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Wire Frame Effect

This trick isn't an entire effect by itself—it's more of a collaging element that you'd add to an existing collage, but that hasn't hurt its popularity. These instant wire-frame techniques are popping up in lots of the latest cutting-edge collage work.

Quick Tip: Creating new brushes

You can create a new brush by choosing New Brush from the Brushes flyout menu's pop-down menu, but there's a quicker way—just click your pointer once in any open space within the Brushes palette and the New Brush dialog box will appear.

  1. Open a new document in RGB mode at 72 dpi. Press Shift-L until the Polygonal Lasso tool appears in the Toolbox (or just click-and-hold on the Lasso tool for a moment and a flyout menu will appear where you can choose the Polygonal Lasso, as shown).

  2. Figure 8.73

  3. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool to draw a polygonal shape. Start by clicking once, then move the pointer to a new position, click again, and a straight line will connect the two points. Continue clicking in different areas to create your polygonal shape, and when you're done, click back on the first point where you started, and your lines will become a selection (as shown).

  4. Figure 8.74

  5. Go under the Edit menu and choose Stroke. For Width enter 1 pixel, for Color make sure it's black, and for Location choose Center. Click OK to put a black stroke around your selection. Now press Command-D (PC: Control-D) to Deselect.

  6. Figure 8.75

  7. Press "m" to get the Rectangular Marquee tool, hold the Shift key, and draw a square selection entirely around your polygonal shape (as shown). Then go under the Edit menu and choose Define Brush. A dialog box will appear where you can name your brush (as shown). Enter a name and click OK to save this brush to your Brushes palette.

  8. Figure 8.76

  9. Choose Brushes from the Window menu, and in the list of options on the left side of the dialog box, click on the words "Brush Tip Shape" to bring those options forward. Adjust the Diameter of your brush to your desired size (I lowered my size down to 127 pixels) and then lower the Spacing slider to 5 (as shown). A preview of your edited brush stroke will appear at the bottom of the palette. Your wire frame brush is now complete.

  10. Figure 8.77

  11. Now you can add this wireframe effect to any collage. If you want to replicate the example shown here, open a new document in RGB mode. Press "d" to set your Foreground color to black and press Option-Delete to fill the background with black. Press "x" to set the Foreground color to white. Create a new layer, then paint a long curved stroke with your brush to create the effect shown here.

  12. Figure 8.78

Quick Tip: Saving your brushes

Do you need to save any custom brushes you create? Any brush you create is automatically saved. The next time you launch Photoshop, that brush will automatically appear in the same position in your Brushes menu. However, if you reset your brushes to their factory defaults (by choosing Reset Brushes from the Brushes drop-down menu), that brush will be gone forever. If that's a concern to you, make sure you save your new set of brushes by going under the Brushes flyout menu's drop-down menu and choosing Save Brushes. What I do is delete all the other brushes by holding the Command key (PC: Control key) and clicking once on them. Then, when I'm down to just the one brush I created, I choose Save Brushes from the Brushes Options Bar flyout menu, name that brush with a name I'll remember (such as Acme Co. logo), and save it in the Brushes folder, inside the Preset folder, inside my Photoshop folder. Whew!

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