Creating Drapes in Photoshop 5.0

By Mark Crenshaw





This Photoshop 5.0 tutorial will outline the steps to make velour drapes that are common in proscenium type theaters. These drapes are made of very heavy material and billow nicely even at rest. They have a shimmered texture when exposed to light. Some have a grainy texture as well.

We will also apply a logo to the drape and make it form fitting. This will be done using the lighting effect.

Step 1: Start with a new file and select the Gradient Tool. Choose Edit from the Tool Options pallet. If you have the setting called "Soft Stripes," select it and exit the pallet. If you don't have this setting you can create it by setting a change every 10% alternating from foreground (FG) to background (BG) color. Figure 1 shows the way it should look. Exit the pallet and return to your main image.

Figure 1

Step 2: Select a bright blue for your FG and a very dark blue for your BG. With the Gradient Tool set to Normal, start at one edge and pull a gradient horizontally across the entire window. Figure 2 shows the result.

Figure 2

Step 3: Now change the Gradient Tool Transfer Mode to Difference. Start at one edge of the image and pull a gradient 1/3 the way across the image. Move to that 1/3 point and pull across the second 1/3 of the image and then the last third. You drape is starting to take shape. See Figure 3.

Figure 3

Step 4: To give the drape a lighted appearance (called a "warmer" in the theater) we have one more step. Change the Gradient Tool to "FG to BG" gradient. With the Transfer Mode still set to Difference, pull a gradient diagonally across the entire image. This will give the indication of a light source at the side stage. Figure 4 shows the finished drape.

Figure 4

Step 5: Now that we have our drape completed, we will add our logo. Create a text layer and leave it on its own layer. Render the layer and turn it off. With your drape layer active, go into the Channels pallet and select a channel that shows the widest grayscale range (i.e. Figure 5). This will vary depending on what color drape you are making. With this channel selected press ctrl+A and then ctrl+C. Create a new channel and then with the new channel active, press ctrl+V. The grayscale image should now be in your new channel. Select the RGB channel and return to the Layers pallet.

Figure 5

Step 6: Turn on your text layer and turn off the drape layer. With your text layer active go Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. Set the Light type to Spotlight. Under Texture Channel, choose the Alpha 1 channel we made earlier in the Channels pallet. Set the Height and adjust the light to mimic the warmer we put on the drape (Figure 6). Accept the filter and check the results. It may take some experimenting to get just the right look but it will be worth it.

Figure 6

Step 7: There you have it (Figure 7). Once you have your drapes done you can animate them in After Effects using the corner pin to make them flow when opened and closed.

Figure 7

Mark Crenshaw runs 212 Productions. This tutorial is ęcopyright 1999 and may not be republished elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the author.

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