How to convert Layer Effects into actual layers in Photoshop

Layer Effects are great in Photoshop, but sometimes you may need to apply another such effect to a layer that already has Layer Effects applied. For example, a Pattern Overlay may require another Pattern Overlay. What can we do?

It’s astonishingly simple really: we convert the Layer Effects to discreet layers. Here’s how to do it.

Consider this layer with applied effect:

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Select this layer and head over to Layer – Layer Style – Create Layer. The result you’ll get will depend on what type of effect was applied.

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In my case, I’ll get a flood-filled layer with the pattern applied as a Clipping Mask. My image will still look like it did before, but I now have one or more separate layers to which I can apply other effects. Nice!

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We can combine these two (or even more) layers into a single one: to do so, select all layers in question and head over to Layer – Merge Layers (the shortcut is CMD+E).

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How to avoid empty audio tracks in Premiere Pro

Why

Have you ever wondered why a source clip’s audio ends up at the very bottom of the timeline, even though you have several empty tracks above it? Well I have, and I was convinced there had to be some kind of setting responsible for this.

And there is: it has to do with the way a Sequence is setup when you first create it. Let me explain how this works and how to change such behaviour to avoid annoyances in the future.

Continue reading How to avoid empty audio tracks in Premiere Pro

How to reset User Preferences in Premiere Pro

Premiere-LogoThe other day my copy of Adobe Premiere Pro started exhibiting strange behaviour: new projects opened with four timelines (three of which were always empty), audio never made it to the target track (only ever to track 6) – so I thought, perhaps I’ll reset my preferences.

But how do we do that in Premiere? I was frantically looking for an option in the app but sadly to no avail. A quick search on the internet brought the solution to my troubled (4 year old) Premiere installation which has never let me down before.

It’s really easy actually:

Start Premiere Pro with ALT+SHIFT held down (on Windows), or OPT+SHIFT held down (on Mac). 

Worked a treat, and Premiere is its old self again. Just in case this doesn’t work, the preferences are saved i the following locations:

  • on Windows: <drive>\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro
  • on Mac OS X: <drive>/Users/<username>Library/Preferences/com.adobe.AdobePremierePro.plist

Taken straight from Adobe’s Help Pages:

How to create Material Presets in DAZ Studio

Material Presets in DAZ Studio describe the surfaces of your 3D objects. A simple object may only have one material zone, but more complex objects can have several. These zones are also known as Shading Domains, which are setup when the object is created in a 3D modelling application.

Material Presets are closely related to Shaders, in fact they work with very similar concepts. The difference is that a Shader describes a single surface, whereas a Material Preset describes which Shader is applied to which part of an object, or more accurately, which Shading Domain shall be rendered with which Shader.

While you can apply a Shader to any object’s surface, you cannot necessarily apply any Material Preset to any object: Material Presets are object specific, whereas Shaders are not.

Let’s take a closer look at Material Presets in DAZ Studio, how to set them up and how to save them to your library.

Continue reading How to create Material Presets in DAZ Studio

How to apply a transition between multiple clips in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro has the concept of a Default Transition. This can be applied to multiple selected clips or even all clips in the current timeline. It’s a very handy tool indeed, and I’ve only just found out about it!

To apply it, select the clips in question (either drag around them, or SHIFT-select them in the Timeline), then choose Sequence – Apply Default Transition.

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By default, the Default Transition is a Video Cross Dissolve and an Audio Constant Power transition. You can tell by which transition has a little red marker around it.

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To change it, simply right-click another transition and select Set Selected as Default Transition.

You can set the duration of this transition under Preferences – General.

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How to render shadows on transparent surfaces in DAZ Studio

Cat-CompleteSometimes we need to render images that include shadows without objects to cast them on. In multi-pass rendering for example, where we may have a background and would like to render a figure separately, the figure’s shadows can only be cast if the background is rendered at the same time.

It’s easy to do by creating a plane primitive, have our character walk on that, and turn it transparent. However, if an object is transparent, then no shadows are cast upon it. So how do we solve this conniving conundrum?

With DAZ Studio’s Shadow Catcher function of course! Shadow Catcher is a node (or brick) in Shader Mixer, which will let us do just that: render shadows without the plane underneath it. Let’s see how we can set this up.

