Photoshop for Looney Tunes

by Fred Showker

A READER AT THE PHOTOSHOP 911 FORUMS asked for help simulating the famous Looney Tunes cartoons background we all know and love. I was going to key the instructions right into the forum reply, but realized there is a little more to it than would be appropriate. (Forum thread.)

The techniques are simple. I'll give the most basic steps -- which will work in ANY version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements since version 3.5 -- then turn you loose, knowing the principles, to create your own masterpiece. I know there are more advanced techniques with layers blending and layer styles -- but the importance of these steps represent what goes on in the background of Photoshop while using the newfangled tools. Once you know the basics, you're free to then utilize the layers styles and actually understand what how the settings work, and what they modify.


The single most important step in this process is analyzing (or designing) exactly what is happening in the art to be simulated, and understanding what specific looks you'll be creating for a successful results. Careful sizing and color selection is crucial in simulating or emulating a specific look and feel.

1) Set up the file for the intended print, web page, etc. In the "New File" dialog, set file size, shape and resolution so the end product will satisfy the job.

2) Generate a new layer and name it "Target frame" then fill it with BLACK

3) Expand the window to make working space for your circles
continue with the next step use the crop tool, and drag it out beyond the edges of the file size to crop it at about twice the size. Later you can select your "Target Frame" layer and crop the file to the final size and resolution. (This is a good rule to remember, no matter what the art is, if image areas will eventually bleed off the edges of the format.)

4) Set center Guides
continue with the next step tap V. with the black target window layer active
continue with the next step note the center bullet
continue with the next step with zoom tool, drag a tiny selection around bullet to zoom in to the max, drag rulers in to center to create the guides for centering your circles

Set up the file

5) Analyze your color scheme. Each ring is different -- you'll start out with at least three colors Open the analysis diagram.

6) Make new layer [SAVE THE FILE]

7) Generate the circle: Select the Circle Marquee tool is selected (Tap 'M')
continue with the next step Hold Option/Alt key, position cursor over center bullet,
continue with the next step press the shift key and click / drag out. This draws a perfect circle, centered on your center bullet cross grid.

Make your first circle in Photoshop

8) FILL the circle with the medium color (#1)
continue with the next step Drop selection (cmd/cntrl D)

9) Generate the "Hole" by repeating steps #7 and #8, except this time, you'll drag the perfect circle to REMOVE the center of your ring.
continue with the next step When sized properly, DELETE
continue with the next step you should have a perfect ring of orange, or #1 color
continue with the next step NAME this layer: "First Circle" [SAVE THE FILE]

Next... the fun begins!

... continues on the next page!

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