below. And I can change the name here or the text to Creative. So you can see how this becomes really really powerful when you're working again with graphics. You don't necessarily have to be a graphic designer or anything like that. You may be working again with social media graphics for your business. That saves you a lot of time if maybe every holiday you have a similar graphic with an effect like this. It's a lot easier to just go in there and type "Happy Valentine's Day" or whatever it is, then having to recreate the whole process all over again. So, the knockout layer works great for things like that. If you do wanna get really creative, you can also animate the knockout in Photoshop and create really cool animated GIF's, but that's not for this class. Is this also the way that you would just take the creative live and make it it's own picture without the ... with the background and get rid of the other picture? No, in that case, what I would do, and I'll revert my layers because it'll probably be easier than to undo everything. And once again, I think it was the last class where I mentioned that reverting a layer, or pressing F12 means that you go back into the original state of the document. Go to the last time that you saved it. So in this case, for me I haven't saved it, so it went back to when I first opened it. So if I understood your question, you wanna get the same effect, but the background needs to be in the front not in the back? Is that the question? I wanted to create a picture that just had the words Knockout with the picture underneath it and nothing else. Not the rest of the picture. Okay. So basically like that? Yeah, so just to show you what I did there, the bottom most layer would be your text layer, or maybe if you have a background, that could be the background as well. In this case, I don't have a background. So I move the background up. Then the image above is what was originally the background but now the image that's gonna have the text. You can simply press Control+ALT+G, Command+Option+G on the Mac, to make it into a clipping mask. If you don't wanna remember that confusing keyboard shortcut, you just simply hold ALT, Option on the Mac, and hover in between layers. See that icon that appears there? That's another way of creating clipping mask. But I prefer Control+ALT+G, Command+Option+G on the Mac. And then, now we have the effect more or less and we can also apply the gradient map as a clipping mask as well. And then the background could be anything. Actually it's a horrible color. Let me do a different color. But I mean, you get the idea. So it's only using a clipping mask. And this is also editable by the way so we could also change this to Creative Live. And it works, like that. Alright?

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There are but a scant few who really know Photoshop well enough that are able to teach it with a comfortable flow, thoroughness and a pleasant personality. Jesus hits all the marks and I must say, I enjoy... and more importantly, learn more from him than most of the others. It's a pleasure learning from him. Thanks! (I watched 3 times in a row today LOL)


Absolutely loved this concise and useful course! This was the first time I’ve heard Jesús teach and I really enjoyed his teaching style. He gets right to the point, no fluff or filler, is easy-going. The tips he teaches in this course are great! I’ve been using photoshop for ten years and I learned something new in each section. Money well spent!! I can hardly wait to check out his other courses!!!

Scott Weishair

Amazing! Really cool stuff explained quite well. Loved it!

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