Continue reading How to render shadows on transparent surfaces in DAZ Studio

Club Monaco Textures for G2F Shoulder Dress – now available at Renderosity

Main-Promo

We’ve been hard at work on another texture set last week, and yesterday night it has been released: Club Monaco is now available – a set of 12 ravishing textures for the gorgeous G2F Shoulder Dress by kang1hyun (both available from Renderosity).

Club Monaco comes with 12 textures for the dress and 12 matching textures for the shoes.

I’m enjoying the team spirit Julia and I have going on these projects: she has a great eye for textures and patterns, and I’m the technical genius who makes it all work in DAZ Studio and Poser – not to mention creating those promo renders. It’s a bit addictive I don’t mind telling you 🙂

Continue reading Club Monaco Textures for G2F Shoulder Dress – now available at Renderosity

How to use the Interactive Preview Renderer in DAZ Studio

DAZ Studio 4.7 introduced an auxiliary viewport option with an Interactive Preview Render feature. This is a new panel that can be docked anywhere in your workspace (or free-floating if you prefer). You can find it under Window – Panes (Tabs) – Aux Viewport.

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It looks and works much like the ordinary viewport in the middle, but at first glance it seems to have less options. Observe please: hover over the Aux Viewport to see the familiar camera selection and drawing style appear – they’re just hidden to clean up the interface when no mouse is in the vicinity. Very handy!

Continue reading How to use the Interactive Preview Renderer in DAZ Studio

How to animate motion with Bezier Tweeners in Premiere Pro

Premiere-Tweener

Tired of linear animations in Premiere Pro? We’re in luck, because Premiere does support full control over ease-in and ease-out controls when you animate with keyframes. It’s just extremely clunky to use.

The process of rendering such frames in between is sometimes referred to as “tweening”. Let’s find out how to use it.

Continue reading How to animate motion with Bezier Tweeners in Premiere Pro

How to fix poke through in Poser with the Morphing Tool

Poser has an ingenious weapon against one of the biggest annoyances of 3D clothing: poke through. It’s caused by the clothing intersecting with another figure (the character, or another piece of clothing), causing undesirable effects.

Take this example below: Roxy strikes a pose, and somehow her shirt and pants reveals her skin in several places. Also, the bow of her pants is poking through the shirt. Not good!

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To fix it we can use Poser’s clever Morphing Tool. It’s the little finger icon. Select the piece of clothing you’d like to fix and select the tool.

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As soon as you select it, another palette appears.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 12.46.48The idea is that with the following operating, we’ll create a morph that can be dialled in and out of necessary – this will come in handy if only a handful of extreme poses will cause the poke through effect we’re trying to eliminate, while others do not.

The palette has two tabs, we’ll stick with the Create Tab for now. If you feel so inclined, double-click the value that currently reads Custom_Morph to change it into something that describes what you’re fixing. This isn’t necessary, but in larger scenes it helps to remember what such a dial does.

Under Goal, select the figure against which you would like to fix the poke through. In our case that’s Roxy, as she’s clashing with the shirt.

The 8 icons in the palette let you choose how the poke through should be fixed, or more accurately, what type of transformation will be applied to the clothing item: pull, push, flatten, smooth, restore, tighten, loosen or sag.  Let’s choose loosen fit for now.

If you hover over your figure, notice the little coloured dots appearing. This shows the area that will be affected when you try to brush over the object (left-click and drag to do so). Magically, poke through will be eliminated as if by magic!

You can also change the goal to another clothing item and perform the action again. Try different tools and see how they behave. Perhaps the shirt needs to be loosened a little so there’s a bit of breathing room between Roxy and the pants? Perhaps the arms look too tight? You can do a lot with this tool

If the brush isn’t the right size, change it using the Radius parameter. Magnitude defines how much influence the brush has. Here’s the result of less than 30 seconds work:

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While it’s not exactly ZBrush, the Morphing Tool is a remarkably strong little helper that can be used right inside of Poser – no other tools are required.

The morph that is created with this is automatically set to “on” and can be found in the Parameters Tab (at the very bottom of the list).

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