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(Prof's PSPv7 Effects and Techniques)> Cutout Effect

Cutout Effect Created by:Prof

The Effect Cutout creates a 3D appearance of a selection (shape) being cutout or having depth. It requires two (2) steps: (1)Setting a Dark Color (black) and (2)Setting a Light Color (white), each on its own layer.

Standard Toolbar - New (image) button


The values used for the basic options (Offsets and Attributes) will set the Light Source (Top/side and Side/bottom) which can, with care, be set for any angle. However, the basic Light Source directions will be eight (8): (Top, Top/Right, Right, Bottom/Right, Bottom, Bottom/Left, Left, and Top/Left).

The Position of the Light Source (Horizon to High Noon) is governed by the values set in the Options.

Available Options:
Offsets (vertical and horizontal = size of shadow)
Attributes (Opacity and Blur darkness and sharpness of shadow)
Color (Shadow and Interior)

Note: If using Cutout on an image, unless you set the Interior color, one gets a cutout of the center of the selection. Thus, best to use the 2 Layers above the image in which the cutout is being set.

Exploration and Illustrations

Basic Cutout

A. Illustration #1:

Basic Set up:
300 x 300 Red 16 M
Then, Promote the Background Layer to a Layer
Label it 'Black'

Use Selection Tool and Draw a Rectangle in Center of Canvas. Then use Selections || Save to Alpha the selection.

Use Effects || 3D Effects || Cutout ...
Offsets, both = 3
Opacity = 100
Blur = 20
Shadow Color = Black
Fill interior with Color = Unchecked
Interior Color = Pastel Yellow (255, 255, 192)
Click on OK

We have a square cutout with a transparent area showing.

Cutout with bg color
TIP #1: If you Set a New Background Layer (Label it 'BG') below the 'Black' layer and flood fill it with a color, then that color will show through. Try it with any color of your choice. (Pastel Blue: 193, 240, 255)

If you used a light background color you will also notice there is a slightly lighter shadow along the right/bottom part of the cutout.
Cutout with Black, White on BG

B. Illustration #2

Now, lets Add New Layer above the 'Black' layer and Label it 'White'. Then, get your selection back (Selections || Load from Alpha) and then use Cutout again with these changes:
Offsets = minus 3
Shadow Color = White
No Other Changes
Click on OK

Your cutout now looks better, more realistic with light source coming from the top/left corner.

Tip: You could add a texture to the Bottom Layer if you wanted.

Separate Layers

C. Illustration #3

Now Lets Fix this Canvas so you will be able to see each part.

1. Highlight the 'Black' Layer and Flood Fill it with Red (removes the black shadow but the white shadow still shows which is ok)
2. Set your Selection. (Selections || Load from Alpha)
3. Copy it: [Control + C].
4. Relabel your 'Black' Layer to 'Red Outside'
5. Create a new layer above it and label it 'Red Center'
6. Now, Paste it into the Selection: Edit || Paste into Selection.
7. Highlight the 'Red Outside' Layer and Press the Delete Key to Remove the Red Center from this Layer.
8. Create a New Top Layer Labeled: 'Black' and reset the shadow offsets to plus 3 and shadow color to black to again get the black shadow.
9. Drag the layer below the 'White' Layer. 10. Then Deselect.

Now, you can turn off any layer to get an idea of what each layer does. Also, if you now Move the Cutout White Layer to the Top, you get a bit better Cutout Effect.

Tip: You can now play with the Layer Palette Opacity Switch and the Layer Palette Mode Options to get some interesting effects on any layer.

(If you want to save that canvas to explore more with it later, go ahead.)

New Canvas

More Exploration and Illustrations

Basic Canvas:
New Canvas, 300 x 300 Transparent 16 M
New Layer, Flood Fill it with Pastel Blue
Use Selection Tool
Draw an Ellipse in Center of Canvas
as accurately as possible
Then, then Save it to Alpha.
Create a New Layer for Cutout Black
Create a New Layer for Cutout White

#1 - Just Offset Values #2 - Opacity = 50%

#3 - Blur = 20% #4 - Opacity = 50% and Blur = 20%

#5 - Offset = 0, Blur = high #6 - Selection Inverted


Illustration #1 - Exploring the Options

(When you have your Cutout Window showing, move it away from your canvas so you can see what is happening. Also, do not use OK to set the cutout. If you do, when we move on, use [Control+Z] to remove the experiment and then you will be ready for the next one.)

Start with Offsets both = 0 and Blur = 0 Shadow color = Black and note that these values remove any black Shadow from the Selection.

(1) Now to just see how the shadow works, change the values of the Offsets one at a time. Size does not matter though the larger the size the larger the shadow. Also note by varying the plus/minus values you can get the shadow to move around the shape (sort of).

(2) Set Offsets to about 4 (Still only working with black). This time vary the Opacity to see how it affects the shadow. (The lower the setting the lighter the shadow.)

(3) Return Opacity = 100 and now vary the Blur setting to see how it works. Note that the higher the blur, the more area is shadowed.

(4) Vary both the Blur value and the Opacity value. Notice in combination one can soften the effect creating some neat options.

(5) Now set Offsets both = 0 and use high value for blur and vary opacity to get a neat effect. This specific technique creates a 3D look to the shape. (I use this one often.)

(6) Cancel the Cutout. Then use Selections || Invert to invert the selection. Then, use Cutout again with offset = 0 and blur very high. Vary opacity for another very neat effect. This effect creates a 3D look surrounding the selection.

(7) Now, Play with the Offset values and lower the blur value considerably to get another very neat effect. In one easy step you have create a buttonized frame with a raised looking selection.

Note: With just these few steps, you have numerous ways to either cutout a selection (a shape) or create interesting shadows that give a 3D look to a canvas. You could add textures to the background color or just add texture to inside the shape, or just outside the shape.

Final Image

Illustration #2 -- A Final Example.

First just Cancel the Cutout and then Use Selections || Invert to get back to the original selection.

Lets Do a nice Cutout of this Shape.

Highlight the Cutout Black Layer with these values:
Offsets both = 4
Opacity = 80
Blur = 20
Shadow Color = Black
Interior = Unchecked
Click on OK

Highlight the Cutout White Layer with these changes:
Offsets both = minus 2
Opacity = 100
Blur = 20
Shadow Color = White
Click on Ok

In Both Layers set the mode = Luminance.

Notice: Particularly evident on the black shadow side the edges are ragged. You can smooth these out with this technique:

1. Get your selection Back: Selections || Load from Alpha
2. Use: Selections || Invert
3. First highlight the Cutout White Layer and use the Blur given below. Then highlight the cutout Black layer and use the Blur value given:
Effects || Blur || Gaussian Blur with value of 1 or 2
Deselect to see the edges are now smoothed out.
If you want a bit more smoothing, then before you use the blur, use Selections || Modify || Expand with a value of 1 and then use the blur.

Now you can play with giving the background a texture or use the selection both inverted and not to give sections of the background texture. Experiment and have fun.

Try 'Soft Light' on the Background Colored layer.

Have Fun! -- Prof --